Schisandra (Schisandra chinensis)


Schisandra Overview:

Schisandra is known commonly as the 5-Flavour berry, which draws on its use in traditional Chinese medicine. In this form of medicine, the flavour or the herb is used as an indication for its use. Schisandra has all 5 flavours, sour, bitter, salty, pungent, and umami. This has lead to schisandras classification as a tonic in traditional Chinese medicine, having many uses and finding its way into a wide range of diferent herbal formulas.

In Western Herbal Medicine, Shisandra is mainly used for its ability to upregulate liver detoxification and protective action on the liver. It's also used for lung conditions like asthma, and to improve cognitive performance.

+ Indications

  • Acute or chronic liver diseases
  • Asthma
  • Chemical liver damage
  • Chronic alcoholism
  • Chronic cough
  • Cirrhosis
  • Depression
  • Enuresis
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Frequent urination
  • Hepatitis
  • Insomnia (Sleep maintenance)
  • Metabolic Syndrome
  • Nocturnal emissions
  • Poor liver function
  • Skin conditions
  • Spermatorrhea
  • Substance Abuse
  • To improve cognitive performance
  • To improve detoxifying capacity of liver

+ Contraindications

  • Pregnancy

Herbal Actions:

  • Hepatoprotective
  • Antioxidant
  • Adaptogenic
  • Nervine tonic
  • Antitussive
  • Oxytocic
  • Female Tonic
  • Antidepressant (mild)

Main Uses:

Schisandra is mainly use to increase liver detoxification and as a hepatoprotective. They are also used to improve cognitive performance, relax smasms in the lungs such as with bronchitis or asthma.


Daily Dosage

Liquid Extract

Ratio: 1:2

3.5-8.5 mL

Weekly Dosage

Liquid Extract

Ratio: 1:2

20-50 mL


Part Used


Family Name



Southeast Asia

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Constituents of Interest

  • Schizandrins
  • Gomisins
  • Triterpenic lactones

Common Names

  • Schisandra
  • 5-Flavour Berry
  • Wu wei zu (Chinese)
  • Wuweizi (Chinese)
  • Wurenchum

Botanical Info:

The Schisandraceae family only contains 3 genera and 85 species. Before this family was created, the species under it were listed as Magnoliaceae.

Schisandra is a creeping, climbing vine, and can grow in both shaded and sunny locations.


Research Overview:

Level Of Research:


Clinical Applications Of Schisandra:

Shisandra is a reliable herb for upregulating the phase I and II detoxification pathways in the liver, and can be used as a protective agent or treatment for liver conditions like hepatitis C or fatty liver disease. It has also shown promise towards cancer, especially that of the liver.



Schisandra should be avoided during pregnancy.


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