A hardy climber grateful for any shaded wall to call home, schisandra is a unique botanical that bears fruit possessing all five flavors (salty, sweet, sour, spicy and bitter) known to Chinese herbal medicine. This attractive, adaptable plant thrives in several types of soil.
What does it do?
Referred to as Wu Wei Zi (five flavor fruit) by traditional Chinese healers, schisandra is valued as one of the “fifty fundamental herbs.” Esteemed as a potent substitute for the fabled ginseng root, schisandra is a tonic for both the male and female sex organs, often being summoned to serve as an aphrodisiac. Containing a high percentage of lignans, the fruit is greatly protective of the liver. Indeed, a scientific test conducted with hepatitis patients resulted in a 76% cure rate with no visible side effects. No stranger to versatility, schisandra berries are also useful when countering poor memory, diabetes, insomnia and heart palpitations. A mucus-like decoction made from the branches brings coughs under control and chases away cases of dysentery. Ongoing studies suggest that schisandra may be capable of protecting our brain cells.
About the herb
Beginning its earthly journey in Northern China, Russia and parts of Korea, schisandra now decorates gardens around the globe. Known as magnolia vine for its ability to grow upwards, this herb can ascend 80 feet heavenward. Its flowers bloom from April to May, its seeds emerge between August and October. Its highly nutritious and health-giving red fruits appear like grape clusters. The tender young leaves can be cooked and eaten as a vegetable.
Mix a teaspoon of schisandra powder into a cup of clear water or juice, allowing the blend to stand for 15 minutes. Sip this concoction to strengthen the heart, address urinary disorders, quell dry coughs and diminish the negative impact of asthma. Note: As a potential uterine stimulant, schisandra should be avoided during pregnancy.