Suan Zao Ren-Sour Jujube Seed-Ziziphus Semen-Herb of the WeekSean Russell
Sour Jujube Dates – Suan Zao Ren in Chinese Pin Yin and Ziziphus Spinosae Semen is the Latin/pharmaceutical name. The Jujube dates themselves are also used quite a bit and they are often used in food therapy because they taste great and go well in hot cereals, congee, and kicharee. The dates and the seeds that are used as herbs are not the same, the jujube seed we use is not the seed found inside the jujube dates used as an herb, Da Zao. Suan Zao Ren is from a sour Chinese date and you can see the difference if you pit Da Zao and will not look like Suan Zao Ren at all. Suan Zao Ren is a nourishing and tonic seed that is used mainly for insomnia and related ailments.
Suan Zao Ren is used to treat insomnia, palpitations, anxiety, sweatingproblems, and poor memory problems. We will talk more specific about each.
Suan Zao Ren is a sweet tonic, sour mild astringent, and is neutral in temperature
Suan Zao Ren belongs to the nourishing sedatives or ‘Nourish Heart, Calm Spirit’ in Chinese Herbology.
Sour Jujube Seeds can be taken in a slightly elevated dosage because they are tonifying. Daily dosage can be around 10-15 grams no problem.
There is often little cautions in sweet and tonic herbs. Suan Zao Ren is not an exception here. The seeds are of a handful of herbs that a trace amount of people have had mild allergic reactions to. If there is negative effects found with its use just discontinue usage. Overdose should be monitored to not exceed 15 g daily.
Suan Zao Ren is an excellent natural and safe ‘sedative’ herb. In Chinese Medicine this herb nourishes the 2 organs responsible for sleep- Liver and Heart. When balance is brought back to these organs then sleep is done naturally. It is common to think that taking herbs to help you fall asleep should only be taken at night and this is not always the case. Suan Zao Ren can be taken as directed through the day and will help with sleep naturally. Typically the ‘insomnia’ or sleep problems that this herb will help with will be trouble sleeping due to anxiety, fidgeting, restlessness, night sweating and such. Because it helps with the following symptoms listed it will also help with anxiety, overworked mind, restlessness, night sweats, fidgeting, etc even if it is not compromising your sleep.
As the seed is little round little red, purplish, blackish seeds the redness reminds us that the herb probably has some usage for blood of the heart. We already know it nourishes the heart and this function helps with palpitations and irritability too. These issues can be better handles with Suan Zao Ren extract to further know you are getting higher dosing.
Suan Zao Ren lastly helps with irregular sweating. I don’t mean that taking a full dose of this will stop you from having underarm sweat, but we are talking about irregular sweating. Suan Zao Ren is very successful at treating either spontaneous sweating or night sweats. This function has better results when used along with Astragalus / Huang Qi.
For Suan Zao Ren’s function of promoting sleep it is recommended that the herb be lightly toasted. Simply put your dosage in a pan and ‘fry’ on medium heat until they start to darken a little and make popping noises (not until they are black!). You then crush the seeds and prepare. This method of toasting is a bit of a classical trick although some studies show that the calming effect is similar to non-toasted. I say to you try for yourself what works best, what we do know is that your still taking a powerful herb regardless if you take the time to dry toast it or not!