Are you having trouble sleeping at night and can hardly keep your eyes open in the afternoon? If so, you may benefit from a supplement that will balance your bodily functions to give you a calm burst of energy.
What is a "calm" burst of energy? While drinking coffee can give you a burst of energy as well, it can also make you jittery. According to Herbal Medicine, Healing and Cancer, schizandra (also spelled "schisandra") berries stimulate the central nervous system without giving you that jittery feeling you get from coffee. As a result, your body is better able to rest at night, helping you stay asleep and wake up refreshed when you need to.
According to "Pharmacology of Schisandra Chinensis Bail an overview of Russian research and uses in medicine," schizandra is a phyto-adaptogen -- a plant that can help the body cope with stress. People in East Asia, in countries such as China, Japan and Korea have been eating schizandra berries to promote a healthy mind and body for centuries.
Schizandra bushes typically grow from April to May and are usually found in forests by small moving bodies of water, like brooks and streams.
Other Uses of Schizandra Berries
Increases mental focus:
Stress can cause trouble concentrating. Since schizandra berries calm you down but also provide energy, your mental clarity is greatly improved. These berries produce an effect similar to a good night’s sleep and being free of stress. The result is improved focus for increased productivity.
Being able to better focus allows for greater information retention. People under high amounts of stress can experience memory issues due to this lack of concentration. During times of stress, the neurons in the brain slow down. Normally, stimulating the improves cognitive function, improving memory.
Strengthens sexual organs:
Schizandra berries have also been known to help men with erectile dysfunction, according to Off the Shelf Natural Health: How to Use Herbs and Nutrients to Stay Well. Men may experience erectile issues when they are under an extreme amount of stress. Schizandra relaxes the body and strengthens the sexual organs, which increases sexual performance.
On the April 5 episode of "Dr. Oz," Dr. Mehmet Oz invited herbalist Chris Kilham to discuss schizandra berries. Dr. Oz calls it the fountain of youth as it not only helps with mental clarity, memory and sexual function but it also has beneficial effects on the skin by decreasing the appearance of lines and wrinkles. The doctor referred to schizandra berries as the "anti-aging miracle."
Protects the heart and liver:
The Chang Gung Medical Journal published a study by the School of Traditional Chinese Medicine at Chang Gung Memorial Hospital that found Schizandra berries can protect against cardiotoxicity in rats, indicating that it may be an effective hearth health supplement for humans. The Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center performed animal studies that found Schizandra berries as effective deference against cancer and liver problems. Studies on humans have yet been done to confirm these findings in people.
Potential Side Effects
Side effects from schizandra berries are mild. Some people who take more than the recommended dose can experience dyspnea or difficulty breathing. This is most likely caused by the way the berries depress the central nervous system, creating that calming effect. Others who exceeded the dose may experience gastrointestinal problems, according to the University of Michigan Health Center. Most noted are upset stomach, lack of appetite and heartburn. The Alternative Medicine Review reports overdosing effects of schizandra berries can create an opposite effect. It can cause some people restlessness and insomnia.
While the actual berries can be eaten, due to their sour, bitter taste, most people prefer supplements. The recommended dose in capsules is 450 mg, three times a day.
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