Main Health Benefits of Schisandra Berries*
- Boosts muscular performance
- Improves eyesight
- Supports cellular health and prevents ageing
- Enhances libido
- Helps cope with stress
- Lowers inflammation
- Improves liver function and detoxification
- Protects against liver diseases
- Helps regulate blood sugar in diabetes
- Helps maintain healthy blood pressure
- Lowers cholesterol
- Boost immunity to fight infections
- Improves digestion
- Improves mood, brain speed and working memory
- Protects the brain from damage
Traditional Chinese Medicine name
Wu Wei Zi
Other common names
Magnolia Berry, Five-flavour-fruit, Northern Five-flavour Berry, Magnolia-vine, Chinese Magnolia-vine
What is The History of Schisandra Berries?
The schisandra vine is native to the Manchurian area of north and north-eastern China. It is also found growing in countries that border this part of China - mainly Korea and Russia.
The whole plant has been used for centuries – the fruit as medicine, the fibre of the vines to make rope and the leaves to provide essential oils.
The Chinese name, Wu Wei Zi, comes from the traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) understanding that states the purple-red schisandra fruit represents all five medicinal elements – it tastes sour, bitter, sweet, hot, and salty. This makes schisandra unique and it has been revered in Chinese medicine for centuries because of its complexity and versatility.
Schisandra has traditionally been used to treat a wide range of different ailments including coughs, fatigue, impotence, digestive disorders, liver impairment, cardiac function, memory loss and nervous complaints. It has perhaps been most acclaimed for promoting longevity and increasing physical and mental stamina and much research of late has been focussed on schisandra’s anti-ageing properties.
Recognised Targets and Mechanisms of Action
Researchers have found many active constituents in the schisandra berry – dibenzocyclooctadiene lignans (25 different subtypes – including angeloylgomisin, schizandrins, tigloylgomisin, benzoylgomisin, fargesin, eudesmin and gomisin), schisandrols, triterpenic acids & lactones, geranylgeranoic acid, citric acids, flavones (hyperoside, isoquercitrin, rutin and quercetin) and a number of volatile oils. The fruit also contains an array of vitamins and trace elements including vitamins C & E, iron, copper, manganese, zinc, magnesium, potassium, and phosphorus.
The most important and researched lignan derivatives of dibenzocyclooctadiene are schisandrin (schisandrol A), schisandrol B, schisandrin A and schisandrin B. These chemicals are responsible for the vast majority of the schisandra’s powerful medicinal properties.
- Enhances hepatic mitochondrial glutathione antioxidant status.
- Inhibits the secretion of pro-inflammatory cytokines through blockade of IkappaB degradation and NF-kappaB activation suggesting a modulation of mast cell activation in inflammatory conditions.
- Inhibits the biosynthesis of leukotrienes by preventing the release of arachidonic acid.
- Inhibits iron/cysteine induced lipid peroxidation as well as superoxide anion production in the xanthine/xanthine oxidase system.
- Enhances mitochondrial antioxidant status in liver, heart, and brain tissues in rodents.
- Improves mitochondrial structural integrity, thereby protecting against ischemia/reperfusion (I/R) injury.
- Increases superoxide dismutase (SOD) activity with a concomitant decrease in lipid peroxidation.
- Inhibits microsomal lipid peroxidation, reduces the concentration of superoxide radicals, and inhibits microsomal NADPH oxidation in liver, brain, and heart cells.
- Increases hepatic glutathione levels and the activity of glutathione reductase and glutathione S-transferase.
- Increases physical working capacity and provides a stress and oxidative-protective effect against a broad spectrum of harmful factors including heat shock, skin burn, cooling, frostbite, immobilisation, swimming under load in an atmosphere with decreased air pressure, aseptic inflammation, irradiation, and heavy metal intoxication.
- Inhibits the action of nitric oxide (NO) and the production of prostaglandins by stimulating the release of cyclooxygenase 2 (COX2) and inhibition of the expression of nitric oxide synthase (NOS).
- Shows potent inhibitory activity on 5-LOX-catalysed leukotriene production.
- Found to suppress induced TNF-alpha, IL-6, and GM-CSF production improving the modulation of mast cell activation in inflammatory conditions.
Immune System Activities
- Exhibits immunomodulating properties, such as improving the weight of immune organs, enhancing the phagocytic activity of peritoneal macrophages, promoting hemolysin formation, and increasing lymphocyte transformation.
- Impairs the early phases of HIV-1 replication in cell-based assays and is also able to impair HIV-1 reverse transcriptase drug-resistant mutants and the early stages of viral replication.
- The essential oil from the berry shows antibacterial effects against Gram-positive (Staphylococcus epidermidis, Staphylococcus aureus, Bacillus subtilis) and Gram-negative (Chlamydia pneumoniae, C. trachomatis, Escherichia coli, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Proteus vulgaris) bacteria.
- Lowers airway hyperresponsiveness, immunoglobulin E level, and immune cell infiltration in mice with asthma.
- Can be used as a complementary or alternative medicine to glucocorticoids.
- Shows significant enhancement of the mitotic index, the level of DNA synthesis, and ornithine decarboxylase production after partial liver removal.
- Suppresses fibrosis proliferation in the liver.
- Accelerates both liver regeneration and the recovery of liver function after partial hepatectomy from chronic liver injury.
- Enhances liver repair and regeneration by mediating hepatocyte cell proliferation.
- Facilitates both antioxidant and phase 1 detoxification pathways.
- Shown to prevent oxidative tissue damage by the drug tacrine, which is a known hepatotoxin used in anti-Alzheimer’s therapy.
- Increases the resistance of hepatic mitochondria to Ca2+-stimulated permeability transition.
- Increases the microsomal activity of cytochrome B5, P450, NADPH cytochrome C reductase, N-demethylase amino phenazone, 7-ethoxycoumarin O-deethylase.
- Reduces the activity of 3,4-dibenzopyrene hydroxylase.
- Accelerates the proliferation of hepatocytes, the endoplasmic reticulum, and hepatic flow.
- Reduces the release of alanine aminotransferase (ALT) and lactate dehydrogenase (LDH), which increases membrane integrity and viability of liver cells.
Nervous System/Brain Activity
- Plays an important role by raising the level of neurotransmitters in the central nervous system.
- Provides protectants against neuronal cell death and cognitive impairment in neurological disorders.
- Improves the ability to learn and memorise, indirectly increases alertness, improves concentration and mental performance.
- Enhances cholinergic function which significantly reverses the scopolamine-induced impairment of spatial memory and impairment of the passive avoidance response.
- Reduces the levels of corticosterone and glucose and protects the structure of the adrenal cortex.
- Useful as adjuvant substances in the treatment of Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, and Meniere’s diseases, and ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder).
- Exhibits antidepressant activity without inducing drowsiness.
- Produces beneficial sedative and hypnotic bioactivity (especially helpful in insomnia), which might be mediated by the modification of the serotonergic system.
- Demonstrates efficiency in neurasthenia, neuralgic and psychiatric disorders including neurosis, psychogenic depression, astheno-depressive states, schizophrenia, and alcoholism.
- Restores and maintains glutamate transporter type 1 (GLT-1) and the capacity of glycogen synthase kinase3β (GSK3β).
- Increases endurance and accuracy of movement, mental performance and working capacity, and generates alterations in the basal levels of nitric oxide and cortisol in blood and saliva with subsequent effects on the blood cells, vessels, and CNS.
- Relieves microglial-mediated inflammatory injury by inhibiting reactive oxygen species (ROS) and NADPH oxidase activity.
- Decreases hepatic and serum total cholesterol and triglycerides and increases liver weight.
- Exerts cardiovascular protective activity by controlling multiple signalling pathways involved in various biological processes, such as vascular contractility, fibrosis, inflammation, oxidative stress, and apoptosis.
- Geranylgeranoic acid (GGA) has been shown to induce apoptosis in a human hepatoma-derived cell line, HuH-7.
- Shows moderate cytotoxic activity on all tested cell lines via G(0)/G(1) arrest and subsequent apoptosis.
- Upregulation of phase II detoxification genes is believed to play an essential role in schisandra’s cancer prevention properties.
- Inhibits hepatocellular carcinoma cell proliferation through a decreased secretion and gene expression of surface antigens to the Hepatitis B virus.
- Decreases the membrane potential and modulates [Ca(2+)](i) concentration in C6 glioma cells without affecting cell viability.
- Inhibits P-glycoprotein, reducing cancer multidrug resistance (MDR) and fully restoring intracellular drug accumulation.
- Shown to inhibit tumour growth through apoptosis and the activation of immunocytes.
- Induces apoptosis of prostate cancer cells by inhibiting androgen receptor expression.
- Inhibits the production of the placental form of glutathione S-transferase (tumour marker) in hepatocytes and by increasing the excretion of the carcinogen.
- Influences cytokinesis and reduces the number of focal neoplastic lesions in the liver.
- Shows anticancer activity on the colon carcinoma displaying apoptotic activity through caspase-7 cleavage in colon carcinoma HCT-116 cells.
- Induces apoptosis of human leukemia cells—U973.
- Inhibits early oncogenic activation of the Epstein-Barr virus (EBV-EA).
* These statements have not been evaluated by the TGA. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease
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