Schisandra Chinensis (Magnolia Berry)
Magnolia berry; five-flavor-fruit
forests of China, Russian Far East
A woody vine with gently curved green leaves, Schisandra Chinensis is “dioecious” – in order for a female plant to bear fruit, it must be pollenated by a nearby male plant. Cultivated in a manner similar to that of grapes, magnolia berry crops are a large industry in Russia and China, supporting the production of sweets, juices, wines, and extracts. In 1998, in fact, Russia issued a postage stamp featuring this plant.
According to the Chinese, the fruit of this plants showcases all five of the basic flavors: sweet, salty, pungent, sour, and bitter. Chinese folklore proclaims that can “calm the heart and quiet the spirit.” Teas made from the berries are also a popular tonic in Korea and Japan.
If even a fraction of the claims made about magnolia berry extract are true, the Schisandra Chinensis is a genuine miracle plant. Known as an “adaptogen,” the fruit extract is very high in antioxidants, which (among other properties) helps the skin retain moisture. It is used to treat a stunning variety of other conditions and illnesses—from high cholesterol to radiation exposure. Schisandra is said to decelerate aging, lower blood pressure, cure insomnia, and increase physical vigor across the board. It has long been a popular ingredient in Asian longevity products.