Ziziphus spina-christi (L.) Desf. - Rhamnaceae - christ's thorn jujube, Syrischer Christusdorn
Evergreen shrub or tree native to northern and tropical Africa and southern and Western Asia. Adapted to dry places and bad soil.
Ripe fruits are edible, the flowers are an important source of honey in Eritrea and Yemen.
All parts of the plant are used - leaves (medicine), fruits (alcoholic beverage), bark (agriculture), wood (charcoal).
„Z. spina-christi has been used in alternative medicine for the treatment of fever, pain, dandruff, wounds and ulcers, inflammatory conditions, asthma and to cure eye diseases. Z. spina-christi has recently been shown to have antibacterial, antifungal, antioxidant, anti-hyperglycemic, and antinociceptive activities. Flavonoids,
alkaloids and saponins are the main phytochemicals that are reported from this plant. Geranyl acetone, methyl hexadecanoate, methyl octadecanoate, farnesyl acetone C, hexadecanol and ethyl octadecanoate are characterized as the major components of the leaves’ volatile oil.“
[Jinous Asgarpanah, Elaheh Haghighat: Phytochemistry and pharmacologic properties of Ziziphus spina christi (L.) Willd. In: African journal of pharmacy and pharmacology, Vol.6(31), 2012, 2332-2339]
Christinine-A, the major saponin glycoside of the leaves, has a potential to raise blood insulin levels: „The safe insulinotropic and subsequent hypoglycemic effects of Z. spina-christi leaves may be due to a sulfonylurea-like activity.“
[Antidiabetic activity and toxicity of Zizyphus spina-christi leaves. Abdel-Zaher AO, Salim SY, Assaf MH, Abdel-Hady RH. J.Ethnopharmacol. Vol.101(1-3), 2005, 129-138]