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Are you feeling worn out? Low on energy?
Do the days seem to drag by, and no matter how much sleep you get, it never seems like it is enough? If this sounds like you, keep reading! Learn how schisandra chinensis benefits over 6 vital body functions.
What Is Schisandra Berry?
An adaptogenic herb is any herb that is generally non-toxic, and promotes and supports the body’s ability to handle stress, while simultaneously reducing any damaging effects that stress may have on physiological functioning.
Schisandra berries are one such herb- these medicinal berries have been used in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) for thousands of years, and is even mentioned in the oldest known Chinese herbal- which dates back to the first century BC!
Schisandra chinensis, also called “Schizandra”, has many health benefits. Some of the most well-known of these include its ability to reduce the signs of aging, increase energy and endurance, help treat fatigue, support liver function, act as a cough suppressant, and it is used as a male sexual tonic.
Let’s take a closer look:
6 Incredible Benefits of Schisandra Chinensis
1. Schisandra Is Anti-Aging
Schisandra is full-to-bursting with antioxidants! This lends to far more than just protection against premature aging, but also prevents damage due to free-radicals, reduces inflammation, and supports non-specific immunologic actions.
Furthermore, the antioxidant action as well as other synergistic effects of the many phytochemicals found in schisandra have shown anti-cancer and anti-tumor activity in clinical studies.
The antioxidants and liver detoxifying actions support healthy and beautiful skin by helping the eliminatory organs to function properly, resulting in skin that no longer needs to take on the extra work of filtering toxins.
This is good news for those who deal with eczema or hives.
Additionally, schisandra’s astringent properties help the skin to retain moisture, reducing dry skin and promoting a healthy, youthful glow.
Studies have found that it protects against oxidative damages related to aging in the mitochondria of the cells.
While most products attempt to reduce the appearance of aging via topical administration, Schisandra berries protect against the signs of aging from the source: within the cells, throughout the whole body.
Who doesn’t love that!?
2. Schisandra Berry Increases Endurance and Energy
One literature review found that schisandra has shown effectiveness at increasing endurance, working capacity, accuracy of movement and mental performance.
In a clinical study with mice, schisandra extract increased their swimming time in forced-swim trials, reduced athletic fatigue, and also showed no evidence of toxicity.
While the clinical trials are great sources to help back up the traditional use and claims of herbal medicine, the gem of the practice lies in the thousands of years of traditional use.
Key in point: Hunters and athletes in Russia and China have used schisandra for centuries to improve work performance, endurance, mental clarity and reaction times.
Furthermore, it is an oxygenating herb, which is beneficial for increasing blood-oxygen levels. This is pivotal for those who practice excessive athletics (but it could also benefit someone who just wants to exercise a bit more often during the week)!
3. Schisandra Tea Supports Mental Performance
When taken orally, schisandra berries have been shown to improve concentration.
In one study, a product containing schisandra, siberian ginseng and rhodiola showed an increase in the accuracy, speed and attention of women performing cognitive tasks in stressful scenarios compared to placebo.
Additionally, in an animal model, mice with cognitive impairment were treated with schisanhenol – a constituent found in schisandra that’s believed to be responsible for its cognitive support.
Schisanhenol reduced scopolamine-induced cognitive impairment and improved cognitive function.
This study holds promise for future studies on how schisandra may play a role in aiding the cognitive function of those suffering from Alzheimer’s disease.
4. Schisandra Treats Fatigue (adrenal support)
Schisandra tones and strengthens the function of the kidneys. It helps the body balance its fluid levels, and as a result is useful for combating issues such as night sweats, general excessive sweating, and frequent urination.
It modulates immune function and endocrine function, and tones the adrenal cortex.
In doing so, it is able to address conditions associated with adrenal deficiencies (adrenal fatigue) such as:
- chronic illness
- chronic loss of stamina
- blood sugar swings
- frequent infections
Part of these many actions lie with its ability to control the levels of cortisol that are produced in response to stress- Schisandra will not let cortisol levels rise too high!
This bodes well for any busy-bodies out there who want to maximize their output without suffering the ill-effects of stress-induced high cortisol levels!
5. Schisandra Berry Supports liver function
Schisandra chinensis is an excellent detoxifying herb for the liver. It binds toxins and waste and eliminates them from the body. This reduces strain on the liver which occurs from both dietary and environmental toxins.
It even improves the function of the liver as a whole, and stimulates the growth of new liver cells. The antioxidants found in Schisandra even play a role, here!
Hang on, because we are about to get science-y.
The liver has a system called the cytochrome P450. This sounds complicated, but don’t worry, it’s actually pretty simple.
Despite its fancy name, Cytochrome P450 is just a structure found largely in liver cells whose main function is to metabolize and deal with toxins.
Schisandra helps to induce this system, thereby supporting its detoxification actions even more poignantly.
It also specifically enhances the hepatic glutathione antioxidant system- which is responsible for repairing damage due to excessive oxidative stress.
Finally, in a mouse model study, mice were given schisandra for seven days, then were given a hepatotoxic dose of acetaminophen via injection (basically, the mice OD’d on Tylenol).
The schisandra demonstrated a reduction in liver dysfunction and oxidative stress (despite the overdose, schisandra helped prevent excessive damage). No wonder it is so highly renowned in Chinese medicine!
These little berry gems are a must-have for dealing with the day-to-day strains diet and environment put on our livers!
6. Schisandra Plant as a Male sexual tonic
In Asian herbalism, schisandra is almost always found in sexual tonics.
Combining its abilities to increase endurance, balance fluid levels, combat fatigue and stress, it makes an excellent tonic for sexual function.
While it does support uterine health in women, it is more commonly used for sexual dysfunction in men. Its ability to balance hormones and support the endocrine system play a large role in its support of healthy sexual function.
For this reason, schizandra berry helps:
- fight impotence
- increases secretion of sexual fluids (particularly of sperm)
- prevents involuntary ejaculation
- relieves sexual fatigue
- acts as an aphrodisiac
The Final Verdict on Schisandra Chinensis
The above is only a sampling of the many effects of this “superior herb”.
Considered superior by the Chinese for its broad benefit on the body as a whole, this medicinal berry is renowned for its medicinal action on every organ system in the body, although it holds special affinity for the liver, kidneys, and lungs.
It is a nutritive restorative herb (trophorestorative), meaning that it can correct deficiencies associated with specific organs.
It is also a:
- nervine and sedative
- powerful vital stimulant
- regulates blood pressure
- helps prevent excessive sweating
- oxytocic (meaning it can be given during childbirth to increase uterine contractions and thereby hasten the birthing process)
- emmenagogue (brings on a late menstrual cycle)
- an immune tonic
The only question left to ask now is, what can this herb not do?
Schisandra Contraindications and Side Effects
Do not use in the early stages of cough, or rash. Do not use while pregnant. It *is* however used during labor to speed up the birthing process, and has been used successfully to induce labor in women with prolonged labor.
Appropriate Schisandra Dosage for Adults:
3.5-8.5 ml of 1:2 liquid extract
Where to Buy Schisandra Berry
If these schisandra chinensis benefits impressed you, you may want to try it for yourself.
This potent superfood is available in many forms:
I personally prefer this additive-free schisandra tincture. It’s just certified organic schisandra, water and glycerin. It’s also alcohol-free – important if you have any leaky gut or other gastrointestinal issues!
Herbalist, licensed massage therapist, and healthcare professional. Stephany also earned her Master’s of Science in Complementary Alternative Medicine at the American College for Healthcare Sciences, where she focused her studies on Herbal Medicine and Nutrition. Her areas of research include: cancer and pH, GMOs and their effects on human physiology, homeobotanical energetics, herbal first aid and more.