Natural Stress Relief
I don't know about you, but for me these past few months of global shifts have been a bit of a wild ride. With so many unique occurrences and novel, complex stressors on offer in the current personal, socio-political and environmental landscape, having the ability to quickly adapt and have extra calm and ready energy are part of the order of the day.
As an herbalist, I can think of no greater natural, plant based support for increasing extra balanced energy, natural stress relief and ability to quickly and calmly adapt than the marvelous superfood Schisandra berry
(Schisandra chinensis, member of the Schisandraceae botanical family).
Natural Stress Relief and Increase Energy with Schisandra Berries
There is something known as "the Three Treasures" in Traditional Chinese Medicine. These three treasures are refered to as Jing, Chi and Shen. One way to conceive of Jing is that it is like the foundational essence of life from birth, while
Chi or Qi is considered the day to day life force energy, breath and attitude and Shen is the considered the immaterial spirit, mental awareness, shiny-ness or presence of a being.
Some Signs of Low "Chi" in an individual may include things like:
Weak appetite and poor digestion including looses stools and or bloating.
No appetite for food or living
Some Signs of Low "Jing" in an individual may include things like:
Looking and/ or feeling tired all day
Looking older than your biological age
Accelerated signs of aging
Habitual trouble focusing/ general "brain fog"
A general lack or loss of purpose
Some Signs of Low "Shen" in an individual may include things like:
Dull eyes, lacking in vitality, as if no one is there
A lights-out essence
The deeply nourishing, adaptogenic
Himalayan berry known as Schisandra
, also known as Wu Wei Zi, has been safely and effectively used for thousands of years in Traditional Chinese Medicine to feeds all of these " 3 Treasures" and all of the 12 meridians
( energy flows ) of the body. It is the only herb known in existence to be able to do so. It was traditionally used to restore youthful vitality, promote longevity, reduce fatigue and stress and nourish the whole being. One of the more common names of Schisandra berry is " five flavor berry". In TCM various healing properties are attributed to each of the five flavors ( sour, sweet, pungent, bitter and salty ). ( more about effects of each flavor
in TCM )
One can experience all of the distinct, complex flavors and flavor profile sensations on the palate while tasting a single berry. It's quite a marvelous and strangely familiar experience. Chinese folklore tells us that the natural stress relief of Schisandra berry can "calm the heart and quiet the spirit".
So what exactly is an "adaptogen"? An adaptogen is an agent that helps to equalize physiology regardless of the direction of change. Adaptogens assist an organism’s ability to adapt to many forms of stress (e.g pain, depression or anxiety, heat, cold, physical stressors, blood sugar ups or downs, emotional triggers). Adaptogenic agents help our bodies and emotions to naturally find a workable, balanced middle ground. Schisandra berries are considered by many herbalists, myself included, to be one the premiere natural adaptogens. I think it is one of the best general herbal allies for these extraordinary times in which we live.
IT IS AMAZING WHAT A PLANT CAN DO
Here are just some of my favorite beneficial properties of the "Immortal Food" Schisandra:
- INCREASE ENERGY/ Chi/ LIFE FORCE
- DECREASES FATIGUE
- INCREASES RESISTENCE TO STRESS/ NATURAL STRESS RELIEF
- STRONG ANTI-OXIDANT EFFECT
- HELPS THE BODY RESIST ANXIETY AND DEPRESSION
- REDUCES BRAIN FOG and SUPPORTS CLEAR COGNITION
- IMPROVES MENTAL CONCENTRATION
- INCREASES RESISTENCE TO DISEASE
- INCREASES PHYSICAL PERFORMANCE AND ENDURANCE
- SUPPORTS HEALTHY ENDOCRINE SYSTEM FUNCTION
- IMPROVES DIGESTION
- HELPS ALLEVIATE SYMPTOMS OF MENOPAUSE
- HAS A POSITIVE EFFECT ON ALZHEIMERS
- SUPPORTS LIVER FUNCTION & HELPS DETOXIFY THE LIVER
- INCREASES LIBIDO & SEXUAL FLUIDS
- IMPROVES SEXUAL PERFORMANCE AND ENJOYMENT
- HAS SKIN SOFTENING EFFECT
***Precautions for using Schisandra: People who are pregnant or nursing should consult with their trusted healthcare provider before judiciously using Schisandra. Schisandra may interact with certain medications such as antibiotics like Biaxin (clarithromycin), diuretics ("water pills") like Coumadin (warfarin), estrogen-based contraceptives, immuno suppressive drugs like Sandimmune (cyclosporine) or diabetes medications like Glucotrol (glipizide).
Here's a link to just some of the scientific study
Although Schisandra is a berry, and considered to be one of the "Immortal Foods" in the thousands years old traditional healthcare system of TCM, it isn't often actually eaten as a food. The most common way to benefit from the natural stress relief, increase energy and the many adaptogenic properties of Schisandra is in enjoying it as a tea. Due to it's deliciousness, it has quickly become a very favorite tea of countless people the world over. I have to say, it's flavor is marvelous! It has been said that the traditional way to take Schisandra tea is to build a core of strength by drinking it every day for 100 consecutive days. Then as needed after that. Schisandra berry can also be made into/ used in a tincture, powdered and used in capsules, juiced or even made into Schisandra wine. But by far the preferred method is to enjoy it in it's flavorful tea form.
I've personally found that making positive advances in wellness is easiest achieved when instead of ending or trying to quit a habit "cold turkey", we replace one habit for something that functions better.
Making the simple and satisfying swap of morning brews from something adrenal depleting like coffee to something multi-nourishing and delicious like Schisandra Berry tea can make a world of difference in your energy levels throughout the day as well as in your overall endocrine function. Schisandra berry tea is one of those divine drinks that can have just as much ritual infused into its making and enjoyment as coffee, yet with far more benefit to you. Whenever I am grumpy, frazzled, tired, overwhelmed or just flat our exhausted, I reach for a revitalizing cup of Schisandra tea. It has always lifted me.
HOW TO MAKE SCHISANDRA TEA:
Due to a high in tannin content in the berries, they should be soaked in cold water for a couple of hours, then strained before using them in tea making.
It is a very simple process to presoak dried Shisandra berries. Simply measure out the amount you intend to use, soak in cold water, covering the berries completely with an extra inch of water, and leave for 2- 4 hours. Once the berries have soaked for the 2-4hours, simply strain out the water, reserving the berries for later use.
THINGS YOU'LL NEED TO MAKE YOUR TEA:
3 TBSPs dried pre soaked Schisandra berries
1 Quart boiling water
Medium sized saucepan with lid
- Boil the quart of water in your saucepan.
- Once water is boiling, add the 3 TBSPs of presoaked Schisandra berries
- Cover and reduce heat to simmer on low heat for 16-18 minutes.
- Remove your brew from the heat and strain out tea from the berries using a fine mesh strainer. Press berries with a spoon or fork to release more of the herbal constituents into the tea. ( Although some adaptogenic herbs can be brewed several times, Schisandra berries should only be brewed once, so after they are brewed and strained, simply compost them. )
*** You can make an extra large batch and refrigerate it covered for up to 3 days in the fridge. This is very handy if you are drinking Schisandra tea daily for the 100 consecutive days. Most people traditionally drink between 1 cup to 1 quart of Schisandra tea per day during this time. Schisandra Tea can be enjoyed hot or cold, sweetened or unsweetened. I sometimes add other herbs like organic Goji Berries or sliced Astragalus Root to the tea, but straight up Schisandra tea is simply divine and very satisfying.
I am happy to share with you my favorite practices, plants and most powerful tools for wellness. I hope you have found this posting helpful and informative. I don't know about you, but I intend to ride out the winter quarantine days ahead with great big, nourishing steamy cups of Schisandra tea and lots of meaningful reinvention. May you find your way, sanely and safely through these transformative and unprecedented times. And as always..... THRIVE,
Aleli Estrada from Anima-Botanica.com
**** This post is intended for educational purposes only and is not meant to diagnose or treat any particular condition. For medical advise please consult with your trusted healthcare professional. Blessings on your wellness journey.
We'd love to hear from you in the COMMENTS below.... Have you tried Schisandra Berry Tea? What are your favorite adaptogens and natural stress relieving, energy boosting practices and allies?