Schisandra is a berry originating in Eastern Asia, which has been long used in Chinese Medicine. Schisandra has been shown to increase liver function by increasing enzymatic activity, which in turn increases glutathione production. Clinical trials in China by Liu KT in Studies on fructus Schizandre cinensis has shown that schisandra berries can help those with chronic viral hepatitis. One mechanism of hepatitis alleviation is lowering levels of serum glutamic pyruvic transaminase (SGPT), a marker of hepatitis and many other liver disorders. It also may lower SGOT. Schisandra is thought to help regrow hepatic cells damaged by alcohol ingestion. The active parts of Schisandra currently identified as helping liver function are: schizandrin, deoxyschizandrin, gomisins, and pregomisin.
Animal studies have shown that Schisandra can increase physical stamina and energy levels. It can also quicken reflexes and increase focus; in addition to protecting against things such as heat shock, frostbite, heavy metal intoxication, radiation, high altitude problems and certain types of inflammation. Schisandra may also be a useful adjunct to chemotherapy due to both its liver protective properties (especially phase 1 detoxification) as well as its immune modulating properties. It can potentially help people handle the toxicity of certain pharmaceuticals they take. Heart contractility has also been shown to increase, without a change in blood pressure. In addition to increasing physical stamina, schisandra is thought to increase mental stamina and focus as well as visual and hearing acuity. Schisandra is also known to have phytoadaptagenic properties (similar to ginseng) and to assist the endocrine, immune, and sympathetic nervous systems. It may help with cardiovascular and GI problems, increase bile secretion, and even help in the prevention of atherosclerosis. It is also reported that Schisandra has an aphrodisiac affect on both men and women (by increasing men's staying power and stimulating sensitivity in the females' genitals).
Schisandra is known to having some antimicrobial functions. It is thought to be especially effective against Staph aureus, Bacillus dysentarie, Bacillus typhi and Bacillus subtilis.
In practice I find schisandra to be one of the products that tests most often and I use most often. It appears in practice to be a very effective antimicrobial against many types of organisms (fungal, bacterial, viral, etc.). It also has been very useful in patients who have suffered from liver stress or need to possibly excrete some stored xenobiotics, chemicals, metals, and mycotoxins. There are quite a few patients who need to be on it for 3-6 months and report many positive changes from taking it. I have seen it help chronic eczema as well.
Chinese medicine typically prescribes Schisandra to treat mental illnesses such as depression, and to help against insomnia.
Contraindications: pregnancy, as it can increase uterine contractions (though it has been used to induce labor).
Our typical dose is one cap 3x/day. We test it on every patient