Herb of the Month: Schisandra Berry
Welcome to the New Year! Is it just me or is everyone feeling like they need a little extra support after adapting to this winter season? I’m ready for bed at 7 pm and just can’t seem to raise my energy levels up for my long days like I can in the summertime. When I feel my body’s energy depleted in these ways, Schisandra berry is the adaptogen friend I need to help me find my balance again.
Schisandra chineses, otherwise known as Schisandra Berry, is one of the 50 vital herbs in Traditional Chinese Medicine. In its traditional name, “wu-wei-zi'' it means “five taste fruit.” Schisandra tastes sweet, tart, salty, spicy, and bitter. It supports 5 vital organs; the liver, kidneys, heart, lungs, and spleen. Schisandra chineses is also known as northern Schisandra, and Schizandra and is a member of the Schisandraceae family. The Schisandra chinensis plant is a woody vine with adorable small white flowers that look like they should be in a Studio Ghibli film when in bloom. The vibrant red berries hang down from the vines in clusters just like grapes. This medicine grows in China, Russia, and in Korea.
Schisandra berry is an adaptogen and helps to promote overall vitality and stamina. There are two main compounds within these berries; shisandrin, which protects the nervous system from stress, and gomesin, which reduces inflammation. These berries are packed full of powerful antioxidants and help to improve metabolic and mental functions.
From personal experience, this berry helps me feel deep nourishment and balance in my body. Sometimes even on the same day! Although, as with most adaptogenic herbs, it is best for Schisandra berries to be taken over a longer period of time. Because Schisandra also helps to support the liver, it makes a great herb to explore in January after the indulgent holidays. Schisandra berries can be juiced, made into jam, compliment soups, or dried for teas.
In some practices, Schisandra berries are sought after for beauty and skincare! Some other uses for Schisandra berry include use for cough, dehydration, night sweats, and physical exhaustion. Chinese folklore says these berries calm the heart and quiet the spirit. So, maybe this month, you will choose to sit down with Schisandra berry and pour yourself a cup of longevity.
Schisandra Berry and Beet Smoothie
- 1 cup frozen blueberries
- 1 cup frozen raspberries
- 1 medium beet peeled and diced
- 1 cup pitted dates
- 1 tsp Schisandra berry powder
- 1 cup milk of choice (I recommend coconut for this blend)
Directions: Combine all ingredients into a blender and blend until fully mixed. Enjoy as a smoothie bowl with some shredded coconut and granola, or have it on its own! :)
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