Zhi Ju Zi (Semen Hoveniae)

What Is Zhi Ju Zi

Zhi Ju Zi commonly known as Semen Hoveniae is the mature seed of Hovenia dulcis, which is a deciduous tree belonging to the family Rhamnaceae. It is a relatively practical Chinese herbal medicine, which first appeared in <Tang Ben Cao> in 659 AD.

There are about 4 species of Hovenia, which are distributed in East Asia, South Asia, and America. Among them, the most famous species is Hovenia dulcis.

Hovenia dulcis is also known as Japanese Raisin Tree or Oriental Raisin Tree. They like warm and humid environments. They grow well in deep, fertile, moist, well-drained slightly acidic, neutral soils.

They are often grown in secondary forests at an altitude of 200-1,400 meters or are cultivated in gardens. They are distributed in China, Japan, South Korea, India, Thailand, Vietnam, the Himalayas, the United States, Argentina, Brazil, and Peru. Their fruit is edible and can be made into wine, jaggery, or sugar. Their timber can be crafted into furniture.

Hovenia dulcis

In autumn, people gather the ripe fruits of Hovenia dulcis, dry them in the sun, remove their husks and fruit pedicels, take out their seeds, dry them in the sun, and make them into Chinese herbal medicines.

Zhi Ju Zi contains perlolyrine, hovenoside C, hovenoside D, hovenoside G, hovenoside H, hovenidulcioside A1, hovenidulcioside A2, hovenidulcioside B1, hovenidulcioside B1, hoduloside, kaempferol, dihydrokaempferol, apigenin, myricetin, quercetin, dihydromyricetin, linoleic acid, oleic acid, β-sitosterol, daucosterol, vanillica acid, emodin, glucose, and potassium malate.

Generally, the solid, plump, brown-red, and shiny Zhi Ju Zi is preferred.

According to <Ben Cao Shi Yi>, the medicinal nature of Fang Ji is relatively neutral, with a sweet and bitter taste. It has a certain therapeutic effect on the pathological changes of the stomach meridian.

In traditional Chinese medicine, it is used to induce diuresis and remove swelling, remove alcoholic toxins, and treat edema, dysuria, polydipsia, nausea, drunkenness, tisis, alcoholism, and alcoholic fatty liver.


  • Anti-inflammation, suppressing the release of NO, iNOS, and inflammatory cytokines in RAW 264.7 macrophages stimulated by LPS [1].
  • Reducing CCL4-induced acute liver injury in rats and antagonizing experimental liver fibrosis [2].
  • Increasing the activity of alanine aminotransferase in the blood of mice with acute alcoholism, reducing the content of malondialdehyde in the liver, increasing the activity of alcohol dehydrogenase, superoxide dismutase, and glutathione in the liver, and promoting the metabolism of alcohol.
  • Improving the learning and memory ability of D-galactose-induced aging mice and delaying aging.
  • Inducing diuresis and removing swelling, treating edema and dysuria caused by retention and accumulation of water-dampness.
  • Removing alcoholic toxins, treating drunkenness, polydipsia, and tisis caused by intemperance.
  • It cooperates with pentobarbital sodium to prolong the sleep time of experimental mice.
  • Its ethanol extract can prolong the swimming exhaustion time of mice and reduce the content of plasma lactic acid in mice after swimming. Its water extract can prolong the survival time of mice under normobaric and hypoxic conditions. It has anti-fatigue and hypoxia-resistant effects.


  • It can be used in combination with Fu Ling (Poria), Zhu Ling (Polyporus), Ze Xie (Rhizoma Alismatis), etc. to treat edema and dysuria caused by retention and accumulation of water-dampness.
  • It can be used in combination with Ge Gen (Kudzu Root), Wu Wei Zi (Fructus Schisandrae), etc. to treat drunkenness.
  • It can be used in combination with Bai Mao gen (Rhizoma Imperatae) and Bai Ji (Rhizoma Bletillae), etc. to treat tisis caused by intemperance.

Side Effects

  • At present, there is no literature report that Zhi Ju Zi has toxic effects, and no data is showing that taking it at the prescribed dose can cause serious adverse reactions.

Precautions and Warnings

  • The dosage of Zhi Ju Zi should be controlled at 10-15g.
  • It can be made into decoctions.
  • People allergic to Zhi Ju Zi should not take it.
  • Patients with deficiency-cold in the spleen and stomach should not take it.
  • Pregnant and lactating women should follow medical advice before taking it.