Schisandra: The Original Adaptogen
During World War II, Russian scientists searched for ways to make the Allied military more effective. They looked to the Nanai people, an indigenous group that lived around Mongolia, Siberia and Northern China. Nanai hunters ate small red berries to decrease hunger and thirst, improve stamina, enhance night vision and decrease exhaustion.
These were schisandra fruits. Russian scientists analyzed their properties and several decades of research later, adaptogens are now in mainstream scientific study, schisandra included.
Schisandra can increase focus, relieve stress and increase calm energy, making it an ideal ingredient in our Calm and Collected stress-relief drink mix.
Why We Love Schisandra Fruit
- We’re big fans of adaptogens, and we have schisandra to thank for its huge role in adaptogen research. Read more about how adaptogens can help women over 40.
- Schisandra is also a nervine, which means that it works on your nervous system to clear brain fog and increase calm.
Fine-Tunes Your Focus - One of schisandra’s superpowers is that it can help maintain mental clarity, even when you’re under a lot of stress. Schisandra can help decrease mental and physical fatigue, which makes it especially helpful for women facing burn out or brain fog. In fact, double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trials found that schisandra may improve cognitive function in chronically stressed women after just one dose.
Women’s Stress Relief - Chinese folklore says that schisandra fruit can “calm the heart and quiet the spirit,” which is exactly what we’re aiming for in women’s stress supplements like Calm & Collected. Schisandra is shown to reduce stress and improve mood, and several studies have even found that it can decrease symptoms of stress-induced depression. It’s just another reason to love adaptogens.
Balanced Energy Levels - Schisandra can help you have more energy during the day and an easier time winding down to sleep at night. Now, some people find the claim that schisandra can boost energy and also increase calm confusing, so let’s talk about it.
It ties back to stress relief. You know how when you get really worked up you get a huge rush of adrenaline and even frantic energy that collapses into fatigue? This is a function of your autonomic nervous system going into fight or flight, then needing to recharge. And it can be exhausting. Schisandra and other adaptogens even out your stress response so you don’t go into high alert, then crash afterwards. This means that you feel more evenly energized during the day and more relaxed at night. Try it out yourself with our Calm & Collected drink mix.
We already mentioned how Nanai hunters have used schisandra fruit to sharpen their senses, stifle hunger and thirst and decrease fatigue.
Just a little south of the Nanai homeland, practitioners of Traditional Chinese Medicine called schisandra five flavor berry (wu wei zi) because of the fruit’s complex flavor that is simultaneously sour, bitter, sweet, salty and pungent. In Traditional Chinese Medicine, schisandra is used for:
- Stomach pain
- Liver health
- Lung support
About the Plant:
Schisandra is native to northern and northeastern China, and is also cultivated widely in Korea. The plant has white flowers in the spring that become clusters of red, shiny berries, climbing vines and broad green leaves.
On top of its uses as a food and in energy and mood supplements, schisandra is sometimes given to racehorses to enhance their performance and recovery.
You may see schisandra referred to as 5 flavor berry, chinese magnolia vine, wu wei zi, gomishi or omija.
Found In (Wile Products)
- Calm & Collected stress relief drink mix
Things to Know about Schisandra:
Schisandra is non-toxic. In fact, all adaptogens have to be in order to be classified as adaptogens!
Still, it’s always good to check in with your doctor before starting new herbal formulas. This is especially important if you have epilepsy, gastrointestinal reflux or are pregnant or breastfeeding.
- Aslanyan, Garry, Elmira Amroyan, E. Gabrielyan, M. Nylander, G. Wikman, and Alexander Panossian. “Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled, Randomised Study of Single Dose Effects of ADAPT-232 on Cognitive Functions.” Phytomedicine 17, no. 7 (June 1, 2010): 494–99. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.phymed.2010.02.005.
- Ekiert, Halina, and Robert Ekiert. “Current Knowledge of Schisandra Chinensis (Turcz.) Baill. (Chinese Magnolia Vine) as a Medicinal Plant Species: A Review on the Bioactive Components, Pharmacological Properties, Analytical and Biotechnological Studies.” Phytochemistry Reviews 16, no. 2 (April 1, 2017): 195–218. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11101-016-9470-4.
- Panossian, Alexander, and G. Wikman. “Effects of Adaptogens on the Central Nervous System and the Molecular Mechanisms Associated with Their Stress—Protective Activity.” Pharmaceuticals 3, no. 1 (January 19, 2010): 188–224. https://doi.org/10.3390/ph3010188.
- Panossian, Alexander, and G. Wikman. “Pharmacology of Schisandra Chinensis Bail.: An Overview of Russian Research and Uses in Medicine.” Journal of Ethnopharmacology 118, no. 2 (July 23, 2008): 183–212. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jep.2008.04.020.
- Bokelmann, Jean Marie. Medicinal Herbs in Primary Care, 2021.
- Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. “Schisandra,” June 3, 2022. https://www.mskcc.org/cancer-care/integrative-medicine/herbs/schisandra.
- Mountain Rose Herbs. “Schisandra Berries,” n.d. https://mountainroseherbs.com/schisandra-berries.
- “Schisandra - American Botanical Council,” n.d. https://www.herbalgram.org/resources/herbalgram/issues/106/table-of-contents/hg106-herbpro-schisandra/.
- Web MD. “SCHISANDRA: Overview, Uses, Side Effects, Precautions, Interactions, Dosing and Reviews,” n.d. https://www.webmd.com/vitamins/ai/ingredientmono-376/schisandra.
- Whelan, Corey. “Schisandra.” Healthline, September 18, 2018. https://www.healthline.com/health/schisandra.
This article is intended for informational purposes and is not intended to replace a one-on-one medical consultation with a professional. Wile, Inc researches and shares information and advice from our own research and advisors. We encourage every woman to research, ask questions and speak to a trusted health care professional to make her own best decisions.