Schisandra berry supplement and extract health benefit by Ray Sahelian, M.D.
June 10 2018

Extracts from the fruits (seeds) of Schisandra chinensis are one of the components of medicinal preparations designed for the treatment of cardiovascular diseases, liver diseases, diseases of the central nervous system related to the old age, as a supplement in the treatment of neoplasms, diabetes, etc. Schisandra extracts are also used for the production of nutraceuticals (soft drinks and health foods), preparations for oral hygiene and for the care for the skin and hair. See Chinese Herbs of list of herbs used in Chinese Medicine.

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Schisandra, 250 mg, 60 Capsules

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Suggested Use: 1 capsule daily or as directed by a qualified healthcare professional

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About the herb
Schisandra chinensis is an aromatic, woody vine that is native to northern and northeastern China . It is fully ripened in the fall and appears as numerous spikes of tiny, bright red berries. The berries have sweet, sour, hot, salty, and bitter tastes -- hence the Chinese name for schisandra, "Wu Wei Zi" (five-flavored herb).
   Schisandra chinensis, originally a Japanese-Manchurian endemite, yields a vegetable drug (Schisandrae fructus) with a number of very utilizable therapeutic effects. Studies indicate it has liver protective, adaptogenic, and antioxidative capabilities. It is obvious that a very positive therapeutic effect based on the use of a complex mixture of schisandra's principal constituents because their biological effects are complementary and potentiate each other. At the same time, some lignans (e.g. gomisin A, gomisin N) are interesting as new prospective medicines.

Components of schisandra, what's in it?
Some of the active ingredients in schisandra include dibenzocyclooctadiene lignans, schizandrin, wuweizisu A, B, C;wuweizichun A, B; wuweizi ester and schisanhenol. A variety of active constituents including acids, phytosterols (beta-sitosterol and stigmasterol), ivtamins C and E, volatile oils and at least 30 different lignans (deoxyschizandrin, gomisins, pregomisin, schizandrin, and others), have been isolated from schisandra.

J Nat Prod. 2013. Bioactive dibenzocyclooctadiene lignans from the stems of Schisandra neglecta. Seven new unusual dibenzocyclooctadiene lignans, neglignans A-G (1-7), together with 16 known dibenzocyclooctadiene lignans, were isolated from the stems of Schisandra neglecta.

Properties and benefits

Antioxidant and liver protection
Schisandrin B (Sch B), an active ingredient of the fruit of Schisandra chinensis, enhances the hepatic glutathione antioxidant system in mice, as evidenced by the hepatoprotection against carbon tetrachloride (CCl4) toxicity. The mechanism of hepatoprotection afforded by Sch B treatment may involve the enhancement of mitochondrial glutathione redox status.

Diabetic nephropathy
J Ethnopharmacol. 2012. Schisandra chinensis fruit extract attenuates albuminuria and protects podocyte integrity in a mouse model of streptozotocin-induced diabetic nephropathy.
Our studies suggest that SE might be beneficial for diabetic nephropathy. The effects of SE on attenuating albuminuria and glomerulosclerosis are possibly mediated by preserving podocyte integrity through suppressing epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition.

J Tradit Chin Med. 2012. Inhibition mechanism of compound ethanol extracts from wuweizi (fructus schisandrae chinensis) on renal interstitial fibrosis in diabetic nephropathy model mice. Department of Nephrology, Tianjin Public Security Hospital, Tianjin, China. To evaluate inhibition effect and mechanism of compound ethanol extracts from Wuweizi (Fructus Schisandrae Chinensis), Chuanxiong (Rhizoma Chuanxiong) and Muli (Cocha Ostreae) (FRC) on glomerular and tubular interstitial fibrosis in streptozocin (STZ)-induced diabetic nephropathy (ND) model mice. FRC can ameliorate the DN in the C57BL/6 mice, and its mechanism may relate to inhibition on the epithelial to mesenchymal transdifferentiation, endothelial-myofibroblast transition and PAL-1 expression.

Heart health
Fitoterapia. 2014. The protective effects of Schisandra chinensis fruit extract and its lignans against cardiovascular disease: a review of the molecular mechanisms. Schisandra chinensis fruit extract has traditionally been used as an oriental medicine for the treatment of various human diseases, including cardiovascular disease. To date, emerging experimental evidence supports the therapeutic effects of the Schisandra or its bioactive lignan ingredients in cardiovascular disease, unraveling the mechanistic basis for their pharmacological actions.

Protection of brain cells
Dibenzocyclooctadiene lignans from Schisandra chinensis may possess therapeutic potential against oxidative neuronal damage induced by excitotoxins.

Prostate enlargement benefit
J Ethnopharmacol. 2014. Effects of Schisandra chinensis extract on the relaxation of isolated human prostate tissue and smooth muscle cell. Schisandra chinensis has been commonly used as a traditional herbal medicine to treat various diseases including body weakness, dysentery, impotence, enuresis and frequent urination in many countries including Korea, China and Russia. Benign prostate hyperplasia is a common disease for the elderly men and it induces lower urinary tract symptoms which hinder general activity and quality of life. We evaluated the therapeutic potential of Schisandra chinensis extract in benign prostate hyperplasia using human prostate tissue. Schisandra extract showed a dose dependent relaxation effect on human prostate tissue as well as an additive effect with tamsulosin.

Sleep and insomnia
J Food Drug Anal. 2016. Sedative and hypnotic effects of supercritical carbon dioxide fluid extraction from Schisandra chinensis in mice. This study was conducted to investigate the sedative and hypnotic activities of the supercritical carbon dioxide fluid extraction of S. chinensis in mice and the possible mechanisms. Schisandra exhibited an obvious sedative effect on shortening the locomotor activity in mice in a dose-dependent manner. The herbal extract showed a strong hypnotic effect in synergy with pentobarbital in mouse sleep, and reversal of insomnia induced by caffeine, p-chlorophenylalanine and flumazenil by decreasing sleep latency, sleep recovery, and increasing sleeping time. In addition, it produced a synergistic effect with 5-hydroxytryptophan (2.5 mg/kg, intraperitoneally). The behavioral pharmacological results suggest that this herb has significant sedative and hypnotic activities, and the mechanisms might be relevant to the serotonergic and γ-aminobutyric acid (GABA) ergic system.

Schisandra Research studies
Identification and Characterization of Potent CYP3A4 Inhibitors in Schisandra Fruit Extract.
Drug Metab Dispos. 2004.
Schisandra fruit is used as a component in Kampo medicines (developed from Chinese medicines, but established in Japan). It can act as a sedative and antitussive, improve hepatic function, and give a general tonic effect. An extract of Schisandra fruit has been shown with a potent inhibitory effect on human liver microsomal erythromycin N-demethylation activity mediated by cytochrome P450 3A4 (CYP3A4). The present study was conducted to identify Schisandra fruit components having inhibitory effects on CYP3A4 by surveying the effect on human liver microsomal erythromycin N-demethylation activity. Known components of Schisandra fruit, gomisins B, C, G, and N and gamma-shizandrin, showed inhibitory effects on N-demethylation activity. Among these components, gomisin C displayed the most potent and competitive inhibitory effect. These results indicate that gomisin C is a mechanism-based inhibitor that not only competitively inhibits but irreversibly inactivates CYP3A4.

Eur J Pharmacol. 2014. Pharmacological evaluation of sedative and hypnotic effects of schizandrin through the modification of pentobarbital-induced sleep behaviors in mice. The fruits of Schisandra chinensis have been recorded as an effective somnificant for the treatment of insomnia in some oriental countries pharmacopoeias. However, the mechanism of sedative and hypnotic effects of this kind of herb is still unclear. In the present study, schizandrin, which is the main component of Schisandra chinensis, was selected as a target compound to investigate possible mechanisms through behavioral pharmacology methods. The results showed that schizandrin possessed dose-dependent (5-45mg/kg, i.p.) sedative effects on locomotion activity in normal mice, and produced a dose-dependent decrease in sleep latency and an increase in sleep duration in pentobarbital-treated mice; thus, itself did not induce sleep at higher dose which was used in this experiment (45mg/kg, i.p.). It also can reverse the rodent models of insomnia induced by p-chlorophenylalanine (PCPA) and caffeine, which could exhibit a synewith 5-hydroxytryptophan (5-HTP) as well; therefore, the hypnotic effects of schizandrin were not inhibited by flumazenil (a specific gamma aminobutyric acid (GABA)-A-BZD receptor antagonist). Altogether, these results indicated that schizandrin produces beneficial sedative and hypnotic bioactivity, which might be mediated by the modification of the serotonergic system.

Schisandra supplement emails
I am researching taking schisandra, and see that it increases estrogen receptivity. This sounds like something to be avoided if one has had type breast cancer; whether or not cells were found to be estrogen-receptive. Yet, I see no warnings in the literature.
   It's really difficult to make any firm statements regarding the long term effect of an herb on the human body based on a laboratory study of what an herb does to specific cells to what it would do in humans after digestions, absorption, and modification. Herbs considered Phytoestrogens may have some estrogen-like activity, but in a subtle and usually non-harmful, non tumor-stimulating way.

I would like to know if schizandra herb has potential to cause one's immune system to attack the thyroid to a greater degree in those with Hashimoto's, as I would like to try it. Also it is stated that schixandra can irreversibly inhibit CYP3A4. Is that a permanent effect? I ask this because I do take diazepam, and it is broken down by that particular isoenzyme. I do know that schixandra inhibits CYP3A4 but can't imagine it being permanent. Could you clarify please? Your answers to my questions will be taken as your opinion and nothing else. I fully understand that there are no definitive answers yet, and that everyone's physiology is different and will experience different results.
    I don't think it is a permanent effect. Thyroid schisandra search on Medline did not reveal any studies regarding the influence of the herb on the thyroid gland.

Does it interfere with 5-htp for mood balance and better appetite control?
   I am not sure yet.

Q. I have been visiting your site and I really like the information! Since I am from Norway, my english is not perfect :) I was reading your article about Schisandrae and I came across a study where Schisandrae was compared to Oxymetholone (anadrol 50. Worlds strongest oral anabolic steroid). Ffructus schisandra inhibits muscle atrophy almost as well as oxymetholone. They used ethanol extract. Do you know where to find ethanol extract?
   A. You may have to email specific companies to find out, I have not looked into the different products on the market to see which ones use alcohol extract.

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buy Schisandra Extract, 250 mg
Schisandra is naturally extracted using only the finest quality Fructus Schisandra chinesis. Our standardized extract provides active levels of schisandrins, concentrated in the balanced ratio nature intended, without isolating, fractionizing or using toxic solvents, harsh chemicals or gases.
Schisandra is a famous tonic traditionally used by both royalty and master herbalists. It is one of the few herbs that contain the three treasures known as Jing, Qi and Shen. Traditionally used for enhancing the energy of the kidney and liver, Schisandra is known for supporting memory and sexual endurance. It is mildly calming and helps strengthen the primary energies of life. As a tonic it supports overall vitality.*

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Supplement Facts Schisandra extract
Serving Size: 1 Vegetarian Capsule
  Amount Per Vegetarian Capsule % Daily Value
Schisandra chinensis fruit extract 10:1
Wu Wei Zi
250 mg *
*Daily Value not established.

Supplement Facts, Amount Per Serving:
Schisandra chinesis fruit four to 1 extract - 250 mg

coq10 for more energy
vinpocetine for brain function support
sarsaparilla herb

Schisandra extract 9% Schisandrins