Giuggiolo o zizzolo
Zizyphus sativa

In latino zizyphus, dal greco zízyphon. Nome di alcune specie di piante legnose del genere Zizyphus - famiglia Ramnacee - e in particolare di Zizyphus sativa, detta anche zizzolo, spontanea in Asia dal Mediterraneo orientale alla Cina, coltivata e inselvatichita nelle regioni calde d'Italia. È un alberetto con rametti gracili e angolosi, dalle foglie lucide, ristrette all'apice, appena seghettate, con fiori giallicci a forma di stella, che producono frutti brunicci (giuggiole), simili a piccoli datteri, molto dolci, consumati crudi o usati per farne canditi o marmellate. Non possiede costituenti strani: zuccheri – saccarosio, glucosio - e mucillagini. La sua azione fondamentale è quella di essere nutriente ed emolliente.

Secondo la medicina tradizionale cinese è energetico, spesso usato col ginseng, la pianta-uomo, Panax ginseng della famiglia Araliacee. Se il giuggiolo è energetico, potrebbe favorire l’attività sessuale, ammesso che l’aluiule di Razi corrisponda al giuggiolo.

Anni addietro, intorno al 1993, con il defunto collega Dr Giancarlo Baratti, ero giunto alla conclusione che l’espressione andare in brodo di giuggiole dovrebbe dipendere dal fatto che questi frutti sono molto dolci, il che non era specificato nel Dizionario etimologico della lingua italiana di Cortelazzo-Zolli, dove si riporta solamente il significato: ‘gongolare di gioia’ (1791, D. L. Batacchi).

Per ampliare e completare i dati, riportiamo uno stralcio di ciò che si può reperire nel web a proposito del giuggiolo.

A modern herbal
by Mrs M. Grieve

Jujube Berries

Botanical: Zizyphus vulgaris (lamk.)

Family: N.O. Rhamnaceae

---Synonyms---Zizyphus sativa. Brustbeeren. Judendornbeeren. Rhamnus Zizyphus.

---Part Used---Fruit.

---Habitat---Southern Europe.

---Habitat---Originally a native of Syria, Zizyphus vulgaris was introduced into Italy in the reign of Augustus, and is now naturalized in Provence, and particularly in the islands of Hyères, where the berries are largely collected when ripe, and dried in the sun.

The trees average 25 feet in height and are covered with a rough, brown bark. They have many branches, with annual thorny branchlets bearing alternate, oval-oblong leaves of a clear green colour, with three to five strongly-marked, longitudinous veins. The small flowers are pale yellow and solitary. The fruit is a blood-red drupe, the size and shape of an olive, sweet, and mucilaginous in taste, slightly astringent. The pulp becomes softer and sweeter in drying, and the taste more like wine. They have pointed, oblong stones.

---Constituents---A full analysis has not yet been made, but the berries are valued for their mucilage and sugar.

---Medicinal Action and Uses---The Jujube is classed with the raisin, date, and fig as a pectoral fruit, being nutritive and demulcent. It is eaten both fresh and dried.

A syrup and a tisane were formerly made from it, but the berries are now little used in medicine.

Jujube paste, or 'Pâte de Jujubes,' is made of gum-arabic and sugar. It may be dissolved in a decoction of jujubes and evaporated, but is considered as good a demulcentwithout their addition. It is frequently merely mixed with orange-flower water.

A decoction of the roots has been used in fevers.

An astringent decoction of leaves and branchlets is made in large quantities in Algeria, and seems likely to replace the cachou.

---Other Species---

Z. Lotos, sometimes also called Z. sativa, of Northern Africa and Z. Jujuba of the East Indies possess similar properties, and are used in their respective countries. Z. Lotos is thought to have been one of the sources of the famous sweet fruits from which the ancient Lotophagi took their name, the liqueur prepared from which caused those who partook of it to forget even their native countries in its enjoyment. The Arabs call it Seedra. In Arabia a kind of bread is made of them by exposing them to the sun for a few days and then pounding them in a wooden mortar to separate the stones. The meal is mixed with water and formed into cakes which after drying in the sun resemble sweet gingerbread.

Z. Baclei is said to be used in the same way in Africa, and also for making a beverage.

Z. Jujuba is largely cultivated by the Chinese, in many varieties as a dessert fruit, some being called Chinese Dates, and it is also one of the main sources of stick-lac.

Z. Cenoplia of India has edible fruits, and the bark is esteemed as a vulnerary.

In Cochin-China the berries of Z. agrestis are eaten.

In Senegal the fruits of Z. Barelei are slightly styptic, and the negroes use the roots for gonorrhoea. It is probably the same species that is used there in venereal diseases.

A decoction of the dried leaves of Z. Napeca is said to be used for washing ulcers in Arabia.

Z. spina Christi, or Rhamnus spina Christi, of Ethiopia, is said to be the source of the crown of thorns placed on the Saviour's head. The Arabs call it Nabka.

Advanced nutrition

Jujube is a very commonly used herb, especially in formulas that use Ginseng. The date is believed to enhance the activity of Ginseng while smoothing out any rough edges the Ginseng may have. It harmonizes the ingredients in an herbal formula, making the whole formula smooth in both taste and action. However, because it benefits digestion and absorption, it helps the body use nourishing foods to create strength and energy.

Traditional Chinese Medicine - This special fruit, sometimes called the "red date," has been used since ancient times as a nutrient tonic, a blood cleanser, and as an important adjunctive herb to other tonics, especially in combination with Ginseng. Jujube, is universally believed in the Asia to build strength and extend life. Jujube is slightly sedative and laxative and removes obstructions of the energy flow. In combination with Ginseng, Jujube nourishes the spirit, acting to soothe irritability and mild emotional instability.

Constituents - Vitamin A, Vitamin B2, Vitamin C, calcium, phosphorous, oleanolic acid, oleanonic acid, jujuboside b, rutin, scopoletin.