phytochemicals Phytochemicals
 
 

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Schizandra

Schizandra

Schizandra chinensis

What is schizandra?

Schizandra belongs to the family if the Magnoliaceae family. Schizandra is a creeping woody vine that is native to China and Japan. The schizandra fruit has a sweet, salty, bitter, hot and sour taste. This explains the Chinese name wu wei zi meaning five taste fruit. The Schizandra seeds are bitter and pungent. Besides the phytochemicals, schizandra is also rich in minerals, vitamins and essential oils.

Parts used

Schizandra extracts are made from the small berries. Most of the lignans are concentrated in the schizandra berries.

Phytochemicals

These are typical phytochemicals found in schizandra: gomisin, schizandrin, lignans, beta-sitosterol.

Benefits of schizandra

Schizandra has a long history of medical use in the oriental countries. In China, Schizandra is one of the components of the herbal medicine Shenmai San, which is used to treat coronary heart disease. Schizandra is used for the treatment of different diseases, including insomnia, irritation, palpitation and dyspnea. Schizandra is also used a general tonic, for treatment of skin disorders and as sedative.
Recent studies have shown that Schizandra possess following properties: anti-bacterial, cardiac tonic, antioxidant and anti-depressant. Schizandra contains also phytoestrogens. This explains why Schizandra is used by menopausal women to treat cardiovascular disease. The phytochemicals which might be responsible for this action have not yet been identified. Young Joo and colleagues concluded in his study "Extracts from Schizandra chienensis Fruits Activate Estrogen Receptors: A Possible Clue to its Effects on Nitric Oxide-Mediated Vasorelaxation" in Biol.Pharma. Bull 27(7) 1066-1069 (2004) that schizandra extracts act as a weak phytoestrogens.
In Russia, schizandra is a registered medicine for vision problems.

Other facts

The schizandra fruit has a sweet, salty, bitter, hot and sour taste. This explains the Chinese name "wu wei zi" meaning "five taste fruit". The Schizandra seeds are bitter and pungent. Besides the phytochemicals, schizandra is also rich in minerals, vitamins and essential oils.

Other names

Wu wei zi, Chinese mock-braberry, lemonwood

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