Monday, 7 January 2013

What are the benefits of Schizandra?

Schisandra, also spelled schizandra, is an herb used in traditional Chinese medicine. It's also known as wu-wei-zi and five-flavor fruit, as well as by its Latin name, Schisandra chinensis. The plant's berry is used to make medicine, and it has the five tastes of sour, sweet, salty, bitter and pungent. Schisandra is a tonic, which promotes health, and it may help to alleviate certain health problems. Before taking schisandra medicinally, consult with a botanically-trained health care professional for proper dosage and safety considerations.

Schisandra is considered by herbalists to be hepatoprotective, meaning it protects the liver from damage. The liver is vital to human health because it filters toxins from the blood, aids in digestion and manufactures and stores nutrients. According to the Bastyr University Department of Botanical Medicine Materia Medica, schisandra not only protects the liver from toxic damage, but it may stimulate regrowth of liver cells and improve liver function. The seeds of schisandra fruit contain the lignans schizandrin, gamma-schizandrin, schizandrol and deoxyschizandrin, which stimulate the liver to produce glutathione, an important antioxidant involved in the liver's detoxification processes. Schisandra may help alleviate liver ailments such as chronic hepatitis, fatty liver and other forms of liver disease.

In traditional Chinese medicine and contemporary naturopathic medicine, schisandra is used as an adaptogen. An adaptogen is a substance that balances the body's organs and functions while increasing resistance to stress. In Chinese medicine terms, schisandra strengthens the qi, or life energy. It also calms the shen, or spirit, and therefore may be useful for anxiety, insomnia and forgetfulness that result from excessive stress. Bastyr University's materia medica states that schisandra may improve work performance, build strength and help to reduce fatigue. In China, schisandra is considered a tonic, and with its five tastes, it acts on all organs.

In Chinese medicine, schisandra is used to to strengthen the kidneys and lungs. According to the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, schisandra may help for respiratory complaints, such as asthma, cough and influenza. Schisandra contains lignans, volatile oils and vitamins A, C and E. These constituents lend schisandra its anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and detoxification-enhancing capabilities, which may be responsible for its therapeutic value in respiratory ailments. Schizandra may be taken as an infusion, tincture or capsule. Schisandra, like all herbs, can have strong effects on the body and may interact with prescribed medications. Check with your doctor before taking schisandra.


Shaklee DTX Complex contains a proprietary blend of extracts, containing milk thistle, schizandra, dendalion, reishi mushroom, tumeric and artichoke.
Traditionally used as a liver tonic.*
No artificial flavours, sweeteners, colours, or preservatives added.
* This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any diseases.

"Bastyr Materia Medica"; Bastyr University Department of Botanical Medicine; 2003
Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center: Schisandra
Nov 21, 2010 | By Robyn Hughes
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