The fruit of schisandra, a member of the magnolia family, is valued for its medicinal properties. Look for shiny, purplish red fruit that is thick, fleshy and oily. Chinese medicine practitioners prescribe it for a variety of disorders as varied as allergic skin reactions, insomnia and hepatitis. Western herbalists often use it as a tonic to help the body resist physical, biological and environmental stresses. Traditional Chinese medicine characterizes the fruit as sour and slightly warm.
Taken internally for:
Dried schisandra fruit is available at Chinese pharmacies, Asian markets and some Western health food stores. The fruit also comes in tablet form. It is sometimes prepared in wine as a tonic. In 160 proof alcohol, it makes a medicinal wine for itchiness and other irritations of the skin.
Combinations: Mixed with zizyphus and Chinese foxglove root to treat insomnia, irritability and forgetfulness. When combined with Asian ginseng and ophiopogon tuber, prescribed for shortness of breath accompanied by coughing and thirst, and for irregular heartbeat or palpitations. Other combinations are used to treat the chronic coughing of tuberculosis. For additional information, consult a Chinese medicine practitioner.