The longer I practice the more I fall in love with herbal medicine. In medical school I initially found herbs to be a difficult subject. It was not until I started making formulations (using many herbs together) that I got to see the beauty and power of what Mother Nature has given to us.
There are a few dozen herbs that I seem to use a lot with my patients. These herbs have become my staples, but I am always learning more about other herbs. One of my newer favorite herbs is Schisandra -Schisndra chinensis. One thing that I learned in school is that Schisandra is also called "five flavor berry." When you are perfectly in balance you can taste all five flavors - sour, bitter, salty, sweet and pungent. Most of us, including myself sometimes, usually only taste two flavors.
Schisandra is a wonderful adaptogen, antioxidant, and immunomodulator to name a few of Schisandra's actions. I have been using Schisandra in tinctures to help support patients with adrenal concerns, hypothyroid, and to round out a hormone balancing tincture. Since Schisandra is an adaptogen it helps the body to be able to respond to stress better while increasing energy and stamina.
Schisandra also supports liver function, and thus this herb is often used in Chinese Medicine for that reason. Because Schisandra can affect the liver it is important to make sure that the herb is used safely. It can alter the rate at which certain drugs break down. This is done by either increasing or decreasing breakdown, thus increasing or decreasing the drug's effectiveness. Therefore, it is important to check with a healthcare provider before you start taking any herbs like Schisandra.