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Ber Fruit(Jujube): Uses, Benefits, Side Effects & More!

By Dr Rajeev Singh +2 more

Introduction: 

Ber fruit is a tropical or subtropical fruit. It is a nutritious fruit scientifically called Ziziphus mauritiana. It belongs to the family Rhamnaceae. 1 The genus Ziziphus has around 170 species of plants under it. Of these Ziziphus mauritiana is a medium-sized, mostly evergreen tree but deciduous during dry months.

The trees have simple round to oval leaves, with greenish-white or yellow flowers and green, yellow to orange-red small round berries or fruits.

a bowl of ber fruit

This plant is native to China, South and Central Asia and used extensively as nutritious food and for medicinal purposes for long but is now grown throughout the world. In India, it is found along the arid (land with little or no rain) and semi-arid tracts of the country that is extending from the foothills of the Himalayas to the southern desert.

Did You Know?

  • The amino acids in jujube fruit contribute to its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. [source: ncbi.nlm.nih.gov]
  • Jujube fruit has been traditionally used in Chinese medicine for its sedative and neuroprotective effects. [source: ncbi.nlm.nih.gov]
  • Jujube fruit is a good source of vitamin C, with concentrations ranging from 1.671 to 4.247 mg/g fresh weight. [source: ncbi.nlm.nih.gov]
  • The carbohydrate content of jujube fruit ranges from 80.86% to 85.63% of dry weight. [source: ncbi.nlm.nih.gov]
  • Jujube fruit is rich in dietary fibre, with both soluble and insoluble fibre components. [source: ncbi.nlm.nih.gov]

Other Names of Ber Fruit:

It is referred to by various local names like

  • Indian jujube, dessert apple and Indian palm in English,
  • Kul in Bengali,
  • Bogori in Assamese,
  • Ber and Beri in Hindi,
  • Yolachi in Kannada,
  • Bardi and Bora in Marathi, etc.2,3

It is closely related and commonly mistaken for the Chinese date called Ziziphus jujuba which belongs to the same genus Ziziphus. The ber fruit is nutritious and has many medicinal properties making it potentially useful in different conditions.    

Ber fruit is indeed a highly nutritive food with untapped sources of nutrition. Researchers state that compared to apples, ber fruit might contain higher levels of protein, phosphorus, calcium, carotene, and vitamin C. These nutritional components make ber fruit an excellent choice as an addition to your diet and promoting overall health.

Dr. Siddharth Gupta, B.A.M.S, M.D (Ayu)

Nutritional Value of Ber fruit: 

The ripe fruit of this plant has high nutritional value and is a very good source of vitamin C, vitamin B, vitamin A, and calcium.3,4 

Nutrient per 100g of Ber fruit (3,4): 

Nutrient  Amount  
Energy  5.92 kcal 
Total fat 0.07 g 
Fiber 0.60 g  
Total carbohydrate  17.00 g 
Protein 00.80 g 
Moisture 81.6-83 g 
Calcium 25.6 mg 
Phosphorus 26.8 mg 
Iron 0.76-1.8 mg 
Carotene 0.021 mg 
Thiamine 0.02-0.024 mg 
Riboflavin 0.02-0.038mg 
Niacin 0.7-0.873mg 
Citric acid  0.2-1.1 mg 
Ascorbic acid  65.8-76 mg 
Fluoride 0.1-0.2 mg 
Pectin 2.2 – 3.4 % dry basis 
Table1: Nutrient per 100g of Ber fruit (3,4):  

Did you know? The leaf extract of ber fruit has some amazing superpowers for your skin! It’s not only anti-ageing but might also give your skin an elastic boost. So, if you want to keep your skin looking young and bouncy, ber fruit might just be the secret ingredient you’ve been searching for!

Dr. Rajeev Singh, BAMS

Potential Uses of Ber fruit:  

Ber fruit (Ziziphus mauritiana) has many potential uses and apart from the whole plant, seeds, roots, bark, leaves, and fruit of the plant are also used.4 The uses of ber fruit are as follows. 5    

Potential Uses of Ber fruit for Skin:  

Potential Uses of Ber fruit for Wrinkles and Darkening:  

The jujube fruit has antioxidant properties and can help with keeping skin healthy. It can be used for skin rejuvenation by lightening and moisturizing skin.5  

Also Read: 5 Home Remedies for Clear Skin

Potential Uses of Ber fruit for Wounds:  

Traditionally, in India, it has been used to treat skin cuts, wounds, and burns. Studies have shown that local application of an alcoholic extract of the ber plant helps in wound contraction, may increase tensile strength, and reduces wound closure time. Thus, it can be really helpful in expediting wound healing.6 You are advised to consult with a dermatologist before using any herb for skin problems.  

Potential Uses of Ber fruit for Digestion:  

Traditionally, it was used to promote digestion and as an anti-diarrhoeal drug. A decoction of the bark may be helpful for diarrhoea. This property of the ber fruit plant is supported by animal studies as well.4,5,7    However more human studies are needed to establish this benefit.

Potential Uses of Ber fruit for Cancer:  

Alcoholic extracts of the root, bark, and seeds of Ziziphus mauritiana have shown anticancer activity in cell culture studies. They may act against cell division and cause the death of cancer cells. Apart from the anticancer activity, it might also possess antioxidant action, which might help in managing cancer. Thus, ber fruit has potential for cancer treatment. 4  However, more studies are required to prove these claims. Cancer is a serious condition and must be diagnosed and treated by a doctor.

Jujube Benefits for the Heart:  

Studies have shown that extracts of ber fruit lower blood cholesterol levels (hypolipidaemic action) by virtue of its antioxidant property. This makes it potential cardioprotective and may be useful in maintaining heart health.8    In serious conditions like these it is advisable to consult a doctor before using any herb.

Potential Uses of Ber fruit for the Brain:  

Potential Uses of Ber fruit for Anxiety and Insomnia:  

Betulinic acid is present in the bark of the ber fruit tree and may be useful in relieving anxiety. The chemical found in ber is studied to reduce the levels of cortisol, the stress hormone. It interacts with the same receptor in the brain. Thereby, jujube fruit can help relieve anxiety. Traditionally, it was used to produce a calming effect in cases of anxiety and insomnia. 9  However, these claims need further scientific evidence to prove its actual benefit.

Also Read: Yellow Dragon Fruit: Everything You Need to Know About its Health Benefits

Potential Uses of Ber fruit for Memory:  

Indian jujube has antioxidant activity due to the presence of phenolic compounds in it. Traditionally, it has been used to alleviate memory. Studies show decent levels of phenolic compounds in ber fruit may be responsible for its antioxidant actions. Thus, it might be helpful in improving memory in conditions like Alzheimer’s disease. 4,10  Traditionally, ber fruit has also been used in the treatment of headaches but sufficient data supporting this is not available.    

Potential Uses of Ber fruit for Immunity:  

Studies in animals have shown that ber fruit may have some effect on the immune system and has potential as an immunotherapeutic agent. 4    Larger human studies could help demonstrate the efficacy of ber fruit in helping for immunity. Therefore, avoid using ber fruit or other herbal remedies for its benefits without talking to your healthcare provider first.

Also Read: What is Monk Fruit: Discovering the Health Benefits and Potential Uses

Potential Uses of Ber Fruit for Bones:  

Ber fruit may improve bone health. It is a good source of vitamins and minerals, especially calcium. Thus, it may be consumed for having strong teeth and bones. 11  However, human studies are required to confirm the effectiveness of ber fruit for bones in humans. Therefore, prior consultation with a doctor is essential to avoid health-related complications.

Potential Uses of Ber fruit for Weight Management:  

The fruit of ber tree is rich in fiber and has low carbohydrate and fat content. Over the years, it has been included in many weight loss diets. It may haveanti-obesity activity which is supported by animal studies.12  You must consult a nutritionist before including anything in your diet for weight management benefits.

Also Read: 10 Home Remedies for Weight Loss

Potential Uses of Ber Fruit for Diabetes:  

Ber fruit may show anti-diabetic action owing to its antioxidant property. The extracts of ber fruit, seed, and leaves showed blood sugar lowering property (hypoglycaemic action) in animal studies. 4  Diabetes is a serious health condition and needs appropriate diagnosis and treatment. Please consult a doctor and do not use ber fruit to self-medicate.

Potential Uses of Ber Fruit for Blood:  

In Ayurvedic and Unani literature, it is considered useful for purifying the blood. This means it might remove toxins and pathogens from the blood. 13  It is to also be noted that ber fruit may have anti-inflammatory properties which makes it helpful potentially in the management of many chronic inflammatory diseases like diabetes, fever, neurological disorders, cardiovascular diseases, etc. 4,14  

Though there are studies that show these potential uses of ber fruit in various conditions, these are insufficient and there is a need for further studies to establish the true extent of benefits of ber fruit on human health.

It’s interesting to note that the methanol extract of the root of ber fruit has shown the ability to inhibit the severity of diarrhoea induced by castor oil. This inhibition could be attributed to the extract’s potential to reduce electrolyte permeability in the intestine caused by castor oil. Additionally, the extract may achieve this effect by inhibiting the release of prostaglandins, which are known to play a role in diarrhoea.

Dr. Smita barode, B.A.M.S, M.S.

How to Use Ber Fruit? 

Ber fruit is used in the following ways: 

  • The fruit can be eaten raw or made into a paste, floury meal, etc. The leaves can be cooked and eaten, while the seeds can be eaten as well. 15 
  • Decoction of roots, bark, leaves, and seeds is also used.7 

Your Ayurvedic physician will prescribe you the form and dosage as per your health condition.  People must consult an Ayurvedic doctor before taking herbal supplements made from ber fruit. Likewise, do not replace or discontinue your ongoing medications with ayurvedic or herbal preparations without consulting a qualified physician.

The leaves of ber fruit have practical uses as plasters and might be beneficial for liver issues. They are known to have a protective effect against alcohol-induced liver damage and may also provide relief in asthma.

Dr. Anuja Bodhare, B.A.M.S, M.D (Ayu)

Side Effects of Ber Fruit: 

Ber fruit taken is most likely safe in amounts that are recommended. The most common side effects are as follows.  

  • Drowsiness 9 
  • Hypoglycaemia (when given in diabetics on antidiabetic drugs) 4 

Most of the recorded and studied side effects are of Ber fruit which is the Chinese date, and more studies need to be done on Ziziphus mauritiana (ber fruit), the Indian jujube.    However, if any side effects or discomfort are seen after taking Ber fruit, please immediately get in touch with an Ayurvedic physician who advised you to have the herb. They will prescribe you the appropriate treatment to overcome the side effects.

Did you know that the ber fruit flowers might provide a natural and soothing eye medicament? Yes, an infusion of Ziziphus mauritiana flowers may be used as an eye lotion to soothe your eyes.

Dr. Ashok Pal, BAMS

Precautions to Take with Ber Fruit:  

Pregnancy & Breastfeeding 

Traditionally jujube was used in treating abdominal pain, nausea, and vomiting in pregnancy.16 In recommended amounts, it is safe in pregnancy, but excessive consumption is harmful; therefore, the gynaecologist should always be consulted before starting it.  

Also Read: Ragi – Nutrition, Uses, Benefits, Side Effects & Precautions

Interactions with Other Drugs: 

Antidiabetic drugs 

Ber fruit has blood sugar-lowering activity therefore caution must be exercised before giving them to a diabetic patient who is already taking antidiabetic drugs. 4 

Also Read: Elderberry Benefits: A Deep Dive into Its Research-Backed Health Effects

Sedatives  

Ber is to be avoided when an individual is already taking sedatives as ber fruit adds to the sedative action.  9 

Also Read: 10 Health Benefits And Recipes Of Dragon Fruit (Pitaya)

Frequently Asked Questions: 

Benefits of ber fruit? 

It is used for skin rejuvenation, wound healing, promoting digestion, strengthening bones, and weight loss. It has potential in the use of protecting the heart, anxiety, insomnia, memory, cancer, boost immunity and control blood sugar levels. 4-12  There are further studies needed to establish this effect.

Can Ber fruit be used in pregnancy? 

Traditionally it was used to treat nausea, vomiting, and abdominal pain in pregnancy. To be used safely, it should be consumed in recommended amounts and in accordance with the advice of the gynaecologist. 16 

Is jujube fruit used in weight loss? 

It is used for weight loss. 12  However it is advisable to consult a nutritionist for better advice.

Is ber fruit used in diabetes? 

The plant has blood sugar lowering properties and may be used by persons with diabetes. 4  It is better to consult a qualified doctor for guidance.

Dose ber fruit cause kidney stones?  

Not many studies have been done on Ziziphus mauritiana thus no information regarding this is available.

Ber fruit use in piles?

No, there is lack of evidence that it is useful in the treatment of piles. 

Dose ber fruit reduce uric acid levels?   

Animal studies have shown that ber fruit extracts lower uric acid levels in case of silica-induced toxicity. More studies are needed. 17 

Nutritional value of ber fruit? 

Ber fruit is very rich in fiber, calcium, vitamin A, B, and C. 3,4 

Is ber fruit food for hair? 

Ber fruit is used for hair growth but Ziziphus mauritiana (ber fruit) has no studies evaluating this use.

Is ber fruit climacteric? 

A climacteric fruit is one that can ripen after being picked. Ziziphus mauritiana is believed to exhibit climacteric behavior. 18 

Also Read: Sandalwood – Uses, Benefits, Side Effects & Precautions

References: 

  1. Syed Zameer Hussain, Bazila Naseer; Ber/Jujube (Ziziphus mauritiana): Morphology, Taxonomy, Composition and Health Benefits. Fruits Grown in Highland Regions of the Himalayas. 2021 Jun; (); 157-168. Available from: https://link.springer.com/chapter/10.1007/978-3-030-75502-7_12#citeas  
  1. CABI Invasive Species Compendium. Ziziphus mauritiana (jujube). [Internet]. Avaibale from: https://www.cabi.org/isc/datasheet/57556  
  1. Sunil Pareek, Elhadi M. Yahia; Postharvest Biology and Technology of Ber fruit. Horticulture Reviews. 2013 September; 41(); 201-240. Available from: https://www.researchgate.net/figure/2-Nutritive-composition-of-ber-fruit_tbl1_255719851  
  1. Om Prakash, Shazia Usmani; A panoramic view on phytochemical, nutritional, and therapeutic attributes of Ziziphus mauritiana Lam.: A comprehensive review. WILEY. 2020 May; 35(); 63-77. Available from: https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/epdf/10.1002/ptr.6769  
  1. Naveed Akhtar, Shakeel Ijaz; Ziziphus mauritiana leaf extract emulsion for skin rejuvenation. Tropical Journal of Pharmaceutical Research. 2016 May; 15 (5); 929-936. Available from: http://www.tjpr.org  
  1. D. Senthil Rajan; M. Rajkumar; Wound healing activity of an herbal ointment containing the leaf extract of Ziziphus Mauritiana Lam. African Journal of Pharmacy and Pharmacology. 2012 November; 7 (4); 98-103. Available from: https://academicjournals.org/journal/AJPP/article-full-text-pdf/0B330BA37347  
  1. Dahiru D, Sini J. M; Antidiarrhoeal activity of Ziziphus mauritiana root extracts in rodents. African Journal of Biotechnology. 2006 May; 5(10); 941-945. Available from: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/289176754_Antidiarrhoeal_activity_of_Ziziphus_mauritiana_root_extract_in_rodents    
  1. D. Dahiru, O. Obidoa; Effect of Aqueous Extract of Ziziphus mauritiana Leaf on Cholesterol and Triglyceride Levels in Serum and Liver of Rats Administered Alcohol. Pakistan Journal of Nutrition. 2009; 8(); 1884-1888. Available from: https://scialert.net/fulltext/?doi=pjn.2009.1884.1888  
  1. Ajay Srivastava, Prafulla Kumar; Chapter 4- Nutraceuticals in anxiety and stress. Science Direct Nutraceuticals (Second Edition) ACADEMIC PRESS. 2021; (); 63-72. Available from: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/B9780128210383000045  
  1. Tanmay Kumar Koley, Charanjit Kaur; Antioxidant activity and phenolic content in genotypes of Indian jujube (Zizyphus mauritiana Lamk). Arabian Journal of Chemistry. 2016 Nov; Volume 9, Supplement 9; S1044-S1052. Available from: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1878535211002905  
  1. Amit Sareen, Raghbir Chand Gupta; Comparison of Key Mineral Elements in Wild Edible Fruits of Ziziphus Mauritiana and Z. nummularia Using Atomic Absorption Spectrophotometer (AAS) and Flame Photometer. International Journal of Fruit Science. 2020 Jun; 20 (2); S987-S994. Available from: https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/15538362.2020.1774468  
  1. Mandavi S. Deshpande, Sushant Shengule; Anti-obesity activity of Ziziphus mauritiana: A potent pancreatic lipase inhibitor. Asian Journal of Pharmaceutical and Clinical Research. 2013 March; 6(2); 168-173. Available from: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/236888768_Antiobesity_activity_of_Ziziphus_mauritiana_A_potent_pancreatic_lipase_inhibitor  
  1. Hare Krishna, Avinash Parashar; PHYTOCHEMICAL CONSTITUENTS AND ANTIOXIDANT ACTIVITIES OF SOME INDIAN JUJUBE (ZIZIPHUS MAURITIANA LAMK.) CULTIVARS. Journal of Food Biochemistry. 2012 Nov; 37(); 571-577. Available from: https://sci-hub.hkvisa.net/10.1111/jfbc.12008  
  1. Abdulrhman Alsayari, Shadma Wahab; Genus Ziziphus for the treatment of chronic inflammatory diseases. Saudi Journal of Biological Sciences. 2021 December; 28 (12); 6897-6914. Available from: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1319562X21006598  
  1. Useful Tropical Plants. Ziziphus mauritiana. [Internet]. Available from: http://tropical.theferns.info/viewtropical.php?id=Ziziphus+mauritiana  
  1. ISSG. GLOBAL INVASIVE SPECIES DATABASE. Ziziphus mauritiana. [Internet].  Available from: http://www.iucngisd.org/gisd/species.php?sc=214  
  1. Rudra Prasad Dutta; HAEMATOLOGICAL AMELIORATION BY ZIZYPHUS MAURITIANA IN SILICA INDUCED TOXICITY IN WISTAR ALBINO RATS. 2018 Jan; 9(1); 165-174. Available from:https://www.researchgate.net/publication/325847756_HAEMATOLOGICAL_AMELIORATION_BY_ZIZYPHUS_MAURITIANA_IN_SILICA_INDUCED_TOXICITY_IN_WISTAR_ALBINO_RATS  
  1. Lovejoy Tembo, Z. Z. Chiteka; Storage temperature affects fruit quality attributes of Ber (Ziziphus mauritiana Lamk.) in Zimbabwe. African Journal of Biotechnology. 2008 September; 7(8); 3092-3099. Available from: http://www.academicjournals.org/AJB  

Also Read: Sarpagandha – Uses, Benefits, Side Effects & Precautions

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