Gardeners grow Ziziphus jujuba, commonly known as jujube or Chinese date, as a shade tree and to harvest its fruit. The fruits have a sour and sweet flavor, and individuals can eat them raw, dried or cooked. Recipes with jujube fruits include jellies, cakes, breads and syrups. Kochujang is a spicy fermented soybean paste that uses powdered dried jujube as an ingredient. The leaves are edible, but growers typically only eat them as a last resort.
Jujube is common in east Asia, where locals candy, smoke, preserve in liquor, pickle and brew the fruit into tea. The fruit is a common snack and dessert item in India and the Middle East as well.
There is some clinical evidence for the fruit’s ability to aid with chronic constipation and treat neonatal jaundice. Proponents of natural supplements claim that the fruits add and strengthen muscle, improve stamina, purify blood and assist digestion. They also recommend the fruit for treating a number of symptoms, including chronic fatigue, bronchitis, diarrhea, irritability and appetite loss. Practitioners of traditional Chinese medicine use jujube fruits to improve liver function and treat burns.
Jujube has other customary and practical uses as well, such as in the Himalayas and Karakoram, where boys use the flowers to woo potential partners; in China, where they are a good luck charm for newlyweds; and in Korea, where they make wind instruments from the wood.