Schizandra (also known by names Wu wei zi, Chinese mock-braberry and lemonwood) is a vine plant that has its origins in East Asia. This herb has been used in traditional Chinese medicine for thousands of years for both its adaptogenic properties and as a restorative remedy for immune boosting. It is also considered to be one of the best mind tonics to be used for sharpening concentration, improving memory and increasing alertness.
The Schizandra berry or fruit has five flavors; sour, bitter, sweet, acrid and salty. (The name Wu wei zi translates as “five flavour fruit”.) The Schizandra fruit is used both as food and as medicine. Schizandra is one of the most popular adaptogenic herbs in China and its use has recently spread trough Russia to Western Europe and USA. Commonly Schizandra products are used to beautify the skin, strengthen the sex organs and promote mental function. Schizandra can also bring relief to respiratory conditions such as asthma and coughing, resist infections, increase energy and physical performance, normalize blood pressure, protect liver and even combat insomnia.
Schizandra is rich in minerals, vitamins and essential oils, but the real adaptogenic power of Schizandra is claimed to be due to various phytochemicals found in Schizandra, including gomisins, schizandrins, lignans and beta-sitosterols. The lignans are believed to have stimulating effect on immune system and also claimed to activate enzymes that produce gluthatione. Gluthatione on the other hand is a powerful antioxidant that can protect cells from free radicals and other toxins. Gomisins found in Schizandra can both protect and cause cell regeneration.
Schizandra is one of the adaptogenic herbs that you may want to try when you are trying to avoid getting sick during cold season or when you are already sick and trying to get rid of a cold. With Schizandra you can enhance your immune system and lower your stress levels, both factors that have huge impact on your general health and wellbeing. When sick with common cold Schizandra can bring relief to respiratory problems such as cough, but also increase your energy levels and bring needed antioxidants and vitamins into your system.
Schizandra is available in various forms, at least as tablets, capsules, extracts, powders, seed oil and tea. You may also stumble upon wine made from Schizandra fruits. Naturally you can also grow your own Schizandra Chinensis plant if you find a source for seedlings or have patience to grow the plant from seeds.
It is not recommended to use Schizandra if you are pregnant or nursing.