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Schizandra belongs to the Magnoliaceae family, a creeping woody vine that is native to China and Japan. The schizandra fruit has a sweet, salty, bitter, hot and sour taste. This explains the Chinese name wu wei zi meaning five taste fruit. The Schizandra berries are bitter and pungent; imagine a cross between black pepper and cinnamon. It is described by the Taoists as “the quintessence of tonic herbs”, and in the Chinese tradition is considered a superior herb, as are Reishi and Goji. It is an adaptogenic herb. Our powder is made from dried berries.
Schizandra was mentioned in early medical texts of China as one of the Superior herbs, (like Reishi and He Shou Wu).
Some hunting tribes of Northern China would take supplies of the dried berries whenever they went on long hunting trips during cold weather. Eating the schizandra berries helped them to stoke their internal fires.
Schizandra is gaining in popularity as a tonic or adaptogen that can balance bodily functions. Among schizandra's main chemical constituents are compounds known as lignans, which are concentrated in the berries' seeds. More than two dozen lignans have been identified with the prominent ones being schizandrin, gomisins such as gomisin A, and wuweizisu C.They may also have mild sedative effects. Other chemical constituents in schizandra, such as an essential oil, acids, vitamins, and minerals, may contribute to the herb's tonic effects by increasing cells' ability to create and use energy and to process wastes or by delivering more oxygen to the body's cells.
Schizandra, like many of our favourite medicinal herbs, is an adaptogen. An adaptogen is a plant (such as Aloe vera, maca, suma and ashwaganda) which has a normalizing effect on the body. Adaptogens don't have a specific effect on the body, what they do is rebalance the body and restore homeostasis. The more centred we are, the easier it is to deal with life's ups and downs, and keep up with the 21st century pace of life.