Chinese Date

Source Chinese Date is the dried ripe fruit ofZiziphus jujuba Mill., (Fam. Rhamnaceae).

Producing Areas Hebei, Henan, Shandong, Shaanxi, etc.

Properties Sweet, Neutral

Channels Spleen, Stomach


  • Invigorates the spleen and stomachFor deficiency of spleen and stomach with poor appetite, fatigue and loose stools.
  • Nourishes blood and calms the mindFor blood-deficiency with insomnia, vexation and restlessness.

Usage and Dosage
Break 10 – 30g and decoct. Or mash them for pills after removing the skin and cores.

Notes Not suitable for patient with damp-heat, sthenic heat, obstruction of phlegm-heat and excessive dampness.

The fruit is oval or spherical, 2 – 3.5cm long, 1.5 – 2.5cm in diameter. The surface of the skin is dark red, slightly glossy, with irregular wrinkles. The base of the end is hollow with short stem. The outer coating is thin. The fleshy covering which is just beneath the outer coating is yellow brown or light brown. The flesh is soft and oily with rich sugar content. The spindle-shaped core is hard, with two sharp pointed ends. It is sweet and slightly fragrant.

Keep in a well-ventilated and dry place. Protect it from moths.

Description of Quality Herb
The good one should be big, purplish red in colour, sweet and with pump flesh.

Professional Advice

Are red dates and black dates both jujubes?
After being harvested, they are known as red or black dates depending on how they are processed.

Red dates
Red dates are produced by sun-drying fresh jujubes until the skin of the fruit becomes deep red and lustrous.

Choosing good fruit:

  • Appearance – the skin of the date should be a deep purplish red, with few and shallow wrinkles. The fruit should be uniformly round, with a short and thick shape.
  • Taste – it should be mild and sweet, without any trace of sourness or bitterness.
  • Texture – on lightly pressing it, the fruit should be firm and springy, the flesh thick but with a fine consistency. The skin should be thin and the stone small. It should not feel damp or sticky, and its texture should not change after a long period of storage.

Black dates
Black dates are produced by scalding freshly harvested jujubes in boiling water then air-drying them. Once dry, they are smoked until the skin becomes black, shiny and creased, and the flesh is partially cooked. The dates are then completely dried.

Choosing good fruit:

  • Colour – the skin should be lustrous, with hints of red.
  • Size – the size should be uniform.
  • Appearance – short and thick in shape, uniformly round, with a round top and square stem. Wrinkles should be fine and shallow.
  • Quality – if the fruit is primarily black in colour, it is of secondary quality. If it has a brownish tinge, the quality is considered to be poor, and if the skin is brownish red in colour it is of poor grade.

Coix Congee with Longans and Chinese Dates

It is beneficial to tumour sufferers who experience a lack of blood and bodily weakness, or who suffer a shortage of red or white blood cells or platelets due to radiotherapy or chemotherapy. It builds up the spleen and stomach, strengthens the constitution and has an anti-carcinogenic effect.

Chinese dates 10, longans 20g, coix 40g.

1.Place dates, longans and coix in a pot with a sufficient amount of water.
2.Bring to a rolling boil, then simmer to a thick and sticky consistency.
In Singapore and Malaysia, women who have recently given birth will commonly drink concoctions of red dates and longans to improve their qi and blood circulation.

Lean Meat Soup with Red Dates and Wood Ear Fungus

Beneficial to those who are suffering deficiency of qi caused by blood stasis. It builds the spleen, moistens the lungs and hydrates the skin.

Wood earfungus 30g, red dates 20, lean pork 300g.

1.Soak the wood ear fungus and dates in water to make them expand, and wash.
2.Place the wood earfungus and dates in a pot of water and heat over a low fire. When boiling, add the lean meat. Continue to boil until the meat is cooked.