Schisandra: The Five Flavor Fruit
Schisandra, Schisandra chinensis, is used often in Traditional Chinese Medicne (TCM). In TCM the herb is known as Wu Wei Zi, which means "5-flavored herb." As the name tells, the fruit possess all five tastes which include sweet, pungent, bitter, sour, and salty. In medicine making the dried fruit is the plant part used. This little berry has a very distinct flavor. One that is not easily forgotten.
Outside of its unique flavor, this berry is a very supportive herb. It's most known in Western Herbalism for being used as an adoptogen. Adoptogen herbs are those that help to the body to adapt to stress. Schisandra does this by helping to balance the endocrine, immune, and nervous systems. In today's stressful world, apdaptogen herbs can be a useful tool in our herbal kits.
Schisandra has many differnet constiuents, several of which have been noted to support the liver. This herb is said to help support and protect the liver against drug-induced damage such as that from acetaminophen poisoning. This has become a growing health concern in our modern society as we continue to add more stressful activity to our daily lives and rely on such drugs to get us through the pain of our day.
It's hard to capture, in one small writing, an exhaustive list of the benefits this herb has to offer however, there a a few more common uses oustide of the ones above. Schisandra can be effective with skin rashes such as eczema, as a mental and emotional remedy, for respiratory infections, as an anti-infammatory, and for mild asthma.
As with most adaptogen herbs, Schisandra is considered a safe herb for long time use. That said, it should be noted that this herb is drying in nature and may need to be coupled with a moisening herb, such as licorice, for people with dry constitutions. As with any herb be sure to do your research and consult with an herbalist before adding it to your normal routine.