The Calming Fruit You Should Be Eating Before Bed Every Night
We might think of insomnia as a modern-day problem, but it turns out, people throughout history have been using various herbs to help them sleep. In fact, in traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), a funky fruit called jujube has long been trusted to help with just that.
Believed to help manage many of the underlying issues that precede insomnia, like stress and poor digestion, jujube still holds a lot of promise for helping folks get their shut-eye.*
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. They can be eaten fresh or dried and look like a date or large raisin at first glance.
"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. Its red rich color makes it fantastic for tonifying (increasing the available energy of) the blood. These properties make it beneficial for treating sleep disorders.”*
Indeed, studies show jujube has "neuroprotective activities" and can help protect nerve cells from neurotoxin stress, support a healthy memory, and promote learning.* In terms of sleep, the fruit has been shown to both improve sleep quality and enhance 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 medicinal 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. Ling says it's a "powerhouse formulation to address the underlying issue with insomnia." Think of it as "a natural way to calm the mind by anchoring the erratic energy down with nourishing ingredients," he says.
The deep and restorative sleep you've always dreamt about, featuring jujube.*
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 supplement, like mbg's magnesium+.
"[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 with sleep problems 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 glycinate, a highly absorbable form of magnesium that helps promote sleep, 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.*