Schisandra; The Unique Medicinal Plant

Schisandra

 

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) 


Schisandra and Cancer 

Among other Schisandra benefits, this berry showed exceptional anticancer abilities. (11) 

One study discovered that Schisandra's components hinder lung cancer cells' growth. Deoxyschizandrin, that is extracted from Schisandra, inhibited ovarian cancer growth. (12) (13)

Another study proved that Schisandra can inhibit renal cell carcinoma tumor growth. (14) (15)

Also, components of Schisandra may be able to protect against prostate and thyroid cancers. (16)


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.


The Takeaway 

Schisandra Chinensis is a unique nootropic 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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Resources

(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)

(2)Pharmacology of Schisandra chinensis Bail.: an overview of Russian research and uses in medicine - PubMed (nih.gov)

(3)Effects of Adaptogens on the Central Nervous System and the Molecular Mechanisms Associated with Their Stress—Protective Activity (nih.gov)

(4)Raw and Wine Processed Schisandra chinensis Regulate NREM-Sleep and Alleviate Cardiovascular Dysfunction Associated with Insomnia by Modulating HPA Axis - PubMed (nih.gov)

(5)Evidence-based efficacy of adaptogens in fatigue, and molecular mechanisms related to their stress-protective activity - PubMed (nih.gov)

(6)Pharmacology of Schisandra chinensis Bail.: an overview of Russian research and uses in medicine - PubMed (nih.gov)

(7)Double-blind, placebo-controlled, randomised study of single dose effects of ADAPT-232 on cognitive functions - PubMed (nih.gov)


(8)Schisandrin B as a hormetic agent for preventing age-related neurodegenerative diseases - PubMed (nih.gov)


(9)Improvement of liver function in humans using a mixture of schisandra fruit extract and sesamin - PubMed (nih.gov)


(10)Correlation between Antistress and Hepatoprotective Effects of Schisandra Lignans Was Related with Its Antioxidative Actions in Liver Cells - PubMed (nih.gov)


(11)Phytochemical investigation of sesquiterpenes from the fruits of Schisandra chinensis and their cytotoxic activity - PubMed (nih.gov)


(12)Antiproliferative effects of dibenzocyclooctadiene lignans isolated from Schisandra chinensis in human cancer cells - PubMed (nih.gov)


(13)Deoxyschizandrin, Isolated from Schisandra Berries, Induces Cell Cycle Arrest in Ovarian Cancer Cells and Inhibits the Protumoural Activation of Tumour-Associated Macrophages (nih.gov)


(14)SCP, a polysaccharide from Schisandra chinensis, induces apoptosis in human renal cell carcinoma Caki-1 cells through mitochondrial-dependent pathway via inhibition of ERK activation - PubMed (nih.gov)


(15)Antitumor and antiangiogenic activity of Schisandra chinensis polysaccharide in a renal cell carcinoma model - PubMed (nih.gov)


(16)Protection of seven dibenzocyclooctadiene lignans from Schisandra chinensis against serum and glucose deprivation injury in SH-SY5Y cells - PubMed (nih.gov)

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