Ber - Jujube - Nutrition - Health Benefits - Recipes
About Ber Fruit
Latin Name : Ziziphus mauritiana (Ziziphus jujube Lam)
Ber fruit is known by many other names, among them are Masau, Bor, Indian Jujube, Chinese apple, Indian Plum, Desert apple and Chinese dates.
Ber has a firm shiny skin with a color that varies from golden yellow to brown. It is a sweet tasting fruit with a hint of sourness sometimes and has a crunch to it. In India, it is called the poor man's fruit since it is comparatively cheaper than most fruits.
Another types of ber, belonging to the same family though, is the Chanya Manga bor, also known as Jharberi. It is a round round, brick red colored berry shaped fruit slightly larger than a pea. This is commonly sold by street vendors in Mumbai who sprinkle a little salt before packing it in paper cones. This bor is also sold in dried form and is eaten as is. Ber sells for about 0.75 to 1$ a kilo.
Ber fruits, besides being eaten as they are, are also made into pickles, murabba, candy, chutney and beverages.
Ber is much used in Ayurveda with the leaves, root, bark being used in various ways.
The ber fruit also has an historical association to it. It is mentioned in the Ramayana that an old woman named Shabari was so devoted to Lord Rama that in her eagerness and anticipation to meet the Lord she tasted each ber berry to ensure only the sweet ones were offered to Lord Ram when he visited her. Lord Ram accepted these as he saw the offering was out of pure love.
The ber fruit is also offered to Lord Shiva while worshipping him especially during Mahashivratri puja.
Ber Tree & Its FruitsClick thumbnail to view full-size
The Ber (Jujube) Tree
Zizyphus mauritiana varies from a small shrub to small very hardy, evergreen, tree that reaches a height of about 30 feet. It has a spreading crown with drooping branches.
It grows naturally in the wild and is cultivated as well in China, Korea, Japan and other countries in Southeast Asia, Middle East, Africa, Europe, Russia and Central United States.
Ber is a medicinal tree as well with its various parts, the leaves, bark, seeds, roots being used to treat a variety of health issues.
It is native to India and grows all over. The ber tree is also used to rear the insect Tachardia lacca (Laccifer lacca) which produces lac or shellac.
The tender shoots and leaves are used as fodder while the wood is used as fuel.
The Chinese jujube is the Zizyphus jujuba tree, native to China, and has been grown for over 4000 years in China.
- Low in calories, no fat & cholesterol
- Low in sodium with moderate levels of potassium
- Very rich in vitamin C; provides 115% of daily needs per 100 grams of fruit
- Contains several B vitamins & minerals like copper, iron, manganese, phosphorus & magnesium
- Contains tannins that provide health benefits
- The dried fruit is an excellent source of iron & calcium
Detailed nutritional analysis of the ber fruit can be seen in the table below.
Jujube Nutrient Values
Jujube, fresh, raw, (Zizyphus jujuba), Nutritive Value per 100 g.
(Source: USDA National Nutrient data base)
Percentage of RDA
Health Benefits Of Ber Fruit
Ber (Jujube) fruit has astringent, cooling, pain relieving, stomachic, styptic (contracts blood vessels to stop bleeding) properties.
The tannins provide anti inflammatory, anti infective & anti hemorrhagic benefits. It also has antipyretic, appetizing, aphrodisiacal, diaphoretic, digestive, expectorant, laxative, tonic, sedative activities.
They contain 18 of the 24 amino acids our body needs.
Great as a low calorie snack, ber fruit provides a variety of vitamins & minerals that help maintain weight as well as provide several nutrients.
The many vitamins & minerals plus the excellent levels of vitamin C help in boosting the immune system while the antioxidant flavonoids, the catechins, not only counter the free radicals but also keep the brain working sharp & clear as well as improving memory & retention.
Several key elements like potassium, magnesium & the flavonoids help to regulate the blood pressure, lower cholesterol levels and reduce risk of heart disease.
Because of its calming, soothing and sedative action the jujube fruit calms the nerves & nervous system thus relieving anxiety & stress.
For the very reason above the ber fruit can help in getting better sleep if it or its decoction is consumed at night.
The several minerals also aid in keeping the bones healthy & strong thereby delaying and possibly preventing old age issues related to bone health.
The saponins & triterpenoids as well as the fiber in jujube prevent constipation, bloating, flatulence and improve digestion.
These also aid in detoxifying the the blood by removing toxins from the body's system.They help maintain the liver function.
Studies have found jujube's flavonoids to lower the risk of cancer and tumors.
Some Ayurvedic Remedies With Jujube
- In rheumatism a paste of the leaves and root applied on the affected part helps to relieve pain.
- In pimples and acne apply a paste of the leaves. When applied on wounds this paste helps to heal them.
- Hair loss/fall can be checked by applying a paste of ber leaves on the scalp.
- Boils can be treated by applying crushed leaves on them.
- The powder of dried leaves when consumed with water cures diarrhea.
- Paste of the root when taken internally cures indigestion.
- A decoction of the leaves acts as a diuretic and reduces fluid retention and odema.
- A paste of the bark fried in ghee and consumed with rock salt/sendha namak cures cough.
- The leaf paste applied externally relieves burning sensation and fever.
- The leaves of ber are used in the preparation of Panchamla Thailam oil for treating rheumatoid arthritis and ascites.
- Ber is also used in Panchkarma treatment.
In piles, ber decoction is prepared and the patient is made to sit in it for 5 to 10 minutes. This relieves pain, itching and size of the pile mass.
Though ber is safe for consumption by everyone, the sour fruit should not be taken with milk as it is incompatible.
Sour fruits should not be eaten in gastritis only ripe and sweet fruits should be consumed.
The information provided in this hub is not a substitute for professional medical advice. Please consult your physician, or health care provider before taking any home remedies, supplements or starting a new health regime.
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