SCHISANDRA CHINENSIS
zhion@zhion.com          updated on November 8, 2011
Schisandra [Family: Schisandraceae]
Schisandra is a popular traditional Chinese herb that are used for coughs and various nonspecific pulmonary diseases.
Because of its flavor, The Chinese name for the plant, “wu-wei-zu,” means “5-flavored herb,” According to Wikipedia,
Schisandra (Magnolia Vine) is a genus of shrub commonly grown in gardens. It is a hardy deciduous climber which
thrives in virtually any soil; its preferred position is on a sheltered shady wall. It may be propagated by taking cuttings of
half-matured shoots in August. Species include Schisandra chinensis, Schisandra glaucescens, Schisandra rubriflora
and Schisandra rubrifolia.

Common Name(s): Schisandra , schizandra ; gomishi , hoku-gomishi , kita-gomishi (Japanese); wu-wei-zu (Chinese)

Schisandra has been used as a tonic and restorative. In traditional medicine, Schisandra is also used for liver, nervous
system, respiratory and GI issues.
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Schisandra chinensis 五味子
Schisandra is a plant that has been used (through extracts from its fruit) in traditional Chinese herbal medicine for
many many years. Schisandra has different species, such as Schisandra chinensis and Schisandra sphenanthera.
Schisandra chinensis is native to northeastern China and Korea, while Schisandra sphenanthera is native to China.

Schisandra chinensis is a famous tonic. Schisandra chinensis is one of the few herbs that contain the three treasures
known as Jing, Qi and Shen. Schisandra chinensis benefits include enhancing the energy of the kidney and liver and
supporting sexual endurance and memory. Schisandra fruits or schisandra extracts may also benefit people suffered
from cardiovascular diseases, liver diseases, diseases of the central nervous system. [A1] The primary liver protection
and immuno-modulating ingredients are the lignans schizandrin, deoxyschizandrin, gomisins, and pregomisin, which are
found in the seeds of the fruit. [Wikipedia]

In China, the Schisandra berries are used to make wine. In Korea, the Schisandra berries are used to made tea, which
is called omija cha. In Japan, Schisandra [called gomishi] is used as a remedy for colds and sea-sickness. In Russia,
Schisandra chinensis appeared on a postage stamp. [Wikipedia]

Etmology
Schisandra chinensis (more specifically called běi wǔ wèi zi, 北五味子; or "northern five flavor berry") is different from
another traditionally medicinal schisandraceous plant Kadsura japonica that grows only in subtropical areas.
Schisandra chinensis is also different from another variant of schizandra berry is that of Schisandra Sphenanthera
which has a similar but different biochemical profile. [Wikipedia.org]

Schisandra extracts have been used in soft drinks, supplement formulas and health foods Schisandra chinensis has  
been popularly used in herbal formulas, e.g.TJ-108. A study of 37 patients suffered from chronic hepatitis C shows that
TJ-108 may have antiviral effects. [2,5] Supplement manufacturers commonly combine scisandra chinensis with other
herbs to obtain a wide range of synergistic benefits. One example is Mind Power Rx."Paradise Herbs Schisandra"
contains schisandra extract at the ratio 10:1, or 250 mg (i.e. 9% Schisandrins).

Schisandra Content
Researchers have found that a dried schisandra fruit contains lignans such as gomisin A, schizandrins, schizandrol,
vitamin C and vitamin E. Some animal studies suggest schisandra  fruit or schisandra extract has a benefit of liver
protection. [1,3,4]

Schisandra Benefits
Schizandra chinensis increases physical working capacity and affords a stress-protective effect against a broad
spectrum of harmful factors such as heat shock, skin burn, cooling, frostbite, immobilisation, aseptic inflammation,
irradiation, and heavy metal intoxication. Schizandra chinensis may also exert an effect on the central nervous,
sympathetic, endocrine, immune, respiratory, cardiovascular, gastrointestinal systems, atherosclerosis, on blood sugar
and acid-base balance, and on uterus myotonic activity. Studies have also revealed that Schizandra extracts exhibit
strong antioxidant activities and such Schizandra may affect smooth muscles, arachidonic acid release, biosynthesis of
leukotriene B(4) etc. In healthy subjects, Schizandra chinensis increases endurance and accuracy of movement,
mental performance and working capacity. Some clinical trials have demonstrated the efficiency of Schizandra
chinensis in asthenia, neuralgic and psychiatric disorders, in impaired visual function, hypotension, cardiotonic
disorders, influenza, chronic sinusitis, pneumonia, allergic dermatitis, acute gastrointestinal diseases, gastric hyper-
and hypo-secretion, chronic gastritis, stomach and duodenal ulcers, wound healing and trophic ulcers. [J
Ethnopharmacol. 2008 Jul 23;118(2):183-212.]
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SCHISANDRA BENEFITS - RESEARCH FINDINGS
The findings need to be interpreted with caution because of the limited studies and their small size. Dose, formula and
experimental design can affect the results seriously.

Stress
Schisandra chinensis were demonstrated to inhibit the contractions induced by acetylcholine and serotonin (5-HT) in
guinea pig ileum, and the 95% ethanol extract was more effective than the aqueous extract. [Phytomedicine. 2011 Jul
15.]

In a study of stressed mice, it was found out that 18 hours of restraint stress significantly decreased the anxiolytic
parameters. Restraint stress elevated noradrenaline, dopamine, and serotonin levels in cerebral cortex of anxiety mice.
However, oral administration of schisandra lignans extract (100 and 200mg/kg/day, 8 days) emolliating the level of
stress-induced anxiety by significantly increasing the anxiolytic parameters. [Phytomedicine. 2011 Jul 12.]

Cancer
Manufacturer combined Schisandra chinensis with four other herbs (Panax ginseng, Fructus crataegi, Ziziphus jujube
and Glycine Max) and named this formula as CKBM. Studies have shown that CKBM is capable to trigger the release of
IL-6 and TNFalpha from human peripheral blood mononuclear cells, and its anti-tumorigenic activity in nude mice with
gastric
cancer. [A2] The lignans, gomisin G isolated from the stems of Schisandra henryi showed moderate DNA strand
scission activity and significant cytotoxic effect on leukemia and Hela cells in vitro. [A4]

Dementia
Scopolamine developed oxidative stress in the brain with the decreased levels of antioxidant enzymes and increased
nitrite level. At the same time, a significant impairment of learning and memory occurred when evaluated by passive
avoidance task and Morris water maze with concomitant increase of acetylcholinesterase activity and decreased
acetylcholine levels. Pre-treatment by a Schisandra chinensis extract (Schisandrin B; 10, 25, 50 mg/kg) effectively
prevented scopolamine-induced oxidative stress and improved behavioural tasks. [Free Radic Res. 2011 Aug;45(8):
950-8.]

INFECTIONS
Two new highly oxygenated nortriterpenoids with a unique norcycloartane skeleton, micrandilactones B and C, were
isolated from Schisandra micrantha; micrandilactone C exhibited an EC50 value of 7.71 microg/mL (SI > 25.94) against
HIV-1 replication with minimal cytotoxicity, and the potent anti-HIV-1 activity. {A3]

LIVER DISEASES
TJN-101 was demonstrated to stimulate liver regeneration after partial hepatectomy by enhancing Ornithine
decarboxylase activity, which is an important biochemical event in the early stages of liver regeneration. TJN-101 was
given orally to male Wistar rats 30 min before partial hepatectomy. The mitotic index and the level of DNA synthesis
increased after partial hepatectomy and their increase was significantly enhanced by TJN-101. Ornithine decarboxylase
(ODC) activity increased in the early stages of liver regeneration and it was also significantly enhanced by TJN-101.
Besides, TJN-101 enhanced the increase in hepatic putrescine. [A5]

The molecular mechanism of liver protection benefited from schisandra chinensis fruit extracts pretreatment may
involve the facilitation of hepatic glutathione regeneration via the GRD-catalyzed and NADPH-mediated reaction.
Schisandra chinensis fruit extracts treatment caused a dose-dependent enhancement in hepatic hepatic glutathione
status, as evidenced by significant increases in hepatic GSH level and activities of hepatic glucose-6-phosphate and
glutathione reductase (GRD). The beneficial effect of schisandra chinensis fruit extract treatment on hepatic
glutathione status became more evident after CCl4 challenge. Pretreating rats with Schisandra chinensis fruit extract
treatment at increasing daily doses ranged from 0.2 to 3.2 g/kg for 3 days caused a dose-dependent protection against
the CCl4-induced impairment in hepatic hepatic glutathione status. The enhancement in hepatic glutathione status was
associated with corresponding decreases in tissue malondialdehyde levels and plasma alanine aminotransferases
activities, indicating a significant reduction in the extent of oxidative hepatocellular damage. [A6]
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Schisandra Safety Issues
Schisandra is considered generally safe. Schisandra side effects are uncommon but may include abdominal upset,
decreased appetite, and skin rash. WebMd.COM suggests schisandra side effects may include heartburn, upset
stomach, decreased appetite, stomach pain, skin rash, and itching. A study suggests Schisandrin B is linked to
increased serum and hepatic triglyceride levels in mice. [
X] Schisandra may also lead to the side effect of high brain
pressure, but it is uncommon. Schisandra inhibits Cytochrome P450 3A4 substrates and can affect the intracellular
concentration of drugs metabolized by this enzyme. Schisandra also inhibit P-Gp activity and can interfere the
metabolism of certain drugs. [MSKCC]

Schisandra Dosage
The dosage of Schisandra is 1.5-6 g / day as an adaptogen. [DRUGS.COM]
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REFERENCE
1. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. Chronic Hepatitis C: Disease Management. National Institute of
Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases Web site. September 3, 2003. 2. Seeff LB, Lindsay KL, Bacon BR, et al. Complementary and
alternative medicine in chronic liver disease. Hepatology. 2001;34(3):595-603. 3. Sinclair S. Chinese herbs: a clinical review of Astragalus,
Ligusticum, and Schizandrae. Alternative Medicine Review: A Journal of Clinical Therapeutics. 1998;3(5):338-344. 4. Liu GT.
Pharmacological actions and clinical use of fructus schizandrae. Chinese Medical Journal. 1989;102(10):740-749. 5 Cyong JC, Kim SM,
Iijima K, et al. Clinical and pharmacological studies on liver diseases treated with Kampo herbal medicine. The American Journal of
Chinese Medicine. 2000;28(3-4):351-360. [A1] Opletal L et al, Phytotherapeutic aspects of diseases of the circulatory system. 7.
Schisandra chinensis (Turcz.) Baill.): its composition and biological activity Ceska Slov Farm. 2001 Jul;50(4):173-80. [A2] Chan AS et al,
Immuno-regulatory effects of CKBM on the activities of mitogen-activated protein kinases and the release of cytokines in THP-1 monocytic
cells. Biol Pharm Bull. 2005 Sep;28(9):1645-50. [A3] Li RT et al, Structure and anti-HIV activity of micrandilactones B and C, new
nortriterpenoids possessing a unique skeleton from Schisandra micrantha. Chem Commun (Camb). 2005 Jun 21;(23):2936-8. Epub
2005 Jun 21. [A4] Chen YG et al, Lignans from Schisandra hernyi with DNA cleaving activity and cytotoxic effect on leukemia and Hela cells
in vitro. Fitoterapia. 2005 Jun;76(3-4):370-3. [A5] Kubo S et al, Effect of Gomisin A (TJN-101) on liver regeneration. Planta Med. 1992 Dec;58
(6):489-92. [A6] Ko KM et al, Effect of a lignan-enriched fructus schisandrae extract on hepatic glutathione status in rats: protection against
carbon tetrachloride toxicity. Planta Med. 1995 Apr;61(2):134-7.
Reference: [1]
WebMD.com, November 08, 2011 [2]  Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center November 08, 2011 [3] Drugs.com [4]  
Wikipedia.org, November 08, 2011
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