Semen ziziphi spinosae is reported to have very low toxicity when taken orally. In laboratory animals (mice and rats), a huge single dose of 50 g/kg body weight produced no toxic symptoms, and a daily dose of 20 g/kg for 30 days did not produce toxic reactions. Side effects have not been reported. Modern pharmacology evaluation of Semen ziziphi spinosae oil and Semen ziziphi spinosae extract suggests that with prolonged feeding they can reduce serum triglycerides and cholesterol (mainly LDL), and reduce fatty degeneration of the liver. These properties have also been attributed to the triterpenes of ginseng and ganoderma. Despite its strong medicinal effects, this mild-natured herb is relatively safe to use long term, and for children. Reported adverse effects from inappropriate use include fever with aversion to cold, cold sweats, and joint pain. Western herbalists are also considering the Semen ziziphi spinosae as an alternative to kava kava and valerian, due to the latter two herbs' possible negative impacts on liver function (Zhang et al., 2008).
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