Fresh Sour Jujube

Suan Zao Ren, ziziphi spinosae semen, or the Sour Jujube seed is an herb commonly used to treat insomnia. The first thing that you may think of is this delightful movie-theater candy, but that candy is not to blame for you falling asleep during Branagh's Hamlet.

The Jujube seed is a small, brown seed you can sometimes find it in the grocery store, and may have even eaten before in breakfast foods or soups. The whole sour jujube date is even more commonly used in cooking. It looks very similar to the more common, Chinese Red Date or Da Zao when dried, but when fresh (see above picture) it is green and has a taste and texture more similar to an apple then a date.

Sour Jujube is indicated when the person having trouble sleeping has what East Asian Medicine Practitioners refer to as "yin deficient" insomnia symptoms. In this case, instead of settling into a deep sleep, their mind is active at night and they might experience anxiety, palpitations, night sweats and dream-disturbed sleep.

If you want more information on sour jujube then you might want to read this blog post or check out Chinese Herbal Medicine Material Medica by Dan Bensky.