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An illustration of Schisandra berries with green leaves is shown on the left side of the image. To the right, the words "SCHISANDRA BERRIES" are written in bold, black text. Highlighting its Five Flavors, an icon of 10 almonds appears in the bottom right corner.

Five Flavors & Five Benefits

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Five Flavors Of Good Health

Schisandra chinensis, henceforth Schisandra, is also called the “five flavor fruit”, for covering the culinary bases of sweet, salt, bitter, sour, and pungent.

It can be eaten as a fruit (small red berries), juiced from the fruit, or otherwise extracted into supplements (dried powder of the fruit being a common one).

It has long enjoyed usage in various traditional medicines, especially in China and Siberia.

So, what are its health claims, and how does the science stack up?


Most of the studies are mouse studies, and we prefer studies on humans, so here’s a small (n=36) randomized clinical trial that concluded…

❝Schisandra chinensis can be a safe and effective complementary medicine for menopausal symptoms, especially for hot flushes, sweating, and heart palpitations❞

~ Dr. Joon Young Park & Dr. Kye Hyun Kim

Read more: A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial of Schisandra chinensis for menopausal symptoms

Antioxidant (and perhaps more)

Like many berries, it’s a good source of lignans offering antioxidant effects:

Antioxidant Effects of Schisandra chinensis Fruits and Their Active Constituents

Lignans usually have anticancer effects too (which is reasonably, given what is antioxidant is usually anticancer and anti-inflammatory as well, by the same mechanism) but those have not yet been studied in schisandra specifically.


In other words, it’s good for your liver. At least, so animal studies tell us, because human studies haven’t been done yet for this one. The effect is largely due to its antioxidant properties, but it seems especially effective for the liver—which is not surprising, giving the liver’s regeneration mechanism.

Anyway, here’s a fascinating study that didn’t even need to use the fruit itself, just the pollen from the plant, it was that potent:

Antioxidant and hepatoprotective effects of Schisandra chinensis pollen extract on CCl4-induced acute liver damage in mice

Athletics enhancer

While it’s not yet filling the shelves of sports nutrition stores, we found a small (n=45) study with healthy post-menopausal women who took either 1g of schisandra (experimental group) or 1g of starch (placebo group), measured quadriceps muscle strength and resting lactate levels over the course of a 12 week intervention period, and found:

❝Supplementation of Schisandra chinensis extract can help to improve quadriceps muscle strength as well as decrease lactate level at rest in adult women ❞

~ Dr. Jin Kee Park et al.

Read more: Effect of Schisandra Chinensis Extract Supplementation on Quadriceps Muscle Strength and Fatigue in Adult Women: A Randomized, Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Trial

Anti-Alzheimers & Anti-Parkinsons

The studies for this are all in vitro, but that’s because it’s hard to find volunteers willing to have their brains sliced and looked at under a microscope while they’re still alive.

Nevertheless, the results are compelling, and it seems uncontroversial to say that schisandra, or specifically Schisandrin B, a compound it contains, has not only anti-inflammatory properties, but also neuroprotective properties, and specifically blocks the formation of excess amyloid-β peptides in the brain (which are critical for the formation of amyloid plaque, as found in the brains of Alzheimer’s patients):

The influence of Schisandrin B on a model of Alzheimer’s disease using β-amyloid protein Aβ1-42-mediated damage in SH-SY5Y neuronal cell line and underlying mechanisms

Is it safe?

For most people, yes! Some caveats:

  • As it can stimulate the uterus, it’s not recommended if you’re pregant.
  • Taking more than the recommended amount can worsen symptoms of heartburn, GERD, ulcers, or other illnesses like that.

And as ever, do speak with our own doctor/pharmacist if unsure, as your circumstances may vary and we cannot cover all possibilities here.

Where can I get some?

We don’t sell it, but here for your convenience is an example product on Amazon 😎


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