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The schizandra herb is highly prized by Chinese women as a sexual enhancer and youth tonic.  Schizandra is believed to preserve beauty and is a mild sedative. Schizandra is also reputed to  increase sexual stamina among men. Until recently coveted by the wealthy and a favorite among the  Chinese emperors. Schizandra is also considered an adaptogen, and similar to ginseng, it is believed to increase stamina and fight against fatigue.  

Schizandra (Schizandra chinensis) of the family Schizandraceae is a creeping vine with small red berries  that is native to Northern China. In ancient China, Schizandra was used as a staple food for hunting and gathering tribes. As a traditional medicinal herb, Schizandra, called Wu-wei-tzu in China, has been used  as an astringent for a treatment for dry cough, asthma, night sweats, nocturnal seminal emissions and  chronic diarrhea. It is also used as a tonic for the treatment of chronic fatigue.

During the early 1980's Chinese doctors began researching Schizandra as a treatment for hepatitis, based on its potential for liver-protective effects and the nature of its active constituents. Schizandra is now a recognized "adaptogen," capable of increasing the body's resistance to disease, stress, and other debilitating processes.

In Asia, the schizandra adaptogenic property is said to stimulate immune defenses, balance body  function, normalize body systems, help surgery recovery, protect against radiation, counteract  the effects of sugar, optimize energy in times of stress, increase stamina, protect against motion sickness, normalize blood sugar and blood pressure, reduce high cholesterol, shield against  infection, improve the health of the adrenals, energize RNA-DNA molecules to rebuild cells and  produces energy comparable to that of a young athlete.

Studies conducted on Schizandra effects have noted that the drug has a stimulating effect in low doses, but this effect disappeared with larger doses. The compounds thought responsible for the liver-protective effects of Schizandra are lignans composed of two phenylpropanoid. More than 30 of these have been isolated in Schizandra and some 22 of which were tested in 1984 by the Japanese scientist H. Hikino  for their ability to reduce the cytotoxic effects of carbon tetrachloride and galactosamine on cultured  rat liver cells.

Western herbalists commonly recommend Schizandra for the lungs, liver and kidneys, and to help with depression due to adrenergic exhaustion. In Russia, Schizandra is used to treat eye fatigue and  increase acuity.

Schizandra should not be used in large amounts during pregnancy except under medical supervision to promote uterine contractions during labor. Schizandra in larger amounts should be avoided by persons with peptic ulcers or epilepsy.

Schizandra is also known as:

          Wu Wei Zi, Schisandra chinensis


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