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SCHISANDRA (phytoadaptogens)


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chisandra chinensis is a woody vine which bears numerous clusters of tiny, bright red berries. The vine is typically of height 15 to 25 feet and width 5 to 10 feet. It flowers from April to May, with flowers of diameter about 1 inch.
The plant is found throughout northern and north-east China (especially in Jilin, Lianoning, Heilongliang and Hebei) and the adjacent regions of Russia and Korea. The fully ripe, sun-dried fruit is used medicinally. It has a mixture of sour, sweet, salty, hot, and bitter tastes. This unusual combination of flavors is reflected in its Chinese name wu-wei-zi, meaning "five-taste fruit". Other names of Schisandra are "Schisandra", "Wu-wei-zi", "Schisandra japonica", "Maximowiczia chinensis" and "Kadsura chinensis".

Schisandra chinensis is a plant which bears fruit containing one or more naturally-occurring adaptogens, which have been shown to maintain the body's systemic tonicity and balance, improve concentration and attention-span, and increase acuity of vision and hearing. Schisandra is one of the most effective phytoadaptogen.

ADAPTOGENS are natural plant products that increase the body's ability to cope with internal and external stress factors, and normalise the functions of the body. They help maintain the stable internal environment inside the body known as homeostasis. An important characteristic is that they are safe, possessing few known side-effects

History
The classical treatise on Chinese herbal medicine, the Shen Nung Pen Tsao Ching, describes schisandra as a high-grade herbal drug useful for a wide variety of medical conditions - especially as a kidney tonic and lung astringent. Chinese herbalists use schisandra for coughs, night sweats, insomnia, thirst, and physical exhaustion. Scientific research carried out in Russia from the 1940s to the present has confirmed the medical efficacy of schisandra chinensis for use in different conditions, and has also revealed its chemical composition and mechanisms of action.

How it works
Schisandra contains essential oils, acids and lignans which can, for example, help to regenerate liver tissue damaged by alcohol abuse or by hepatitis. One identified group of active ingredients is dibenzo-cyclo-octadiene lignans (1), which appear to possess therapeutic potential against oxidative neuronal damage induced by excitotoxins in the brain.

The herb's adaptogenic action may help improve physical and mental performance, relieve fatigue and build strength. Studies have shown that schisandra is effective against the bacteria connected with lung disorders. This herb promotes oxygen-supply for the cells, potentiates the body's immune system, and protects against stress. Probably thanks in part to its beneficial effects on blood-circulation, it is also said to improve sexual performance, both increasing the man's staying power and stimulating sensitivity in the female genitals.

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Main properties of schisandra chinensis
*Increases physical and mental performance
*Increases acuity of vision and hearing
*Decreases eye fatigue in tasks requiring extended visual concentration
*Improves concentration and attention
*Increases physical and mental performance
*Restores strength after severe and prolonged exertion, and in convalescence from disease
*Strengthens muscular and speed abilities in sport exercises
*Helps the body withstand such stress factors as heat, cold, noise, emotional overloads, etc.
*Is successfully used in integrated programs for the treatment of gastrointestinal and communicable diseases, and some mental conditions

Modern Chinese research suggests that the lignans found in schisandra help regenerate liver tissue damaged by harmful influences such as viral hepatitis and alcohol. Lignans have been found to lower blood levels of serum glutamic pyruvic transaminase (SGPT), a marker for infective hepatitis and other liver disorders.
High efficacy of schisandra chinensis has been observed in diseases of the gastrointestinal organs (gastritis, gastroduodenal ulcer), and in certain communicable diseases, as well as in some mental conditions.

Uses in daily life, for particular professions
Of particular interest are studies showing the beneficial effects of schisandra chinensis on healthy subjects. Administration of schisandra chinensis to road-transport drivers, aircraft pilots, seamen, and athletes has been found to permit them to maintain a high level of physical performance in stressful conditions. It has been proven to result in increased attention, improved endurance, and rapid recovery of strength following exertion.



Selected References:
(1) Dibenzocyclooctadiene lignans from schisandra chinensis protect primary cultures of rat cortical cells from glutamate-induced toxicity. J Neurosci Res. 2004 May 1;76(3):397-405. Courtesy of; Kim SR, Lee MK, Koo KA, Kim SH, Sung SH, Lee NG, Markelonis GJ, Oh TH, Yang JH, Kim YC.
(2) Natural occurrence of cancer-preventive geranylgeranoic acid in medicinal herbs. J Lipid Res. 2004 Jun;45(6):1092-103. Epub 2004 Apr 01. Courtesy of; Shidoji Y, Ogawa H.
(3) Analysis of the essential oil of schisandra chinensis (Turcz.) Baill. with GC/MS. Yao Xue Xue Bao. 2001 Mar;36(3):215-9. Courtesy of; Li XN, Cui H, Song YQ, Liang YZ.
More scientific abstracts

Schisandra chinensis
to buy here
Presentation:
2 x 10 tablets. 50mg Schisandra chinensis extract and 150 mg Bilberry fruits.
Schisandra has been found useful for the following purposes
* as an adjunct to chemotherapy
* to decrease eye fatigue in extended visual tasks
* to improve vision and hearing
* to aid the immune system
and also:
* Fatigue
* Stress
* Common cold and sore throat
* Hepatitis and other liver condtions
* Neoplasms
* Diabetes

Dosage:
Schisandra fruit: 1-6 grams per day.
Or: 5 grams of fruit per 100ml (half a glass) of water.

Possible side-effects, and warnings:
Side-effects involving schisandra are uncommon, but may include abdominal upset, decreased appetite, and skin rash. Some herbs are known to react with other medications. Schisandra occasionally causes heartburn. Large doses can also lead to restlessness, insomnia, or difficulties in breathing.You are advised to consult your physician before starting on any herbal treatment.


More info about Schisandra chinensis
Scientific abstracts