Schisandra chinensis


Botanical Name: Schisandra chinensis
Common name: Schisandra, Wu-Wie-Zi, Schizandra (Kuhn & Winston, 2001, p. 295) Gomishi (Heinrich, Barnes, Gibbons & Williamson, 2004, p. 281)
Family: Schisandraceae (Kuhn & Winston, 2001, p. 295)
Parts used: Fruit (Alexander & Wang, 2012, p. 892)



  • Dibenzocyclooctene ligans such as schisandrin (Provino, 2010, p. 44)
  • Lignan phytoestrogens or “Gomisins” (Alexander & Wang, 2012, p. 892)



  • Adaptogen (Bone & Mills, 2013, p. 168)
  • Nervous system trophorestorative (Bone & Mills, 2013, p. 276)
  • Hepatoprotective (Bone & Mills, 2013, p. 168; Zhu, Lin, Yeung & Lin, 1999, Abstract)
  • Antioxidant (Alexander & Wang, 2012, p. 892)
  • Sedative/hypnotic (Alexander & Wang, 2012, p. 892)



Schisandra is originally a Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) herb, its Chinese name “wu-wei-zi”, translates to “five flavor berry”, based on the “Five Element” model of TCM. These five flavours represent the 5 visceral organs of the body (Ko & Chiu, 2006, p. 171).


History & Traditional Use

Native to Northern China, Korea, Japan and Eastern Russia (Henrich et al., 2004, p. 281). Traditionally considered a tonic, increasing energy, prolonging life and promoting male fertility (Henrich et al., 2004, p. 281).


Indications (contemporary)

  • Hypertension: Active constituent ‘Gomisin A’ significantly reduces blood pressure and promotes vasodilation (Alexander & Wang, 2012, p. 892).
  • Cirrhosis and Liver Disease: Possesses both hepatoprotective and trophorestorative properties (Bone & Mills, 2013, p216). Key herb for boosting both phase 1 and phase 2 of liver detoxification (Bone & Mills, 2013, p216).
  • Ageing (Ko & Chiu, 2006, p. 175; Heinrich et al., 2004, p. 281).
  • Kidney Disease (Heinrich et al., 2004, p. 281)


Preparation & Dosage

  • Dried berry: 1.5-6g/day
  • Capsule: 500mg capsules, up to 5/day
  • Decoction: 1tsp/1 cup of water tid
  • Tincture (1:5 in 35% alcohol): 2-4mL/tid

(Kuhn & Winston, 2001, p. 297)



  • No adverse effect reported in doses up to 91.1mg/day (Conquer et al., 2013, p. 5).
  • Reputed to increase gastric acidity (Heinrich et al., 2004, p. 281)



  • Pregnancy (potential for uterine stimulation)
  • Epilepsy

(Heinrich et al., 2004, p. 281)


Alexander, J., & Wang, Y. (2012). Therapuetic potential of Schissandra chinensis extracts for treatment of hypertension. Introduction to: ‘Antihypertensive effect of gosmin A from Schisandra chinensis on anqiotensin II-induced hypertension via preservation of nitric oxide bioavailability’ by Park et al. Hypertension Research, 35, 892-893. doi: 10.1038/hr.2012.101

Bone, K., & Mills, S. (2013). Principals and Practice of Phytotherapy: Modern Herbal Medicine (2nd ed.). U.S.A: Churchill Livingston/Elsevier

Conquer, J., Costa, D., Galera, M., Pham, H., Isaac, R., Nummy, K., Seamon, E., Ulbritch, C., Varghese, M., Vera, M., Weissner, W. and Woods, J. (2013). Schisandra (Schisandra chinensis, Schisandra spenanthera). Natural Standard Professional Monograph. Retrieved from:

Heinrich, M., Barnes, J., Gibbons, S., & Williamson, E. (2004). Fundamentals of Pharmacognosy and Phytotherapy. Edinburgh: Churchill Livingstone.

Ko, K., & Chiu, P. (2006). Biochemical Basis of the “Qi-Invigorating” action of Schissandra Berry (Wu-Wei-Zi) in Chinese Medicine. The American Journal of Chinese Medicine, 34(2), 171-176. Retrieved from:

Kuhn, M. & Winston, D. (2001). Herbal Therapy & Supplementations: A Scientific & Traditional Approach. Philadelphia: Lippincott.

Image: Alejka. (n.d.). Cytryniec chiński (Schisandra chinensis) 30 nasion. Retrieved from:

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