Ziziphus jujube is a flowering plant that belongs to the Rhamnacaea or buckthorn family of trees. The plant is often called red date or Chinese Date and it produces a small fruit that resembles an apple. The dried seeds of the fruit of the plant are called Ziziphi spinosae and they are known to possess a wide range of phytochemicals including the saponin jujuboside, the flavone glycoside spinosin, as well as various alkaloids, flavonoids (including rutin) and fatty oils. The seeds of Zizyphus jujube are thought to possess medicinal properties on account of the phytochemicals they possess and this may include mood elevating effects. In experimental animal models, animals exposed to stressful conditions such as the forced swimming test, following administration of Ziziphi spinosae, show significantly lower levels of depressive-like behaviour compared to control animals. This effect is accompanied by an increase in the quantity of neurotransmitters in the brain including the mood elevating chemical serotonin.
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