Using Schisandra Berry to
Reduce Stress

Schisandra berry, officially known as schisandra chinensis, is not yet well know in the United States. But the schisandra fruit, also known as wu wei zi (five flavor fruit), has been used in traditional Chinese medicine for centuries.

The Chinese have traditionally used schisandra as a whole body nourishing tonic which has all five tastes and supports all five "elements". To the Chinese way of thinking that means it supports the overall health and functioning of many key biological systems. To the western way of thinking, this often means the herb or botanical helps to make us more resilient to stress.

Schisandra berry health benefits are traditionally said to include better functioning of the:

  • immune system
  • reproductive system
  • central nervous system
  • respiratory system
  • digestive system
  • liver
  • kidneys
  • skin
  • eyes
  • mental functioning and memory recall
  • emotional functioning
  • ability to sleep well
  • increased physical stamina
  • increased capacity for work

That is quite a list of schisandra fruit health benefits to come from some small red berries.

Schisandra Chinesis Helps Reduce Stress

Young Green Schisandra LeavesYoung Green Schisandra Leaves

Schisandra fruit is also acknowledged in western herbal literature as being of particular benefit to supporting a healthy non specific response to stress. Schisandra fruit is often classified as an adaptogen.

In general, herbs and plants which are classified as adaptogens are safe and beneficial to many people because they help to bring balance to our body's systems. Adaptogens generally modulate extremes of functioning into a more healthy range.

For example, because of this balancing quality schisandra can be used both to increase mental clarity and energy in the morning and to promote deep restful sleep at night.

Adaptogens generally help our bodies adapt in many challenging situations so that they are not experienced as being so stressful or difficult.

Schisandra Berry Dosage

Schisandra berries are often used as a tea, as an extract or as a capsule or powder. In their book Adaptogens - Herbs for Strength, Stamina, and Stress Relief David Winston and Steve Maimes suggest the following schisandra dosages:

  • If using schisandra extract or tincture (1:5) you might take 40 - 80 drops three times per day,
  • If you wish to make a schisandra berry tea you might start with 1 - 2 teaspoons of dried berries. Add them to 8 to 10 ounces of water and simmer for 5-10 minutes and then allow the liquid to steep for another 20 to 30 minutes. You can generally enjoy up to 4 ounces of this liquid up to 3 times per day.
  • If using schisandra capsules they suggest you take one or two capsules containing 400 - 500 mg two or three times per day.

In traditional Chinese medicine schisandra chinensis is usually prescribed by a competent herbalist as part of a formula with other complimentary herbs. It is not usually used by itself.

Safety Concerns and Schisandra Berry Side Effects

Schisandra is not recommended for pregnant women. Schisandra is considered a tonic herb which is not recommended for people experiencing acute infections such as colds or flu etc. People with high blood pressure or seizure disorders should consult with their physician before using schisandra. Occasionally some people may experience side effects of digestive upset, drowsiness, or skin rash.

Schisandra may interact with some medications. Please consult with a qualified health care practitioner about the suitability of this herb for your particular health situation.

There are many other herbs and adaptogens which can assist us with herbal stress relief. Many of the adaptogens are of greatest value when used as part of a balanced adaptogen formula.

But stress relief herbs are just one of the many natural ways to relieve stress in our lives.

For an overview of more natural stress relief tips visit
Gentle Stress Relief home page.

Sources:

Winston, David and Maimes, Steven. 2007. Adaptogens Herbs for Strength, Stamina, and Stress Relief. Rochester, Vermont: Healing Arts Press

Scalzo, Richard and Cruz, Omar. Traditional Medicines from the Earth. 2002-2007. Brevard, North Carolina: Herbal Research Publications

"GENERIC NAME: SCHISANDRA (Schisandra sp.)- ORAL." http://www.medicinenet.com/schisandra_schisandra_sp_oral/article.htm

"Boost Your Moods - Schisandra (phytoadaptoagens)." http://www.naturalelixir.com/schisandra.html