Schisandra Chinensis – Helping Everything From Diabetes To IgA Nephropathy

Dr. Morgan Camp M.D.

IN BRIEF

Health and nutrition experts are hailing it as another superfood that holds amazing benefits for some. Do you know Schisandra Chinensis? Here's a bit about this wonder herb that works wonders.

Schisandra Chinensis is a herb grown mainly in China and Russia and has been used for thousands of years in traditional medicines. It has been hailed by health and nutritional scholars as a superfood that may produce some amazing health benefits. Recent scientific studies are also beginning to find the value of Schisandra Chinensis. (1, 2)  

Brief History Of Schisandra Chinensis 

Also known as magnolia vine, Schisandra Chinensis is a perennial, fruit-bearing vine, found in cooler climatic conditions, particularly in Northern China and Eastern Russia. 

Although the flowers, leaves, and stems can all be used, most of the medicinal properties are derived from the radiant and deeply-colored red berries that ripen in mid-to-late summer. The berries are also known as the magnolia berry, or five-flavor fruit (from Chinese wǔ wèi zi). The name ties together the five flavors found within the fruit, and the elements of traditional Chinese medicine: sour (wood), sweet (earth), bitter (fire), pungent (metal), and salty (water).

Traditionally used to treat coughs, liver conditions, stomach problems, and as a stimulant to improve vitality, Schisandra Chinensis has also been used to help fight fatigue, stress, and anxiety relief, and as an aid to sleep difficulties. 

Science And Modern Discoveries 

What traditional healers had already practiced and observed for many years, science, through research and modern technology is now beginning to discover. The true power of Schisandra Chinensis and the many medicinal properties it contains are becoming increasingly well-known. 

The chemical substances derived from Schisandra Chinensis are schisandrin A, B, and C, and several gomisins. They provide a variety of health-promoting uses within the body. (3) 

Some of those health-giving benefits include:

  • Diabetes. Primarily after meal intake, glucose is released from carbohydrates into the digestive tract. One of the main features of Type 2 Diabetes is chronic elevation of blood glucose levels, known as postprandial hyperglycemia. Trials found compounds in Schisandra Chinensis were able to inhibit blood glucose levels and in some cases, blood glucose levels decreased. These results showed Schisandra may have the ability to protect against complications of diabetes, including nephropathy. (4)  
  • Liver disease and protection. Schisandra has been used for many years in traditional Chinese medicine to treat liver disorders. More recently, a liver-protecting drug known as DBD was developed, made from the compound “schizandrin”, derived from Schisandra Chinensis. (5) 
  • Antioxidant effects. Studies have found Schisandra Chinensis is a potent free-radical ‘scavenger’ and extracts may be a potential natural source of antioxidants. (6) 
  • Inflammation-reducing derivatives extracted from dried Schisandra Chinensis berries may be effective in the treatment of various inflammatory diseases such as asthma and diabetes. (7)  
  • Can improve physical endurance. Results show that supplementation with Schisandra Chinensis enhances endurance and energy metabolism, as well as fighting fatigue-induced oxidative stress. (8) 
  • Heart protection. Schisandra extract showed significant cardiac inhibition and vasodilation effects which increase the protection of the heart and may prevent contraction, which can lead to certain cardiovascular conditions. (9) 
  • Lowers blood pressure. Schisandra Chinensis has been used to maintain blood pressure as well as lower it to normal levels. (10) 
  • Anti-aging. Certain properties within Schisandra Chinensis have shown promising results. Studies on rats revealed benefits from anti-aging treatments, in the skin cells and also the various structures of the brain. (11) Its use in cosmetics has also shown beneficial results on the condition of the skin in areas such as toning, moisturizing, wound-healing, and narrowing dilated blood vessels. Haircare solutions with extracts of Schisandra have shown to have anti-aging and revitalizing effects. (12) 
  • Antibacterial. Essential oils and extracts from Schisandra berries have shown antibacterial effects against some types of Escherichia coli (E-coli) and other bacteria.
  • Mental health. As a powerful anti-anxiety herb, Schisandra is effective in lowering stress levels, enhancing cognitive function, and improving mental health.
  • Kidney function. IgA nephropathy is a chronic kidney disease that causes inflammation in the kidneys. It progresses over 10 to 20 years and can lead to end-stage renal disease. Symptoms include tea-colored urine due to blood in the urine (hematuria), abdominal pain, froth after urination (caused by protein in the urine known as proteinuria), fatigue, flu and cold-like symptoms, high blood pressure, swelling of the hands and feet (edema), and mood swings.

Studies in rats have shown Schisandra B (an active compound derived from Schisandra Chinensis) has excellent anti-inflammatory activity, can improve renal function, decrease protein levels in urine, and blood in the urine. 

Schisandra can also lower blood glucose levels and enhance insulin resistance. This reduces the risk of diabetic degeneration to the kidneys. (13) 

Schisandra Chinensis In Food And Supplement Form

As well as using the berries as food, extracts derived from Schisandra Chinensis come in several forms of supplement such as capsules, tablets, dried powder, liquid tincture, tea, and dried fruit. It can be found as a single supplement on its own, or in combination with extracts from other herbs. Most health-food or drug stores tend to carry Schisandra supplements. Dosage may vary depending on extract type, and use. Always read labels, and consult a health practitioner for advice. (14)  

One of the leading supplements on the market is Be Serene, a potent formula of 100% natural ingredients designed to promote calm and reduce your reactivity to stress. The capsules relieve anxiousness, nervousness, and have non-sedating, and non-drowsiness effects. 

As well as Schisandra Chinensis, Be Serene contains four other ingredients cultivated from nature’s garden. These include:

  • Mulungu: Studies suggest that Mulungu works extremely well to relax and relieve anxiety. A powerful, yet gentle, plant, it has been used in traditional medicine to relieve anxiety for thousands of years! It may even help reduce nicotine cravings, improve heart health, and boost brainpower.
  • Holy Basil: Also known as Hot Basil, Indian Basil, or Tulsi, this herb has been used for over 3,000 years due to its healing properties. Along with Mulungu, it delivers a natural source of anxiety relief.
  • Shatavari is used in traditional Indian medicine to help patients with physical and mental stress. It has been shown to have anti-inflammatory properties, boost your immune system, help maintain blood sugar, fight signs of aging, and helps reduce depression.
  • Rehmannia: Rehmannia root supports the entire body and reduces your body’s stress reaction and promotes calm. It may also help balance your hormones leading to a relaxed state of being.

More information can be found by clicking this link

Sources:

  1. https://www.integrativenutrition.com/blog/2016/10/schizandra-berry-is-our-new-favorite-superfood-here-s-why
  2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5378736/
  3. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0753332217346243 
  4. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6412213/#B102-nutrients-11-00333
  5. https://www.rxlist.com/schisandra/supplements.htm 
  6. https://www.scientific.net/AMR.610-613.3549 
  7. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4285959/
  8. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/24456352/ 
  9. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6435518/ 
  10. https://www.webmd.com/vitamins/ai/ingredientmono-376/schisandra 
  11. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6412213/#B102-nutrients-11-00333
  12. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5378736/#!po=19.8113
  13. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30519926/ 
  14. https://www.webmd.com/vitamins/ai/ingredientmono-376/schisandra

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About Dr. Morgan Camp M.D.

Dr. Morgan is an expert in Functional and Integrative Medicine with a Strong Emphasis in stress related illnesses like anxiety and insomnia. In addition to his 20 years of work in Functional Medicine, he has expanded his practice to include work on the deeper aspects of our being that point to the root cause of our illnesses working with Mind Body Wellness, Energy Medicine, and Healing with Consciousness.
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