When it comes to hormone health, picking key foods that have multiple benefits for balancing hormones is helpful. Schisandra berry is just such a food and may be a true anti-aging food as well.
In China it is known as a “five-flavour fruit,”
Because it contains the flavours sweet, sour, salty, bitter and pungent which, in TCM, all represent various health properties. This may also explain its unusual chai taste.
Research has confirmed that compounds found in the berries, called schisandrins, help with supporting nervous system issues, liver issues and coughs. There are 40 different phytochemical compounds in schisandra –which all contribute to all the amazing things it is credited for. This is what we should be consuming – the whole berry (or powdered berry)– if we want to get the most from it.
Benefits and Supports:
Nervous System Support
Even more specifically, with regard to supporting the nervous system, animal studies have found that schisandra can counter the stimulating effect of caffeine. Taking schisandra, while either cutting down on coffee or going cold turkey, lessens the nervous, shaky and anxious symptoms that come with withdrawal. It also helps keep the blood sugar stable and lessens the severity of the headache that always accompanies caffeine withdrawal.
It further supports the nervous system by supporting the adrenals. It is a known adrenal adaptogen, making it a perfect food for the body during times of stress.
As for the liver, schisandra can protect it from toxic substances in a similar manner to milk thistle, the most well-known liver protective herb. It may be helpful in the recovery from hepatitis and acts as an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory to help protect the liver. Schisandra has also been shown to help in the treatment of liver disease, including hepatitis, and poor liver function. Animal studies suggest schisandra may protect the liver from toxic damage, improve liver function, and stimulate liver cell regrowth. These findings led to its use in human trials for treating hepatitis. In a Chinese study of 189 people with hepatitis B, those given schisandra reportedly improved more rapidly than those given vitamins and liver extracts.
Digestively, it may be helpful for proper peristalsis (gastric muscle contractions), stress-induced gastric ulcers and regulating stomach acid. It can also help with diarrhoea.
But for many of us, the number one benefit for schisandra may be the research that states it has anti-aging properties. This would include the fact that it has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory abilities, two important elements in preventing age-associated issues. Studies have also shown it may help with age-related memory loss, and act as a tonic for the heart. It can supply us with more energy, help with depression and help support the immune system.
And finally, one of the main reasons I use schisandra in my hormone and skin clients, it may help our appearance by giving us a clearer complexion, improved skin elasticity and diminished the appearance of scars or wrinkles. Does it get any better than that?
Getting a good source of the product may be difficult. You can find loose berries in health food or Asian food stores. These can be ground in a coffee grinder and added to a smoothie or made into a tea.
We stock the powder at our Marcoola clinic as we find it versatile to quickly pop a tsp in a smoothie, add to muffins, or tea. Click the photo to purchase your Schisandra Berry Powder >>>
This is one of our favourite recipes using Schisandra Berry Powder included in our Skin & Hormone Essentials Programs.
Hancke, J., et al. “Reduction of serum hepatic transaminases and CPK in sport horses with poor performance treated with a standardized Schisandra chinensis fruit extract.” Phytomedicine 1996, 3 (3):237–240.
Ip, S. P., et al. “Effect of a lignan-enriched extract of Schisandra chinensis on aflatoxin B1 and cadmium chloride-induced hepatotoxicity in rats.” Pharmacology and Toxicology 1996, 78 (6):413–416.
Ko, K. M., et al. “Effect of a lignan-enriched fructus Schisandra extract on hepatic glutathione status in rats: Protection against carbon tetrachloride toxicity.” Planta Medica 1995, 61 (2): 134–137.
Lu, H., and G. T. Liu. “Anti-oxidant activity of dibenzocyclooctene lignans isolated from Schisandraceae.”Planta Medica 1992, 58 (4):311–313.
Nishiyama, N., Y. L. Wang, and H. Saito. “Beneficial effects of S-113m, a novel herbal prescription, on learning impairment model in mice.” Biological Pharmaceutical Bulletin 1995, 18 (11):1498–1503. Song, W. Z., and P. G. Xiao. “Medicinal plants of Chinese Schisandraceae and their lignan components.” Chinese Traditional and Herbal Drugs 1982, 13 (1):40–48.