Schisandra (Schisandra chinensis)
Schisandra is a woody vine native to China. It can reach a height of 25 feet. There are both male and female plants. Flowers are white to pink, and in the fall the vine produces clusters of red berries. The berries taste sweet, sour, hot, salty and bitter and is known as wu wei zi, or five-flavored herb.
Key Medicinal Uses
Internally Schisandra can be taken for anxiety, stress and weakness. It is also very beneficial for premenstrual problems, motion sickness and aging problems. It can stabilize blood sugar and protect against radiation and infections. It can lower cholesterol and stimulate RNA-DNA molecules to build cells. This herb can boost the immune system to help healing after surgeries.
It is used in Chinese medicine to treat hepatitis, insomnia and mental illness. It is an adaptogen herb, which means that it changes its function to normalize the functions of the body. It is thought to increase stamina and improve mental abilities. It increases nerve responses and may be helpful to relieve depression. It has been proven to help irritability and forgetfulness. It is beneficial to the liver and kidneys. It helps to relieve night sweats, urinary frequency and excessive thirst.
Schisandra can be used as an expectorant and cough suppressant. It stimulates breathing and dilates blood vessels to improve circulation and heart function. It can strengthen uterine contractions during labor, aid the absorption of nutrients and improve eyesight. It has been used to tone the sexual organs for both men and women. It increases the production of fluids and increases libido.
Externally The herb is being used to treat hives and other problems of the skin like eczema in Chinese medicine.
Herbs to Combine/Supplement
Schisandra is often combined with other herbs like Korean ginseng in Chinese medicine to make an individualized treatment.
Fruit The fruit is taken medicinally.
Reactions to schisandra are rare, but side effects may include rash, stomach upset, heartburn and lack of appetite. This herb should not be taken by pregnant women and people with epilepsy or high blood pressure.
Preparation and Dosage
Eat 1 to 6 grams of fruit per day.
If taking a tincture, 2 to 4 ml is taken three times per day.
Prepare a decoction by boiling 5 grams of crushed berries in 100 ml of water. This is enough for three doses, which should be taken over the course of 24 hours.
Herbal tea is made by steeping 1 to 6 grams of dried berries in 1 to 3 cups of boiling water.
Fresh berries can be eaten as a general tonic.