By Cat, Oct 28, 2015 (Photo, right, from Wikimedia Commons)
See also: 1. Healing Herbs, Oils Menu;
Schisandra (often misspelled as Schizandra) is a twining or climbing shrub native to Asia (with some species also native to North America), whose berry has been used as a healing herb for eons.
It is “used as an adaptogen to help nourish and strengthen people who are weak or chronically fatigued,” and “significant improvements in fatty liver disease compared to a placebo (2) which is what caught my attention, but it has many other uses as well.
Healing ability of schisandra berries
It is considered an adaptogen useful for treating and strengthening the adrenals and protecting the liver, and is also useful for digestion and many other uses.
“[The berries] possess all five basic flavors in Chinese herbal medicine: salty, sweet, sour, pungent (spicy), and bitter. In traditional Chinese medicine it is used as a remedy for many ailments: to resist infections, increase skin health, and combat insomnia, coughing, and thirst.” (1)
“supports adrenal, liver, and kidney health for improved stamina and endurance, while helping the body recover from exhaustion and stress.” (4)
I was not familiar with this berry until I received a newsletter from Learning Herbs ®, featuring a recipe for making schisandra berry pastilles (2), which I have copied below. The berries can also be used to make wine, cordial, or tea; it is also available supplementally as a tincture, capsules or tablets.
Schisandra Berry Pastilles
This recipe is from Learning Herbs ®, by Rosalee de la Forêt.
One of the ingredients (used for dusting the pastilles) is licorice (root) powder, which is an adaptogen for the adrenals. This herb is known for raising blood pressure, so if you already have a tendency for high blood pressure, use the orange peel or rose petal powder instead.
I’ve not yet tried this recipe for my adrenal fatigue; first I want to try a tincture to see if it is good for me, and then I’ll make the pastilles. If you want to try the recipe, you can get the schisandra powder from Mountain Rose Herbs (3), as freeze-dried powder or regular powder.
Ingredients for Yield: 5 to 10 servings
- 29 grams schisandra powder (roughly one ounce or 1/4 cup)
- Roughly 1 tablespoon honey, local raw honey is preferred
- Licorice powder* or orange peel powder or rose petal powder (optional for dusting the pastilles)
- Place the schisandra powder into a small bowl. If your honey is thick, warm it so it has a very thin consistency, as follows: in a double boiler or bain marie, gently heat the honey until it is a syrupy consistency. You don’t want to cook the honey, just make it thin enough to easily mix with the schisandra.
- Slowly add the liquid honey to the schisandra powder. Start with a small amount, about 1 teaspoon, stir, then assess if more needs to be added. You want the mixture to form a thick paste that can be rolled into small balls. If you add too much honey, then add a bit more powder until you get the desired consistency.
- Once you have a thick paste, roll the schisandra and honey dough into small pea-sized balls. If desired, roll the balls in an herbal powder such as licorice powder, orange peel powder, or rose petal powder. This will keep them from sticking together. Place these in a small container with an air-tight lid.
The recommended dosage of schisandra is 3 to 6 grams a day, which means that this recipe makes roughly 5 to 10 total (daily) servings. For example: If the 29 grams of schisandra powder (1 recipe) makes 40 balls, then each daily serving is 4 – 8 balls.
Ideally these can be chewed so you taste the five flavors. If you make them small enough, they can also be simply swallowed. Store these in an airtight container. Store in a cool dark location or in the fridge, as desired.
- Wikipedia on Schisandra: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Schisandra and en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Schisandra_chinensis
- Learning Herbs ® Schisandra Berry Pastilles: A Five Flavors Recipe: learningherbs.com/newsletter/schisandra-berry-pastilles
- Mountain Rose Herbs: mountainroseherbs.com/catalog
- Planetary Herbs, Schisandra tablets label: planetaryherbals.com