Pharmaceutical value of Ber
Naseem Sharif (Research Officer)
Horticultural Research Institute. AARI, Faisalabad
Jujube or ber (Zyziphus mauritiana Lamk.) fruit is used as herbal medicine for thousands of years in China and other Asian countries. It is termed as King of arid fruits. As this fruit is highly nutritious and packed with various vitamins and minerals, it helps in the formation and maintenance of the blood stream, body hormones, bones, muscles, skin, hair, body enzymes and neurotransmitters. It is also loaded with 18 out of the 24 important amino acids. It helps in the formation of more than 50,000 proteins of the body. The fruit is eaten raw, pickled or used in beverages. It is quite nutritious and rich in vitamin C. It is second only to guava and much higher than citrus or apples. Fruits are also eaten in other forms, such as dried, candied, pickled, as juice, or as ber butter. In Pakistan, Ber is produced over an area of 5200 hectares with an annual production of 28079 tonnes (Anon, 2012) in Pakistan. Primary Ber producing areas in Pakistan are Bhawalpur, Faisalabad, Multan, Jhang, Sargodha (in Punjab province) and Tandojam, Hyderabad, Mirpurkhas, Nawabshah, Gadop and Malir Area of Karachi (in Sindh Province). More than 35 varieties exist in Pakistan by not knowing it nutritional value it is ignored by our people and wasted every year though it can be a major entity to export as well. A famous chineese proverb is; ‘Three jujubes a day, keeps the doctor away’. Following is a narrative on jujube uses and medicinal value.
Key actione s of jujube fruit
- aids in weight gain
- improves stamina and strength
- mildly sedating
- strengthens liver function
- stimulates immune system
- vitamins A, B2, C
- minerals (including calcium, phosphorus, and iron)
Ber fruit is considered useful as a taste modifier resulting in reduced sugar intake and thereby reducing obesity in diabetic or overweight people. Ziziphin and jujubosaponins II and III, are only three of the anti-sweetsaponins from this plant with acyl groups, which are up to 4 times more active in suppressing the sweet taste of sucrose than other anti-sweet constituents.
Ber contains betulinic acid that is effective against many types of cancer including small and non-small-cell lung, ovarian, cervical, and head and neck carcinomas.
Zyziphus contains an enzyme that controls the production of acetylcholine which appears to be depleted in the brains of Alzheimer patients.
Despite their sweetness, jujubes contain saponins, the same compounds that give unwashed quinoa its bitter taste.
One of the most important jujube fruit benefits is that it inhibits the growth and movement of free radicals. Vitamin C is a good antioxidant and helps to control the growth of the tumor causing cells and cells that can lead to cancers.
The use of the jujube fruit has been shown to have cytotoxic activity which prevents cell division on different tumour line cell. The beneficial effect of fruits such as the jujube has been attributed to a high content of bioactive compounds.
The jujube fruit has been used in Chinese medicine to reduce stress because of its mildly sedating ability. Used in a powdered form, jujube can calm nerves and reduce anxiety.
The dried fruits of the jujube contain alkaloids, triterpenoids and saponin. These compounds are all beneficial in purifying the blood and acting as an aid to digestion. Consuming the jujube fruit will help treat diarrhea, chronic fatigue, bronchitis and anemia.
Jujube helps cure some of the liver diseases. It is found that the jujube offers protection against liver injury by acting as an antioxidant
Jujube extracts are also used to manufacture skin care products to reduce wrinkles, dryness, redness, swelling and for relief from sunburn. Extracts used in a variety of skin care products, anti-wrinkles, moisturizers, and sunburn lotions.
Used for tanning in India
Fruit are used to stupefy fish.
The seeds are sedative and taken, sometimes with buttermilk, to halt nausea, vomiting, and abdominal pains in pregnancy. Powdered seed is used to treat chronic diarrhoea, jaundice and dysentery. Mixed with oil, they are rubbed on rheumatic areas.
The leaves are applied as poultices to wounds and are helpful in liver troubles, asthma and fever.
Twigs and bark
The bark is said to cure boils and is useful in the treatment of dysentery and diarrhoea. The bark paste is applied to sores.
Used to treat fever, wounds and ulcers. Juice of the root bark is said to alleviate gout and rheumatism. Strong doses of the bark or root may be toxic. The root is purgative. A root decoction is given as a febrifuge, taenicide and emmenagogue, and the powdered root is dusted on wounds.
Internally used as a remedy to cure jaundice and externally to cure eye disease and skin ulcers.
The dried ripe fruit is a mild laxative.
Juice of the Root
Juice of root bark is said to alleviate gout and rheumatism. Strong doses of the bark or root may be toxic. An infusion of the flowers serves as an eye lotion. Fatty-Acid Methyl Ester
Z. mauritiana seed oil meets all of the major biodiesel requirements in the USA (ASTM D 6751-02, ASTM PS 121-99), Germany (DIN V 51606) and European Union (EN 14214). The average oil yield is 4.95 kg oil/tree or 1371 kg oil/hectare, and arid or semi-arid regions may be utilised due to its drought resistance.
Ber, Horticulture, Nutrition,
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Ber, Horticulture, Nutrition,