Semen Ziziphi Spinosae (also known as zizyphus seed, Sun Zao Ren, or sour jujube seed) is one of the most commonly used herbal substances in Traditional Chinese Medicine. It is derived from the same Suan Zao or Zizyphus Jujuba plant that also produces Dao Zao, or jujube fruit, a commonly used Qi tonic. Semen Ziziphi Spinosae is actually the seed of the jujube fruit, and it is considered one of the most useful sedative herbs in the Chinese medicine pharmacopoeia.
Semen Ziziphi Spinosae has somewhat of a mild nature but it is valued as an excellent tranquilizing herbal substance. Because of its calming effects on the mind and mood, and its ability to induce sleep, it is traditionally categorized in Chinese medicine as a Heart-Blood tonic and called "Calm the Heart Seed".
In Traditional Chinese Medicine, Semen Ziziphi Spinosae directly calms the Heart, which is the seat of all human consciousness known as the Shen. When balanced the Shen guides mental-emotional stability and allows the body to relax and get restful sleep. However when the Shen becomes imbalanced, we become agitated and cannot relax or sleep easily, resulting in insomnia. In some cases, the Shen may become so disturbed that restless sleep is amplified with excessive, vivid dreams and/or nightmares. Whether someone is suffering from slight insomnia due to stress or overthinking, or more complex types of insomnia such as that which occurs due to an anemic blood condition, Semen Ziziphi Spinosae is a great choice to help relax the body and mind to induce sleep.
Semen Ziziphi Spinosae is used alone or in combination with other herbs by millions of people worldwide to treat common insomnia. However because it displays hypnotic and sedative pharmacological effects, the herb is associated with drowsiness. Therefore individuals who take this herb should exercise caution when driving or operating heavy machinery, or taking barbiturates.
In addition to relaxing the mind and inducing sleep, Semen Ziziphi Spinosae has also been found to help reduce excessive sweating, making it very useful in herbal formulas that are used in the treatment of menopausal hot flashes, unresolved infections, stress, or low blood sugar.