BEAUTY BERRY OF THE ORIENT
Certain herbs possess a broader spectrum of influence than others, demonstrating an affinity for a wide range of imbalances and imparting a profound fortifying effect. Schisandra stands out as one such remarkable herb.
In the realm of Western Herbal Medicine, Schisandra is recommended for conditions encompassing liver toxicity, damage, or insufficiency, as well as addressing issues like poor memory, lack of concentration, nervous system disorders, and depleted mental and physical endurance.
Within the framework of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Schisandra is employed to counter "Qi insufficiency," a condition loosely translated as "energy deficiency." Qi, often described as the circulating life force, constitutes the vital energy flowing through all living entities. It is omnipresent, extending from physical objects like phones to intangible aspects such as light, heat, and emotion. Proper Qi flow signifies harmony and optimal function, while blocked Qi can lead to various problems.
In the human body, Qi courses through the organs, sustaining health and balance. It is believed to furnish the energy essential for bodily functions, regulate body temperature, uphold organ structure and strength, and maintain a constant metabolism.
Research in the Journal of Traditional Chinese Sciences highlights the profound impact of Qi deficiency on the aging process. The core symptoms of Qi deficiency, including fatigue, shortness of breath, spontaneous sweating, a swollen tongue with teeth marks, and a weak pulse, are considered indicators of one's overall health status. Additional symptoms may involve dry skin, muscle aches, weakness, poor memory, irritability, mood swings, and irregular periods in women.
Schisandra's Chinese name, "Wu Wei Zi" or "five-flavored berry," reflects its influence on the five visceral organs and its positive impact on their Qi. Studies suggest that Schisandra fortifies mitochondrial antioxidant status, providing generalized protection against internal and external challenges. This links its "Qi-invigorating" action to the preservation of mitochondrial function, crucial for cellular energy generation.
Beyond its internal benefits, Schisandra emerges as a superb superherb for skin wellness and protection. Revered by Chinese royalty for its beauty and anti-aging properties, it is rich in antioxidants, including vitamins C and E. Its potent astringent qualities enable the skin to retain moisture, imparting fullness and hydration, while also potentially safeguarding against UVB-induced skin damage.
Famed for its ability to preserve youth in both physiology and appearance, it has “shown efficacy through countless dynasties, wherein the skin is said to glow, becoming clearer and finer after one imbibes it consistently for several months." Schisandra has also demonstrated significant anticarcinogenic action. Whether enjoyed as a tart tea when mixed with warm water or sweetened with honey, it offers a beautiful & beautifying beverage.
However, caution is advised. Adhering to the recommended dosage of 1-3 grams per day is crucial. Individuals with acidic conditions, such as ulcers or GERD, should approach Schisandra with care, as it may exacerbate these conditions. The herb's drying nature should also be considered, necessitating mindful use and cycling with other herbs or breaks in consumption. Pregnant and breastfeeding individuals should avoid Schisandra, and, as with any health-related decisions, consulting a healthcare practitioner is always recommended.
Adapted from the original article by Bliss Elixir, this exploration of Schisandra's multifaceted benefits encourages a balanced and informed approach to harnessing its potential for well-being.
- Healthline - Qi Deficiency
- Tzu Chi Medical Journal - An Oriental Understanding of Health
- Journal of Traditional Chinese Sciences - Symptom characteristics and prevalence of qi deficiency syndrome
- PubMed - Biochemical basis of the "Qi-invigorating" action of Schisandra berry
- LNE Online - Schizandra Berry
- PubMed - Panax ginseng, Rhodiola rosea and Schisandra chinensis