Jujube Allergy Test
Latin name: Ziziphus jujuba
Source material: Fresh fruit
Common names: Jujube fruit, Azufaifa fruit, Chinese date, Chinese jujube, Chinese red date, Common jujube, Cottony jujube, Indian jujube
Jujube Allergy Test: Allergen Exposure
Originating in China, there are over 400 varieties of jujube, which are now cultivated across the globe, including in Russia, northern Africa, southern Europe, the Middle East and the south-western United States.
The jujube fruit is a round or elongated drupe, which ranges from cherry to plum-sized depending on the particular variety. It has a thin, edible, dark-red skin surrounding whitish flesh with a sweet flavour. The fruit has at its centre a single hard stone which contains 2 seeds.
Jujube is not widely available in the West, but in the countries where it is consumed it is eaten raw or as part of a variety of desserts. As well as the fruit itself, an oil can be extracted from the seeds. Tests have indicated a particularly high vitamin C content.
The fruit has been used medicinally for thousands of years by many cultures most popularly as a tea for sore throat. The aqueous extract from the leaves of the related Zizyphus mauritiana Lam has long been used in traditional medicine, and shown to have some anti-diabetic activity, resulting in a decrease in blood glucose.
Jujube Allergy Test: Allergen Description
As yet, no allergens from the jujube plant or fruit have been characterised.
Jujube Allergy Test: Potential Cross-Reactivity
An extensive cross-reactivity among the different individual species of the genus could be expected.
In a study of 2 subjects, both allergic to jujube and latex, cross-reactivity between latex and jujube was demonstrated. The authors suggest that jujube is therefore part of ‘latex-fruit syndrome’.
Jujube Allergy Test: Clinical Experience
Anecdotal evidence suggests that jujube may induce symptoms of food allergy such as urticaria, angioedema, rhinoconjunctivitis, dyspnoea, and wheezing in sensitised individuals; however, few formal studies have been reported to date.
In one study, two patients described were jujube- and latex-allergic. Both patients had positive skin-test responses and specific IgE assays to Indian jujube and latex extracts. Jujube was shown to be cross-reactive with latex.
Urticaria, angioedema, rhinoconjunctivitis, dyspnoea, wheezing, abdominal pain, and diarrhoea were reported in a 38-year-old latex- and food-allergic nurse after she ate jujube fruit. Her prior food allergy was to banana, chestnut, kiwi and avocado. This co-sensitisation is typical of ‘latex-fruit syndrome’.
The seeds and leaves of the related species Ziziphus spinosa exert an inhibiting effect on central nervous system function, while the fruits have a synergism with pentobarbitol sodium and thiopental sodium on prolongation of sleep and sedation, and also decrease coordinated action.
Jujuboside A exerts no inhibiting effect, but has a synergistic effect with phenylalanine on central nervous system function. Whether a similar effect may occur with jujube has not yet been assessed, although it could be suspected.
Cases of perforation of the small bowel caused physically by the pointed pit of the jujube fruit have been described.