Superfood Spotlight: Schizandra
Schizandra, often referred to as the ‘five flavour fruit’ is harvested for its bright red berries. It’s prized for its ability to act as a gentle, rejuvenating and strengthening tonic and for its liver cleansing, libido boosting, stress reducing and energizing properties. The berries of the schizandra plant have been used in Traditional Chinese Medicine for thousands of years as a powerful adaptogen.
Name: Schisandra chinensis
AKA: Wu Wei Zi, Schizandra, magnolia-vine, magnolia berry, five-flavor-fruit
Organic Remedy: Adaptogen
Plant Family: Moringaceae
Native To: Northern China
Supplement Forms: Powder, tea
First of all, what is an Adaptogen?
Adaptogens have become more and more popular over the last few years seeing many people turn to their healing potential in place of synthetic western medication. Adaptogens refer to a class of plants that are said to contain medicinal properties that help the body adapt to stress in a way that brings harmony and balance to the body as a whole. According to DR. Marisa Marciano, adaptogens have the ability to restore normal tone and function to the hypothalamic/ pituitary / adrenal (HPA) axis and the sympatho / adrenal (SAS) system. As the adrenal glands are responsible for so much of the body’s response to both internal and external stressors, having them balanced and functioning optimally can help our bodies resist and even prevent common symptoms of stress. Adaptogens work internally to help resist and prevent common internal and external symptoms of stress.
The link between stress and disease:
Did you know that stress can have negative physical implications on the body? If you’re someone who finds themselves constantly stressed, it’s likely that you could simultaneously suffer from depression, difficulty sleeping, obesity, digestive issues, autoimmune diseases and more. Prolonged stress can weaken your immune system and disrupt essential bodily processes making you more susceptible to getting sick and increasing your risk of health problems.
While adaptogens work to help our bodies better respond to stress, they’re also strengthening our immune systems and protecting us from disease.
As an adaptogen, schizandra works to harmonize and relieve stress throughout all areas of the body. According to TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine) the five flavours signature of schizandra berries - sweet, sour, pungent, bitter and salty - allow them to access all 12 meridians of the body: lungs, large intestine, spleen, stomach, heart, small intestine, bladder, kidneys, heart governor, triple heater, gallbladder and liver.
The five flavours work as follows:
Sweet: Nourishes and restores energy levels in the spleen and stomach
Sour: Stimulates the digestive system by strengthening the liver and gallbladder
Pungent: Awakens and stimulates the body through strengthening the lungs and large intestines
Bitter: stimulates digestion and reduces inflammation by strengthening the heart and small intestines
Salty: Stimulates the movement of fluid within the body thanks to its mineral content by strengthening the kidneys and bladder
Here are some of the top benefits of Schizandra:
- Balances Hormones & Reduces Stress: Schizandra works as an Adaptogen to help balance hormones and improve our ability to deal with external and internal stress.
- Reduces Risk of Disease: When our bodies are better able to respond to and deal with stress, our risk of disease is also lowered.
- Increases Energy: Schizandra is said to be energizing and endurance boosting.
- Protects the Liver: Schizandra aids in increasing enzyme production and antioxidant activity while improving circulation within the body. It contains schisandrin C, an antioxidant that helps to reduce toxic fatty acids and inflammation from the liver.
- Reduces Blood Pressure and Cholesterol
- Reduces Inflammation
- Protects the Brain: Schizandra has shown to protect and neurological decline as well as psychiatric disorders.
- Skin Nourishing: Found in many natural beauty products, schizandra can help protect the skin from damage caused by sun exposure, allergies, environmental toxins and more.
- Boosts Libido and Reduces Symptoms of Menopause: Research has shown that schizandra can positively impact fertility and hormonal health.
What Sets Our Schizandra Apart:
The schizandra berries used to make our Full Spectrum Schizandra Extract are harvested at the peak of vibrancy and immediately processed. Our Schizandra Extract contains a 6:1 lb ratio of fresh berries to powder and is made from a proprietary low temperature drying process to ensure optimal nutrient, enzyme and antioxidant integrity. Grown in Certified Organic US soil, the schizandra berries used to create our Full Spectrum Schizandra Extract come from nutrient dense, mineral rich soil and are the cleanest and most vibrant of their kind.
How To Use Schizandra:
It’s possible to find schizandra as a tincture, encapsulated, as a tea and in powder form - making it easy to incorporate into your routine. However, we recommend taking schizandra in a way that allows you to taste it. Seeing as the benefits of schizandra are rooted in it’s five flavours, we find it necessary to taste the sweetness, bitterness, sourness, saltiness and pungent flavour that is schizandra in order to access all that it has to offer. In the Ayurvedic tradition (where many adaptogens have their roots), taste is an important part of the healing process as this is what signals to the body to get ready to digest and utilize the potential of the adaptogens you’re ingesting. We recommend making a tea with your schizandra powder and sipping on it slowly to allow yourself to taste it thoroughly. Another favourite way of ours to enjoy our schizandra is in the form of pastilles. Check out this recipe for Schizandra Pastilles by The Florestic!