The Calming Fruit You Should Be Consuming Before Bed Every Night*
You might think that sleep supplements are a relatively new thing, but people have been using plants to help them sleep throughout history. Case in point: In traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), a fruit called jujube has been used to promote rest for thousands of years—and it still holds a lot of promise for helping folks get their shut-eye.* Here's what to know about this funky fruit:
Jujube's long history in the sleep space.
Jujube has been used in China for at least 3,000 years. The fruit is a type of drupe, meaning it has an outer skin, fleshy inside, and large inner seed, like a peach or cherry. It looks like a date or large raisin at first glance and can be eaten fresh or dried.
"Jujube is a very commonly used Chinese date," notes TCM expert and acupuncturist Scott Ling, LAc, M.A., Ph.D. "Its sweet nature makes it good for nourishing the digestive system and the mind.”*
Indeed, studies show that jujube has "neuroprotective activities" and can help ease stress, support a healthy memory, and promote learning.* In terms of sleep, the fruit has been shown to enhance both sleep quality and daytime functioning.*
Traditionally, Ling notes jujube is often used in TCM in an herbal formula called sour jujube decoction (or Suan Zao Ren Tang, 酸棗仁湯). It's been used since as early as 210 C.E. and combines five Chinese herbs, including suan zao ren (jujube seeds), fu ling, chuanxiong, zhimu, and gancao.
How to take it.
Nowadays, you can still purchase a sour jujube decoction from a traditional Chinese medicine practitioner. Think of it as "a natural way to calm the mind by anchoring erratic energy down with nourishing ingredients," Ling says.*
You can also eat the fruit as is, turn it into a tea by simmering a pound of jujube dates, a little ginger, and a gallon of water for a few hours, or take it the form of a jujube seed extract in a high-quality supplement, like mbg's sleep support+.
"[Jujube] is the best thing going for enhancing the quality of sleep," integrative medicine physician Robert Rountree, M.D., previously told mbg. He's recommended jujube to patients for years, adding, "One thing I particularly like about [it] is that it is also a food that is very gentle and doesn't knock people out or cause hangovers the morning after taking it."*
mindbodygreen's formula pairs jujube with magnesium bisglycinate, a highly absorbable form of magnesium that helps promote a steady stream of relaxation, and PharmaGABA®, a neurotransmitter shown in clinical trials to enhance natural sleep quality.* The result? A deeper sleep, gentler wake-up, and all-around better bedtime experience that stands the test of time.*
Sarah Regan is a Spirituality & Relationships Writer, as well as a registered yoga instructor. She received her bachelor's in broadcasting and mass communication from SUNY Oswego, and lives in Buffalo, New York.