Schizandra – Alternate names: Five Flavor Fruit/Seed, Bei Wu Wei Zi, Nan Wu Wei Zi. Used for food, medicine. Native to China, has been used for medicinal purposes for at least 2000 years. Not for normal berry consumption, they should be dried, brewed, or boiled before eating.
When I first started drinking Wild Tea Qi’s Silver Needle and Wild Gynostemma, it occurred to me that not only would some Wild Schizandra Berries pack an even higher antioxidant punch with it’s health benefits, it would also taste great by adding a tart and fruity flavor to these and many other kinds of Artisan teas.
Schizandra isn’t a normal kind of superfruit like acai, grapefruit, or pomegranates. You can’t just pop them in your mouth. They take a little more work. Perhaps that’s why they aren’t a common household fruit yet. But, they’re well worth the extra effort. Their health benefits pack such a punch that and I would definitely recommend giving them a try.
I first learned of Schizandra (Often seen as Schisandra) Berries – commonly known as Five Flavor Fruit – in 1999 when I started helping people boost their nutrition and weight loss with supplements. Schizandra Berries actually help our health all the way down at the cellular level! When adding Schizandra Berries (in various forms) to smoothies, etc, it helps people absorb the nutrients from their food and other supplements in greater quantity. Isn’t that amazing? It helps cells to absorb the nutrients you take in!!! More nutrients absorbed = need to eat less food for the same amount of energy! This supports the idea that Schizandra berries assist with weight loss.
They also give people more energy and help to regulate blood sugar and blood pressure.
Many years later, I can understand this process on a deeper level – the science and health benefits behind adaptogens such as Schizandra Berries and Gynostemma Tea. It’s the kind of information and science that causes most to have their eyes glaze over. In the simplest terms, it starts in your liver where enzymes are stimulated to help promote cell growth! For people interested in detoxing – and these days, who isn’t? – a happy and rejuvenated liver is at the heart of getting and staying clean.
I’d invite someone better versed in TCM to comment more about the liver below.
As always, I keep adjusting and finding better variations of how to infuse Wild Gynostemma and Schizandra Berry blends.
Our Wild Gynostemma has a bit of a delicious smoky flavor and the Schizandra berries add a bit of tart. It’s the perfect combination, and my friends at Chakra 4 Herbs in Phoenix, Arizona have dubbed this blending as “Lemonade” on their extensive tea menu. (There are no lemons involved, but please don’t spill this secret!)
Wild Gynostemma is an herb found in China that is linked to longevity and boosted immune systems. It’s also said to support health while battling stress.
It depends on how much time I have and which teapot I am using, but I love to brew the Schizandra Berries separately and then add them to whichever tea I choose. This lends to a more consistent strength of tart berry flavor. For stronger flavor, brew longer or use more berries. (In Chinese medicine, the berries are boiled for 20 minutes minimum. If you have slow cooker, even better. You can add raw honey for flavor, or you can simply chew the berries until the flavor is gone.)
On easy days, I’ll add about 6 berries to about 2 or 3 grams of tea in my EZ Tea Cup and brew it for about 8 seconds. The first infusion will have a very, very subtle tart flavor. With each brewing, the berry flavor becomes more pronounced and the Gynostemma’s smoky flavor more subtle.
At least give this a try and let me know what you think.
And finally, I almost forgot – Schizandra and Gynostemma are GREAT for DATE NIGHT!! (wink, wink)
TCM and other health uses:
Health Warning: Although adding berries to your tea is probably not intense enough for me to include this, here it is:
Contraindications -pregnancy (similar to taking Fish oil supplements at this time: can possibly cause contractions), epilepsy.
Our Wild Shisandra (Schizandra) chinensis (五味子 in Chinese, pinyin: wǔ wèi zi) tea: literally "five flavor berry" gets its name due to the fact that it contains all five flavors of Chinese Medicine which are sour, sweet, salty, bitter and pungent. It is a deciduous woody vine native to forests of Northeast China and the Russian Far East (from Chang Bai Mountain in northern China). It is carefully sun-dried to preserve the many health benefits that this wonderful berry offers.
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