Herb Reference Guide

Schisandra

History

This plant is sometimes referred to as Chinese Magnolia Vine or Five Flavored Fruit. The five distinct flavors found in the berry correspond to the five phases or Elements of Traditional Chinese Medicine: Sour (Wood), Bitter (Fire), Sweet (Earth), Acrid (Metal) and Salty (Water). Hence it's name Wu Wei Zi in Chinese. It is considered a Harmonizing Tonic or "King" remedy in Chinese Medicine because of its well balanced energetic nature. Other Herbs in this category include, but are not limited to: Licorice, Dong Quai, Panax Ginseng, Jujube Dates, and Bupleurum. It is included in every classic text on Traditional Chinese Medicine and has been used to support a healthy functioning endocrine system, digestive system, and to support normal liver function as well as a convalescent tonic herb when the kidney system is involved.

Function

Schisandra berries provide powerful antioxidant protection, particularly from free radicals and other toxins in the environment that may cause cellular damage. Regarded as a popular adaptogenic agent, schisandra berries are unique in that they hold a remarkable blend of five distinct flavor properties collectively serving to promote overall health and vitality. Namely, bitter, sweet, sour, salty and hot. Schisandra berries function to enhance the body's natural resistance and adaptation to stressful influences, support mental endurance and promote overall metabolic efficiency.* Much of the clinical research has focused on the effects of Schisandra on liver function, especially its effect on the production of various liver detoxifying enzymes as well as the antioxidant activity of the extract. More research is needed to fully understand the exact biochemical activity of this tremendous plant.

Uses of Schisandra

Disclaimer

This information in our Herbal Reference Guide is intended only as a general reference for further exploration, and is not a replacement for professional health advice. This content does not provide dosage information, format recommendations, toxicity levels, or possible interactions with prescription drugs. Accordingly, this information should be used only under the direct supervision of a qualified health practitioner such as a naturopathic physician.

Active Constituents

The major chemical constituents in Schizandra berry are; schizandrin, deoxyschizandrin, schisanhenol, schizandrol, sesquicarene, citral, stigmasterol, and vitamins C and E.

Parts Used

  • Berry

Important precautions

Additional Resources

Bensky D, Gamble A. Chinese Herbal Medicine: Materia Medica, Revised Edition. Seattle, WA: Eastland Press; 1993.

Hong YH. Oriental Materia Medica: A Concise Guide. Long Beach, CA: Oriental Healing Arts Institute; 1986.

Lu H, Liu GT. Effect of dibenzo[a,c]cyclootene lignans isolated from fructus Schizandrae on lipid peroxidation and anti-oxidative enzyme activity. Chem Biol Interact 1991;78:77-84.

Li XJ, Zhao BL, Liu GT, Xin WJ. Scavenging effects on active oxygen radicals by schizandrins with different structures and configurations. Free Radic Biol Med 1990;9:99-104.

Li XY. Bioactivity of neolignans from fructus Schizandrae. Mem Inst Oswaldo Cruz 1991;86:31-37.

Liu KT, Lesca P. Pharmacological properties of dibenzo[a,c]cycloctene derivatives isolated from Fructus Schizandrae chinsesisIII. Inhibitory effects on carbon tetrachloride induced lipid peroxidation, metabolism and covalent binding of CCl4 to lipids. Chem Biol Interact 1982;41:39-47.

Liu GT. Pharmacological actions and clinical use of fructus Schizandrae. Chin Med J 1989;102:740-749.