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The schizandra berry, a small red berry that grows on a climbing vine, has been used in Chinese medicine to treat a number of ailments. As an adaptogen, it helps normalize various bodily functions, such as blood flow and kidney function. It contains both antioxidants and lignans, resulting in a detoxifying effect on the body, particularly the liver. The schizandra berry is also used to improve sexual function, aid in proper digestion, help fight nervous disorders, and improve heart health. It may also be effective at preserving youthful appearance.
Many sources refer to the schizandra berry as "adaptogenic." Adaptogens are substances which normalize body functions during and after stressful situations. Schizandra is particularly noted as being an effective stress reducer, among its various other capabilities. Its mild sedative effect helps to fight insomnia, dizziness, anxiety, heart racing, and headaches. In contrast, it may not only soothe the nervous system, but in some cases also stimulate it, resulting in increased mental alertness and enhanced memory functions.
Schizandra berries contains lignans, which are naturally occurring chemicals found in the body and certain plants. Lignans are known for aiding in kidney function as well as having potential anti-cancer qualities and cholesterol lowering capabilities. The lignans in the schizandra berry are believed to have a detoxifying effect on the liver in particular. An increase in bile flower from the liver, as a result of taking schizandra, can also result in improved digestion.
Certain cosmetic qualities have also been linked to these berries. In traditional Chinese medicine, women in particular were encouraged to consume schizandra berries in order to improve skin appearance and texture. Men and women alike would also take schizandra in order to revitalize sex organs and increase sexual endurance. The berries' capability to improve sexual function has been supported through modern clinical research partly due to a noticeable increase in nitric oxide levels in the body.
As it helps to dilate blood vessels, schizandra is also useful for improving heart function. It additionally increases blood flow to the brain, muscles, and other organs. While the supplement is also considered effective at regulating blood pressure, some sources recommend that those with high blood pressure avoid it. Pregnant women, those with peptic ulcers, and those who suffer from gallstones are also advised to avoid consuming the schizandra berry or schizandra supplements. For the general public, however, the product is perceived as completely non-toxic, and there have been no reports of serious side effects even in large doses.
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