Jujube | Red date | Chinese date | Semen Ziziphi spinosae | Suanzaoren
Supports a calm mood*
The Ziziphus jujuba plant is native to many regions in South Asia. The fruits and seeds—in research the seeds are called Ziziphus spinosa, Semen Ziziphi spinosae, or the Chinese name Suanzaoren—have been used in both Korean and Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) where they are believed to alleviate stress and were used to calm the mind and spirit. Because of these properties, the seeds are one of the most commonly used herbs for supporting sleep and relaxation in China and other parts of Asia. One of the more popular TCM herbal formulations for sleep and mood support contains five herbs and is called Suanzaoren formula (Suan Zao Ren Tang),  and is named for Z. jujuba seeds because of the prominent role they play in the recipe. The main active ingredients are flavonoids (including spinosin and swertisin), saponins (jujubosides), and polysaccharides. . The saponins and flavonoids appear to be the most important compounds for its traditional calming and sleep uses.*
Ziziphus jujuba seed extract is standardized to contain not less than 2% total saponins. An extract standardized for saponins was selected since these compounds appear to be involved in the sleep support properties of the seeds.
Ziziphus jujuba seed extract is Non-GMO and Vegan
Because preclinical research, especially related to mood and sleep, suggests the potential for adaptogenic properties of Ziziphus jujuba seeds, we consider dosing to follow hormetic principles similar to herbal adaptogens (see Neurohacker Dosing Principles). Herbal adaptogens tend to have a hormetic zone (or range) where there’s a favorable biological response. It’s important to be in this zone; it’s just as important not to be above it. One of our goals when including possible adaptogens in formulas that are intended to be taken long-term, and which will include other adaptogens is to identify a dose range that is likely to support the outcomes we are designing a formula for, and to dose towards the lower end of the range. For sleep support, we based our dosing on a human study that combined a Ziziphus jujuba seed extract (with a similar standardization to what we use) with several European sleep herbs, and chose to include a similar amount to what was used.
Stress and sleep
Supports sleep [1,3–5]
Supports sleep time [6–12]
Supports slow-wave sleep (SWS) 
Supports healthy behavioral and physiological responses to stress [8,13–16]
Supports stress hormone levels 
Supports GABAergic neurotransmission [7,12,13,15,17,18]
Supports glutamatergic neurotransmission [18,19]
Supports serotonergic neurotransmission [4,15,18]
Supports noradrenergic neurotransmission 
Supports dopaminergic neurotransmission 
Downregulates acetylcholinesterase (AChE) activity 
Supports choline acetyltransferase (ChAT) 
Inhibit adenosine deaminase (ADA) (liver) 
Supports glutamic acid decarboxylase (GAD) [12,13]
Supports brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) [23–25]
Supports neurogenesis [24,26]
Supports long-term potentiation [25,27]
Supports synaptic transmission 
Supports neuroprotective functions [20,21,23,25,27,28]
Supports antioxidant defenses [20,23]
Modulates the gut microbiota [29,30]
Modulates gut-immune signaling [17,30]
Modulates microbial metabolism (short-chain fatty acids [SCFAs]) 
With 5-Hydroxytryptophan (5-HTP) to support sleep 
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