Top 7 Benefits Of The Ancient Schisandra Berry
Doesn’t it seem like every year a new super berry rocks your Pinterest feed?
While they might seem “new” to us in the western hemisphere, berries like Aronia, acai, and goji have existed for centuries. Schisandra is one of such mysterious berries.
Ancient Chinese medicine used the antioxidant-packed Schisandra berry, or Schisandra chinesis, for treating countless ailments – but isn’t that what “they” say about all these berries?
Let’s take a look at the researched and documented Schisandra berry benefits, potential side effects, and how to incorporate the berry into your supplement stack.
What is Schisandra Berry?
Schisandra goes by a few aliases including “Chinese magnolia vine” and “Wu Wei Zi” which translates to “five-flavor fruit.” As you can imagine, the name refers to the five-flavors of Schisandra: sour, bitter, sweet, acidic, and salty, which correspond to the five elements in Chinese medicine.
Traditional Chinese medicine classified Wu Wei Zi as a harmonizing substance due to its balanced energy from the five key elements. The berry’s medicinal benefits come from compounds called lignans, which are studied for their anti-cancer properties and numerous health benefits. (1)
While can call Schisandra a superfood fruit, you probably don’t want to eat it. You can purchase the dried berries if you’d like to try them, however Schisandra is commonly found in powders and capsules as well.
7 Incredible Benefits of Schisandra Berry
The benefits of Schisandra come from a handful of substances such as lignans and bioactive Schisandrins.
These, along with other antioxidants, support a broad range of bodily systems and organs including the liver, hormones, mental health, and more.
1. Liver Function
High-fat, high-salt, and high-sugar processed foods might taste like heaven, but they cause long-term damage to your liver. (2)
Studies have found successful results using Schisandra for treating both chronic and acute liver damage from conditions like hepatitis, cirrhosis, and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease.
The power comes from one of the berry’s antioxidants, Schisandrin C, which reduces toxic fatty acids as well as inflammation in the liver.
2. Adrenal Function and Stress
Schisandra is an adaptogen, which means it helps your body protect itself against physical and mental stress by supporting proper endocrine functions. Stress is inevitable, but stress-induced adrenal fatigue and cortisol overload can cause plenty of uncomfortable and dangerous physical symptoms.
One study gave Schisandra to rats for one week before subjecting the rats to strenuous exercise. (2) The that the rats who consumed Schisandra showed significantly lower cortisol and blood sugar levels than the rats who did not take the berry.
3. Menopause and Hormones
You can’t run from menopause, but you can use natural solutions to ease painful symptoms. One double-blind, placebo-controlled study found that women who took Schisandra berry for six weeks reported a significant reduction in their overall menopause symptoms including hot flashes, heart palpitations, and sweating.
Multiple studies on mice concluded that Schisandra produced an antidepressant effect. (3) According to the research, the berry is particularly beneficial for stress-induced (high cortisol) depression.
Indigenous Russian populations loved Schisandra for the clean energy and mental clarity it offers. Unlike caffeine, Schisandra provides non-stimulating energy and focus thanks to its adaptogenic and antioxidant qualities.
A few recent studies have looked at Schisandra’s neuroprotective and anti-inflammatory properties for treating degenerative conditions like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.
Patients with Alzheimer’s suffer from a build-up of amyloid plaque, which damages nerve cells in the brain. In fact, one study reported that Schisandra blocked the creation of specific peptides that are responsible for forming amyloid plaque. (4)
Another study highlighted the anti-inflammatory properties of Schisandra berry for protecting against neural inflammation and Parkinson’s disease. (5)
Schisandra’s specific antioxidants give it powerful anti-inflammatory properties that can help in all areas of the body from your liver to your brain.
One study found that isolated compounds in Schisandra stopped the growth of ovarian cancer cells. (6) Ovarian cancer is notoriously difficult to slow down or treat.
The berry isn’t a miracle cure for cancer, but it can help encourage healthy cell production and fight free radical damage.
Schisandra berry makes an excellent addition to your skincare regimen because not only does it contain antioxidants, but it’s an adaptogen. These properties can protect your skin against environmental stress, pollution, sun damage, allergies, extreme temperatures, and much more.
One study noted that the berry’s anti-inflammatory properties made it beneficial for reducing symptoms of dermatitis and swelling. Anyone with inflamed skin from acne or stress could likely benefit from including Schisandra in their morning routine. (7)
Always do a small patch test to check for potential allergies or reactions when using a new skincare product.
Schisandra Berry Side Effects
In general, Schisandra is safe and doesn’t appear to cause any long-term damage to the liver or kidneys with regular use.
However, anyone taking liver medications, Warfarin, or Tacrolimus should probably not take Schisandra.
Loss of appetite while taking Schisandra is fairly common.
Always stick within your recommended dosage to avoid minor side effects like heartburn. If you have ulcers or acid reflux issues, check with your doctor or practitioner before starting Schisandra.
Since this berry acts on the central nervous system, those with epilepsy should avoid taking it.
Pregnant or breastfeeding women should avoid Schisandra berry since it hasn’t been studied to guarantee safety.
Schisandra Berry Stacks
Since it contains so many antioxidants and potent healing compounds,
Schisandra is powerful on its own. You can still stack it with the following herbs and supplements to boost your overall wellness potential.
- Caffeine: Gives your central nervous system an extra boost.
- Ashwagandha: Helps moderate cortisol, sex hormones, and blood sugar levels.
- Rhodiola: Increases energy and reduce stress.
- Lion’s mane: A potent mushroom that improves focus and mental clarity.
The Bottom Line
Thanks to its safety, Schisandra berry is an excellent substance to add to your supplement or skincare routine. From liver function and hormones to mental health, this berry has plenty of benefits backed by science.