Actually, herbalist quite like them. Herbalist's husband, on the other hand, 'luv em'.
Yes, it's another find at the Farmers' Market! I keep seeing so many thing there which demonstrate how right Hippocrates was when he wrote 'Let food be your medicine and medicine your food'. This was in the downtown Santa Cruz market last week and the sign obviously caught my eye, as did the hard, shiny little fruits which looked like miniature Red Delicious apples. To eat, they have the crunch of an apple and the dry, fibrous sweetness of a fresh date. I thought they were quite pleasant, but my husband found them strangely addictive and finished off most of the bowl in a couple of days.
I had never come across 'jujubees' before, so I looked them up when I got home. I discovered that they are usually called Jujubes and that the Latin name is Ziziphus jujuba - which I have heard of. It's not a herb we use in Western Herbal Medicine, but it's familiar to my colleagues working with Chinese herbs. A little more research revealed that the fruits are used medicinally throughout Asia and the Middle East. They are usually dried and, as with most Chinese herbs, prepared as a tea or decoction. The main medicinal use seems to be as an immune tonic, with nourishing qualities and, possibly anti-microbial and anti-fungal actions. They are also mucilagenous, so soothing to the throat.
The jujubes are a timely discovery, as the cold and flu season seems to be starting in Santa Cruz and I haven't come across any elderberries yet (though I'm told they grow up in the mountains). I plan to look out for more, dry them a bit - which I think they will do pretty much by themselves if I leave them on the kitchen windowsill - and try chopping them and preserving them in honey. Our local Wholefoods has beautiful untreated local honeys which are kept at beehive temperature in huge serve-yourself tanks. I reckon a spoonful of jujube honey in a tea, with sage for a sore throat or boneset for a fever, could make a good remedy to ward of the viruses my family encounters. I'll let you know how it goes!