The berries of Schizandra chinensis have a long history of use for many different purposes including to fight infections andsickness and increase energy. Schizandra is known to be an adaptogen, helping the body adapt to physical and mental stress. Many adaptogens including Schizandra chinensis also have an immediate stimulating effect on the body and mind.
Current research supports the use of Schizandra chinensis for many purposes. Schizandra chinensis has been shown to increase mental and physical work capacity, aid in detoxification of the liver, and boost immune system function. Animal studies have shown that Schizandra chinensis has anti-stress effects and can lower cortisol in stressful situations, an effect that is likely to translate to human use. One possible issue with this herb is that it may have some weak phytoestrogenic activity, resulting in estrogenic effects in the user. This effect is probably not very significant, and Schizandra chinensis is still a beneficial supplement for sports and general health purposes.
Schizandra chinensis is included in a wide variety of supplements, including adaptogenic blends, supplements for adrenal health, stress, liver health, and some sports supplements. Schizandra chinensis may also be purchased by itself as an extract or more commonly as the whole herb.
1. Lee S, Kim DH, Jung JW, Oh JH, Park HJ, Park C, Huh Y, Cheong JH, Oh TH, & Ryu JH. (2007). Schizandra chinensis and Scutellaria baicalensis counter stress behaviors in mice. Phytotherapy Research : PTR. 21(12), 1187-92.
2. Chang HF, Lin YH, Chu CC, Wu SJ, Tsai YH, & Chao JC. (2007). Protective effects of Ginkgo biloba, Panax ginseng, and Schizandra chinensis extract on liver injury in rats. The American Journal of Chinese Medicine. 35(6), 995-1009.
3. Lee YJ, Cho JY, Kim JH, Park WK, Kim DK, & Rhyu MR. (2004). Extracts from Schizandra chinensis fruit activate estrogen receptors: a possible clue to its effects on nitric oxide-mediated vasorelaxation. Biological & Pharmaceutical Bulletin. 27(7), 1066-9.
4. Lee S, Kim DH, Jung JW, Oh JH, Park HJ, Park C, Huh Y, Cheong JH, Oh TH, & Ryu JH. (2007). Schizandra chinensis and Scutellaria baicalensis counter stress behaviors in mice. Phytotherapy Research : PTR. 21(12), 1187-92.
5. Hendrich S, & Bjeldanes LF. (1986). Effects of dietary Schizandra chinensis, brussels sprouts and Illicium verum extracts on carcinogen metabolism systems in mouse liver. Food and Chemical Toxicology : an International Journal Published for the British Industrial Biological Research Association. 24(9), 903-12.
6. Panossian A, & Wagner H. (2005). Stimulating effect of adaptogens: an overview with particular reference to their efficacy following single dose administration. Phytotherapy Research : PTR. 19(10), 819-38.
7. Panossian AG, Oganessian AS, Ambartsumian M, Gabrielian ES, Wagner H, & Wikman G. (1999). Effects of heavy physical exercise and adaptogens on nitric oxide content in human saliva. Phytomedicine : International Journal of Phytotherapy and Phytopharmacology. 6(1), 17-26.
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