Schisandra Berry – An All in One Tonic, The Five Flavor Fruit Contains All Three Treasures, Nurtures the 5 Elements and Enters All 12 Meridians…aka It Does A Lot!
Schisandra berries, often also spelled schizandra and known in China as Wu Wei Zi, are referred to as the five flavor fruit. It combines all five flavors, salty, sweet, sour, pungent and bitter in one food which is like nothing else on the planet. As taste reflects functionality, just that alone showcases the magical properties of this herb.
We’re happy to announce the highest quality, organic and USA grown Schisandra berry powder available on the market! Compare American-grown to most Chinese Schisandra which is heavily oxidized…
The Ancient Lore of Schisandra
The Divine Farmer’s Classic of the Materia Medica (Shen Nong Ben Cao Jing) lists Schisandra as among the superior herbs, saying that it would “prolong the years of life without aging.”*
As a top anti-aging herb in Chinese medicine, Schisandra chinensis is said to enter into every meridian channel in the body, once again a quite unique claim to fame.*
It works on the five elements: water, wood, fire, earth, and metal supporting a wide range of the body’s systems, though is most known for supporting the liver, brain, kidneys, and lungs.*
And it contains all three treasures; jing, qi, and shen making this one herb a formula unto itself.
Schisandra Benefits According to Science
Before we dive in I should mention that a few human trials have been done. Of these, they appear to be Russian research from the 50’s and 60’s (behind the Iron Curtain) on its adaptogen effects.
Most of the other research comes out of China and primarily focuses on in vivo, using small animals or in vitro, that is within cell cultures.
Much of the research has looked at the many components within Schisandra berries and the benefits of each. Thus, let’s start off with what is inside Schisandra…
Schisandra Lignans, Polysaccharides and More
There are a large number of compounds found within Schisandra berry powder.
One of the most important groups is the lignans (more specifically the dibenzocyclooctadiene lignans).1 These include:
- Gomisin A
- Schisandrin A-C
- Schisantherin A and B
- Schisanchinins A–D
- Schineolignans A–C
- Schinlignins A and B
Many of these go by different names. For instance, Gomisin A has also been listed in the literature as Schisandrol B, Schizandrol B, Wuweizisu B and more. Studies find that Schisandra extract ranges from being 4% to 19% made up of these lignans.
- Triterpenoids including schisanartanins A and B, wuweizilactone acid and wuweizidilactone I.
- Roughly 3% essential oil, which includes ylangene, β-himachalene, α-bergamotene, β-chamigrene and more.
- Polysaccharides of many types.
- Cyanidin-3-O-xylosyl-rutinoside which is thought to give the color.
- Polyphenols include chlorogenic, p-coumaric, p-hydroxybenzoic, protocatechuic, salicylic and syringic acids, gentisic acid.
- Flavonoids include hyperoside, isoquercitrin, rutin and quercetin.
- Phytosterols include stigmasterol and beta-sitosterol.
- Vitamins C and E
- Minerals including calcium, magnesium, iron, manganese, boron, zinc, chromium, nickel, copper, and cobalt.
Yes, there’s a lot to this complex fruit, which is why it has so many effects.
Schisandra’s Liver Protective Abilities
The various lignans affect the liver in different ways.
- Gomisin A has been shown to increase liver cells and blood flow to and from the liver.1*
- γ-schisandrin works by increasing the concentration of mitochondrial glutathione, the body’s master antioxidant, as well as raising the concentration of vitamin C in the liver.1*
- Schisandrin B helped to protect against oxidative damage to liver tissues.1,2*
Various compounds within Schisandra extract work to support both Phase 1 and Phase 2 liver detox.1-4* In these phases, the liver converts toxic chemicals into less toxic versions and readies them to be removed from the body.
Part of the protective benefits come through anti-oxidation such as SOD (superoxide dismutase).5*
Schisandra a Real Physical and Mental Adaptogen
The word adaptogen gets thrown around a lot. But Schisandra is one of the few plants that has been studied and shown to fit the original definition of the word, which means something that is generally non-toxic, produces a nonspecific resistance to stress on the cellular level and causes a normalizing effect on body systems.* Other herbs that fit this definition are ginseng, American ginseng, rhodiola rosea and eleuthero.
Schisandra’s benefits as an adaptogen include:
- Increasing physical working capacity.1,6,7*
- A “Stress-Protective” effect that works against heat shock, skin burn, cooling, frostbite, immobilization, swimming under load, aseptic inflammation, irradiation and heavy metal intoxication.6*
- Adaptation across central nervous, sympathetic, endocrine, immune, respiratory, cardiovascular, gastrointestinal systems.6*
- Increasing endurance.1,6*
- Increasing the accuracy of movement.6*
- Lowering Cortisol, the “stress hormone”.6*
It’s often thought that adaptogens help you physically. But they help you mentally just as well. This includes:
- Increasing mental working capacity.6,7*
- Increasing alertness and concentration.1*
- Improving memory and learning.1*
- It’s even been said to benefit night vision.*
Specifically, Schisandra’s lignans “are now considered protectants against neuronal cell death and cognitive impairment…In addition, the activity of polysaccharides contained in the fruits of S. chinensis is also studied in this respect. It has been shown that they, too, play an important role by raising the level of neurotransmitters in the central nervous system.”1*
Schizandrin C was shown to protect neurons from inflammation.3*
Extracts of Schisandra were shown to protect the brain of mice with amyloid-plaques.8* Schizandrin helped to restore memory in the mice to run a maze.9*
Schisandra and Immunomodulation
There are also a number of effects on the immune system.
A polysaccharide in Schisandra, SCPP11, has been shown to have immunomodulating properties.10* Furthermore, this increased activity in the thymus gland (where your immune cells are “trained”) and enhanced the activity of phagocytes.10*
Gomisin A significantly slowed cell proliferation in the presence of tumor necrosis factor-α (TNF-α).1,2*
Both deoxyschisandrin and gomisin N induce apoptosis, that is programmed cell death which keeps unhealthy cells in check. 1*
Schisandra and Skin Health
Schisandra has long been renown in China, especially by women, for its anti-aging and beauty benefits, specifically, for improving skin condition.* It can be used both internally and externally for this.
This appears to be primarily due to its antioxidant and inflammation-modulating properties.* Traditionally, it’s been said to tone, moisturize, heal wounds and narrow dilated blood vessels.* It helps to strengthen the protective barrier of the skin and soothe any irritations.11*
The liver is a huge part of detox. Toxins are released and eliminated through the skin. Therefore, when the liver is functioning properly, the skin will naturally clear up.
There was even an “anti-obesity effect” found in rats, by inhibiting fat cell creation.12*
Highest Quality Schisandra Available…
Every year between August 15th and September 15th in the Massachusetts Connecticut river valley, the floral fragrance of Schisandra berries fills the air with its intoxicating aroma as folks harvest (by hand) this herbal treasure of the North East United States. Our Schisandra is grown on an organic farm in this valley in the State of Massachusetts.
The incredibly nutrient-rich soil at the Schisandra farm is one of the reasons our Schisandra has such a potent effect and a vibrant energy to it. Better soil always produces a healthier, happier plant which in turn, creates the potential for the plants healing properties to be fully expressed.
Early in the morning, farm hands start the picking process, filling pails full of Schisandra berries that have been allowed to mature to peak ripeness. These berries are then hauled to an outdoor washing area where they are cleaned using ultrapure well water (this water has been tested for chemicals and has been found to be extremely pure with only 40ppm total dissolved solids) and sifted by hand in order to remove any debris.
After the berries have been thoroughly washed, they are then put into food grade 5-gallon buckets which are immediately shipped and put into a deep freeze state at -5 degrees below 0.
This locks in the freshness and preserves many of the beneficial qualities that are often lost if the berries are left out for extended periods of time or wrapped up in plastic bags and shipped long distances in the heat and humidity in other regions of the world.
The last stage is that we ship the frozen berries to be freeze-dried into its final powdered form.
Freeze-drying is the absolute best way to remove water from the plant material without damaging the nutrients, which results in better flavor and a more colorful appearance. This freeze-drying method naturally concentrates the levels to approximately a 5:1 and makes all the valuable nutrients in the seed material bio-available and absorbable. It also helps lock in the natural color, energetic signatures, and the unique flavor of Schisandra.
Most of the Schisandra berries and powders available on the market are heavily oxidized. This is because the berries do not handle transportation and storage so well in their raw state. While it may still be good, it doesn’t contain all the power that fresh Schisandra berries can deliver.
This process from the nutrient-rich soil to the freeze-drying process yields a Schisandra powder that is unmatched in potency and vibrancy.
Listen to our podcast all about Schisandra with Brandon Amalani.
Take the 100 Day Schisandra Challenge
Ron Teeguarden, a premiere tonic herbalist in the West, said that when he first was introduced to the herbs, his teacher told him to take Schisandra for 100 days straight without fail to transform his life. Schizandra was also the favorite herb of this teacher, Taoist Grand Master Sung Jin Park.
Simply take 1/4 teaspoon (approximately 1 gram) mixed in water or other liquids for 100 days and enjoy all the many wonderful benefits of this single herb. (Note: It doesn’t require 100 days of consumption to feel the benefits.)
30-gram bag = 30 quarter teaspoon doses.
For more intensive dosage use one-quarter to one-half a teaspoon twice a day. (2 to 4 grams total.)
Try taking Schisandra straight, stirring it into hot water for tea, or mixing it into various shakes or smoothies.
It takes five pounds of berries to create one pound of this powerfully concentrated powder and to preserves all five flavors.
Schisandra should not be used while pregnant, as historically it was used to induce labor. It is also not recommended to use while breastfeeding.
Avoid taking Schisandra when you have a common cold or flu because it has astringent properties that can hold moisture in the body.
Schisandra can be combined with any other herbs.
Watch out for oxidation. Please keep your Schisandra in the package and away from air, light, and heat as much as possible to preserve its freshness.