Latin names: Fructus schisandrae, Schisandra chinensis
Chinese name: wu wei zi
Other name: five-flavored seed, schisandra fruit
What are Schizandra Berries?
Schizandra has long been prized by Asian cultures for its ability to prolong youth, increase stamina and prevent fatigue. It is a small, bright red, berry-like fruit on a vine of the magnolia family. Schizandra is native to China as well as parts of Japan, Korea, and Russia. The Chinese have long considered schizandra ideal for helping with lack of energy and nervous exhaustion from stress. Schizandra has also traditionally been taken to beautify the skin, strengthen sexual organs, and promote mental function.
What are the health benefits of Schizandra Berries?
Schizandra fruits, or berries, contain various lignans—also found in food such as broccoli and flaxseed—compounds that stimulate the immune system, fight cancer cells, protect and regenerate the liver, and increase the body’s ability to handle stress. Schizandra is an herb that adapts to the body’s needs, stimulating it in one situation and sedating it in other circumstances. Other parts of schizandra, such as its essential oil, acids, vitamins, and minerals, may contribute to the herb’s tonic effects by increasing the cells’ ability to create and use energy, as well as to process wastes or deliver more oxygen to the body’s cells.
Schizandra is certainly a dynamic little berry. It helps in digestion and regulating stomach acid release. Studies have shown schizandra’s ability to quicken reflexes, relieve fatigue, increase work efficiency, control anger and improve headaches, insomnia, dizziness, and palpitations. It also has the ability to promote mental function, improve memory, and benefit learning. Schizandra is antibacterial. In addition, schizandra is used to treat the common cold, asthma, cough, sore throat, hepatitis, allergic skin reactions and chronic diarrhea.
How do I prepare Schizandra Berries to get the health benefits?
Schizandra should be crushed before cooking. For a single tea, use 30 grams of schizandra per half gallon of water. Soak in water for several hours to reduce tannins, then pour out water, and add fresh water to cook. Schizandra can be soaked in wine for weeks to be used as a tonic. For use to improve liver functioning it must not be cooked, but rather soaked in warm water—less than 60 degrees F°.
Are there any precautions for taking Schizandra Berries?
Eating too much schizandra may cause heartburn. The berries should be shiny, fairly hard, and not too shriveled. They can get moldy easily, and if so, throw them out.
Where can I find Schizandra Berries?
Schizandra can be found in health foods or vitamin stores, online, and at the offices of Chinese medical practitioners.
You can find this herb combined with other herbs in the Traditions of Tao formulas:
Allergy Tamer, which provides temporary relief from nasal congestion, sneezing, itchiness, and watery eyes.
Enduring Youth, which reduces the effects of a stressful lifestyle and enhances stamina and reproductive health.
Heart, which supports heart health and heart function.
Summer Tea, which is helpful for replenishing energy and fluid drained by the summer heat.
Super Clarity, which helps promote blood flow and nourish the heart and brain.
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