According to Medicine Hunter, Schisandra is an exotic berry grown in Russia and China, and it is utilized to make medicine. People use it to increase energy and to promote general well-being, and it is believed to have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects . Because of these properties, Schisandra is useful for health and medical conditions, and researchers have conducted studies with this berry to determine its effectiveness for a variety of purposes.
Schisandra for the Liver
One purpose for which Schisandra has proven itself beneficial is protecting the health of the liver. In a 2015 study in the journal Chemico-Biological Interactions, researchers from Sun Yat-sen University in China discovered that extracts from Schisandra reduced the liver damage caused by acetaminophen overdose .
A second study, conducted with rats, also showed that Schisandra could protect the liver. The study, which was published in a 2014 edition of the Journal of Medicinal Food, analyzed the impact of Schisandra on rats who had been given ethanol to induce fatty liver disease. The study’s authors, who were affiliated with Gyeongsang National University, the National Institute of Animal Science in Korea, the Korea Atomic Energy Institute, and New York Medical College, found that Schisandra treated fatty liver disease in rats, returning the liver to a healthy condition and reducing levels of triglycerides and cholesterol . Based upon the results of the research with Schisandra, it appears this berry can treat numerous conditions that damage the liver.
Bone Health and Schisandra
Schisandra also seems to play a role in bone health. In a 2009 study in Phytotherapy Research, scientists from Second Military Medical University in China assessed the effects of extracts of Schisandra. They found that the extracts were able to fuel activity within the osteoblasts, cells that are involved in bone formation. The authors concluded that this effect suggests that Schisandra could prevent osteoporosis .
Additional research has confirmed the fact that Schisandra benefits bone health. A 2017 study in EXCLI Journal, conducted by scientists working for various Korean universities, found that Schisandra extract reduced cartilage damage and inflammation in rats with osteoarthritis . Schisandra could, therefore, play an important role in maintaining bone health.
Digestive Health Improvements with Schisandra
In addition to improving bone health, Schisandra can enhance the health of the digestive system by treating conditions such as inflammatory bowel diseases. In a study in a 2008 edition of Herbal Formula Science, scientists from Wonkwang University evaluated the effects of a Schisandra extract on a group of mice with the inflammatory bowel disease colitis. Study results showed that the Schisandra improved symptoms of colitis and the authors concluded that this berry could serve as a treatment for ulcerative colitis .
A study in a 2015 edition of the Journal of Ethnopharmacology also found digestive benefits associated with Schisandra. Researchers working for Pusan National University School of Korean Medicine assessed the impact of Schisandra on the gastrointestinal motility of mice. They found that Schisandra ameliorated dysfunction within the gastrointestinal system and therefore concluded that it could be useful for treating disorders involving gastrointestinal motility .
Schisandra and Cognitive Functioning
In addition to its other benefits, Schisandra can improve cognitive functioning. A 2016 study in the journal PLOS ONE, authored by scientists from Shenyang Pharmaceutical University in China, demonstrated that the antioxidants extracted from Schisandra reduced neurodegeneration in an area of the brain called the hippocampus, which is involved in memory .
A second study, published in a 2016 edition of Metabolic Brain Disease, produced similar results. Researchers from Shenyang Pharmaceutical University also authored this study, and they found that extracts of Schisandra reduced damage in the brains of rats. They concluded that Schisandra could be effective for treating age-related cognitive diseases .
Other Uses of Schisandra
The research with Schisandra suggests that it is effective for preventing cognitive decline, improving digestive health, promoting healthy bones, and maintaining the health of the liver, but there are other uses for this medicinal berry. One such use is cancer prevention, as a 2013 study in the European Journal of Medicinal Chemistry found that extracts from Schisandra stopped the growth of four different types of human cancer cells. Researchers from China’s Northwest A&F University led the study .
Schisandra could also be useful for women suffering from unpleasant symptoms associated with menopause. In 2016, researchers from Sungkyunkwan University School of Medicine evaluated the effects of Schisandra on women experiencing menopausal symptoms. They gave a Schisandra extract to one group of women and a placebo to a second group, and study results, which were published in the journal Climacteric, showed that the Schisandra was more effective than the placebo was, particularly for treating hot flashes, sweats, and heart palpitations . Women could, therefore, find relief with Schisandra.
Schisandra can treat menopausal symptoms, in addition to a variety of other conditions, according to the research. It has demonstrated an anti-proliferative effect on cancer cells, and studies have also shown that it can prevent cognitive decline and treat liver, bone, and digestive diseases. People who suffer from one of the specific conditions discussed herein would likely benefit from taking a Schisandra supplement. Those who wish to maintain general health and wellness can take Schisandra to promote liver, bone, cognitive, and digestive health.