Schizandra: The Five-Flavor Berry
August 29, 2022
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Schizandra (also spelled schisandra) is a fruit–bearing vine plant that hails from the cool, forested mountain regions of Northeast China. Used for thousands of years in Traditional Chinese Medicine, schizandra is one of humanity’s oldest and most fascinating herbal allies.
Discover the long and storied history of schizandra — including its myriad of wellness benefits and the origins of its nickname “five-flavor fruit” — in this introductory guide to schizandra.
History of Schizandra in Traditional Chinese Medicine
There are more than twenty species of schizandra, most of which grow natively in China’s lush northern forests. It is known locally there as wǔ wèi zi, translating to “five flavor fruit.” The Chinese name for this berry is rooted in the belief that schizandra is the only fruit to contain all five flavors, which correspond to the five elements of Traditional Chinese Medicine: fire, earth, metal, water and wood.
Each of the five traditional elements also corresponds to one of the five zàng organs, which are yin in nature (the heart, spleen, lungs, kidney and liver) as well as one of the fǔ organs, which are yang in nature (the small intestine, stomach, large intestine, urinary bladder and gallbladder).
The unique composition of the schizandra berry makes it a “king” remedy, capable of harmonizing all the energies of the body. It is listed as a “noble herb” in the Shennong Ben Cao Jing, or The Divine Farmer’s Materia Medica.
The energetic correspondences of each of the five flavors are outlined below:
- Bitter – Fire – Heart – Small Intestine
- Sweet – Earth – Spleen – Stomach
- Pungent (or spicy) – Metal – Lungs – Large intestine
- Salty – Water – Kidney – Urinary Bladder
- Sour – Wood – Liver – Gallbladder
Practitioners of Traditional Chinese Medicine use schizandra as a tonic for increasing vital life force energy and fighting the effects of aging, as well as for treating fatigue, weakness, chronic coughs, and anxiety.
Schizandra is also believed to revitalize and beautify the skin. According to lore it was a popular tonic among the wealthy women of ancient China, who relied upon the berry to keep their skin youthful, clear and glowing.
What Are the Health Benefits of Schizandra?
Modern research supports the theory that schizandra berry may have a positive effect on health and wellness.* It is considered to be an adaptogen — a category of plants that may help the body resist physical, environmental and emotional stressors when consumed regularly over time.*
Schizandra contains a number of beneficial bioactive compounds, including lignans, phenolic acids and flavonoids. Lignans in particular may trigger the body’s natural production of liver detoxifying enzymes, which may support liver health.* A number of studies indicate that schizandra may provide antioxidant and anti–inflammatory effects, reducing the damaging effects of free radicals in the body.*
Flavorful & Revitalizing Schizandra Tea
Revitalize your qi and nourish your skin from the inside out with Beautifying Botanicals® Daily Beauty Herbal Tea and Beauty Sleep Herbal Tea. Each of thee uniquely crafted herbal tea blends contains premium schizandra berry — cherished by Chinese royalty for its beautifying and anti-aging properties and other botanicals such as butterfly pea flowers, rosehips and chamomile.
Sipping a soothing cup of herbal schizandra tea can become a daily or nightly ritual that is nourishing to the body, mind and spirit. Savor every cup of “five flavor fruit” tea sip by sip.