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Schisandra Berry

Close up of Schisandra Berry

What is Schisandra Berry?

Schisandra Berry (wu wei zi, 五味子), also known as Fructus Schisandrae, Magnolia Berry or Chinese Magnoliavine Fruit, refers to the ripe fruits of Schisandra chinensis (Turcz.) Baill or Schisandra sphenanthera Rend. et Wills, which are plants belonging to the Magnoliaceae family. The former is better known as ‘North schizandra’, and the latter is better known as ‘South schizandra’. The latter is believed to have stronger medicinal properties than the former.

With a Chinese name that means ‘five-flavoured berry’, Schisandra Berry has a sweet, sour and salty peel and flesh, as well as an acrid and bitter pit. Used very frequently in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), Schisandra Berry is recognised as one of the 50 fundamental Chinese herbs.

Schisandra Berry is red or purplish red in colour, and it has a wrinkled and oily surface. Collected during fall when the fruits are ripe, Schisandra Berry are then dried under the sun for medicinal usage. 

In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), Schisandra Berry falls under the category of ‘Herbs that stabilize and bind’. Such herbs can treat abnormal discharges and displacement of organs, which include conditions such as diarrhoea, abnormal discharges from the vagina, penis or rectum, as well as prolapse of the uterus or rectum.

Warm in nature, Schisandra Berry can help individuals with too much Cold in their body, such as those experiencing a Yin Excess or a Yang Deficiency, to restore a harmonious yin-yang balance. Sour and sweet in taste, Magnolia Berry can aid digestion, restrain abnormal discharges of fluids from the body, slow down acute reactions, detoxify the body and has a tonic effect on the body by replenishing qi and blood. In particular, Schisandra Berry targets the Heart, the Kidneys and the Lungs.

Functions and Benefits of Schisandra Berry

Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) shows that Schisandra Berry has the following health benefits.

Schisandra Berry can astringe Lungs to treat chronic cough and dyspnea caused by Lung and Kidney Deficiency. It can also tonify Lung qi and nourish Kidney yin. For chronic cough caused by Lung Deficiency, Schisandra Berry can be combined with other Lung-astringing and cough-relieving herbs to enhance its effectiveness. For cough, shortness of breath and fatigue, Schisandra Berry can be combined with other qi tonics and cough-relieving herbs to enhance its effectiveness.

Also, Schisandra Berry can astringe intestines to stop diarrhoea. For chronic diarrhoea caused by Spleen Deficiency, it can be combined with other Spleen-tonifying, Dampness-draining and middle-energizer-warming herbs to enhance its effectiveness. By tonifying the Kidneys, astringing the essence and relieving emission, Schisandra Berry can also be used to treat seminal emission and spermatorrhea caused by the insecurity of essence gate due to Kidney Deficiency.

As Schisandra Berry can tonify Lung and Heart qi, Magnolia Berry is often indicated for spontaneous sweating and night sweat. For spontaneous sweating due to Qi Deficiency, Schisandra Berry can be combined with other qi tonics such as Ginseng to enhance its effectiveness. For night sweat caused by Yin Deficiency, Schisandra Berry can be combined with other yin tonics to enhance its effectiveness. Schisandra Berry is also used to relieve other symptoms such as premature ejaculation and urinary incontinence.

By nourishing yin, Schisandra Berry can be used to relieve thirst, sweating and diabetes. In addition, as Schisandra Berry can calm one’s Heart and induce tranquilization, Schisandra Berry can relieve fidgets, palpitation, insomnia and dream-disturbed sleep.

Close up of Schisandra Berry
Schisandra Berry can help to calm the mind, which can help to improve sleep quality.

How to Use Schisandra Berry

The recommended daily dosage of Schisandra Berry is 3 – 6g, when used as a decoction. If used in powdered form, the recommended daily dosage of Schisandra Berry is 1 -3g.

Schisandra Berry can be used raw or steamed with vinegar and honey. Some also like to use this herb to make Schisandra Berry tea.

You can find Schisandra Berry and its products, such as pills and powder, in many herbal stores and Asian specialty stores.

Cautions and Side Effects of Schisandra Berry

Schisandra Berry should not be used by individuals experiencing internal Heat, early-stage coughs or rashes. Also, Schisandra Berry counteracts cycloheximide-induced amnesia. 

Do note that Schisandra Berry may cause side effects such as heartburn, belching, acid reflux, drowsiness and other allergic reactions. 

We strongly encourage you to consult your healthcare provider before deciding to add Schisandra Berry to your healthcare routine!

Summary

Here is a summary for Schisandra Berry:

  • Herb name (Chinese): 五味子
  • Herb name (Pin Yin): wǔ wèi zǐ
  • Herb name (English): Chinese Magnoliavine Fruit
  • Herb name (Botanical): Fructus Schisandrae Chinensis
  • Origin of species: Schisandra chinensis (Turcz.) Baill
  • Part(s) of herb used: Fruit
  • Geo-specific habitat(s): Northeastern parts of China
  • Taste(s) & Properties: Sour, sweet; Warm; Administrates the Lung, Heart and Kidney Meridians
  • Actions: Nourishes lung system to ease coughs and shortness of breath; Eases excessive perspiration, chronic diarrhoea and constant thirst; Helps to improve symptoms of premature ejaculation or related infertility problems; Calms the mind and nourishes the heart to improve quality of sleep

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