Weatherford Democrat

January 24, 2008

Gardening is the purest of human pleasures

Jo Anne Boudreau, Democrat Columnist

Jujube is a life giving and restorative, sweet tasting fruit few Westerners have ever had the pleasure of eating. It looks like a large date when fully ripe, but tastes like an apple. It is the number one fruit in the Orient for its health giving properties. Asians believe that a jujube a day keeps the doctor away. Jujubes will refresh and restore. They improve memory and are a remedy for high blood pressure. This fruit is exceptionally tonic. They relieve fatigue from summer heat and are a laxative that rids the body of parasites. Asians consider jujubes a must for their daily diet. Chinese writings claim the jujube fruit settles the stomach, invigorates the body, gives strength to the heart and lungs and stops coughing. They say the backbone is strengthened by eating jujube fruit. Eating jujubes for a long period time will slow the aging process. They also cure sore throat and insomnia. Jujube invigorates the spleen and stops diarrhea. Jujube leaf tea helps relieve exhaustion, forgetfullness and dizziness. The high potassium and magnesium content of the fruit makes it an excellent heart food. Many American herb products now contain jujube as a carrier for other herbs. Jujubes help build strength and extend life by toning the stomach, heart, lungs and kidneys and assist the liver in recovering from toxic exposure. Jujube treats shortness of breath and severe emotional upset and debility due to nerves.

Research scientists in Japan show that many types of allergies are relieved by including jujube fruit and leaf tea in the diet. Jujube is a food and medicine that strengthens the energy flow, invigorates the intestines, and causes the blood vessels to dilate and relax. The leaf tea gives relief from stomach upsets such as acid indigestion, bloating, nausea, Irritable Bowel Syndrom, ulcers, diverticulitis and leaky gut. A woman told me she had taken “everything known to medicine” for Irritable Bowel Syndrom with no relief. She started drinking jujube leaf tea and got immediate relief and the problem has not returned.

Legend has it that Christ’s crown was made from the branch of a jujube tree because Christ so loved jujubes. Jujube is listed seven times in the Bible.

The most popular jujube tree is the Ziziphus jujube, other varieties are Z. zizphus and Z. spina-chrisi. All three varieties have great medicinal value. Jujube trees like hot and dry climates and tolerate temperatures several degrees below zero. The U.S. Plant Introduction Office brought the jujube to America in the late 1800s and encouraged farmers to plant plantations of this easy to grow fruit tree. American farmers were not interested, so today we only find jujube trees growing in backyards as a lovely addition to the landscape. They have the look of a Japanese weeping cherry tree and never have to be sprayed for anything. I am in the process of planting a jujube orchard here at Boudreau Herb Farm. Since jujube trees can be difficult to find and expensive to buy, I let the secondary shoots of my big jujube tree grow at least four foot tall, then dig and transplant them to the permanent growing area.

Now is the best time to transplant jujube and other fruit trees. Last summer a customer asked me to come by her place between Mineral Wells and Weatherford and dig up all the jujube trees growing all over her back yard. It wasn’t the right time to transplant fruit trees so I didn’t take her up on the generous offer. Ask around and you can find someone to share a jujube (Chinese date) tree with you.

Listen to Jo Anne Boudreau on “Herb Talk” Thursday morning from 8 to 9 on KMQX 88.5, 89.5,K2497.7,K72AZ 93.3, KSQX 89.1 FM Radio and