Schizandra Chinensis has been used in traditional Chinese medicine since 2000 years BC. Its adaptogenic, detoxifying, strenghtening and regenerating properties have contributed to an enormous interest in this plant around the world. Schizandra is commonly used as a natural anti-depressant and adaptogen, as well as for its liver regenearting, memory and concentration improving effects. Additionally, this plant shows to have a relaxing effect on the central nervous system, reducing feelings of stress and its negative effects.
Schizandra naturally occurs in eastern Asia, but is widely cultivated around the world due to its health benefits.
Schizandra Chinensis has well documented strengthening and adaptogenic effects- increases the possibility of adaptation of organisms to adverse environmental conditions, and is recommended for use in psycho-physical exhaustion and stress and is perfect for convalescence. It is also often used by athletes in order to increase endurance and improve their performance.3,7
Schizandra Chinensis has anti-depressant effects. It effectively combats weariness and apathy, resoring vitality and raising libido. This herb most likely increases dopamine turnover as well (as studies on animals have shown).6
In traditional medicine, Schizandra was also used as a substance with sedative and relaing effects (in insomnia treatment). Studies on mice, using doses of 100/200 mg per body mass) have proven a significant impact of the Schizandra extract on the reduction of catecholamines and cortisol levels- the hormones associated with stress reaction. Schizandra extract turned out to be more effective than Diazepam in the normalization of adrenaline and serotonin levels (but not dopamine), which undergo changes during stress. Less anxious behavior was also observed. The beneficial effect of Schizandra on reducing stress levels is a result of a reduced activity of the HPA axis (hypothalamic, pituitary-adrenal).1,8
Schizandra Chinensis helps in the processes of learning and memory, improves cognitive functions, and increases work efficacy. It helps maintain attention and concentration while combating fatigue. This effect is most likely associated with the influence of Schizandra on acetylcholinergic transmission2 and an increased blood flow in the brain (vasodilation).
Products with Schizandra Chinensis have a protective effect on nerve cells, due to their anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory effects.
Studies on mice have shown that Schizandra extracts have a beneficial effect on neurotoxicity and memory deterioration caused by Amyloid Beta (Aβ), whose presence is characteristic in, among others, Alzheimer's disease. The lignan-rich extract has an inhibitory effect on acetylcholinesterase (an enzyme responsible of the degradation of acetylcholine - an important neurotransmitter associated with memory) in the hippocampus. It also increased the amount of glutathione in the cortex and hippocampus structure. These studies have demonstrated a beneficial effect on memory, and also suggest the potential use of preparations of Schizandra in the prevention and treatment of Alzheimer's disease.
Products with Schizandra Chinensis show to have a high effectiveness in the treatment of various diseases of the liver- including those caused by viruses (hepatitis) as well as from chemical causes- such as chronic poisoning of ethyl alcohol, acute poisoning with carbon tetrachloride, or other liver poisons. Pharmacological studies confirm the effect of regenerating and detoxifying compounds in Schizandra -bioactive lignans (especially schizandrin B) have a hepatotropic effect on hepatic cells, increase protein and glycogen synthesis in the liver, increase glutathione levels in mitochondria - a key antioxidant in the parenchymatous liver cells, whose levels diminish during the detoxification process. These same compounds inhibit lipid peroxidation, reducing the level of serum alanine aminotransferase in patients with chronic hepatitis, and stimulate the enzyme cytochrome P-450.
In the opinion of some fitoterapeutów, hepatoprotective properties magnolia indicate that it may become one of the most effective means of supporting the treatment of liver. Some phytotherapists claim that Schizandra Chinensis can potentially be one of the most effective substances that aid in liver regeneration.5
In the area of Southeast Asia, Schizandra fruit has also been used to treat libido for thousands of years.
Besides its general strengthening and psycho-physical rejuvenating effects on th ebody, Schizandra also enhances sexual performance and increases libido.6 The active compounds contained in the herb increase blood flow (including to the penis), and increase levels of nitric oxide (NO), which may be the direct cause of increased exercise capacity, as well as better cognitive functioning.
Schizandra chinensis has a protective effect on the cardiovascular system and also shows to have anti-cancer effects.3
The pharmocologically active substances of Schizandra are lignans, derivatives of the dibenzo-[1,3]-cyclooctane. Currently over 40 compounds have been linked to its chemical structure, although this number is consantly growing. The most important of these in terms of phytotherapeutic properties include schizandrol A, B schizandrol (gomisine A) and schizanterines A, B, C, D. In addition to lignans found in Schizandra, this herb also contains organic acids (tartaric, malic and citric acid), essential oil, and vitamin C (0,03%).6
Studies used doses from 200 to 360 mg of the Schizandra extract.
The extract of Schizandra is considered safe for humans. Evidence of this is the very long tradition of use in Traditional Chinese Medicine.
Do no use Schizandra-based products with drugs containing Warfarin.
Rhodiola rosea, Eleutherococcus senticosus, Panax ginseng.
1. Chen, W. W., He, R. R., Li, Y. F., Li, S. B., Tsoi, B., & Kurihara, H. (2011). Pharmacological studies on the anxiolytic effect of standardized Schisandra lignans extract on restraint-stressed mice. Phytomedicine, 18(13), 1144-1147.
2. Egashira, N., Kurauchi, K., Iwasaki, K., Mishima, K., Orito, K., Oishi, R., & Fujiwara, M. (2008). Schizandrin reverses memory impairment in rats. Phytotherapy Research, 22(1), 49-52.
3. Hancke, J. L., Burgos, R. A., & Ahumada, F. (1999). Schisandra chinensis (Turcz.) Baill. Fitoterapia, 70(5), 451-471.
4. Jeong, E. J., Lee, H. K., Lee, K. Y., Jeon, B. J., Kim, D. H., Park, J. H., Song, J. H., et al. (2013). The effects of lignan-riched extract of Shisandra chinensis on amyloid-β-induced cognitive impairment and neurotoxicity in the cortex and hippocampus of mouse. Journal of Ethnopharmacology, 146(1), 347-354.
5. Karłowicz-Bodalska, K., Bodalski, T., (2007). Znaczenie surowców roślinnych w leczeniu schorzeń wątroby. Postępy Fitoterapii (3), 155-167.
6. Karłowicz-Bodalska, K., Stańczak, J., (2005). Surowce roślinne o działaniu wzmacniającym libido w stanach dysfunkcji seksualnej. Postępy Fitoterapii (1-2), 42-49.
7. Panossian, A. G., Oganessian, A. S., Ambartsumian, M., Gabrielian, E. S., Wagner, H., & Wikman, G. (1999). Effects of heavy physical exercise and adaptogens on nitric oxide content in human saliva. Phytomedicine., 6(0944-7113), 17-26.
8. Provino, R. (2010). The role of adaptogens in stress management. Australian Journal of Medical Herbalism, 22(2), 41-50.
9. Sinclair S.: Chinese Herbs: A clinical review of Astragalus, Ligusticum and Schizandra. Altern. Med. Rev. 1998, 3, 338.
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