Schisandra - Effective Herb for Liver


Schisandrachinensis Schisandraceae Also called Chinese magnolia vine

Native to north-east China, schisandra is a woody climbing plant. Fragrant pink flowers arefollowed by small red berries, known in Chinese herbal medicine as fruit with five flavours'. These flavours correspond to major human , sour to liver, bitter to heart, sweet to spleen, pungent to lungs and salty to the kidneys.

Parts used

  • Berries
  • Berries are gathered when they ripen in autumn.
  • They are dried and used to make powders, dry extracts and tinctures.


Schisandra contains several compounds including essential oils, phenols and lignans. The active components are aillignan derivatives. Lignans are thought to help to protect against prostate, colon and breast cancers.

Medicinal uses

Schisandra was traditionally valued by Chinese women as a youth tonic. Recent research suggests that the berries may have important protective effects aga i nst certa i n forms of cancer, and have a healing and cleansing action on the liver.

Scientists are focusing on the actions of lignans. Lignans are often thought of simply as a type of fibre, but they are also phytoestrogensplant compounds with oestrogen-like activity and cancer-fighting properties. In 1992 Japanese scientists showed that a lignan isolated from schisandra protected against inflammation and chemically induced tumour development.

Schisandra has been shown to promote liver regeneration and detoxification. And in 2002 Chinese scientists found that schisandra protects against the oxidation of lipids in the liver. The Chinese researchers also observed that the extract enhanced concentration and may be helpful in improving memory. In addition, it strengthens and quickens reflexes and increases efficiency in stress-related tests. It has an overall protective effect on the body's cells and muscles and can help to lower blood cholesterol.


  • No adverse side effects or toxicity have been recorded to date.
  • However, as the plant treats serious illnesses, it is advisable to consult a doctor or medical herbalist.


If you want berries, you will need male and female plants, Schisandra does best in rich, well-drained, moist soil, ideally with its roots in the shade and its top in the sun.


For internal use

TO TREAT high blood cholesterol levels
TO PROTECT cells and muscles POWDER Take 3-9g a day, divided into three smaller doses. DRY EXTRAa Take 1-3g a day, divided into three or six smaller doses.
TINaURE Put 20-40 drops into a glass of water. Take this dose three times a day.



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