The medicinal power of schisandra

The schisandra is a hardy plant native to Northeast China, Korea and Japan. It likes partial shade and is mainly found on the edges of forests and rivers. It is a climbing plant that wraps itself around other trees. There are male and female schisandras. Both the berry and the seeds can be eaten. The berry tastes sweet-sour and the seeds sharp-bitter-salty. NB! This article is written from the personal view of the author and may contain information that is not scientifically substantiated and/or in line with the general view.

The super healthy schisandra berries / Source: Баранчук, Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-SA-3.0)


  • Naming schisandra
  • Schisandra in history
  • Active ingredients schisandra
  • Schisandra for body energy and sharpness of mind
  • Schisandra, good for the liver
  • Other medicinal effects of schisandra
  • Consult a herbal therapist


Naming schisandra

Botanical names are always in Latin. The botanical name for schisandra is Schisandra Chinensis . Schisandra is a combination of the words: ‘Schizo’ which means ‘sharing’ and ‘andros’ which means male. This name refers to the splitting of the anther cells of the male flower of the plant. Chinensis means ‘Chinese’ and is a reference to the origin of the plant: China. In China the plant is called ‘wu wei zi’ which means ‘five-flavoured fruit’.

Schisandra in history

The Han dynasty lasted from about two centuries BC to two centuries AD. During this time, medical books were written in China that mentioned schisandra. It was traditionally used as a herbal remedy to better manage all kinds of stress factors of a chemical, physical and psychological nature. It was also used for cough, asthma, respiratory problems, diarrhea, night sweats, thirst, weight loss, irritability, palpitations and insomnia. Moreover, it is an aphrodisiac for men and women. Today, a synthetic variant of the active substance schisandrin is used in China to combat liver problems.

Active ingredients schisandra

Only the berry and its seeds of the schisandra are used for medicinal purposes. It is harvested after the first frost and dried in the sun. The main components of the berry are the lignans schizandrin A, B and C, gamma-schizandrin, schizandrol, schizanphenol, schizantherin D, wuweizisu C, gomisine AR., pregomisine and epigomisine. The berry also contains some essential oils, the organic acids malonic acid, argolic acid and fumaric acid, the triterpene nigric acid, vitamins A, C and E and some minerals.

Schisandra for body energy and sharpness of mind

Schisandra is an adaptogen. This means that this plant increases human adaptability to chemical, physical, psychological and environmental stressors. It’s a tonic; a general tonic that supports body processes and increases both mental and physical performance. It fits perfectly into a diet during chemotherapy. There is a higher glycocene storage in the muscles, which means that more and easier work can be performed. In addition, endurance is increased. In addition, it is a strong antioxidant that captures and eliminates free radicals. The substances schisandra B and C are active for this purpose. The most important active substances in the adaptogenic field are: schisanphenol, schisandrine, vitamin E and lignans. Because of these medicinal properties, herbalists use sischandra for the following indications:

Leaf growth schisandra / Source: Doronenko, Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-2.5)

  • Fatigue, lack of energy, weakness, burnout,
  • Stress, low stress resistance, consequences of stress,
  • Reduced memory, reduced performance,
  • Depression,
  • Prevention of signs of old age,
  • Adjuvant to chemotherapy and adjuvant to radiation therapy,
  • Sports: to improve the physical performance and endurance of athletes.


Schisandra, good for the liver

Schisandra is ideally suited to support the function of the liver. In addition, it protects the liver from possible damage. The recovery of the liver cells is also promoted. If the liver is damaged by, for example, toxins, excessive use of medication or alcoholism, the liver can repair itself, provided the liver is not damaged too seriously. The self-healing capacity of the liver is increased by schisandra. Due to these medicinal properties, a herbalist can prescribe medicines based on this Chinese plant for:

Flower schisandra / Source: Kordyukov Alexander, Wikimedia Commons (CC0)

  • Hepatic insufficiency or weak liver function,
  • Hepatitis due to viral, chemical or alcoholic causes,
  • Sequences of hepatitis or liver inflammation,
  • Chronic hepatitis,
  • Consequences of excessive alcohol consumption, fatty foods and industrial contaminants in food such as pesticides,
  • Liver cirrhosis,
  • Chronic liver disease, to slow progression,
  • Food intolerance,
  • Endiometrose, better breakdown of phytoestrogens,
  • Irritable bowel syndrome, chronic diarrhea, morning diarrhea,


Other medicinal effects of schisandra

The effect on the liver and the physical and psychological supportive properties are among the primary medicinal applications of schisandra. A number of secondary medicinal properties are listed below:

  • Insomnia because it is a sedative,
  • Memory loss as it stimulates the transmission of information in the nerves,
  • Heart muscle disease and palpitations because the contractile force of the heart muscle is increased without changing blood pressure,
  • Cough and asthma because it has an antibacterial and antiviral effect, making you less likely to get sick,
  • Cancer prevention due to its antiviral properties and scientifically proven tumor-preventing effect,
  • Frigidity , reduced libido because it supports the sex drive,
  • Weak kidney function , urinary problems and kidney inflammation as it has a kidney protective effect; it regulates the excretion of fluids.


Consult a herbal therapist

Anyone who wants to use schisandra as a medicinal remedy is recommended to consult a herbal therapist. Schisandra extracts and medicines in the form of mother tinctures, powders, nebulisate, liquid extract, ointment, cream and capsules should only be used on the prescription of authorized persons. A herbal therapist can tell you more about this, as well as about possible side effects and interactions with other medicines or herbs. There are also beneficial combinations with herbs. All medicinal effects of this medicinal herb mentioned in this article are based on scientific research and come from Geert Verhelst’s Large Handbook of Medicinal Plants, a standard work in the field of healing plants. The book is used in phytotherapy.