Schisandra (Schisandra chinensis), also spelled schizandra, is a vining shrub native to northern and northeast China, as well as areas of Korea and Russia.
Schisandra berries are called wu wei zi in Chinese, translated as "five-flavor fruit," based on their salty, sweet, sour, pungent, and bitter flavors. The dried fruit is formed into powder, tinctures, and wine, and used in capsules and teas either as a single ingredient or in a combination herbal product.
The berries of schisandra have been used in traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) to increase the body's resistance to stress, for liver protection, immune system effects, and as a "harmonizing agent" in herbal formulas. In Russia it has been used for increasing attention, concentration, coordination, endurance, and strength.
Acetylursolic acid, andrographolide, anti-HBeAg lignan, bac ngu vi tu (Vietnamese), BDD, bei wu wei zi (Chinese), bei wu zi, beiwuweizi, benzoylisogomisin O, beta-sitosterol, C(18) dibenzocyclooctadiene lignan derivatives, C19 homolignans, catechin, chicanine, chindranda berry, Chinese magnolia vine, Chinesischer limonenbaum (German), chosen-gomischi (Japanese), cycloartane skeleton, daucosterol, deoxyschisandrin, deoxyschizandrin, dibenzocyclooctene lignans, dihytroxyursolic acid eklikit, eklikit gomisi, Equiguard™, ESP-102, five-flavor-fruit, five-flavor-seed, fructus schisandrae sphenantherae, fructus schizandrae, gamma-schisandrin, gamma-schizandrin, ganwuweizic acid, geranylgeranoic acid, gomishi (Japanese), gomisi, gomisin, hoku-gomishi, ImmunoGuard®, interiotherin A, Japanese-manchurian endemite, kadsumarin A, kita-gomishi, lancifodilactone G, lancifodilactones B-E, lanostane triterpenoids, lignan-enriched extract of schisandra fruit, lignans, limonnik kitajskij (Russian), m mei gee (Cantonese), magnolia vine, matsbouza (Japanese), micrandilactone, micranoic acid, monoterpenes, nanwuweizi, ngu mei gee, nigranoic acid, nitrophenolic glycosides, norcycloartane skeleton, norschiartane, north wuweizi, northern schisandra, northern schizandra, nortriterpenoids, octanortriterpenoids, omicha (Korean), pregomisin, S-113m, SC-Ex, schiarisanrin, schiartane, schisanartane, schisandra fruit, schisandra berry, Schisandra chinensis Bail., Schisandra chinensis Baill., Schisandra chinensis baillon, Schisandra chinensis (Turcz.) Bail., Schisandra chinensis (Turcz.) Baill., Schisandra glaucescens, Schisandra henryi, Schisandra incarnata, Schisandra incarnate, Schisandra lancifolia, Schisandra micrantha, Schisandra propinqua, Schisandra rubriflora, Schisandra rubrifolia, Schisandra rubriflora Rhed et Wils, Schisandra sphenanthera Rehd. et Wils, Schisandra viridis, Schisandraceae (family), schisandrae, Schisandrae fructus, schisandrin, schisandrol, schisandronic acid, schisanhenol, schisanlactone, schizandra, Schizandra arisanensis, Schizandra arisanensis Hayata, Schizandra chinensis Bail., Schizandra chinensis Baill., Schizandra chinensis baillon, Schizandra chinensis (Turcz.) Bail., Schizandra chinensis (Turcz.) Baill., Schizandra nigra Max., schizandrae, Schizandrae fructus, schizandrin, sesquiterpenes, sheng mai san, sheng-mai-san, shengmai san, shengmaisan, shengmaiye, sheng mai yin, sheng-mai-yin, shengmai yin, shengmaiyin, shisandra, slyceryl 26-hydroxyhexacosanoate, slyceryl hexacosanoate, southern schisandra, TJN-101, triterpenoid acids, triterpenoids, ursolic acid, vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin E, wei zi (Chinese), western schisandra, wurenchun, wu wei zi (Chinese), wu-wei-zi (Chinese), wu xiwuweizi (Chinese), wuweizi (Chinese), wuweizisu (Chinese), xiwuweizi (Chinese).
These uses have been tested in humans or animals. Safety and effectiveness have not always been proven. Some of these conditions are potentially serious, and should be evaluated by a qualified healthcare provider.
Schisandra is believed to strengthen nonspecific resistance of the body to various stressors. At this time however, only limited, poorly designed study has been conducted to study these effects. High quality study is needed to make a conclusion.
Results from limited study using schisandra in combination with other herbs for eczema, suggested a potential benefit. Further study using schisandra alone is required before conclusions can be drawn.
Familial Mediterranean Fever (FMF)
There is currently a lack of sufficient evidence to determine if schisandra is an effective treatment for familial Mediterranean fever (FMF). Results from limited study using schisandra in combination with other herbs for this condition suggested a potential benefit. Further study is required before conclusions can be drawn.
Although not well studied in humans, schisandra has been suggested as a liver protective agent. Several components of schisandra have strong antioxidant activity, which may enhance liver enzyme systems and regenerate liver tissue. Many studies, however, have evaluated purified constituents, such as schisandrin C. Additional research is needed in this area.
In limited available study, visual acuity was improved following use of schisandra. Additional research is needed in this area.