- What other names is Schisandra known by?
- What is Schisandra?
- How does Schisandra work?
- Are there safety concerns?
- Are there any interactions with medications?
- Dosing considerations for Schisandra.
Bac Ngu Vi Tu, Baie de Schisandra, Beiwuweizi, Bei Wu Wei Zi, Chinese Mongolavine, Chinese Schizandra, Chinesischer Limonenbaum, Chosen-Gomischi, Five-Flavor-Fruit, Five-Flavor-Seed, Fructus Schisandrae, Fructus Schisandrae Chinensis, Fruit aux Cinq Saveurs, Gomishi, Hoku-Gomishi, Kadsura chinensis, Kita-Gomishi, Limonnik Kitajskij, Mei Gee, Magnolia Vine, Matsbouza, Nanwuweizi, Ngu Mei Gee, Northern Schisandra, Omicha, Schisandra Berry, Schisandra chinensis, Schisandra chinensis var. rubriflora, Schisandra Sinensis, Schisandra sphaerandra, Schisandra sphenanthera, Schisandrae, Schizandra, Schizandra Chinensis, Schizandre Fructus, Schzandra, Southern Schisandra, Wuhzi, Wuweizi, Wu-Wei-Zi, Western Schisandra, Xiwuweizi.
Schisandra is a plant. The fruit is used as food and also to make medicine.
It is also used for treating liver disease (hepatitis) and protecting the liver from poisons. The Chinese have developed a liver-protecting drug called DBD that is made from schizandrin, one of the chemicals in schisandra.
Other uses for schisandra include treatment of high cholesterol, pneumonia, coughs, asthma, sleep problems (insomnia), tiredness and irritability associated with emotional disturbance (neurasthenia), premenstrual syndrome (PMS), chronic diarrhea, dysentery, night sweats, spontaneous sweating, involuntary discharge of semen, thirst, erectile dysfunction (ED), physical exhaustion, excessive urination, depression, irritability, and memory loss. It is also used in children to reduce the frequency and severity of attacks of fever associated with an inherited disease called familial Mediterranean fever.
Some people use schisandra for improving vision ad muscular activity, protecting against radiation, preventing motion sickness, preventing infection, boosting energy at the cellular level, and improving the health of the adrenal glands. Schisandra fruit is eaten as a food.
Possibly Effective for...
- Mental performance. Taking schisandra fruit extract by mouth seems to improve concentration. Also, taking a specific product (ADAPT-232 by Swedish Herbal Institute), which contains schisandra, rhodiola, and Siberian ginseng, improves attention and speed of thinking.
- Liver disease (hepatitis). Taking schisandra fruit extract by mouth reduces blood levels of an enzyme called glutamic-pyruvic transaminase (SGPT) in people with hepatitis. SGPT level is a marker for liver damage. A higher SGPT level means more damage; a lower SGPT means less damage.
Insufficient Evidence to Rate Effectiveness for...
- Exercise performance. Taking schisandra fruit extract by mouth seems to improve coordination and endurance.
- Inherited fever disorder (Familial Mediterranean fever). Early research suggests that taking a combination product (ImmunoGuard by Inspired Nutritionals) containing andrographis, Siberian ginseng, schisandra, and licorice reduces the severity and frequency of familial Mediterranean fever attacks in children.
- Nearsightedness. Early research suggests that applying a solution of schisandra to the eye for 20-24 days can improve vision in some children with nearsightedness. However, schisandra does not improve vision in children with progressive nearsightedness.
- Pneumonia. Early research suggests that taking a combination of rhodiola, schisandra, and Siberian ginseng (ADAPT-232 CHI San by Swedish Herbal Institute) twice daily for 10-15 days reduces the need for antibiotics and improves quality of life in people with pneumonia when taken along with standard care.
- Toxicity due to the drug tacrolimus. Early research suggests that taking a specific schisandra extract (Hezheng Pharmaceutical Company, Chengdu, China) along with the immunosuppressant medication tacrolimus decreases some side effects of the medication in people with a liver transplant.
- High blood pressure.
- Preventing motion sickness.
- Preventing premature aging.
- Other conditions.
The chemicals in schisandra improve liver function by stimulating enzymes (proteins that speed up biochemical reactions) in the liver and promoting liver cell growth. Chemicals in schisandra may also help the body have more energy, resulting in improved endurance and coordination.
Special Precautions & Warnings:Pregnancy and breast-feeding: Schisandra is POSSIBLY UNSAFE when taken by mouth during pregnancy. There is some evidence that it might cause the uterus to contract, and this might lead to miscarriage. Do not use schisandra during pregnancy. There is not enough reliable information about the safety of taking schisandra during breast-feeding. Stay on the safe side and avoid use.
Epilepsy: At least one expert warns against using schisandra if you have epilepsy. The reason for this warning is not clear, but it may be due to a concern that schisandra could possibly stimulate the central nervous system.
Gastroesophageal reflex disease (GERD) or peptic ulcers: Schisandra might make these conditions worse by increasing stomach acid.
Medications changed by the liver (Cytochrome P450 2C9 (CYP2C9) substrates)Interaction Rating: Moderate Be cautious with this combination.Talk with your health provider.
Some medications are changed and broken down by the liver. Schisandra might increase how quickly the liver breaks down some medications. Taking schisandra along with medications that are broken down by the liver might decrease the effects of these medications. Before taking schisandra, talk to your healthcare provider if you are taking any medications that are changed by the liver.
Some medications changed by the liver include celecoxib (Celebrex), diclofenac (Voltaren), fluvastatin (Lescol), glipizide (Glucotrol), ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin), irbesartan (Avapro), losartan (Cozaar), phenytoin (Dilantin), piroxicam (Feldene), tamoxifen (Nolvadex), tolbutamide (Tolinase), torsemide (Demadex), and warfarin (Coumadin).
Medications changed by the liver (Cytochrome P450 3A4 (CYP3A4) substrates)Interaction Rating: Moderate Be cautious with this combination.Talk with your health provider.
Some medications are changed and broken down by the liver. Schisandra might change how the liver breaks down some medications. Taking schisandra along with some medications that are broken down by the liver might increase or decrease the effects of these medications. Before taking schisandra, talk to your healthcare provider if you are taking any medications that are changed by the liver.
Some medications changed by the liver include lovastatin (Mevacor), clarithromycin (Biaxin), cyclosporine (Neoral, Sandimmune), diltiazem (Cardizem), estrogens, indinavir (Crixivan), triazolam (Halcion), and many others.
MidazolamInteraction Rating: Moderate Be cautious with this combination.Talk with your health provider.
The body breaks down midazolam to get rid of it. Schisandra might decrease how quickly the body breaks down midazolam. Taking schisandra along with midazolam might increase the effects and side effects of midazolam. However, it is not known if this is a big concern. Talk with your healthcare provider if you are taking midazolam.
PhenobarbitalInteraction Rating: Moderate Be cautious with this combination.Talk with your health provider.
Taking schisandra along with phenobarbital might increase the effects and side effects of phenobarbital. Be cautious with this combination.
Tacrolimus (Prograf)Interaction Rating: Moderate Be cautious with this combination.Talk with your health provider.
Schisandra might increase how much tacrolimus (Prograf) is absorbed from the gut. Taking schisandra along with tacrolimus might increase the effects and side effects of tacrolimus. However, it is not known if this is a big concern. Although increased absorption of any medication sometimes increases Taking schisandra along with tacrolimus (Prograf) might increase its the effects and side effects, In fact, some research suggests that of tacrolimus (Prograf)schisandra does not appear to increase side effects associated with tacrolimus (Prograf) and may even decrease side effects like diarrhea and anxiety. Until more is known, be cautious with this combination. However, tTThe dose of your tacrolimus (Prograf) will likelymay might need to be changed if it is taken with schisandra.
TalinololInteraction Rating: Moderate Be cautious with this combination.Talk with your health provider.
Schisandra might increase how much talinolol the body absorbs. Taking schisandra while taking talinolol might increase the effects and side effects of talinolol.
Warfarin (Coumadin)Interaction Rating: Moderate Be cautious with this combination.Talk with your health provider.
Warfarin (Coumadin) is used to slow blood clotting. The body breaks down warfarin (Coumadin) to get rid of it. Schisandra might increase the breakdown and decrease the effectiveness of warfarin (Coumadin). Decreasing the effectiveness of warfarin (Coumadin) might increase the risk of clotting. Be sure to have your blood checked regularly. The dose of your warfarin (Coumadin) might need to be changed.
The following doses have been studied in scientific research:
- For hepatitis: Schisandra extract standardized to 20 mg lignan content (equivalent to 1.5 grams crude schisandra) given daily.
- For improving mental performance: 500 mg to 2 grams of schisandra extract daily or 1.5-6 grams of crude schisandra daily has been used. Also, 5-15 grams daily of a boiled tea made from crude schisandra has also been used. A specific combination product (ADAPT-232 by Swedish Herbal Institute) containing a 270 mg mixture of rhodiola, schisandra, and Siberian ginseng has been taken as a single dose.
Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database rates effectiveness based on scientific evidence according to the following scale: Effective, Likely Effective, Possibly Effective, Possibly Ineffective, Likely Ineffective, and Insufficient Evidence to Rate (detailed description of each of the ratings).
Report Problems to the Food and Drug Administration
You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit the FDA MedWatch website or call 1-800-FDA-1088.
Health Solutions From Our Sponsors
Ahumada F, Hermosilla J, Hola R, and et al. Studies on the effect of
Akbar, N., Tahir, R. A., Santoso, W. D., Soemarno, Sumaryono, Noer, H. M., and Liu, G. Effectiveness of the analogue of natural Schisandrin C (HpPro) in treatment of liver diseases: an experience in Indonesian patients. Chin Med J (Engl.) 1998;111(3):248-251. View abstract.
Bao TT, Liu GT, Xu GF, and et al. [Studies on Fructus shizandrae: its effect on the increase of serum transaminase (SGPT) induced by chemicals]. Natl Med J China 1974;54:275-278.
Bol'shakova, I. V., Lozovskaia, E. L., and Sapezhinskii, I. I. [Photosensitizing and photoprotective properties of extracts from groups of medicinal plants]. Biofizika 1997;42(4):926-932. View abstract.
Chen, J. and Tian, G. [Ecological investigation on Schisandra chinensis (Turcz.) Baill. of the Changbai Mountain]. Zhongguo Zhong.Yao Za Zhi. 1992;17(4):204-5, 255. View abstract.
Chiu, P. Y., Leung, H. Y., Poon, M. K., and Ko, K. M. Chronic schisandrin B treatment improves mitochondrial antioxidant status and tissue heat shock protein production in various tissues of young adult and middle-aged rats. Biogerontology. 2006;7(4):199-210. View abstract.
Chiu, P. Y., Tang, M. H., Mak, D. H., Poon, M. K., and Ko, K. M. Hepatoprotective mechanism of schisandrin B: role of mitochondrial glutathione antioxidant status and heat shock proteins. Free Radic.Biol.Med 8-15-2003;35(4):368-380. View abstract.
Huang, L., Chen, L., and Zhang, Z. [Pathological observations of Fructus Schisandrae polysaccharide on anti-tumor effects in S180-bearing mice]. Zhong.Yao Cai. 2004;27(3):202-203. View abstract.
Huang, T., Shen, P., and Shen, Y. Preparative separation and purification of deoxyschisandrin and gamma-schisandrin from Schisandra chinensis (Turcz.) Baill by high-speed counter-current chromatography. J Chromatogr.A 2-25-2005;1066(1-2):239-242. View abstract.
Huang, X., Song, F., Liu, Z., and Liu, S. Studies on lignan constituents from Schisandra chinensis (Turcz.) Baill. fruits using high-performance liquid chromatography/electrospray ionization multiple-stage tandem mass spectrometry. J Mass Spectrom. 2007;42(9):1148-1161. View abstract.
Ip, S. P., Che, C. T., Kong, Y. C., and Ko, K. M. Effects of schisandrin B pretreatment on tumor necrosis factor-alpha induced apoptosis and Hsp70 expression in mouse liver. Cell Stress.Chaperones. 2001;6(1):44-48. View abstract.
Ko, K. M., Ip, S. P., Poon, M. K., Wu, S. S., Che, C. T., Ng, K. H., and Kong, Y. C. Effect of a lignan-enriched fructus schisandrae extract on hepatic glutathione status in rats: protection against carbon tetrachloride toxicity. Planta Med 1995;61(2):134-137. View abstract.
Ko, K. M., Mak, D. H., Li, P. C., Poon, M. K., and Ip, S. P. Enhancement of hepatic glutathione regeneration capacity by a lignan-enriched extract of fructus schisandrae in rats. Jpn.J Pharmacol. 1995;69(4):439-442. View abstract.
Kubo, S., Ohkura, Y., Mizoguchi, Y., Matsui-Yuasa, I., Otani, S., Morisawa, S., Kinoshita, H., Takeda, S., Aburada, M., and Hosoya, E. Effect of Gomisin A (TJN-101) on liver regeneration. Planta Med 1992;58(6):489-492. View abstract.
Kvasnickova, L., Glatz, Z., Sterbova, H., Kahle, V., Slanina, J., and Musil, P. Application of capillary electrochromatography using macroporous polyacrylamide columns for the analysis of lignans from seeds of Schisandra chinensis. J Chromatogr.A 5-4-2001;916(1-2):265-271. View abstract.
Li, R. T., Han, Q. B., Zheng, Y. T., Wang, R. R., Yang, L. M., Lu, Y., Sang, S. Q., Zheng, Q. T., Zhao, Q. S., and Sun, H. D. Structure and anti-HIV activity of micrandilactones B and C, new nortriterpenoids possessing a unique skeleton from Schisandra micrantha. Chem.Commun.(Camb.) 7-14-2005;(23):2936-2938. View abstract.
Liu, K. T. and Lesca, P. Pharmacological properties of Dibenzo[a,c]cyclooctene derivatives isolated from Fructus Schizandrae Chinensis III. Inhibitory effects on carbon tetrachloride-induced lipid peroxidation, metabolism and covalent binding of carbon tetrachloride to lipids. Chem Biol Interact. 7-15-1982;41(1):39-47. View abstract.
Lu, Y. and Chen, D. F. Analysis of Schisandra chinensis and Schisandra sphenanthera. J Chromatogr.A 9-26-2008; View abstract.
Luo W and Wu C. Fifty-six cases of stubborn eczema treated by oral administration and topical application of herbal medicine. JTCM 2001;21(4):259-260.
Matsuzaki, Y., Ishibashi, E., Koguchi, S., Wakui, Y., Takeda, S., Aburada, M., and Oyama, T. [Determination of gomisin A (TJN-101) and its metabolite in rat serum by gas chromatography-mass spectrometry]. Yakugaku Zasshi 1991;111(10):617-620. View abstract.
Matsuzaki, Y., Matsuzaki, T., Takeda, S., Koguchi, S., Ikeya, Y., Mitsuhashi, H., Sasaki, H., Aburada, M., Hosoya, E., and Oyama, T. [Studies on the metabolic fate of gomisin A (TJN-101). I. Absorption in rats]. Yakugaku Zasshi 1991;111(9):524-530. View abstract.
Melhem, A., Stern, M., Shibolet, O., Israeli, E., Ackerman, Z., Pappo, O., Hemed, N., Rowe, M., Ohana, H., Zabrecky, G., Cohen, R., and Ilan, Y. Treatment of chronic hepatitis C virus infection via antioxidants: results of a phase I clinical trial. J Clin.Gastroenterol. 2005;39(8):737-742. View abstract.
Minejeva KD, v, and dyukova ZP. The treatment of myopia in children using Schizandra chinensis. Materials of 3rd Joint Scientific Conference on the Treatment-Prophylactic Institutions, Moscow, Russia:Pediatric Outpatient Clinic No.5 1968;167-170.
Narimanian, M., Badalyan, M., Panosyan, V., Gabrielyan, E., Panossian, A., Wikman, G., and Wagner, H. Impact of Chisan (ADAPT-232) on the quality-of-life and its efficacy as an adjuvant in the treatment of acute non-specific pneumonia. Phytomedicine 2005;12(10):723-729. View abstract.
Niu, X. Y., Bian, Z. J., and Ren, Z. H. [Metabolic fate of schizandrol A and its distribution in the rat brain determined by thin layer chromatography]. Yao Xue.Xue.Bao. 1983;18(7):491-495. View abstract.
Nomura, M., Ohtaki, Y., Hida, T., Aizawa, T., Wakita, H., and Miyamoto, K. Inhibition of early 3-methyl-4-dimethylaminoazobenzene-induced hepatocarcinogenesis by gomisin A in rats. Anticancer Res 1994;14(5A):1967-1971. View abstract.
Ohtaki, Y., Nomura, M., Hida, T., Miyamoto, K., Kanitani, M., Aizawa, T., and Aburada, M. Inhibition by gomisin A, a lignan compound, of hepatocarcinogenesis by 3'-methyl-4-dimethylaminoazobenzene in rats. Biol Pharm.Bull. 1994;17(6):808-814. View abstract.
Ono, H., Matsuzaki, Y., Wakui, Y., Takeda, S., Ikeya, Y., Amagaya, S., and Maruno, M. Determination of schizandrin in human plasma by gas chromatography-mass spectrometry. J Chromatogr.B Biomed.Appl. 12-15-1995;674(2):293-297. View abstract.
Panossian, A. G., Oganessian, A. S., Ambartsumian, M., Gabrielian, E. S., Wagner, H., and Wikman, G. Effects of heavy physical exercise and adaptogens on nitric oxide content in human saliva. Phytomedicine. 1999;6(1):17-26. View abstract.
Shidoji, Y. and Ogawa, H. Natural occurrence of cancer-preventive geranylgeranoic acid in medicinal herbs. J Lipid Res 2004;45(6):1092-1103. View abstract.
Song, W. [Quality of Schisandra incarnata Stapf]. Zhongguo Zhong.Yao Za Zhi. 1991;16(4):204-6, 253. View abstract.
Volicer L, Janku I, and Motl O. The mode of action of Schizandra chinesis. Pharmacology of Oriental Plants. New York: Pergamon Press Books, Macmillan Company;1965.
Xiao, W. L., Zhu, H. J., Shen, Y. H., Li, R. T., Li, S. H., Sun, H. D., Zheng, Y. T., Wang, R. R., Lu, Y., Wang, C., and Zheng, Q. T. Lancifodilactone G: a unique nortriterpenoid isolated from Schisandra lancifolia and its anti-HIV activity. Org.Lett. 5-26-2005;7(11):2145-2148. View abstract.
Yasukawa, K., Ikeya, Y., Mitsuhashi, H., Iwasaki, M., Aburada, M., Nakagawa, S., Takeuchi, M., and Takido, M. Gomisin A inhibits tumor promotion by 12-O-tetradecanoylphorbol-13- acetate in two-stage carcinogenesis in mouse skin. Oncology 1992;49(1):68-71. View abstract.
Amaryan G, Astvatsatryan V, Gabrielyan E, et al. Double-blind, placebo-controlled, randomized, pilot clinical trial of ImmunoGuard--a standardized fixed combination of Andrographis paniculata Nees, with Eleutherococcus senticosus Maxim, Schizandra chinensis Bail. and Glycyrrhiza glabra L. extracts in patients with Familial Mediterranean Fever. Phytomedicine 2003;10:271-85. View abstract.
Aslanyan G, Amroyan E, Gabrielyan E, et al. Double-blind, placebo-controlled, randomised study of single dose effects of ADAPT-232 on cognitive functions. Phytomedicine 2010;17:494-9. View abstract.
Azizov, A. P. and Seifulla, R. D. [The effect of elton, leveton, fitoton and adapton on the work capacity of experimental animals]. Eksp Klin Farmakol 1998;61(3):61-63. View abstract.
Fan L, Mao XQ, Tao GY, Wang G, Jiang F, Chen Y, Li Q, Zhang W, Lei HP, Hu DL, Huang YF, Wang D, Zhou HH. Effect of Schisandra chinensis extract and Ginkgo biloba extract on the pharmacokinetics of talinolol in healthy volunteers. Xenobiotica. 2009 Mar;39(3):249-54. View abstract.
Fetrow CW, Avila JR. Professional's Handbook of Complementary & Alternative Medicines. 1st ed. Springhouse, PA: Springhouse Corp., 1999.
Iwata H, Tezuka Y, Kadota S, et al. Identification and characterization of potent CYP3A4 inhibitors in Schisandra fruit extract. Drug Metab Dispos 2004;32:1351-8. View abstract.
Jiang W, Wang X, Xu X, Kong L. Effect of Schisandra sphenanthera extract on the concentration of tacrolimus in the blood of liver transplant patients. Int J Clin Pharmacol Ther. 2010 Mar;48(3):224-9. View abstract.
Lee IS, Jung KY, Oh SR, et al. Structure-activity relationships of lignans from Schisandra chinensis as platelet activating antagonists. Biol Pharm Bull 1999;22:265-7. View abstract.
Makino, T., Mizuno, F., and Mizukami, H. Does a kampo medicine containing schisandra fruit affect pharmacokinetics of nifedipine like grapefruit juice? Biol.Pharm.Bull. 2006;29(10):2065-2069. View abstract.
Mu Y, Zhang J, Zhang S, et al. Traditional Chinese medicines Wu Wei Zi (Schisandra chinensis Baill) and Gan Cao (Glycyrrhiza uralensis Fisch) activate pregnane X receptor and increase warfarin clearance in rats. J Pharmacol Exp Ther 2006;316:1369-77. View abstract.
Panossian A, Wikman G. Pharmacology of Schisandra chinensis Bail.: an overview of Russian research and uses in medicine. J Ethnopharmacol. 2008 Jul 23;118(2):183-212. View abstract.
Qiao ZS, Wu H, Su ZW. [Comparison with the pharmacological actions of Morinda officinalis, Damnacanthus officinarum and Schisandra propinqua]. Chung Hsi I Chieh Ho Tsa Chih 1991;11:390,415-7. View abstract.
Qin XL, Bi HC, Wang XD, et al. Mechanistic understanding of the different effects of Wuhzi Tablet (Schisandra sphenanthera extract) on the absorption and first-pass intestinal and hepatic metabolism of tacrolimus (FK506). Int J Pharm 2009;389:114-21. View abstract.
Sun HD, Qiu SX, Lin LZ, et al. Nigranoic acid, a triterpenoid from Schisandra sphaerandra that inhibits HIV-1 reverse transcriptase. J Nat Prod 1996;59:525-7. View abstract.
Upton R, ed. Schisandra Berry: Analytical, quality control, and therapeutic monograph. Santa Cruz, CA: American Herbal Pharmacopoeia 1999;1-25.
Xin HW, Wu XC, Li Q, et al. Effects of Schisandra sphenanthera extract on the pharmacokinetics of tacrolimus in healthy volunteers. Br J Clin Pharmacol 2007;64:469-75. View abstract.
Xin HW, Wu XC, Li Q, Yu AR, Xiong L. Effects of Schisandra sphenanthera extract on the pharmacokinetics of midazolam in healthy volunteers. Br J Clin Pharmacol. 2009 May;67(5):541-6. View abstract.
Young C, Oladipo O, Frasier S, et al. Hemorrhagic stroke in young healthy male following use of sports supplement Jack3d. Mil Med 2012;177(12):1450-4. View abstract.