Women in China rely on Schisandra to preserve their beauty and maintain youth, and both men and women are said to benefit from its qualities as a sexual enhancer. For thousands of years it has been cherished as an anti-ageing tonic that is believed to increase stamina and mental clarity and fight against fatigue and stress. Once a favorite of Chinese emperors, Schisandra has enjoyed a reputation as one of the most effective treatments for liver disorders. Because it helps the body to respond to stressful situations and act as a mild sedative, Schisandra is even being touted as an antidepressant.
Its most popular use can be recorded in these same Asian producing countries as a widely used Male tonic and adaptogenic. Its Chinese name is wu-wei-zi, which means five taste fruit.
Most research has been conducted in China where double blind studies suggest that Schisandra has the ability to help those that suffer from Hepatitis. The lignans in the berry appear to protect the liver by stimulating cells that produce much needed antioxidants. Because of its adaptogenic properties, it has been applied next to some herbal medicines like Ginseng as a stimulator for the central nervous system, increased brain efficiency, improved reflexes, and an accelerated rate of endurance.
Schisandra Berry is considered an adaptogen, in that it normalizes body functions during stressful situations that might alter those functions, helping the body to adapt and return to an overall sense of well-being and increasing the body’s resistance to disease and stress. It is also said the Schisandra helps to energize RNA and DNA molecules to rebuild cells.
Used for centuries in Traditional Chinese Medicine TCM to remedy liver ailments, Schisandra has maintained its fine reputation as a support to strengthen the liver. It is considered a cholagogue, or substance that increases the production of bile in the liver and delivers it to the gastrointestinal tract. It is said to protect against the progression of cirrhosis into liver cancer and also protect the liver from chemical damage, particularly damage from chemicals that have to be activated by the liver to become poisonous, such as carbon tetrachloride.
Laboratory studies have demonstrated its ability to make the enzyme, glutathione peroxidase, which deactivates several kinds of toxic free radicals that attack the outer membranes of liver cells. This substance is believed to offset damage done to the liver by chronic viral hepatitis, alcohol and HIV AIDS. Schisandra contains lignin compounds that are said to lower high levels of glutamic pyruvic transaminase (GPT) in the blood, which is an indication of hepatitis.
Further support for the liver comes in the form of another constituent in Schisandra, gomison-A, which blocks the production of inflammation-inducing leukotrienes. Gomison-A helps to prevent liver inflammation and tissue destruction (without compromising the immune system’s ability to fight the underlying infection). This substance also helps to stimulate the growth of healthy liver tissue and helps to hasten recovery after liver surgery.
Schisandra is thought to balance the body’s functions and improve mental function. Active constituents help to relieve emotional and physical depression and reverse depression of the central nervous system. The herb is said to reduce fatigue and physical exhaustion, as well as improve stamina and physical performance and increase the body’s capacity to work. Moreover, it is also said to help sharpen mental ability and concentration and counter forgetfulness.
For thousands of years, Schisandra has been cherished by Chinese women (and men) to combat ageing. Women have utilized it as a tonic to preserve their beauty and maintain youthful skin, and both men and women use it as an aphrodisiac. In men it is also thought to increase sexual stamina.
Schisandra is considered a mild sedative that exerts a soothing and quieting effect on the body, and has been helpful in cases of insomnia, stress, dizziness, motion sickness, excessive sweating, headache, heart palpitations, anxiety and other problems associated with emotional stress. Furthermore, Schisandra increases the efficacy of prescription tranquilizers (Valium, Librium, etc.), allowing patients to take lower doses of these potentially addictive drugs.
Schizandra improves digestion. The increased bile flow from the liver hastens the digestion of fatty foods and improves utilization of the digested foods, which is thought to relieve many digestive-related disorders, including chronic Gastritis, heartburn and indigestion, while it provides a healthy atmosphere for clear, problem-free skin.