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Schisandra

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What other names is Schisandra known by?

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.

What is Schisandra?

Schisandra is a plant. The fruit is used as food and also to make medicine.

Schisandra is used as an "adaptogen" for increasing resistance to disease and stress, increasing energy, and increasing physical performance and endurance.

Schisandra is also used for preventing early aging and increasing lifespan, normalizing blood sugar and blood pressure, stimulating the immune system, and speeding recovery after surgery.

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.
  • Diabetes.
  • High blood pressure.
  • Preventing motion sickness.
  • Preventing premature aging.
  • Other conditions.
More evidence is needed to rate schisandra for these uses.

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).


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