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Schisandra is a woody vine native to eastern Asia. It winds around the trunks of trees, covering the branches. The white flowers produce small red berries that may grow in clusters. Traditionally, the berries are harvested in the fall, dried, and then ground to make the powdered medicinal herb. The seeds of the fruit contain lignans , which are believed to be active constituents.
Schisandra has long been used in the traditional medicines of Russia and China for a wide variety of conditions including asthma, coughs, and other respiratory ailments, diarrhea, insomnia, impotence, and kidney problems. Hunters and athletes have used schisandra in the belief that it will increase endurance and combat fatigue under physical stress.
More recently, schisandra has been studied for potential liver-protective effects.
Schisandra comes in capsules, tinctures, powder, tablets, and extracts. Common dosages are 1.5 to 6 g daily.