Schizandra berries have been utilized for centuries as a sex tonic, youth elixir and treasured longevity aid. Schizandra offers a combination of traditional, time-tested usage in the East, and growing research on its health benefits in the West. As more studies emerge, it’s becoming increasingly apparent that Schizandra has quite a few qualities to get excited about.
Schizandra’s versatility is nearly unmatched in the herbal world. It’s one of the only tonics that contains all five flavors: sweet, sour, salty, pungent, and bitter. This means it also benefits all five elements and yin organs, as well as the three treasures:
- Jing, the essence of life
- Qi, the life force
- Shen, the spirit
Schizandra has a history of use dating back for over four thousand years. It was first recorded in Shen Nong’s Pharmacopeia as an elite herb, but many other documents throughout the years also support Schizandra’s ability to promote youth and longevity. Schizandra was even used by Chinese emperors to support sexual stamina. Chinese women of royalty also revered the herb for its beauty-enhancing qualities.
In ancient Chinese tales, Schizandra was depicted as a symbol of longevity and beauty, as well as a protectant from environmental harms. For this reason, it was also a revered gift and tribute. For example, in the 16th century officials of the Hezhong Territory sent large quantities of Schizandra to the emperor as a tribute.
So how does Schizandra actually work in the body? From a TCM perspective, Schizandra tonifies your kidney’s water qi, which helps to both astringe and build Jing ( or “essence”) if schizandra is taken over a long period of time. This translates into increased stamina, energy, and endurance.
This energy generated in the kidneys also facilitates a deeper lung capacity, helping you to get the most out of every inhale and exhale. This alone carries several tangential benefits. A stronger respiratory system helps circulate more blood and oxygen through the body, helping bring fresh blood and nutrition to the extremities of the skin and hair. In this way, lung health can actually be seen through the quality of one’s skin, nails and hair. Circulating oxygen, blood and qi through your system helps to keep your skin and hair moisturized, youthful, and healthy. This is why Schizandra was traditionally linked to beauty and youth.
But the reasons for taking Schizandra are not merely appearance-oriented. Healthy circulation of blood and energies is essential to the quality of your life, as both the circulation and quality are vital to longevity.
Healthy circulation helps maintain even blood and oxygen flow throughout your body, which will allow your lungs, heart and muscles to function as efficiently as possible. Quality circulation also helps remove waste that’s created by the different organs. Lastly, it is also a critical component of a strong immune system. Good circulation ensures that white blood cells can be transported around the body as needed, fighting potential diseases and sicknesses.
If you want to incorporate schizandra into your life, there are a number of ways to do so. Personally, I prefer to take schizandra in the form of a spagyric. Spagyrics are essentially alcohol-based extracts of beneficial herbs.
Spagyrics offer a fuller experience of an herb’s character, because the herb’s integrity, personality or energetic imprint is preserved during the spagyric extraction process. Taking schizandra as a spagyric also ensures high potency, increased bioavailability, and a full spectrum of the herb’s available minerals and properties.
As an added bonus, my Schizandra and Goji Spagyric also features all the benefits of Goji as well. You are essentially getting the highest quality form of the most traditionally revered tonics out there.
-Potent yin tonic
-Calming the heart
-Quieting the spirit
-Overall health and rejuvenation
As for how to take schizandra, traditionally it was recommended to take schizandra for one hundred days. Start slowly, with 1 dropper under the tongue or in a little bit of hot water, 1-3x per day, or as needed. The latter is my favorite way of consumption as the hot water seems to open everything up and allow all of the amazing aromatics and flavor compounds to fully express themselves.You can read more about The Schizandra and Goji Spagyric here.