Zizyphi fructus is the fruit of the Ziziphus jujube tree. The fruit is used in traditional Chinese medicine to treat a number of ailments including chronic bronchitis, consumption and blood disorders, or as an analeptic, expectorant, sedative and taste modifier. The sedative activity of the fruit is interesting because it suggests that components within the fruit are able to interact with the central nervous system. The main phytochemicals in the fruit have been shown to include sugars, triterpenoids, saponins, flavonoids and ethyl fructofuranoside. It is possible that one or all of these components is responsible for the sedative effects. However, it is much more likely that the active ingredients found within the fruit that are responsible for these effects are alkaloids. These include daechu alkaloid-A, daechu alkaloid-B (lysicamine) and daechu alkaloid-E (nornuciferine). Alkaloid fractions of the fruit have been shown to induce sedation in mice as tested by measurements of barbiturate-induced sleeping time.
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