by Life Enthusiast Staff
A unique fruit exhibiting all five cardinal tastes; sweet, sour, pungent, bitter and salty - corresponding to all five elemental phases of oriental medicine. A staple food and folk medicine of villagers living at high altitude regions of Tibet, Northern China and Mongolia. Consumed for health and stamina. Researchers and enthusiasts focus up on Schizandra as an adaptogen and for stamina, for quickening reflexes, moderating temperament, to sweeten disposition, to boost I.Q., memory & efficiency, to enhance vision (near sightedness and antistigmatism), reduce depression and to improve positive mental attitude, to strengthen digestion, for liver repair, for healthy lungs and kidneys, as an antibacterial and as an antioxidant. It is regarded as an aphrodisiac enhancing female libido and male staying power.
Lignansus, Schisandrins A, B, Gomisin A, plus B-bisabolene, Vitamins (especially E) Minerals, Aromatic Oils, Enzymatic pigments & Carbohydrates.
Schisandra is a woody vine with numerous clusters of tiny, bright red berries. It is found throughout northern and northeast China and the adjacent regions of Russia and Korea. The fully ripe, sun-dried fruit is used medicinally. It has sour, sweet, salty, hot, and bitter tastes. This unusual combination of flavors is reflected in schisandra's Chinese name wu-wei-zi, meaning "five taste fruit." Wu Wei Zi is commonly used in Chinese herbalism, where it is considered to be one of the 50 fundamental herbs. It is an excellent tonic and restorative, helping in stressful times and increasing zest for life. It is considered to be a substitute for ginseng and is said to be a tonic for both the male and the female sex organs.
The classical treatise on Chinese herbal medicine, the Shen Nung Pen Tsao Ching, described schisandra as a high-grade herbal drug useful for a wide variety of medical conditions - especially as a kidney tonic and lung astringent. Chinese herbalists use schisandra for coughs, night sweats, insomnia, thirst, and physical exhaustion. It is used to treat a variety of medical conditions and is widely known as a longevity herb and aphrodisiac.
Extracts from the fruits (seeds) of Schisandra chinensis L. are one of the components of medicinal preparations designed for the treatment of cardiovascular diseases, liver diseases, diseases of the central nervous system related to the old age, as a supplement in the treatment of neoplasms, diabetes, etc. It is obvious that a very positive therapeutic effect based on the use of a complex mixture of schisandra's principal constituents because their biological effects are complementary and potentiate each other. At the same time, some lignans (e.g. gomisin A, gomisin N) are interesting as new prospective medicines.
Schizandra contains essential oils, acids and lignans which help regenerate liver tissue damaged by things like hepatitis and alcohol. Its adaptogenic action may help improve physical and mental performance, relieve fatigue and build strength. Studies have shown that schizandra is effective against the bacteria related to lung disorders. This herb provides more oxygen for the cells, increases the body's immune system, and protects against stress. It also acts as an aphrodisiac, by increasing men's staying power and stimulating sensitivity in the female's genitals.
Chinese medicine: Schizandra berry a potent adaptogenic herb
Instead of starting off your day with a cup of coffee, try some schizandra berry supplements to wake up your mind. And if you're too stressed at night to sleep, don't stay up watching late night television; take some schizandra berry supplements to calm you down. How can a single item have such apparently contradictory effects? According to thousands of years of traditional Chinese medicine, schizandra is an "adaptogenic" herb.
In 1958, Russian holistic doctor I.I. Brekhman and his colleague I.V. Dardymov coined the term "adaptogenic" to refer to any herb that "usually has a normalizing action irrespective of the direction of the pathological state." In other words, it doesn't matter whether you're too sleepy or too nervous; either way, schizandra will redirect you from an extreme to an ideal, balanced state. Schizandra may also provide additional medicinal benefits.
Around 2,000 years ago, Shen Nong first referred to schizandra as a valuable adaptogenic tonic. Since then, it has remained one of the most popular adaptogenic herbs in China, where it is taken to promote mental function, strengthen the sex organs and beautify the skin, according to Off the Shelf Natural Health by Mark Mayell.
In Herbal Medicine, Healing and Cancer, Donald R. Yance Jr. lists many of schizandra's uses, which include increasing mental and physical exercise capacities, as well as improving adaptability to darkness and other environmental stresses. Yance points out that, unlike caffeine, schizandra stimulates the central nervous system without creating an excitatory effect. Schizandra provides a mental boost without the jitteriness caused by caffeine.
Recent studies suggest that schizandra may offer some additional health benefits. According to Dr. Sheldon Saul Hendler's Vitamin and Mineral Encyclopedia, some research studies demonstrate that substances extracted from schizandra may help treat liver disorders. Other studies show that schizandra extracts may have cortisone-like effects on the immune system. These benefits definitely deserve more research interest, as schizandra may someday provide safer alternatives for traditional pharmaceutical medications.
The Chinese refer to schizandra tonic as the "five-flavored seed" because it tastes sour, bitter, sweet, acrid and salty. However, you don't have to taste its five flavors in order to obtain the benefits of schizandra. Schizandra berry supplements are becoming increasingly available at local stores worldwide and they are already easily purchased on the internet. Viable-herbal.com offers schizandra capsules for $6.62 a bottle, and be sure to browse through your local health food stores and the internet yourself for possibly better deals.
The experts speak on schizandra:
In the Far East, everyone from Chinese emperors to family herbalists has long recognized the remarkable powers of the herb schisandra to promote longevity and increase stamina. Its strengthening effect (see Chapter 4) is combined with system-balancing properties, making it ideal for such conditions as fatigue, nervous exhaustion, and lack of energy. Schisandra is one of the most popular adaptogenic herbs in China, where it is taken to beautify the skin, strengthen the sex organs, and promote mental function. Its use has more recently spread to Russia, Scandinavia, Western Europe, and the United States.
Off The Shelf Natural Health How To Use Herbs And Nutrients To Stay Well By Mark Mayell, page 292 (An adaptogenic herb) must be innocuous and cause minimal disorders in the physiological functions of an organism, it must have a nonspecific action, and it usually has a normalizing action irrespective of the direction of the pathological state. Brekhman, I.I. & Dardymov, I.V. "New substances of plant origin which increase nonspecific resistance," Annual Review of Pharmacology and Toxicology, as quoted in Edward C. Wallace's Adaptogenic Herbs: Nature's Solution to Stress (The Chiropractic Research Organization)
The dried berry of schizandra, like astragalus, bupleurum, ginseng, and ligusticum,
is commonly used in traditional Chinese medicine for its adaptogenic properties
and as a restorative remedy for immune enhancement. Schizandra is referred to
as the five-flavored seed because its taste includes the five tastes of sour,
bitter, sweet, acrid, and salty. In Shen Nong's Herbal Classic (written
about two thousand years ago) and in the Compendium of Materia Medica (written
by L.I. Shizhen in 1596), schizandra was referred to as a valuable tonic- an
adaptogen with a diversity of indications for its use. It has a stimulatory
effect on the central nervous system without being excitatory and enhances both
mental and physical capabilities.
Herbal Medicine Healing Cancer by Donald R Yance Jr, page 108
Substances have been isolated from schizandra which appear to have protective
effects against liver toxins in mice. And there are reports that extracts of
the herb are beneficial in the treatment of various liver disorders in experimental
animals. Immunomodulating substances have also been isolated from the herb,
some of which have cortisone-like effects. Schizandra may prove to have some
role in modern medicine yet, but it's doubtful that it will be a miraculous
Vitamin And Mineral Encyclopedia by Sheldon Saul Hendler MD PhD, page 326
Schizandra is also considered adaptogenic and a tonic, according to a review
of its traditional use as well as a review of the scientific studies that demonstrate
its ability to increase work capacity, exercise capacity, mental capacity, and
adaptability to darkness and other environmental stresses in both animal and
Herbal Medicine Healing Cancer by Donald R Yance Jr, page 109
The formula contains schisandra, zizyphus, cistanche, and juglans, used to
enhance energy; tang kuei and lycium, which nourish blood; acornus, to improve
circulation; arisaema, to resolve phlegm; and gastrodia and succinum to calm
anxiety, seizures, forgetfulness, and insomnia. In addition, the formula contains
"dragon tooth," a calcium source, along with biota seed and polygala
root acting as nourishing sedatives. It is interesting to note in this formula
that both anxiety and forgetful-ness are treated with blood- and energy-building
herbs. This proves again that having adequate yin and yang normalizes physical
and mental processes.
Asian Health Secrets by Letha Hadady DAc, page 452
Schizandra berries (for stimulation) with Senega, Cayenne, Gotu Kola, and
Fo Ti Tieng in teas (helps energize and preserve the brain and body, noted for
making geniuses, rids retardation).
Anti-Aging Manual by Joseph B Marion, page 9
There are many herbs that are reputed to influence mental function. A partial
list includes (bacopa monniera), cordyceps, gotu kola, rosemary, maca, Fo-ti,
reishi, and schisandra. Then there are foodlike supplements such as spirulina,
blue-green algae, and royal jelly. The research with many of these supplements
is very limited. I am certain that some of them do have an effect since I have
personally noticed increased alertness and energy levels when I've taken
royal jelly, maca, and gotu kola.
Mind Boosters by Dr Ray Sahelia MD, page 187
Schizandra, a powerful antioxidant that assists with mental clarity and increases
your body's level of the detoxifying enzyme glutathione; and the traditional
Indian "brain tonic" gotu kolu, which is used in Ayurvedic medicine
to improve mental agility and reduce anxiety and depression.
Underground Cures by Health Sciences Institute, page 153
The combination of ginseng root and schisandra berries reportedly improves
memory (reported in Huang, 1999).
The One Earth Herbal Sourcebook by Alan Keith Tillotson, page 198