What Is Schisandra
Schisandra is used in herbalism and is known as the “five-flavors” fruit.
It is generally considered a calming adaptogen and has a double effect on the nervous system. Besides being calming and helping to relieve anxiety, it also enhances concentration.
The plant is native to northeastern China, Japan, Korea, Manchuria, and the Far East part of Russia. Schisandra is used as an herbal supplement in traditional Chinese medicine. Whereas in Russia, as a potent adaptogen, improving disease and stress tolerance and increasing energy, endurance, and physical performance. (1) (2)
Schisandra Combats Stress and Depression as an Adaptogen
Adaptogens help us adapt to stress by having a normalizing effect on bodily processes. They help reduce stress, fatigue, and mental exhaustion. (3)
Schisandra is a stimulating herb commonly used to build strength in people who feel chronic fatigue. It is also used to promote sleep in people with insomnia, especially when feeling stressed or anxious. That’s because it balances the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems. (4)
It has been found that Schisandra reduces cortisol levels in the body and is effective in controlling changes in serotonin and adrenaline caused by stress. This adaptogenic berry also fights the adrenal fatigue that is linked to stress. (5)
Naturally, fighting off stress factors lead to antidepressant properties. An overview of research on Schisandra conducted in Russia concluded that Schisandra effectively treats psychiatric disorders, including depression. (6)
Schisandra and Cognitive Function
While it's not clear yet if Schisandra can be used to directly improve memory, there's enough evidence that it can help with mental focus and energy.
One study showed that a single dose of an herbal preparation containing Schisandra improved attention, cognition, and accuracy in 40 healthy women under stress. The brain-boosting benefits measured over a two-hour window after consumption were promising. (7)
Deoxyschizandrin and Schisandra components from Schisandra extract reversed memory impairment. In addition, they prevented degenerative changes in the brain, as seen in Alzheimer's disease and brain aging, and helped with brain health. (8)
Schisandra and Liver Protection
The Schisandra berry is a desirable candidate when it comes to liver protection. In fact, Schisandra is traditionally used to treat liver diseases such as hepatitis.
One study showed that in 45 patients with impaired liver function, a combination of Schisandra extract and sesamin reduced liver enzymes, boosted glutathione, suppressed oxidative damage and inflammation, and improved fatty liver. (9)
Thanks to Schisandra’s antioxidants, it helps maintain liver function while preventing damage. (10)
Safety and Side Effects
Schisandra is generally a well-tolerated herb. However, it’s not recommended for people who have epilepsy and peptic ulcers. It’s also not recommended for women who are pregnant or nursing.
If you have a specific condition or are on medication, it’s always important to consult your doctor first.
Schisandra Chinensis is a unique adaptogen used in traditional Chinese medicine for centuries.
It is rich in antioxidants and has many beneficial effects, especially on cognitive function, physical and mental stamina, and liver health.
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(1)Current knowledge of Schisandra chinensis (Turcz.) Baill. (Chinese magnolia vine) as a medicinal plant species: a review on the bioactive components, pharmacological properties, analytical and biotechnological studies - PubMed (nih.gov)