Schizandra is a plant native to China, but it is now grown in other countries around the world, including the United States. The Chinese name for the plant refers to its berries containing five distinct flavors within one berry. This is not a popular berry for eating, but they have been used for medicinal purposes for centuries. Due to the berry having an adaptogenic quality, the berries can be used for several conflicting purposes. For example, eating schizandra berries can help make you more alert in the morning, and they can also help you fall asleep at night. This is because adaptogenic herbs, such as schizandra, help return certain systems of the body to a normal state, regardless of whether they are too high or too low, for example. Schizandra has a number of health benefits.
The Schizandra berries have a very positive effect on the nervous system of the body. It can act as a stimulant for the nervous system, making you more alert and your brain more functional. While the effects on brain function are similar to those received when drinking caffeine, the berries do not cause an overexcited state, nor is there a crash hours later.
For people who have trouble relaxing and going to sleep at the end of the day, schizandra berries have the opposite effect. The central nervous system, including the brain, undergoes a calming effect from the berries if it is overstimulated. This means that you can relax and unwind, relieving tension in your muscles as well as stress in your brain, which will make it easier for you to go to sleep.
The berries of the schizandra plant are also used to treat numerous problems with women’s reproductive systems. The Chinese took the berry as an overall boost to the reproductive organs in both men and women, but its effects seem more adapted to women’s health issues. Schizandra berries are helpful in treating the symptoms of premenstrual syndrome, including bloating, pain in the ovaries, and headache and stomach discomfort. Periods of irritability or mild depression as a result of severe premenstrual syndrome also seem to be relieved to some degree by many women who take the berries.
Women with irregular cycles often find that their cycles become regular after a few months, or less, of taking the berries. Pain from cramping during menstruation is also reduced for many women. The berries also seem to effect the heaviness of blood flow as well, as women who take the berry regularly find that not only are their cycles more regular, but their blood flow is more steady and not as heavy as experienced prior to taking the berries. The effects of menopause are also lessened for many women who take the berries. Hot flashes and night sweats become less severe, and occurrences of both are significantly lowered for many women when they begin taking schizandra berries. Symptoms of mild depression that often accompany menopause due to the lowering of hormones are often relieved for many women who take the berries.
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