Chinese red jujube dates, or hongzao 红枣, have long been proclaimed a superfood. Date kernel fossils discovered by Chinese archeologists imply that red dates have been in China for more than 8,000 years, and have been used medicinally for more than 3,000 years. In autumn, jujubes are fresh, crisp, and green; then they are dried, taking on a deep red color and sweet, chewy texture. This pitted fruit has a high nutritional concentration.
Very high in vitamin C, and also containing vitamins A, B1, B2, protein, calcium, phosphorus, iron, and magnesium, these fruit are therefore excellent for people with significant debility, as hongzao are said to stimulate the production of white blood cells that in turn strengthen immunity. Phosphorus and iron play an important role in preventing anemia and osteoporosis. High levels of Vitamin C convert excessive cholesterol into bile acid, helping to prevent gallstones. Hongzao also decrease the levels of blood cholesterol, protecting the liver.
Original Theme by Juling He 何菊玲
According to Chinese herbal medicine red date builds Spleen and Stomach QI, enriches and replenishes blood, and calms the mind. The fruit is routinely added to many herbal prescriptions to ‘harmonize’ the formula and is also used in prescriptions to calm the stomach. Although a relatively small group of Chinese herbs and therapies that have been used in China over the past 2,000 years include toxic herbs, herbs used in large doses, and herbs that are intended to produce strong reactions so as to save the patient from a serious disease, Jujube date is added to formulas to moderate the side effects of such ‘toxic’ herbal medicine treatments. Hongzao are even believed to suppress cancer cells.
Chinese red date can be deliciously added to soups, congees, and culinary dishes, but as with all foods, moderation is key. Diabetics and those with excessive damp heat conditions should generally avoid red dates.
“Three red dates per day keep you young forever.”
Yītiān chī sān zǎo, qīngchūn yǒng bùlǎo.