Schizandra, sometimes spelled schisandra, is an herb native to China and Russia that is often used in traditional Chinese medicine for both men and women. Called Schizandra Chinensis in the botanical world and "wu wei zi" in Chinese, the red berries of this herb are made into tinctures, capsulated powdered berries and extracts in tablets and capsules. Schizandra has been likened to ginseng for its purported energy-giving properties.
Adaptogens Benefit the Entire Body
An adaptogen is any plant that is considered safe to use on a daily, or tonic, basis to support all the body's systems. Both men and women take Schizandra to combat fatigue, increase stamina and strengthen the immune system's ability to fight off diseases. It reportedly can help improve the functioning of the adrenal glands and healing after surgery or injuries, according to the Women's Health Symmetry Web site. Other benefits of this herb include its ability to help those who suffer from motion sickness; it normalizes blood sugar, high cholesterol and blood pressure; and it assists those who have weak lungs and depression.
Youth and Beauty Tonic
Since ancient times, members of China's royalty have valued Schizandra as a youth-preserving herb and beauty tonic. Believed to benefit the skin by making it moist and soft, Schizandra also has been used to improve older people's memory, coordination and endurance.
When taken on a regular basis, many people believe Schizandra can serve as a sexual tonic that helps to produce sexual fluids such as semen, increase endurance and strengthen the entire body. One way it is believed Schizandra does these things is through its reported ability to rejuvenate the kidneys' energy, which in Chinese medicine is linked to sexual function in women and men. The website Alternative Healing Tools also reports that Schizandra's claims include increasing circulation and sensitivity of women's genitals and increased vaginal secretions when they are needed. This site also states that Schizandra has aphrodisiac properties. However, pregnant women should not take Schizandra because it can cause uterine contractions.
Some people claim that Schizandra has calming effects on the nervous system, while at the same time it improves one's focus and a feeling of being wide awake. HubPages.com adds that this herb is useful in treating neuroses and depression, due to its calming effects.
Immune System Booster
Many diseases can be helped when one takes Schizandra, according to the book "Herbal Remedies for Dummies," because this herb boosts the functions of the body's immune system. This book states Schizandra can help the sweating that happens during menopause and chronic infections, such as those caused by AIDS. It is also believed that this herb can protect the liver when diseases such as hepatitis are present.