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Schisandra chinensis

published time:2014-07-04 Tahoma :HT-home

   S. chinensis, known as Wu Wei Zi in the Chinese pharmacopeia, is considered to be one of the 50 fundamental herbs of traditional Chinese medicine. It is considered to be perfectly balanced as the fruit possesses all five flavours of Chinese medicine: acrid/pungent, sweet, bitter, sour, and salty.
 
The fruit is considered to be sour and warm, to stabilize lung qi, stop coughs, generate fluids, stabilize the exterior, nourish the kidneys, bind the essences (jing), nourish the heart, and calm the spirit (shen). Used in the treatment of chronic coughs, asthma, spontaneous sweats, night sweats, chronic diarrhea, spermatorrhea, urinary incontinence, hepatitis, insomnia, and anxiety. It may be used as a single herb or combined with other herbs in formulas such as Ba Xian Chang Shou Wan, Sheng Mai San, Shi Bu Wan, Ming Mu Di Huang Wan and Tian Wang Bu Xin Dan.
 
In Kampo (traditional Japanese herbal medicine) S. chinensis, known as Gomishi or "five tastes", is considered one of the most useful herbs for the treatment of liver ailments. Studies have shown that S. chinensis increases the liver's ability to make the enzyme glutathione peroxidase, which deactivates several kinds of free radicals, substances that attack the outer membranes of liver cells. Glutathione peroxidase also helps offset damage done to the liver by chronic viral hepatitis and HIV.
 
It is an excellent tonic and restorative, helping in stressful times and increasing zest for life. It is considered to be a substitute for ginseng and is said to be a tonic for both the male and the female sex organs. Low doses of the fruit are said to stimulate the central nervous system whilst large doses depress it. The fruit also regulates the cardiovascular system. It is taken internally in the treatment of dry coughs, asthma, night sweats, urinary disorders, involuntary ejaculation, chronic diarrhoea, palpitations, insomnia, poor memory, hyperacidity, hepatitis and diabetes. Externally, it is used to treat irritating and allergic skin conditions.
 
The fruit contains lignans that have a pronounced protective action on the liver. In one clinical trial there was a 76% success rate in treating patients with hepatitis, no side effects were noticed.
 
One source reports that the seed of S. chinensis has been used in the treatment of cancer and that the plant is antirheumatic.
 
Contraindications: S. chinensis increases the flow of bile, individuals with gallstones or blocakges of the bile ducts should not use this herb[11]. It also stimulates the uterus and induces labour, so should be avoided during pregnancy