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Jujubes Cause Cancer Cells to Self-Destruct


New research found jujubes — the fruit, not the candy (sorry) — can program cancer cells to self-destruct. According to scientists from the Royal Society of Chemistry in the U.K., jujubes, more commonly known as red dates, likely cause cancer cell death by stimulating “internal stress” in tumors.

In the study published in the journal Food and Function, researchers exposed human breast, lung and prostate cancer cells in a laboratory to eight compounds found in red dates. They discovered that four of the compounds reduced the cells’ survival rate. The findings show the fruit may hold promise in treating cancer, but further research is needed to understand factors responsible for the benefit.

Earlier Research Shows Anticancer Effects

Earlier experiments examining the cancer-fighting properties of the red dates are intriguing. Below are findings from three of the most recent ones:

  • A 2016 study published in the Avicenna Journal of Phytomedicine tested the impact of red dates on breast and cervical cancer cells and discovered they suppressed cancer growth and induced cancer death. The authors said the fruit has an array of beneficial properties, including anti-inflammatory effects.
  • In a 2015 investigation published in the journal Pharmacognosy Review, the researchers noted that in addition to anticancer and anti-inflammatory effects, red dates have anti-obesity properties, liver-protective properties and gastrointestinal-protective properties. The experiment produced results similar to the 2016 study.
  • Another 2015 research paper published in Asian Pacific Journal of Reproduction explored the effects of red dates on cancer cells in a laboratory, along with cancer in rats. The authors concluded the fruit could have value for treating breast cancer in humans.

Red Dates Are Revered by Chinese

Jujubes get their nickname of red dates because they look like a red variety of the fruit that originates in the Middle East – dates. However, they’re higher in antioxidants and contain 32 times more vitamin C. Red dates also boast 18 amino acids — the building blocks of protein — vitamin A, B vitamins, potassium iron and other minerals.

Trees growing these healthful morsels are primarily located in Asia, but some are also found in Arab and southern European countries. The U.S. is now growing the fruit as well. “The Chinese saying goes “three jujube berries a day, keeps you young forever,” Helen Wang, founder of Abakus Foods told MailOnline. “It’s not easy to find something that tastes good and is good for you at the same time.”

Red dates are used in Chinese medicine to treat insomnia, diarrhea and poor appetite. Prominent wellness physician Dr. Josh Axe reports that they can elevate mood, reduce anxiety, lower blood pressure and relieve constipation. Their high iron content also makes them useful for anemia prevention.

Usage and Precautions

These fruits may be eaten raw or dried by peeling the skin and removing the seed. They can also be cooked, as traditionally, they’re pureed and added to dishes for extra flavor and health benefits. Moreover, some people use them to make a tea.

No adverse reactions are reported when red dates are consumed in normal amounts as a food, with the possible exception of anti-fertility effects. They may lower blood sugar, which is an advantage, but diabetics who eat them regularly should monitor this parameter to see if they need to reduce their medication dosage.


Mary West is a natural health enthusiast, as she believes this area can profoundly enhance wellness. She is the creator of a natural healing website where she focuses on solutions to health problems that work without side effects. You can visit her site and learn more at Ms. West is also the author of Fight Cancer Through Powerful Natural Strategies.

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