Over the past few thousands of years, Schizandra has gained fame for a variety of reasons. It's benefits are so wide reaching that it is often considered the quintessential tonic adaptogen. It is traditionally said by the Taoists to nurture all 3 Treasures, tonify all 5 Elements and enter all 12 Energetic Meridians.
It's supports stage 1 and stage 2 liver detoxification, protects the skin from the harmful effects of the sun, cold and wind and has aphrodisiac properties. It was traditionally said to support adrenal/kidney health, sharpen the mind, and build spiritual power. But on top of all this, Schizandra also may have the potential to brighten one's outlook on life!
How does it reach and help the brain?
When assessing whether any substance may have the potential to help with neurological or neurodegenerative conditions, one of the biggest challenges is finding substances that can cross the blood-brain barrier. This is a highly selective membrane that limits what compounds and substances circulating in the blood stream are allowed into the brain. You can think of it like a bouncer standing in front of the VIP section at a very exclusive club. The good news is that many of the recognized active compounds in Schizandra have been shown to cross the blood-brain barrier!
Research in mice found that Schizandra extracts were able to protect against cognitive deficits and neurodegeneration in mice. In the study, mice with depressive-like behavior were given Schizandra extract and this significantly improved all the behavioral and biochemical changes that they had been experiencing. Researchers hypothesized that this could be due to improvement of HPA Axis dysfunction and also upregulation of BDNF.
Why do they say that Schizandra is an elite JING tonic?
The theory of improving depression via ameliorating HPA Axis dysfunction is particularly interesting, because it lines up perfectly with traditional Taoist wisdom about Schizandra. Schizandra is an elite Jing tonic. Jing is essentially the body's energy reserves or savings account. You inherit a certain amount from your parents depending on how healthy they were and you use it up as you go through life. Living unhealthily means you burn up your Jing quickly, whereas a balanced life uses Jing as possible and uses Jing herbs to build up this deep life force. One who has depleted his or her Jing through excessive living, poor diet, drugs, alcohol, constant stress, etc. is said to be suffering from Jing depletion.
The modern medical term for Jing depeletion is HPA Axis Dysfunction. So it's only natural that Schizandra would prove to be very helpful here. Not only does Schizandra help to build Jing energy, it is also considered a Jing locking herb, meaning that it helps prevent you from burning up your Jing. Many people really feel it helps stop them from stressing. If you're interested in learning more about building back your Jing, here is a video you may enjoy.
The magical past and hopeful future of Schizandra
But what about human research? While much more certainly needs to be studied, initial research has been very positive! Taken on its own, Schizandra extract was found to enhance memory and reduce exhaustion related errors. Also, when night shift computer operators consumed a formulation with Schizandra, Siberian Ginseng (also found in our Focus Chocolate) and Rhodiola, they were found to experience significantly improved mental well-being.
As you can see, Schizandra has a long history of use for supporting health of the body, mind and spirit and modern research is now confirming what traditional healers have known for centuries. You can easily mix half a teaspoon of Schizandra in a cup of hot water for a tasty Schizandra tea. Or you can blend it into your berry smoothie! We're excited for you to experience it's magic!
Disclaimer: Addictive Wellness Schizandra is not FDA approved to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease or health condition. Remember to always consult with a qualified healthcare provider before making any changes to your diet and supplement plan. Please do not consume Schizandra if you are pregnant or breastfeeding.
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