schisandra large Schisandra

Schisandra | Schisandra chinensis

general characteristics

general characteristics

Common names include schisandra/schizandra, magnolia vine, five-flavour-berry, Wu Wei Zi.

 

Schisandra is a deciduous woody climbing vine that bears flowers in drooping clusters in April/May, followed by hanging bunches of shiny red edible and medicinal fruits in July/August. A member of the Schisandraceaea family (previously the Magnoliaceae), originally it is a native of north east China, parts of Russia, Japan and Korea.

 

The berries have been in use in traditional Chinese medicine for centuries and in Russia since the 1960's.

 
 

Schisandra tincture is available to buy in our herbal shop.


harvesting and preparation

harvesting and preparation

The plant can grow in the UK and prefers a dappled sunny or part shaded position with rich moist but well drained soil. It is not frost hardy in this country so will need protection or take regular cuttings to ensure a continuous supply.
The fruits/berries are the parts used medicinally which can be collected in July and August and left to dry slowly, in bunches or individually, in a warm place. Both male and female plants are needed for berries to form.

Schisandra tincture is available to buy in our herbal shop.


therapeutic actions and uses

therapeutic actions and uses

Schisandra berries have been in use as both food and medicine for many centuries across China and the Far East. It has been (and still is) highly valued as an all round tonic that promotes general good health, longevity, stress reduction and benefits many other health conditions. In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) it is catergorised as an astringent tonic working on the kidney. Western herbalism has now adopted it as a prime adaptogen. The berries are strongly antioxidant, protecting all cells from free radical damage.
 
The name 'five flavour berry' comes from their unique combination of all five flavours - sweet, sour, spicy, salty & bitter - which makes them a perfect plant remedy for bringing the body back into balance.
 
Helps improve eyesight and is used by hunters in N.E Russia to improve their night vision.
 
Immunity is generally improved through various mechanisms and the berries also have anti-bacterial properties against pathogens such as staphylococcus, salmonella, bacillus, E.coli, shigella and even Candida albicans. Also very useful in conditions such as chronic fatigue, post viral syndrome and ME.
 
Blood poisoning and toxic shock can also be improved with schisandra berries. They not only kill multiple pathogens but protect organs (kidneys and liver particularly) against pathogens and enhance white blood cell survival as noted here.
 
Lowers cholesterol levels and improves lipid profiles. Assists the body to lose weight and helps slow weight gain.
 
Schisandra berries combat stress and its effects as it reduces the levels of stress hormones in the blood so help protect the body from their damaging effects whilst protecting the adrenal cortex and also protecting the whole body from the effects of stress via unique actions on the pituitary gland. Good for adrenal burnout and general conditions of chronic or acute stress and for general inflammation. Here is a research article on schisandra and how it alleviates the physical effects of stress.
 
Protects the kidneys from damage causes by diabetes, is considered an all round kidney tonic (improving overall kidney functioning), balances and regulates fluids within the body (preserves fluids if the body is dry or expels if in excess), helps against urinary incontinence and bedwetting.
 
Also very good for healing lung conditions such as pneumonia and will increase the depth and rate of respiration. It is beneficial for exercise induced asthma and breathing issues.
 
It has a good reputation for increasing stamina, endurance, physical performance, and speeding up recovery after exercise.
 
The berries have been shown to be  a potent remedy for insomnia, restless legs and general sleep disturbances  due to mild sedative and hypnotic actions.
 
They have a protective action on the heart and entire cardiovascular system, they relax the blood vessels and contain substances which thin the blood and enhance blood fluidity and therefore ensure better all round blood circulation which is vital for good health. Ischaemia, or lack of blood flow to an organ or tissue, is improved.
 
It is valuable in protecting the brain and nerves from various types of damage and disease processes, including possible protection against Alzheimers and Parkinsons disease, Traditionally used for boosting mental performance, improving cognitive abilities, and enhancing memory. It improves the outcome in cases of cerebral ischemia and subsequent reperfusion . The berries appear to protect the body from the effects of excess glutamate and therefore be of benefit to many different diseases including recovery from traumatic brain injury, stroke, multiple sclerosis and ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis).
 
Has a long history of use in traditional Chinese medicine for treating wasting and debilitating diseases.
 
Schisandra is a potent liver protector, helping to improve a range of liver conditions and infections such as hepatitis B and C, alcohol damage, fatty liver, helps detox the liver from damage and accumulations of medications and contains substances that promote liver repair.
 
It has a tonic action on the digestive system whereby it increases gastric secretions enabling better break down of foods (yet will lower acid secretion if in excess), improves peristalsis, improves bowel movement regularity and is also a good antispasmodic for the gastrointestinal system and can help ease conditions such as IBS.
 
It lowers blood sugar levels so can be used as part of a regime for controlling high blood sugar, it improves glucose transport, increases cells sensitivity to insulin and produces a good effect on diabetes.
 
A potent antioxidant which can help to slow the ageing process, beautify the skin and slow wrinkle development and is valued in TCM as a herb of longevity.
 
Various menopausal issues such as hot flushes,, sweating and heart palpitations may be eased with regular use of the berries.
 
Schisandra berries also promote hormone balance and may prove useful in cases of polcystic ovary syndrome (due to its stress lowering and actions on insulin), absent or delayed menstruation, stimulating ovulation and increasing sperm production in males, therefore increasing fertility. The berries can help improve sexual performance and health and alleviate erectile dysfunction. Considered a potent sexual tonic for men particularly.

 
The berries can be used to help reduce excessive sweating and reduce heat within the body.
 
They possess anti-cancer activity and have been seen in studies to be effective against cancers of the lung, breast, ovaries, liver, spleen, thymus, skin as well as offering protection from the lowered overall immunity and organ damage caused by chemotherapy.
 
Here is an excellent write up on the history and medicinal uses of schisandra.
 

dosage and cautions

 

 

dosage and cautions

* Very few reports of any adverse effects.

* Avoid during pregnancy.

Adult


Dried berries in tea form: around a heaped teaspoon of berries in simmering water for 15-20 minutes or so, take up to 3 cups daily

Tincture: up to 4mls, up to 3 times daily

Can be used in smaller than stated doses over longer periods of time.

A small handful of fresh berries can be eaten daily if you are lucky enough to have access to them.

 

Children

Add 12 to the child’s age. Divide the child’s age by the total.
E.g. dosage for a 4 year old...... 4 {age} divided by 16 {age + 12} = . 25  or 1/4 of the adult dosage.

 

 


 
 

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