The therapeutic activity of schisandra has not been significantly investigated under clinical trial conditions, so evidence is derived from traditional, in vitro and animal studies.
LIVER DAMAGE, HEPATOPROTECTION
Traditionally, schisandra has been used to treat a variety of liver disorders. Hepatoprotective effects have been observed in test tube and animal studies; however, the clinical significance of these findings in humans remains unknown. Several encouraging clinical reports using an analogue of schisandrin C are available; however, it is not known whether these effects will be seen with S. chinensis.
In TCM, schisandra is viewed as an adaptogen and prescribed with other herbs to increase resistance to physical and emotional stressorsand improve allostasis (see on Korean ginseng and Siberian ginseng for further information about adaptogenic activity and allostasis).
Schisandra: Other Uses
Traditionally, schisandra has been used to treat chronic cough and dyspnoea, diarrhea, night sweats, irritability, palpitations and insomnia. Based on the herb’s inhibitory effects on leukotriene biosynthesis and platelet-activating-factor activity and anti-inflammatory effects, it is also used for asthmatic symptoms.
Schisandra is also used in combination with other herbal medicines to treat infection. One double-blind, randomised, placebo-controlled pilot study found that a commercial product known as ImmunoGuard significantly reduced the duration, frequency and severity of attacks in patients with familial Mediterranean fever. The dose regimen used was four tablets taken three times daily for 1 month. The ImmunoGuard product contains a fixed combination of Andrographis paniculata Nees., Eleutherococcus senticosus Maxim., Schisandra chinensis Bail., and Glycyrrhiza glabra L. special extracts, which are standardised for the content of andrographolide (4 mg/tablet), eleuteroside E, schisandrinsand glycyrrhizin, respectively. Although these results are encouraging, it is not known to what extent schisandra contributed to the outcome.
Schisandra: Dosage Range
As clinical research is lacking, the following dosages come from Australian manufacturers’ recommendations.
• Dried fruit: 1.5-6 g/day.
• Liquid extract (1:2): 3.5-8.5 mL/day or 25-60 mL/week.