The schizandra herb is highly prized by Chinese women as a
sexual enhancer and youth tonic. Schizandra is believed to preserve beauty and to be a
mild sedative. Schizandra is also reputed to be tonic for men. Until recently coveted by
the wealthy, and a favorite among the Chinese emperors, Schizandra is also considered an
adaptogen and, similar to ginseng, it is believed to increase stamina and fight against
Schizandra (Schizandra chinensis) of the family
Schizandraceae is a creeping vine with small red berries that is native to Northern China.
In ancient China, Schizandra was used as a staple food for hunting and gathering tribes.
As a traditional medicinal herb, Schizandra, called Wu-wei-tzu in China, has been used as
an astringent for a treatment for dry cough, asthma, night sweats, nocturnal seminal
emissions and chronic diarrhea. It is also used as a tonic for the treatment of
During the early 1980's Chinese doctors began researching Schizandra, based on its
potential for liver-protective effects and the nature of its active constituents.
Schizandra is now a recognized "adaptogen," capable of increasing the body's
In Asia, the schizandra adaptogenic property is said to stimulate immune defenses, balance
body function, normalize body systems, help surgery recovery, protect against radiation,
optimize energy in times of stress, increase stamina, protect against motion sickness,
normalize blood sugar, blood pressure, and high cholesterol, shield against infection,
improve the health of the adrenals, energize RNA-DNA molecules to rebuild cells and
produce energy comparable to that of a young athlete.
Studies conducted on Schizandra effects have noted that it has a stimulating effect in low
doses, but this effect disappeared with larger doses. The compounds thought responsible
for the liver-protective effects of Schizandra are lignans composed of two
phenylpropanoid. More than 30 of these have been isolated in Schizandra and some 22 of
which were tested in 1984 by the Japanese scientist H. Hikino for their ability to reduce
the cytotoxic effects of carbon tetrachloride and galactosamine on cultured rat liver
Western herbalists commonly recommend Schizandra for the lungs, liver and kidneys, and to
help with depression due to adrenergic exhaustion. In Russia, Schizandra is used to treat
eye fatigue and increase acuity.