9 Benefits of Japanese Raisin Tree

Japanese Raisin Tree Benefits

By: Beth Rush
Managing Editor at Body+Mind

Do you want to improve your overall health or aid your hangovers? The benefits of the Japanese raisin tree may help you achieve both.   

Although you might never have heard of this exotic fruit, it may have perks for multiple systems in your body. Best of all, it’s delicious. What should you know, and where can you reap the benefits of the Japanese raisin tree to improve your life?

What Is a Japanese Raisin Tree? 

The Japanese raisin tree, or Hovenia dulcis, is a deciduous cold-climate tree distantly related to the Jujube.¹ It can grow up to 10 meters and produces white flowers in June and July that develop into fruits. Although manufacturers make an extract from the fruit, they don’t eat it. Rather, people consume the stalk or peduncles. 

As the name suggests, the Japanese raisin tree grows wild in Japan and parts of China, Korea and the Himalayas. It can grow up to 10 meters tall, and manufacturers also use the wood to make musical instruments, ships and furnishings.

What Does Japanese Raisin Tree Taste Like? 

Japanese raisin tree is delicious — people consume the stem and make it into beverages because of its flavor. It tastes a lot like sugar mixed with cinnamon and has the texture of a dried raisin. It abounds in Asian cuisine, as they use it as a flavoring in everything from noodles to various beverages.

Japanese Raisin Tree Benefits 

You may have never heard of the Japanese raisin tree before. However, preliminary investigations into its use reveal that this exotic plant may improve multiple health conditions.

The evidence to date suggests it is particularly effective in 
liver aid, support, and protection.

9 Potential Japanese Raisin Tree Benefits 

Japanese raisin tree has a long history of use in traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) and among Eastern herbalists. It has recently captured the attention of Western scientists, who have discovered several potential health benefits that warrant further investigation.²

1. May Protect Your Liver 

In addition to tasting sweet, the Japanese raisin tree may protect your liver from alcohol-induced damage. Evidence from earlier studies suggests it can reduce alcohol concentration in your blood. It does so by increasing activity in ADH and ALDH, two enzymes your body uses to metabolize alcohol.

Japanese raisin tree’s benefits may also aid with the dreaded hangover. One study on 26 men administered an extract to some participants while the remainder received a placebo. Those receiving the extract reported fewer hangover symptoms, although their blood alcohol and acetaldehyde levels matched the placebo group.

Taking a Japanese raisin tree supplement that also contains glutathione may ease morning-after pain. Glutathione is a powerful antioxidant that works to neutralize toxins like alcohol.

Other experiments demonstrate that the Japanese raisin tree also protects against liver injuries from causes other than alcohol, such as Tylenol or immune system issues. The results suggest it may protect the liver in general, including against non-alcoholic fatty liver disease.

2. May Decrease Allergy Symptoms 

Depending on where you live, allergy season can span from spring through mid-fall, causing symptoms like sneezing and itchy eyes that leave you feeling miserable.³  One of the Japanese raisin tree’s benefits may include easing this discomfort and saving tissues.

In one experiment, scientists examined several different extracts from the Japanese raisin tree to evaluate their effectiveness against allergies. Researchers found that these extracts had anti-inflammatory and anti-allergy activity both in the petri dish and in live rodents.

3. May Ease Chronic Pain 

Using Japanese raisin tree extract in conjunction with other healthy dietary modifications may decrease chronic pain.

This extract inhibits pathways for the development of inflammation, as shown in the levels of several inflammatory markers, including NFKB, TNF-a and various interleukin factors. An extract also proved effective in healing atopic, dermatitis-like skin lesions.

4. Helps With “the Go” 

One of the Japanese raisin tree benefits harnessed in TCM is as a laxative.

Research on rats given a low-fiber diet shows that it increases the frequency and weight of stools. Additionally, the colons of the rodents studied contracted more effectively.

5. May Help Diabetics 

Diabetes affects millions of Americans, many of whom have no idea of the danger.⁵ This condition puts them at an elevated risk of serious illness, including heart and kidney disease.

Researchers induced diabetes in mice by administering alloxan. They then treated them with either Japanese raisin extract, glibenclamide or a placebo. Both the Japanese raisin extract and glibenclamide group showed significantly lower blood sugar levels than those that received the placebo.

6. May Fight Osteoporosis 

Japanese raisin extract may start a signaling cascade in your body that prompts it to promote osteoblast differentiation and bone development.

Treatment with such an extract increased femoral bone mass and thickness in mice. Further investigation suggested it reversed bone loss in mice with osteoporosis with no related toxicity.⁸

7. May Stimulate Your Immune System 

Japanese raisin tree extract showed promise in stimulating the immune system in in-vitro tests.

The application of three fractional extracts to cells stimulated white blood cells in the spleen, activated macrophages, a type of immune cell that “devours” invading germs, encouraged phagocytosis and released nitric oxide. Nitric oxide dilates blood vessels, moving the cells needed to heal the affected body part more quickly.

8. May Protect Your Brain 

Japanese raisin extract may protect your brain. Several extracts from the plant’s stems demonstrated neuroprotective and antioxidant activities in in-vitro cell testing.

Some of the Japanese raisin tree’s benefits as a hangover cure may stem from its effect on your brain more than your liver. Two recent experiments suggest that an extract from the plant may work better than benzodiazepines at reducing anxiety by activating your GABA receptors.⁶ Alcohol also stimulates GABA, which is why it makes you feel relaxed at first but spurs morning after “hangxiety” as your brain struggles to rebalance itself.

9. May Improve High Altitude Performance

Finally, The flavonoid found in Japanese Raisin, known as Dihydromyricetin (DHM), was shown in research to improve physical performance in high altitudes.

By counteracting mitochondrial injury from high altitudes, this makes the nutrient handy for any climber, hiker, high-altitude destination travelers, and even airplane travel.⁹

As you can see from these myriad of benefits, taking Japanese Raisin can significantly improve your overall wellness, support your liver, and come in handy in many situations.

How to Use Japanese Raisin Tree 

You may have a tough time finding the Japanese raisin tree outside of specialty grocery stores. However, you can consume it fresh, as it keeps in a dark cupboard for up to two months, or dehydrate it and enjoy it as a raisin alternative.⁷

You can also find Japanese raisin tree extracts, which sometimes appear in supplements. Specialty health food stores with an herbal extract section are your best places to seek them outside of online shops.

Is the Japanese Raisin Tree Safe? 

Most researchers consider the Japanese raisin tree safe. No severe adverse effects resulted from the above investigations. However, the science supporting its use requires further investigation to confirm the beneficial effects and overall safety.

Top-Rated Japanese Raisin Chewable Supplement

Japanese Raisin Tree Benefits

Revitalize your body and conquer the day with Zaca, the chewable formulated with the cherished Japanese Raisin. Designed for liver support, hydration, and recovery, Zaca is your ultimate companion for any lifestyle. Whether you're an athlete, a busy professional, or someone who enjoys social gatherings, Zaca helps you hydrate and revive faster. No need for water or complicated preparations, simply eat 2-4 chewables and feel the difference.
Try Zaca’s chewable supplement today and bounce back faster!



1, “Japanese Raisin Tree Facts for Kids.” 6 December 2023. https://specialtyproduce.com/produce/Japanese_Raisin_Tree_9497.php 
2. Sferazza, Gianluca, et. al. “Hovenia Dulcis Thunberg: Phytochemistry, Toxicology, and Regulatory Framework for Its Use in the European Union.” NIH. 9 September 2021.

3. Barnes, Mia. “How Long Do Spring Allergies Typically Last?” BodyMind. 9 April 2019.
4. Barnes, Mia. “8 Realistic and Holistic Ways to Deal With Chronic Pain.” Bodymind. 1 April 2021.
5. “More Than One in Three Americans Is at Increased Risk for Type 2 Diabetes, but Changing the Outcome is Possible.” CDC. 14 November 2023.
6. “Dihydromyricetin Shows Promise as an Anxiety Disorder Treatment.” Research Outreach. 29 January 2021. https://researchoutreach.org/articles/dihydromyricetin-shows-promise-anxiety-disorder-treatment/ 
7. “The Weird and Wonderful Japanese Raisin Tree.” OrganicNZ. 27 July 2023. https://organicnz.org.nz/magazine-articles/japanese-raisin-tree-ja23/ 
8. Hovenia dulcis Thunb Extract and Its Ingredient Methyl Vanillate Activate Wnt/β-Catenin Pathway and Increase Bone Mass in Growing or Ovariectomized Mice
9. Dihydromyricetin Improves Physical Performance Under Simulated High Altitude