Schisandra chinensis is a creeping vine with small red berries native to China. It has been used in folk medicine for a long time, especially in China and Tibet. Its main active components are lignans, principally schisandrins. Lignans are fiber compounds related to lignins (indigestible part of plants and one of the principal constituents of dietary fiber) composed typically of cinnamic acid, cinnamyl alcohol, propenylbenzene, and allylbenzene precursor units. Many plant lignans show anti-cancer, anti-bacterial, anti-fungal and anti-viral properties.
- Adaptogen. The adjective is used to describe the capacity to help the organism adapt to changing circumstances, especially to physical, mental and environmental stresses. This is done mainly by beneficially modifying the organism’s response to stress, by processes not yet clearly understood.
- Liver protector. The schisandra lignans have been found to prevent liver damage, to stimulate liver repair, and to normalize liver function. These effects appear largely due to the positive influence of schisandrins on glutathione activity, and partly to general liver detoxification, thus of help in cirrhosis, hepatitis, jaundice, etc.
- Mental stimulant. Together with its stress-reducing and liver-protecting properties, schisandra has been shown to directly stimulate the nervous system, with the result of enhancing mental clarity, improving the speed of reflexes, activating poor memory, and generally raising mental responses.
Caution: Do not use during pregnancy.