The fruit of Zizyphus vulgaris, Lamarck, and Zizyphus Lotus, Lamarck.
COMMON NAMES: Jujube-berries.
Botanical Source and History.—The shrubs bearing jujube-berries are cultivated in Spain, Italy, and France, and along the Mediterranean. The first species is indigenous to Syria and Asia Minor, the second grows in the northern part of Africa. Jujube plants are shrubs, sometimes arborescent, and have alternate, serrated, ovate leaves, which are 3-nerved and armed at the base with prickly and spinous stipules. By abortion the fruit is 1-celled and 1-seeded, but it usually has 2 cells and 2 seeds.
Description and Chemical Composition.—Jujube-berries are roundish-oval or oblong drupes, about the size of an olive. The skin is vivid-red when fresh, but when dried becomes brownish-red, and is leathery, thin, and wrinkled. The pulp is soft, yellowish, mucilaginous, sweet, and acidulous, and encloses the ovate, pointed stone. The drupe of the Z. Lotus is smaller (about 3/5 inch) and subglobular. The fruit of an East Indian species, Zizyphus jujuba, Lamarck, possesses like properties, and the shrub gives a stick-lac from which a portion of the shellac of commerce is prepared (see Amer. Jour. Pharm., 1886, p. 307). Chemically, Jujube-berries contain sugar and mucilage, while tannin is a constituent of the bark. (2.8 per cent, D. Hooper, 1894). The fruits of the first two species constitute an article of food in their native countries, being employed like raisins, figs, etc.
Preparation.—JUJUBE PASTE. Massa de jujubis. With sufficient water extract jujube-berries, 5 parts, to obtain of the infusion, 35 parts; add sugar, 20 parts; acacia, 30 parts. Evaporate, add orange-flower water, 2 parts; boil slowly for 12 hours, and run into molds. This is in accordance with the French Codex. Jujube paste (in the United States), seldom contains jujube.
Action and Medical Uses.—Jujube decoction is employed in some countries as a demulcent pectoral, and like other acidulous and sweet fruits, jujube enters into the composition of tisanes for the relief of throat and broncho-pulmonic irritations. Jujube paste is demulcent, but seldom met with in this country.