Apr 08, 2024

Top Health Benefits of Schisandra

Top Health Benefits of Schisandra

Scientific/Latin name: Schisandra chinensis

Also known as: Schizandra, Mongolia berry, Mongolia vine, Maximowich’s red grape, Five Flavor Fruit, Limonnik

Native to: northern and northeastern China (Mongolia) and far eastern Russia

Parts used: berries - fresh or dried 

Top benefits: Adaptogen, Antioxidant, Anti-inflammatory, Liver protecting 

Schisandra berries growing on vine

Schisandra; the juiciest adaptogen out there

While we’re no strangers to stress-fighting adaptogens (in fact, these powerhouses form the foundation of every JOYÀ product), schisandra is the only berry among our adaptogenic ‘shrooms and herbs. 

Small in size but powerful in benefits, the schisandra berry is unlike your average berry. It has a long and juicy history as a potent adaptogen with liver supporting, anti-inflammatory, and antioxidant benefits. 


Schisandra chinensis is a fruit-bearing vine with juicy, vibrant, purple-red berries that are described as having five tastes: sweet, salty, bitter, pungent, and sour. 

Native to the harshest climates of China and Russia, this small yet mighty fruit is all about resilience, support and defense. Not your everyday “produce aisle” berry, schisandra is bursting with health benefits. 


Schisandra has long been used in Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) to support health, including: (1,2) 

  • to benefit “qi” (the body’s vital energy or life force) 
  • as an adaptogen to help the body resist the effects of stress 
  • for anti-aging 
  • for daily consumption throughout one’s lifetime to promote longevity
  • to combat fatigue
  • to protect the liver 
  • to improve mental performance
  • to enhance physical endurance
  • to support the immune system  

Aside from being used as a staple in TCM, Schisandra is part of the USSR medical history where it first gained recognition as an adaptogen in the early 1960s, and was prescribed to soldiers to improve night vision and to reduce hunger, thirst, and exhaustion during war times. 

Schisandra berries in bowl

Health benefits of Schisandra 

Whether fresh or dried, schisandra’ s polyphenols — the components in plants that help defend and protect — are considered the most medicinally important parts of the berry and said to be responsible for the majority of schisandra’s benefits, starting with its claim to fame as an adaptogen. 

Read on for all the juicy details. 


We love our adaptogens here at JOYÀ, including this powerhouse berry that’s energizing, yet calming for the nervous system. 

As an adaptogen, schisandra helps support the body’s capacity to handle stress and bring it back into balance. It does so by supporting the various bodily systems involved in a healthy stress response — the endocrine (hormonal), immune, and nervous systems. 

There’s also evidence that schisandra can affect your body’s levels of the stress hormone cortisol by restoring and invigorating the adrenal glands and liver, and that it can help improve fatigue, stamina, frequent infections, and blood sugar imbalances. 

In an animal study comparing five different adaptogenic herbs, schisandra (along with rhodiola) showed the most positive effects on mental performance under stress through daily oral administration of schisandra over a 7-day period. 


Antioxidants are vital in counteracting the free radicals in our body, unstable molecules that cause damage to our cells. 

Free radicals occur naturally in the body as a result of metabolism and nutrient breakdown. They can also be produced when we're exposed to environmental and other toxins such as air pollution, alcohol consumption, tobacco smoke, and UV radiation, as well as due to periods of high stress, poor blood sugar regulation, exercise and poor diet. 

By fighting oxidation (cell damage caused by free radicals), antioxidants help protect against chronic disease, premature aging and inflammation. And just like its grocery store counterparts, schisandra is a berry rich in these free radical busting warriors. More specifically, it's the flavonoids, phenolic acids and lignans that help schisandra reach potent antioxidant status. 

So how does schisandra do it?  Not only do these abundant plant compounds found in schisandra possess anti-aging and antioxidant properties themselves — in animal studies, it was also shown that schisandra increased production of glutathione  — the body’s master antioxidant. 

In another animal study, Schisandrin B— a lignan with hormonal and cardiovascular benefits  — has been shown to reduce oxidation in the body, specifically in the liver, heart, and brain tissues.

Dried schisandra berries


Inflammation is a crucial process in our body. It’s our body’s defense mechanism for fighting foreign particles, microbes and toxins, and is also how it heals an injury. It’s a crucial process in our body, and not problematic if it occurs only when needed.

However, chronic inflammation is tied to numerous diseases and premature aging. So what can we do to help reduce and limit chronic inflammation and support our well being?  *Schisandra has entered the chat

Remember those lignans? They have anti-inflammatory benefits as well. Schisandra lignans can reduce inflammation markers in certain white blood cells of our immune system, like macrophages, and increase the defense and support of the nervous system.

In multiple animal studies, these lignans were shown to reduce fever— the body's natural response to inflammation-causing stimuli, like a virus or bacteria — when fever was artificially induced. 

Schisandra berries


Schisandra has traditionally been known as a liver 'tonic' in Traditional Chinese medicine. (Tonics are substances that alleviate conditions of weakness in the body.)

In western herbal medicine, Schisandra has been used in hepatoprotective (liver protecting) treatment, for both acute and chronic liver disease, as well as poor liver function. Interestingly, two pharmaceutical liver therapies have been synthesized using Schisandra lignans as a model. 

In 1986, researchers Chang and But reported that over 5000 cases of various types of hepatitis have been treated with Schisandra preparations, resulting in improved liver function. 

In a small randomized, parallel, and placebo-controlled study, it was shown that schisandra may reduce free radicals and levels of certain liver enzymes that are problematic when high, and also increase production of the important antioxidant glutathione in the liver, ultimately improving liver function.  

In animal studies, schisandra was seen to have protective benefits against alcohol-induced fatty liver, as well as reduce stress induced liver tumors. 

Schedule in some Schisandra 

Making time for schisandra means stress support, extra antioxidants, reducing inflammation and supporting your liver all from one juicy berry. If that sounds good, here’s the most delicious way to get all the juicy goods:  


Glow Functional Chocolate is a subtly fruity, fudgy and creamy chocolate bar that helps you radiate from the inside out with all of its skin-loving benefits. 

Along with schisandra, you’ll also get hydrating, immune-supporting tremella mushrooms, as well as antioxidant and magnesium-rich cacao: the perfect blend of functional ingredients and nutrition to help promote that glow. 

Say YES to Schisandra 

A powerful adaptogen with liver support, a punch of antioxidants and anti-inflammatory benefits packed into one juicy red berry. It’s the perfect “daily serving of fruit” that just so happens to be in a delicious, chef-crafted, science-backed, functional chocolate bar. They call this a win-win-win. 

The health research presented in this article is for informational use only. It is not a replacement for professional health advice and should not be construed as a recommendation of specific products. The products sold on this website are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. This information does not provide dosage or format recommendations or possible drug interactions, and accordingly, should be used with the advice of a qualified health care practitioner.

Pharmacology of Schisandra chinensis Bail.: An overview of Russian research and uses in medicine | ResearchGate
Current knowledge of Schisandra chinensis (Turcz.) Baill. (Chinese magnolia vine) as a medicinal plant species: a review on the bioactive components, pharmacological properties, analytical and biotechnological studies | PMC
The Adaptogens Rhodiola and Schizandra Modify the Response to Immobilization Stress in Rabbits by Suppressing the Increase of Phosphorylated Stress-activated Protein Kinase, Nitric Oxide and Cortisol  | PMC
Antioxidant Effects of Schisandra chinensis Fruits and Their Active Constituents  | PMC
Potential of Schisandra chinensis (Turcz.) Baill. in Human Health and Nutrition: A Review of Current Knowledge and Therapeutic Perspectives | PMC
Schisandrin B-Induced Glutathione Antioxidant Response and Cardioprotection Are Mediated by Reactive Oxidant Species Production in Rat Hearts | PMC
Schisandrin B Prevents Doxorubicin Induced Cardiac Dysfunction by Modulation of DNA Damage, Oxidative Stress and Inflammation through Inhibition of MAPK/p53 Signaling  |  PMC
Anti-Inflammatory Effects of Gomisin N, Gomisin J, and Schisandrin C Isolated from the Fruit of Schisandra chinensis | PMC 
Schisandrin B exerts anti-neuroinflammatory activity by inhibiting the Toll-like receptor 4-dependent MyD88/IKK/NF-κB signaling pathway in lipopolysaccharide-induced microglia | ScienceDirect 
Correlation between Antistress and Hepatoprotective Effects of Schisandra Lignans Was Related with Its Antioxidative Actions in Liver Cells | PMC 
Schisandra Monograph | herbrally
Improvement of liver function in humans using a mixture of schisandra fruit extract and sesamin | PMC
Schisandra chinensis Prevents Alcohol-Induced Fatty Liver Disease in Rats | PMC
The protective effect of schisandra lignans on stress-evoked hepatic metastases of P815 tumor cells in restraint mice |  ScienceDirect