This berry-producing, deciduous plant has climbing vines that can reach up to 29 feet. There are upwards of 19 different species of schisandra and only one grows in North America – in the southern Appalachian stream beds.
The berries have been utilized for sustenance and as a traditional medicine/natural adaptogen for centuries, across different cultures and are also enjoyed for culinary purposes.
The Chinese variety, Schisandra sphenanthera, has a Korean name “Omija” – meaning “five flavor berry” because of its spicy, tart, sweet, salty and bitter tastes.
Here are some of the many possible health benefits of schisandra berries: supports & improves digestion, boosts the immune system, promotes healthy cognitive function/neuroprotective, increases energy, aids in healthy adrenal function, assists your liver’s ability to regenerate itself, supports healthy skin, provides resistance to stress, helps restore natural hormonal balance, helps with treating depression, relieves stress & anxiety, promotes calmness & elevates mood, supports healthy vision, alleviates symptoms of many respiratory diseases such as asthma, lowers cholesterol & blood pressure, anti-cancer/antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, astringent, treats chronic fatigue, eases premenstrual & menopausal symptoms, inhibits immunoglobulin that causes allergies, reduces symptoms of dry cough & lung inflammation, detoxifying and supports healthy kidney function.
Studies have shown that these little, purple-red berries may even prevent Alzheimer’s, dementia and lower the risk of Parkinson’s disease by inhibiting the formation of excess beta-amyloid peptides in the brain.
As an adaptogen, schisandra berries increase your resistance to stress & disease, as well as stimulating immune defense, normalizing body systems, balancing body functions, protecting against radiation and energizing RNA-DNA molecules to rebuild cells & produce energy – just to name a few.
They can be purchased fresh, dried, powdered and in tinctures, capsules, extracts, juices and teas. Buy locally when you can and choose non-gmo, organic, fair-trade and sustainably harvested.
Always do your research and/or check with your doctor before trying! Be aware that although this may be the perfect medicine for some, it could be detrimental for others, such as: pregnant & lactating women, children, those with epilepsy, peptic ulcers and those who are taking certain medications.
The brief nutrition profile – Vitamins A, C & E, essential amino acids, linoleic acid and beneficial active compounds such as: quercetin, lignans, phenolic acids, triterpenes and flavonoids.
Be Well and God Bless You.
By Jennifer Wimmer