Prickly shrub with a hemispherical crown, up to 4 m tall, from the buckthorn family. The trunk is gray-black, strongly branched, with abundant root shoots. Young shoots with thorns, partly lost throughout life. The leaves are alternate, leathery, ovate or oval (sometimes lanceolate), with 3 (5) veins, obtusely veined along the margin. The flowers are small, greenish, bisexual, arranged singly or 3-5 in dense glomerular inflorescences. Cross pollination. Blooms in May-July. The fruit is a globular red, yellow, or brown edible drupe, about the size of a chicken egg in cultivation. The pulp is light green, white, crispy, sweet; contains 25-30% sugar or more, proteins, pectins, tannins, organic acids, mineral salts and a lot of vitamins C and P.

Medicinal raw materials are fruits. They are used in raw, dried, smoked and canned form, in the production of confectionery and beverages.

Ancient Arab doctors used unabi for medicinal purposes for asthma, kidney stones and inflammation of the bladder. In the Middle Ages, unripe fruits were recommended for diarrhea and dysentery, mature ones for constipation. In the Caucasus and Uzbekistan, the fruits have long been used for respiratory diseases, in China – as a tonic and diuretic. In later years, the use of fruits is recommended by doctors for hypertension. In Western European countries, the fruits are used as an emollient for sore throats and catarrhal diseases. Unabi leaves have a short-term anesthetic effect.

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