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Schisandra chinensis
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
Division: Magnoliophyta
Class: Magnoliopsida
Order: Austrobaileyales
Family: Schisandraceae
Genus: Schisandra
Species: S. chinensis
Binomial name
Schisandra chinensis
(Turcz.) Baill.[1]
  • Kadsura chinensis - Turcz.[1][2]
  • Maximowiczia chinensis - (Turcz.) Rupr.[2]
  • Schisandra japonica - (Siebold. & Zucc. ex A. Gray.) Hance.[2]
A mug of Korean omija cha (wǔ wèi zi tea), with added pine nuts

Schisandra chinensis (五味子 in Chinese, pinyin: wǔ wèi zi, literally "five flavor berry") is a deciduous woody vine native to forests of Northern China and the Russian Far East. It is hardy in USDA Zone 4. The plant likes some shade with moist, well-drained soil. The species itself is dioecious, thus flowers on a female plant will only produce fruit when fertilized with pollen from a male plant. However, there is a hybrid selection titled "Eastern Prince" which has perfect flowers and is self-fertile. Gardeners should beware that seedlings of "Eastern Prince" are sometimes sold under the same name but are typically single-sex plants.



Its Chinese name comes from the fact that its berries possess all five basic flavors: salty, sweet, sour, pungent (spicy), and bitter. Sometimes it is more specifically called běi wǔ wèi zi ((Chinese: ); literally "northern five flavor berry") to distinguish it from another traditionally medicinal schisandraceous plant Kadsura japonica that grows only in subtropical areas.



General uses

Its berries are used in traditional Chinese medicine, where it is considered one of the 50 fundamental herbs. They are most often used in dried form, and boiled to make a tea. Medicinally it is used as a tonic and restorative adaptogen with notable clinically documented liver protecting effects. The primary hepatoprotective (liver protecting) and immuno-modulating constituents are the lignans schizandrin, deoxyschizandrin, gomisins, and pregomisin, which are found in the seeds of the fruit. It should not be used by pregnant women.


In China, a wine is made from the berries.[1]


In Korean the berries are known as omija (hangul: 오미자), and the tea made from the berries is called omija cha (hangul: 오미자 차); see Korean tea.


In Japanese, they are called gomishi (Japanese: ゴミシ).


In 1998, Russia released a postage stamp depicting S. (Russian: Лимонник китайский)

Use in traditional Chinese medicine

In traditional Chinese medicine, Schisandra chinensis (known as wu wei zi (Chinese: 五味子)) is believed to:

  1. Astringe Lung Qi and nourish the Kidneys
  2. Restrain the essence and stop Diarrhea--astringent Kidneys
  3. Arrest excessive sweating from Yin or Yang deficiency
  4. Calm the Spirit by tonification of Heart and Kidney
  5. Generate body fluids and alleviate thirst


See also


Further reading

  • Winston, David, and Steven Maimes. ADAPTOGENS: Herbs for Strength, Stamina, and Stress Relief. Healing Arts Press, 2007. (Contains a detailed monograph on S. chinensis as well as a discussion of health benefits.)

External links


Up to date as of January 23, 2010

From Wikispecies

Schisandra chinensis


Classification System: APG II (down to family level)

Main Page
Cladus: Eukaryota
Regnum: Plantae
Cladus: Angiospermae
Cladus: Unassigned Angiospermae
Ordo: Austrobaileyales
Familia: Illiciaceae
Genus: Schisandra
Sugenus: S. subg. Schisandra
Sectio: S. sect. Maximowiczia
Species: Schisandra chinensis


Schisandra chinensis (Turcz.) Baill., Hist. Pl. 1: 148. 1868.


  • Kadsura chinensis Turcz., Bull. Soc. Imp. Naturalistes Moscou 7: 149. 1837.
  • Maximowiczia chinensis (Turcz.) Rupr. ex Maxim., Mém. Acad. Imp. Sci. St.-Pétersbourg Divers Savans 9: 31, pl. 1. 1859.
  • Schisandra chinensis var. typica Nakai, Fl. Sylv. Kor. 20: 105. 1933.
  • Maximowiczia amurensis Rupr., Bull. Cl. Phys.-Math. Acad. Imp. Sci. Saint-Pétersbourg 15: 124. 1856.
  • Maximowiczia japonica A. Gray ex K.Koch, Dendrologie 1: 386. 1869.
  • Polycarpa maximowiczii Regel ex Morren & de Vos., Bibl. cult. trees Hort. Belg. 437. 1. 1887, nom. illeg. non Linden ex Carrière, (1868).
  • Schisandra chinensis var. glabra Nakai ex Mori, Enum. Pl Cor. (Mori) 1922, nom. nud.
  • Schisandra chinensis var. leucocarpa P.H.Huang & L.H.Zhou, Bull. Bot. Res., Harbin 14(1): 35-36. 1994.
  • Sphaerostema japonicum Siebold & Zucc., Fl. Jap. Fam. Nat. 80. 1845, nom. nud.
  • Sphaerostema japonicum A.Gray, Mem. Amer. Acad. Arts ser. 2, 6(2): 380. 1858.


  • Missouri Botanical Garden. 05 Nov 2009 [1].

Vernacular names

Deutsch: Chinesisches Spaltkörbchen, Chinesische Beerentraube, Chinesischer Limonenbaum
Polski: Cytryniec Chiński
Русский: Лимонник китайский


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