All Articles

Schisandra 101

fresh schisandra berries

Schisandr-wha?! Schisandra berry hails from wild, lush, and mountainous regions throughout China, and this vining plant is steadily climbing in popularity. While it may seem unusual to folks here in the States, rest assured, this traditional herbal medicine is far from being a fad. These lignan-rich berries have been used in traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) for over 2,000 years, and it’s not just good for humans. By using sustainably-harvested schisandra berry, we’re supporting ancestral plant medicine practices, traditional wild collection, rich ecosystems, and—pandas!

Responsibly-Sourced Plant Medicine

That’s right, schisandra medicine is panda medicine. While there are over 22 species used in the marketplace, the primary kind we use in our Everyday Detox Schisandra Berry tea—Schisandra sphenanthera—is a species native to the Upper Yangtze ecoregion in Southern China. This biodiverse mountainous forest is also home to China’s vulnerable giant panda. We’re proud to say that we are the first company in the world to feature a certified Panda-Friendly ingredient, a standard we helped to pilot over a decade of partnership.

The woody vines of schisandra spiral through the forest and grow along mid-level and tall canopy trees, making it a challenging berry to collect. Prior to the Panda-Friendly standards, collection practices were not uniform and many wild collectors relied on fast harvesting methods that threatened plant regeneration, and thus a crucial food source and habitat for many forest inhabitants, as well as a viable economic resource for local communities.

Today, our wild collectors responsibly harvest just the ripe berries from the lower two-thirds of the vine, leaving the rest to share with the forest and fauna.

Once the red clusters of berries are harvested, they are then macerated in alcohol for local consumption, made into juices, jams, soups, and dried for international use. We use it in our Everyday Detox Schisandra Berry tea for its ability to promote liver health.* It’s also been traditionally used as a powerful adaptogen that supports the immune and nervous systems and overall stamina, making it an ideal everyday herb for this fast-paced modern world.*

Another name for this medicinal berry is wǔ wèi zi, or “five flavor fruit.” Appropriately named, as according to TCM theory it’s the only fruit to contain all five tastes—bitter, pungent, salty, sour, and sweet. According to that branch of herbal medicine, this unique composition supports the liver, kidneys, heart, lungs, and spleen, which are known as the 5 zang organs. Collectively these organs are known as having yin qualities and produce and store qi, the vital lifeforce that makes up all living things.

Whether you’re using schisandra to offset occasional stressors, support your liver during the indulgent holidays, or simply promote overall vitality—you can rest assured that our berries are not only capable of supporting our bodies but also the planet.* Another one of nature’s reminders that plant medicine is all around us, and that every vine, berry and interaction in a forest system matter.

Learn more about our innovative sourcing and Giant Panda Friendly-certified products in our article For the Love of Pandas: Setting New Standards in Sustainability.

Posted in Tea & More on