Adaptogen facts: Improve sleep quality with schisandra (five-flavor berry)
02/09/2022 / By Rose Lidell / Comments
Adaptogen facts: Improve sleep quality with schisandra (five-flavor berry)

Getting enough sleep every night is essential for good health. But some days, it’s hard to fall asleep due to various factors, such as stress or anxiety. If you’re having trouble sleeping, try schisandra, a natural sleep aid.

While schisandra isn’t as popular as ginseng, schisandra is considered safe to use and offers other benefits aside from promoting better sleep quality.

Schisandra comes from Schisandra chinensis (five-flavor berry), a fruit-bearing vine. It is also called five-flavor fruit or wu wei zi. The plant produces beautiful flowers and bears bright red berries.


Wu wei zi means “fruit of five flavors” because schisandra berries have an incredible flavor profile, which is a combination of bitter, salty, sour, spicy and sweet.

Despite its many uses, schisandra is more than just a “health” drink. Five-flavor berry is a versatile superfood, and it can be used to make teas, juices and tinctures.

Schisandra as a natural remedy for sleep problems

Over-the-counter (OTC) sleep aids are popular among people who need help falling asleep, but they are often linked to negative side effects.

For example, higher-than-recommended doses of diphenhydramine (Benadryl), an antihistamine approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), may cause seizures, heart attack, coma or even death.

To avoid these adverse effects, consider using a more natural alternative like schisandra.

According to a study performed on mice and rats, five-flavor berry can help promote a good night’s sleep. Researchers reported that the berries inhibited motor activity and extended sleep time.

Additionally, schisandra helped the animals fall asleep faster and promoted deep sleep. These findings suggest that schisandra can be used as a sedative if you suffer from sleeplessness.

Does schisandra have side effects?

Unlike OTC sleep aids, five-flavor berry is considered generally safe for use except for certain cases.

Avoid using schisandra if you are pregnant. You should also avoid five-flavor berry if you have hypertension, epilepsy or peptic ulcers.

And unlike ginseng, five-flavor berry won’t cause insomnia.

How does schisandra work?

Schisandra is an adaptogen. Adaptogens are herbal pharmaceuticals that can help counteract the effects of stress on the body. Stress causes physical changes in your body, such as harming the neurological, endocrine and immune systems.

When you take adaptogens, you can benefit from their stimulant properties that help counteract those harmful effects. Additionally, adaptogens offer benefits for your mental and physical health. If you are feeling overly up or down, adaptogens may help restore balance to your body.

If you are tense and unable to relax, schisandra can bring you down and slow your racing mind. If you stay up late at night because of stress or anxiety, schisandra can help you fall asleep naturally.

Imagine five-flavor berry as an automatic pilot for your body. If you take schisandra when your body needs to slow down, it steps on the brakes. And if you need to speed up, five-flavor berry steps on the gas pedal.

Taking schisandra can help you get a good rest by reducing stress and anxiety. Some also believe that schisandra can promote sleep by reducing night sweats and restless leg syndrome, two things that may disrupt sleep.

Schisandra is also full of beneficial nutrients, making it a powerhouse among adaptogens.

Five-flavor berry contains:

  • Antioxidants
  • Chromium
  • Essential oils
  • Healthy fats
  • Lignans
  • Phosphorus
  • Phytochemicals
  • Magnesium
  • Silica
  • Vitamins A and C

Schisandra also contains beneficial lignans called deoxyschizandrin, gamma-schizandrin, schizandrin and schizandrol.

Other health benefits of schisandra

Nutrient-rich schisandra also offers other health benefits, such as:

  • Improving liver function
  • Improving mental performance
  • Protecting your skin
  • Reducing inflammation

It can help prevent Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease

According to a 2017 study, schisandrin B may help protect against Alzheimer’s disease.

Researchers explained that this is due to schisandrin B’s ability to block the formation of excess amyloid beta peptides in the brain. These peptides are one of the components responsible for the formation of amyloid plaque, a substance found in the brains of people with Alzheimer’s.

A different study also found that schisandrin B from five-flavor berry can help fight both Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease since it has an anti-inflammatory and neuroprotective effect on microglial cells in the brain.

It can help relieve menopause symptoms

Findings from a 2016 study revealed that schisandra extract can benefit women with menopausal symptoms. For the study, researchers followed 36 menopausal women for a year. They found that the extract helped address some symptoms of menopause like heart palpitations, hot flashes and sweating.

It can help relieve stress

Thanks to schisandra’s adaptogenic properties, it can help your body resist the effects of anxiety and stress. The superfood may also help boost your defenses against disease.

How to use schisandra

Since schisandra comes in many forms, there are several ways to incorporate it into your regular diet. Here are the directions on how to use five-flavor berry powder, supplements, tea and tincture:

  • Schisandra powder – You can take three grams of schisandra powder daily.
  • Schisandra supplement – Take at least one to three grams in pill form with meals.
  • Schisandra tea – Steep three grams of tea in hot water for 40 to 60 minutes.
  • Schisandra tincture – You can take about 20 to 30 drops daily.

For your safety, refer to the product’s packaging when using schisandra as a natural sleep aid. But most importantly, consult with a natural health practitioner before using.

If you want to get a good night’s sleep, try drinking schisandra tea or make a berry smoothie.

Sources: 1 2

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