Chinese red dates, or jujubes, are one of the most popular health foods in China. Dried dates are soft on the outside with a sweet smell and moist inside. Chinese people treat red dates not only as a food, but also as a health tonic and traditional herb. Many traditional herbal formulas include dates, as they are used for balancing one’s qi. On special occasions, many people in China buy quality dates to give as gifts to their friends and relatives.
How Chinese red dates are brewed for tea will determine their effectiveness. Since the skin of red dates is tough, brewing them whole will not completely leach out all the nutrients. Therefore, it’s best to break the dates apart before brewing. They should not be brewed for too long when making tea, as the Vitamin C content of the dates will be lost with prolonged exposure to hot water.
Jujubes are becoming more popular in the West in recent times. They look and taste similar to the brown Medjool date but have half the calories and sugar as well as 32 times the amount of Vitamin C compared to the Medjool date. They contain 18 out of 24 amino acids which help with the formation of proteins in the body. They’ve been used for thousands of years in Traditional Chinese Medicine to cure insomnia. They are an adaptogen – a substance that reduces stress.
The fruit grows on the Ziziphus jujube tree and tastes great fresh (with the crispness of an apple) or dried (sweet and chewy.) Or you can purchase them from a health food store, supermarket, or Chinese grocery store.
Here are 7 ways to work with Chinese red dates and the health benefits each one contains:
1. Red date wine (maintains blood flow)
Chinese red dates soaked in red wine will help to maintain the strong flow of blood through your arteries. During the soaking process, the rich nutrients of the dates will easily dissolve into the wine.
2. Chinese red date soak (liver detoxification)
Dates soaked in water help to nourish the liver and detoxify the body. Drinking red date water every day can increase the body’s serum protein levels, which helps to protect the liver and detoxify the body.
3. Chinese red date porridge (soothes the nerves to help sleep)
Brewing equal amounts of freshly dried lily flowers, lotus seeds, and red dates in water to serve as a tea will help to alleviate stress. The same benefits can be found when dates are cooked with millet.
4. Jujube steamed fungus (eases sunspots or freckles)
Chinese red dates steamed with black fungus can help to maintain your youthfulness and muscle tone. They can even help to reduce facial freckles.
Soak approximately 10 Chinese red dates in water for two hours before steaming for an hour. Then soak about 15 grams of black fungus in warm water for at least 15 minutes to rehydrate, then cut them into small pieces. Add the pieces to the dates, and then place the ingredients into a pot with water. Bring the water to a boil and then simmer for half an hour. Add sugar for taste.
5. Chinese red date boiled soup (maintains youthfulness)
Red dates boiled with eggs can also help to maintain your youthfulness. Boil the red dates with longan fruit and brown sugar until the dates and longans are soft. Turn the heat down to a simmer and add one egg to the mixture until it is cooked.
6. Chinese red date ginger tea (soothes the stomach)
Red dates boiled with raw ginger can help to soothe the stomach. Combine licorice, cloves, and frankincense together and grind into a powder. Next, add red dates, raw ginger, and salt to taste, and bring the mixture to a boil in water to serve as tea.
7. Chinese red date black tea (protects the throat)
Red date tea can also help alleviate a dry throat. Stir fry some red dates until they are black in color, then boil the dates and serve as tea. Adding some longan fruit will also aid in the treatment of a dry throat.
The writer of this story is not a medical professional, and the information that is in this story has been collected from reliable sources — and every precaution has been taken to ensure its accuracy. The information provided is for general information purposes only, and should not be substituted for professional health care.
Translated by B.C. Chua and edited by Kathy McWilliams.