Schisandra (Schisandra chinensis)

Botanical Name Schisandra chinensis
Family: Schisandraceae
Genus: Schisandra
Kingdom: Plantae
Division: Magnoliophyta
Class: Magnoliopsida
Order: Austrobaileyales
Parts Used: fruit

Common Name : Schisandra , Magnolia vine, wu-wei-zi, Schizandra

Habitat:It is native to East Asia.  Northern China and the Russian Far East. It is hardy in USDA Zone 4.

Etymology:
Its Chinese name comes from the fact that its berries possess all five basic flavors: salty, sweet, sour, pungent (spicy), and bitter. Sometimes it is more specifically called b?i w? wèi zi ((Chinese); literally “northern five flavor berry”) to distinguish it from another traditionally medicinal schisandraceous plant Kadsura japonica that grows only in subtropical areas.

Description:
Schisandra (Magnolia Vine) is a genus of shrub commonly grown in gardens. It is a hardy deciduous climber which thrives in virtually any soil; its preferred position is on a sheltered shady wall. It may be propagated by taking cuttings of half-matured shoots in August. Species include S. chinensis, S. glaucescens, S. rubriflora and S. rubrifolia.
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The species itself is dioecious, thus flowers on a female plant will only produce fruit when fertilized with pollen from a male plant. However, there is a hybrid selection titled “Eastern Prince” which has perfect flowers and is self-fertile.

Over 19 species of the genus are said to be used in Chinese medicine, mostly as sedatives and tonic agents.

Cultivation:
The plant likes some shade with moist, well-drained soil.  Gardeners should beware that seedlings of “Eastern Prince” are sometimes sold under the same name but are typically single-sex plants..

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Constituents
:- lignans: schizandrin, deoxyschizandrin, gomisins, and pregomisin

Uses
General uses
:-
Its berries are used in traditional Chinese medicine, where it is considered one of the 50 fundamental herbs. They are most often used in dried form, and boiled to make a tea. Medicinally it is used as a tonic and restorative adaptogen with notable clinically documented liver protecting effects. The primary hepatoprotective (liver protecting) and immuno-modulating constituents are the lignans schizandrin, deoxyschizandrin, gomisins, and pregomisin, which are found in the seeds of the fruit. It should not be used by pregnant women.

China
In China, a wine is made from the berries….

Korea

In Korean the berries are known as omija (hangul: ), and the tea made from the berries is called omija cha (hangul:); see Korean tea…

Japan

In Japanese, they are called gomishi (Japanese:).

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Russia
In 1998, Russia released a postage stamp depicting S. chinensis.photo (Russian: )


Medicinal Uses:

Common Uses: Chronic Fatigue * Cough * General Health Tonics * Liver *

Properties:
Adaptogens* Antitussive* Hypoglycemic* Vasodilator* Antibacterial*

Its dried fruit is used medicinally. The berries of S. chinensis are given the name wu wei zi in Chinese ( pinyin: w? wèi zi), which translates as “five flavor fruit” because they possess all five basic flavors in Chinese herbal medicine: salty, sweet, sour, pungent (spicy), and bitter. In traditional Chinese medicine it is used as a remedy for many ailments: to resist infections, increase skin health, and combat insomnia, coughing, and thirst.

Schisandra may also aid in the treatment of Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) when combined with wormwood, ginger, buplerum, and Codonopsis pilosula. However, there is insufficient evidence to support this claim at this time.

Primary traditional uses of Schisandra include the treatment of nervous conditions, coughs, and liver conditions. Laboratory experiments and clinical experience suggests that Schisandra may help to improve brain efficiency, increase work capacity, and build strength…Schisandra is believed to have an adaptongenic function, increases non-resistant immune response, reduces tiredness and sleeplessness, and may help enhance vision.

Modern Chinese research suggests that schisandra and other lignans have a protective effect on the liver and an immunomodulating effect. Two human trials in China (one double-blind and the other preliminary) have shown that schisandra may help people with chronic viral hepatitis reports Liu KT from Studies on fructus Schizandre cinensis. Schisandra lignans appear to protect the liver by activating the enzymes that produce glutathione.

Recently, the extract of S. rubriflora, a native of the Yunnan province, was found to contain complex and highly oxygenated nortriterpenoids. The discoverers named those molecules Rubriflorins A-C.

Use in traditional Chinese medicine
In traditional Chinese medicine, Schisandra chinensis (known as wu wei zi (Chinese:)) is believed to:

1.Astringe Lung Qi and nourish the Kidneys
2.Restrain the essence and stop Diarrhea–astringent Kidneys
3.Arrest excessive sweating from Yin or Yang deficiency
4.Calm the Spirit by tonification of Heart and Kidney
5.Generate body fluids and alleviate thirst

Side Effects
:Schisandra’s side effects are very uncommon, but may include decreased appetite, skin rash, and abdominal upset.

Research :
Studies regarding the properties and use of schisandra have mainly concentrated on lignans that have a distinct liver protection (anti-hepatotoxic) exploits. So far, as many as 30 various kinds of lignans have been recognized in schisandra that produce such results. Scientific investigations since 1972 have revealed that schisandra is very useful while treating liver disorders and one research has shown that remedies containing the herb are highly successful, as high as 76 percent, in healing hepatitis. And the best part of it is that the herb has no adverse actions on the human system. The herb is also proved to be an excellent remedy for arousing the nervous system. It is found to have an active role in enhancing nervous reactions as well as perking up cerebral lucidity. Berries containing lignans are also beneficial in healing gloominess and help to overcome bad temper, depression, and lack of memory. In addition, schisandra is also useful for women as it kindles the uterus and reinforces periodic tightening. According to studies, like ginseng, schisandra is also beneficial for the body to be accustomed to pressure and tension as it has adaptogenic properties.

Disclaimer:The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplements, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.

Resources:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Schisandra_chinensis
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Schisandra
http://www.anniesremedy.com/herb_detail314.php
http://www.herbs2000.com/herbs/herbs_schisandra.htm

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