Zizyphus vulgaris

Zizyphus vulgaris

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Ber is the Urdu name for the fruit of the tree Zizyphus vulgaris, or mauritania or sativa and is called the jujube berry in English. It is also known as the Indian jujube or Chinese date. It has a brownish skin when ripe and smells a little like hops, with an astringent taste. These trees are believed to be native to Syria, but there is some evidence that they are also native to the Indian subcontinent.

In Pakistan the fruit can be found in the month of December, and it is sold then fresh, but can also be dried. In Europe the fruit was made into a cough medicine and tisane for medicinal reasons in times past. 

The fruit has been used in traditional medicine as an emollient, expectorant, coolant, anodyne and tonic and has been used as an antidote for aconite poisoning. It is given to relieve abdominal pains during pregnancy and can be applied to wounds when used in a poultice.

The leaves can be used as a laxative and for throat problems as a decoction and the same liquid can also be used for skin problems. The roots have wound healing properties too.