(schisandra chinesis)

Schisandra is a woody vine with numerous clusters of tiny, bright red berries. It grows throughout China and regions of Russia and Korea. The fully ripe, sun-dried fruit is used medicinally. It is purported to have sour, sweet, salty, hot, and bitter tastes. This unusual combination of flavours is reflected in schisandra’s Chinese name wu-wei-zi, meaning “five taste fruit.”

A classical treatise on Chinese herbal medicine, Shen Nung Pen Tsao Ching, describes schisandra as a herb useful for a wide variety of conditions, especially as a kidney tonic and lung astringent. Other Traditional Chinese Medicine texts note that schisandra is useful for coughs, night sweats, insomnia, thirst, and physical exhaustion. Adaptogenic herbs, like schisandra, have been used in Traditional Chinese Medicine to improve the ability of the body to respond to stress.

What it does

Schisandra contains a variety of compounds including organic acids, volatile oils and lignans. The lignans apppear to control inflammation and help regenerate liver tissue. The herb also has a mild adaptogenic property, beneficially modifying the stress response. Schisandra has been shown to directly stimulate the nervous system and improve mental clarity and the speed of reflexes.

Potential Uses

Stress Liver health Hepatitis
Mental enhancement Liver toxicity Cirrhosis
Jaundice Fatigue Immune support

Other information

Current research has shown that the herbs active schisandrins prevent liver damage, stimulate liver repair and normalise liver functioning. These effects appear to be to a great extent due to a positive impact on glutathione activity and general liver detoxification processes.


Generally, there are no side effects or contra-indications from using Schisandra.

Do not use in pregnancy or when breastfeeding.

If you have peptic ulcers, epilepsy or high blood pressure you should not take Schisandra.

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