Magnolia Vine Fruit 

Latin: Fructus Schisandrae
Magnolia vine fruit is the ripe fruit of the perennial deciduous woody vine Schisandra chinensis (Turcz.) Baill. (Chinese magnolia vine), or Schisandra sphenanthera Rehd. et Wils. (orange magnolia vine), of the family Schisandraceae. Native to east Asia, it is grown in mixed forests, especially on the margins, by streams and brooks, and usually on sandy soils in China, Russia, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, etc.

The climber grows to about 9 m at a medium rate. It winds around the trunks of trees, covering the branches. It is in flower from April to May. The scented white, pink or yellow flowers are dioecious (individual flowers are either male or female, but only one sex is to be found on any one plant so both male and female plants must be grown if seed is required), and are followed by red berries (the fruits). The clusters of red fruit are the most ornamental trait. The plant will need some sort of support. Grow the plant in full sun except in warmer climates where it will appreciate partial shade. It requires moist soil.

In China, Chinese magnolia vine is customarily called "northern magnolia vine" and is mainly produced in the northeast provinces. Orange magnolia vine is customarily called "southern magnolia vine" and is mainly produced in the southwest and in the provinces to the south of China's Yangtze River Valley.

The berries are picked and harvested when the fruit becomes ripe in autumn. Dry the fruit in the sun for use, or mix with vinegar and honey, steam and dry in the sun for use, or ground to make the powdered medicinal herb.

Also called Magnolia-vine Fruit.
Sour and sweet in flavor, warm in nature, it is related to the lung, heart and kidney channels.
Astringes the lungs and nourishes the kidneys, promotes the production of body fluid and astringes sweating, seminal emission and arrests diarrhea as well as relieves mental stress.

Magnolia vine fruit is commonly used in Chinese herbalism, where it is considered to be one of the 50 fundamental herbs. It is an excellent tonic and restorative, helping in stressful times and increasing zest for life. It is considered to be a substitute for ginseng and is said to be a tonic for both the male and the female sex organs.
1. Treats prolonged coughing and dyspnea (difficult breathing) of the deficiency type:

Astringing with its sour flavor and moistening with its warm nature, magnolia vine fruit can astringe lung-qi in the upper part of the body and nourish kidney-yin in the lower part, so it is indicated for prolonged coughing due to deficiency of the lungs and dyspnea and coughing due to deficiency of both the lungs and the kidneys.

a) Prolonged coughing due to deficiency of the lungs:

Magnolia vine fruit is often used together with poppy shell (Pericarpium Papaveris), e.g., Wuweizi Wan.

b) Dyspnea and coughing due to deficiency of both the lungs and the kidneys:

Magnolia vine fruit is often used together with medicinal cornel fruit (Fructus Corni), prepared rehmannia, yam, etc., e.g., Duqi Wan.

c) Dyspnea and coughing due to fluid retention of the cold type:

Magnolia vine fruit can also be used together with ephedra, wild ginger (Herba Asari), dried ginger, etc., which are ventilating and dispersing with their pungent taste and warm nature.

2. Treats thirst due to impairment of body fluid and diabetes:

Sour and sweet in taste, this herb can replenish qi, promote the production of body fluid and quench thirst.

a) Hyperhidrosis (excessive sweating) and thirst due to impairment of qi and yin by heat:

Magnolia vine fruit is often used together with ginseng and ophiopogon root, e.g., Shengmai San.

b) Diabetes with thirst and polydipsia (excessive or abnormal thirst) due to yin deficiency and intense internal heat:

Magnolia vine fruit is mostly used together with herbs that replenish qi and promote the production of body fluid, such as yam, windweed rhizome (Rhizoma Anemarrhenae), Chinese trichosanthes root (Radix Trichosanthis), milk vetch root (Radix Astragali seu Hedysari), etc., e.g., Yuye Tang.

3. Treats spontaneous perspiration and night sweat:

Magnolia vine fruit can astringe the lungs to arrest sweating.

It can be used together with ephedra root, oyster shell, etc.

4. Treats seminal emission and spermatorrhoea due to lack of consolidation of the essence gate as a result of deficiency of the kidneys:

Magnolia vine fruit can nourish the kidneys to astringe seminal emission.

It can be used together with mantis ovum, Cherokee rose fruit (Fructus Rosae Laevigatae), fossil fragments, etc.

5. Treats prolonged and incessant diarrhea due to deficiency-cold of the spleen:

Magnolia vine fruit can also astringe the intestines to arrest diarrhea.

It is often used together with malaytea scurfpea fruit (Fructus Psoraleae), evodia fruit, nutmeg, etc., e.g., Sishen Wan.

6. Treats palpitations, insomnia and dreaminess:

Magnolia vine fruit can not only nourish and replenish the heart and kidneys, but also relieve mental stress. Therefore it is indicated for palpitations, insomnia, dreaminess, etc., due to emotional distress as a result of loss of yin and blood. In addition, it can be selected for use by those suffering from insomnia owing to any other cause.

It is often used together with raw rehmannia, red-rooted salvia root (Radix Salviae Miltiorrhizae), wild jujube seed (Semen Ziziphi Spinosae), etc.
Dosage and Administration:
2-6 g., decoction.

1-3 g., when grinded into powder for oral administration.
Cautions on Use:
Magnolia vine fruit should be avoided by anyone whose exterior has not been freed of pathogens, who has intense heat of the excess type in the interior, who is suffering an initial coughing attack or who is in the early stage of measles.

Studies in mice, rats, and pigs have found magnolia vine fruit to be relatively nontoxic. Noticeable side effects are apparently rare; however, in large doses, magnolia vine fruit may cause an upset stomach, hives, or appetite suppression.
Reference Materials:
Shen Nong's Herbal Classic : "Replenishing qi, making up deficiencies, reinforcing yin and supplementing sperm."

"Coughing and dyspnea due to an abnormal rise of lung-qi, internal injuries due to overstrain and emaciation."

Essentials of Materia Medica : "Being warm in nature and featuring all the five tastes, with sourness and saltiness predominating, this herb is specialized in astringing lung-qi and can also nourish kidney fluid, supplement qi, promote the production of body fluid, make up deficiencies, improve vision, reinforce yin, astringe seminal emission, relieve fever, arrest diarrhea, arrest coughing, relieve dyspnea and quench excessive thirst."
Toxic or Side Effects:
Modern Researches:
Magnolia vine fruit mainly contains essential oils (volatile oils), organic acids, tannin, vitamins, saccharides, resins, lignans, etc. The volatile oil of the seed contains schizandrin as its major ingredient, and lignans are believed to be active constituents.

For self protection, the outer skin (bark) of many plants contains essential oil, which in turn has elements that serve as an immediate chemical defense against herbivores and pathogens. How? There is an element called hydroxynitrile glucoside in essential oil. This element will release toxic hydrogen cyanide by endogenous plant glucosidase upon tissue disruption (see Anne Vinther Morant, Kirsten Jorgensen, Charlotte Jorgensen, Suzanne Michelle Paquette, Raquel Sanchez-Perez, Birger Lindberg Moller, and Soren Bak, "beta-Glucosidases as Detonators of Plant Chemical Defense," Phytochemistry Vol. 69, Issue 9 (June 2008), pp. 1,795-1,813).

Glucosidase is a catalyzing enzyme that improves healthy functions of our body. It is a lipase that decomposes fat; it can also check inflammation and improve memory (see Mikako Sakurai, Masayuki Sekiguchi, Ko Zushida, Kazuyuki Yamada, Satoshi Nagamine, Tomohiro Kabuta and Keiji Wada, "Reduction in memory in passive avoidance learning, exploratory behaviour and synaptic plasticity in mice with a spontaneous deletion in the ubiquitin C-terminal hydrolase L1 gene," European Journal of Neuroscience Vol. 27, Issue 3 (February 2008), pp. 691-701).

Lignans have a pronounced protective action on the liver. In one clinical trial there was a 76% success rate in treating patients with hepatitis, no side effects were noticed.

It can stimulate the centres at every level of the nervous system and also affects the stimulation and inhibition courses of the cerebral cortex, to cause them to reach equilibrium. Tests have shown that low doses of the fruit are said to stimulate the central nervous system whilst large doses depress it.

It can stimulate the respiratory system and it has antitussive (suppresses cough) and expectorant effects.

It can also reduce blood pressure, normalize the functioning of the gall-bladder, reduce serum transaminase and protect liver cells. It has an adaptagen-like action like ginseng and it can strengthen the resistance of the body against non-specific irritation.

Magnolia vine fruit can inhibit Staphylococcus aureus, pneumobacillus, enteric salmonella, Bacillus pyocyaneus, etc.

Magnolia vine fruit has long been used in the traditional medicines of Russia and China for a wide variety of conditions including asthma, coughs, and other respiratory ailments, diarrhea, insomnia, impotence, and kidney problems. Hunters and athletes have used it in the belief that it will increase endurance and combat fatigue under physical stress.

Animal studies suggest schisandra may protect the liver from toxic damage, improve liver function, and stimulate liver cell regrowth. These findings led to its use in human trials for treating hepatitis. In a Chinese study of 189 people with hepatitis B, those given magnolia vine fruit reportedly improved more rapidly than those given vitamins and liver extracts.

Other animal studies of magnolia vine fruit have found possible anticancer properties.

Finally, preliminary studies in animals and humans suggest that magnolia vine fruit or its extracts might increase stamina and speed and improve mental concentration.
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