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Schisandra chinensis

Schisandra chinensis                           Common name: Schisandra, Wu Wei Zi

Family: Schisandraceae

Part used: Fruit (berries)

Constituents: Lignans (schizadrin, gomisin, deoxyschizandrin and pregomisin), phytosterols (beta-sitosterols, stigmasterol), volatile oils, nutrients (Vit C, E)

Medicinal actions: General tonic/stimulant/restorative, nervous system tonic, mild anti-depressant, anti-stress, adaptogen, adrenal tonic, regulator of blood glucose & mucosal secretions, antioxidant, astringent, anti-tussive, lung tonic, regulates blood pressure, anti-cholesterol, hepatoprotective, oxytocic

Medical uses: Of great use as a general hepatoprotector, antioxidant and adaptogen by increase the nervous reflex response. Promotes vitality and increases memory and cognitive functions while providing resistance to stress. Will tone and strengthen the immune system to increase physical performance and endurance and promotes recovery after surgery. Will enhance athlete’s performance and improve liver detoxification and functions.


  • Lignans (schizadrin, gomisin, deoxyschizandrin and pregomisin) are hepatoprotective and immunomodulating. Appear to protect the liver by activating liver enzymes that produce glutathione.
  • Lignans also interfere with platelet activating factor, a chemical that promotes inflammation in a number of conditions.

Pharmacy: Powder: 250mg TID. Infusion: 2 tsp/cup, TID. Tincture: (1:2, 45%), 5-10ml QD.

Contraindications: Avoid in fever.

Toxicity: High doses may cause mild GIT disturbances (reduces appetite, heartburn, nausea, indigestion, headaches, skin rash).

Interactions:  Theoretically can interfere with metabolism of many drugs due to effect of liver and gastric secretions.



  • A placebo controlled double-blind study in athletes using standardized extracts of schizandra showed an increase in the concentration of nitric oxide and cortisol in blood plasma and saliva similar to athletes with heavy physical exercise. The results correlate with an increased physical performance in athletes taking adaptogens vs. athletes taking placebo

Panossian AG, Oganessian AS, Ambartusmian M, et al.  Effects of heavy physical exercise and adaptogens on nitric oxide content in human saliva. Phytomedicine 1999;6(1):17-26.


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