What is Schisandra Chinensis Berry and What are Schizandra Benefits?
Schisandra Chinensis Berry (Chinese: wu-wei-zi, which when translated means “berry of five flavors”) is a deciduous climbing plant whose fruit are clusters of tiny, bright red berries. It is widespread throughout Northern and Northeast China and the adjacent regions of Russia and Korea, where it grows in the woods. What is immediately evident from this is the fact that the plant is resistant to low temperatures and is able to withstand temperatures below -30 ° C (that reminds me of aronia melanocarpa). Her Chinese name wu-wei-zi (schisandra chinensis) talks about her unusual combination of flavors of fruit (a mixture of sour, sweet, salty, spicy and bitter).
Schizandra, schisandra usually grows to a height from 15 to 25 meters and in width from 5 to 10 meters, and blooms from April to May. Schisandra chinensis is dioecious, which means that the one plant has only one male, the other female flowers, so it is clear that for the fruits we must have both plants. However, there are hybrids such as “Eastern Prince” where one plant has male and female characteristics and is therefore self-pollinated. But you have to be careful in purchasing because the hybrid plants are often sold as single-plant.
Schisandra Berry – Schisandra Chinensis
For good growth of the plant you need to ensure moist, porous and humus rich soil, and a shady position because schisandra chinensis berry does not like direct sunlight. In addition, because the plant is in the nature of climbing, we should secure the surface where it will climb on.
Schisandra Chinensis Berry can be propagated by seed or cuttings. Propagation by seed is difficult and requires a cold stratification (imitating of winter conditions) of 120 days before planting. If this condition is not met, the seed will not germinate, but in this case it does not need to thrown out, but kept in the soil and during winter you can do a stratification.
Schizandra Chinensis Benefits and Side Effects
Schisandra berry is one of the oldest Chinese herbal medicines. In the ancient Chinese book on medicinal herbs, which is believed to have been written in the first century, schizandra is mentioned as a herb that rejuvenate the body, increases the vital energy (Qi), cures cough, fatigue, acts as a sexual tonic (similar as maca root powder). In traditional Chinese medicine, schisandra berries have been used mainly for treatment of lung and kidney disease, it relieves excessive sweating and has healthy benefits in treatment of urinary and reproductive systems..
The schizandra benefits have been shown in numerous studies. Pharmacological studies have shown that it is the strongest antioxidant that exists. It increases immune (has similar properties as cordyceps sinensis and hericium erinaceus), endocrine, cardiovascular, gastrointestinal system. Schisandra chinensis lowers sugar and it is proven to enhance physical work capacity and increases stress resistance.
Besides already written benefits, here are some more schizandra benefits:
- Adaptoten – the Schisandra chinensis berry use as a tonic for the rejuvenation of the body in traditional Chinese medicine has led to extensive research, mainly in the former Soviet Union, where it is defined as an “adaptogen”. Adaptogens are substances that strengthen the body’s resistance to non-specific physical, chemical and biological stressors. Schisandra chinensis berry is known for its stimulating effect on the nervous system without the effect of excitement like in amphetamines or caffeine. The higher the degree of exhaustion the greater stimulating effect. Research also shows that schisandra chinensis stimulates the central nervous system
- Anti-fatigue – laboratory tests show that schisandra berry can improve performance, increase strength and reduce fatigue, also increases stamina and speed and improves concentration. It stimulates the nervous system by increasing the speed of nervous responses, leading to quicker and stronger reflexes.
- Boosts mental function – studies show that schizandra chinensis can increase mental performance in humans: concentration, fine coordination, sensitivity and endurance in healthy young men. Schizandra has also beneficial effects on eyesight and hearing, increased field of view and improved adaptation to darkness.
- Immunity increase and protection, liver recovery – Research has shown that the active component of lignan which can be found in schizandra berry prevents inflammation, protects the liver and stimulates the immune system. Modern Chinese research has shown that schisandra chinensis can help people with hepatitis. In China, raw schisandra berries are widely used for the treatment of progressive degeneration of the liver caused by hepatitis or chemical damage.
In pharmacy schisandra chinensis berry is used also as a product and can be found in a cream for skin. Soft, lightweight lotion for sensitive skin combines precious schisandra organic extract, organic camellia oil, organic aloe and plum extract and it helps in intensive revitalization and hydration. It relieves the negative effects of stress on skin and strengthens its natural resistance. This cream is helpful if you want o get rid of acne scars overnight or for any sort of verrucae, e.g. verruca plana, as an additional preparation..
Since this article is about schizandra benefits and side effects, we have to say that side effects are uncommon and rare. They include abdominal upset, itching and decreased appetite. In some, very rare, cases it can cause high brain pressure. Side effects are rare and that with all listed above puts schisandra (schizandra) chinensis berry as one of the best Chinese natural medicines, among the others we already wrote in some of our previous articles.