Schisandra (Schisandra chinensis), also known as Chinese magnolia, is a woody wine indigenous to China and Russia. In traditional Chinese medicine, the fruit of the plant is known as Wu Wei Zi, or five-flavored berry, a reference to the fact that it tastes sweet, sour, salty, biter and pungent all at once.
Russia has conducted numerous clinical studies on the pharmacological effects of Schisandra since the 1960s. In addition to recognition as an adaptogen, Schisandra also demonstrates strong antioxidant properties. Research also shows that the fruit has an influence on arachidonic acid release and the synthesis of leukotriene B-4, both markers of inflammation.
Other studies indicate that Schisandra may protect the liver from chemically-induced damage. The results of one small study suggest that the herb may, in conjunction with other treatments, be an effective complementary therapy for hepatitis.
Primary Benefits of Schisandra Berry
Ease Gastrointestinal Disorders
Schisandra berry is a traditional treatment for diarrhea. One study involving liver transplant patients indicates that Schisandra may prevent diarrhea as a side effect of taking immunosuppressant medications.
Enhance Liver Function
Lignans in Schisandra demonstrate hepoprotective properties, an effect driven by increasing levels of glutathione and the activity of glutathione reductase.
Increase Energy and Cognitive Function
Schisandra is thought to improve mental performance by increasing the activity of superoxide dismutase and glutathione peroxidase in the hippocampus and cerebral cortex.
Regulate Blood Sugar
Schisandra lower serum glucose levels by inhibiting a-glucosidase.
How to Use Schisandra Berry
Mix into smoothies.
Stir into yogurt or hot cereal.
Add to tea blends.
Encapsulate as a dietary supplement.
Warning: You should not use Schisandra berry if you take medications that consist of cytochrome P450 substrates because this herb may reduce their effectiveness and increase the risk of toxicity.