Schisandra is a plant that has been used (through extracts from its fruit) in traditional Chinese herbal medicine for many many years. Schisandra has different species, such as Schisandra chinensis and Schisandra sphenanthera. Schisandra chinensis is native to northeastern China and Korea, while Schisandra sphenanthera is native to China.
Researchers have found that a dried schisandra fruit contains lignans such as gomisin A, schizandrins, schizandrol, vitamin C and vitamin E. Some animal studies suggest schisandra fruit or schisandra extract has a benefit of liver protection.
Schisandra extract is unique natural composition with strong tonic and adaptogenic properties. Effectiveness of schisandra seed extract was proven by Russian high rated athletes – hockey players of CSKA (the famous Russian Army sport club) and swimmers. It was also successfully tested in extremely hard Arctic conditions. High activity of Schisandra seed extract was confirmed by researchers of Medical Institute in Rostov. The idenbiologically active compounds are the lignans with an uncommon structure derived from dibenzo cyclooctadiene. The lignans prevent liver injuries stimulate liver regeneration and also inhibit hepatocarcinogenesis and lipid peroxidation. Moreover, several reports indicate that the lignans have effects on human intellectual activity and physical performance. Recently, some dibenzo cyclooctadiene lignans were identified as potent anti-human immunodeficiency virus agent.
In a study of stressed mice, it was found out that 18 hours of restraint stress significantly decreased the anxiolytic parameters. Restraint stress elevated noradrenaline, dopamine, and serotonin levels in cerebral cortex of anxiety mice. However, oral administration of schisandra lignans extract (100 and 200mg/kg/day, 8 days) emolliating the level of stress-induced anxiety by significantly increasing the anxiolytic parameters.
Studies have also revealed that Schizandra extracts exhibit strong antioxidant activities and such Schizandra may affect smooth muscles, arachidonic acid release, biosynthesis of leukotriene B(4) etc. In healthy subjects, Schizandra chinensis increases endurance and accuracy of movement, mental performance and working capacity. Some clinical trials have demonstrated the efficiency of Schizandra chinensis in asthenia, neuralgic and psychiatric disorders, in impaired visual function, hypotension, cardiotonic disorders, influenza, chronic sinusitis, pneumonia, allergic dermatitis, acute gastrointestinal diseases, gastric hyper- and hypo-secretion,chronic gastritis, stomach and duodenal ulcers, wound healing and trophic ulcers.