ALAINN: “BEAUTIFUL, FINE, LOVELY”. (IRISH) OLD IRISH ÁLAIND‎

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(Schisandra sphenanthera)

Common Name Latin Name Plant Family
Schisandra sphenanthera
Schisandraceae

None known

  • Medicinal Use

    The following report is for S. chinensis. This species is used for similar purposes in southern China[238].

    Wu Wei Zi is commonly used in Chinese herbalism, where it is considered to be one of the 50 fundamental herbs[218]. It is an excellent tonic and restorative, helping in stressful times and increasing zest for life[254]. 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[238].

    The fruit is antitussive, aphrodisiac, hepatic, astringent, cardiotonic, cholagogue, expectorant, hypotensive, lenitive, nervine, pectoral, sedative, stimulant and tonic[174, 176, 178, 218]. Low doses of the fruit are said to stimulate the central nervous system whilst large doses depress it[218]. The fruit also regulates the cardiovascular system[218]. It is taken internally in the treatment of dry coughs, asthma, night sweats, urinary disorders, involuntary ejaculation, chronic diarrhoea, palpitations, insomnia, poor memory, hyperacidity, hepatitis and diabetes[238]. Externally, it is used to treat irritating and allergic skin conditions[238]. The fruit is harvested after the first frosts and sun-dried for later use[238].

    The fruit contains lignans[254]. These 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[254].

    The seed is used in the treatment of cancer[218].

    The plant is antirheumatic[218].

    A mucilaginous decoction obtained from the branches is useful in the treatment of coughs, dysentery and gonorrhoea[218].

  • Edible Use

    Fruit – raw or cooked. We have no specific information on this species, but the fruit is quite probably edible[K].

  • Cautionary Notes

    None known

Cultivation & Habitat

Seed – best sown in the autumn in a cold frame[200, 238]. Pre-soak stored seed for 12 hours in warm water and sow in a greenhouse in the spring[238]. Germination can be slow and erratic. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots when they are large enough to handle and grow them on in light shade in the greenhouse for their first 2 years. Plant them out into their permanent positions in early summer. Cuttings of half-ripe wood, 5 – 8cm with a heel, August in a frame. Overwinter in the greenhouse and plant out in late spring[11, 78]. Good percentage[78]. Layering of long shoots in the autumn[200].
Prefers a rich well-drained moisture retentive soil[11, 200]. Prefers a slightly acid soil but tolerates some alkalinity if plenty of organic matter is added to the soil[200]. Requires some protection from the most intense sunlight[200]. Plants are intolerant of drought[K]. This species is hardy to about -7¡c[200]. It will succeed outdoors in the milder areas of Britain if given the protection of a woodland or a south or west-facing wall[200]. The young growth in spring can be damaged by late frosts. Plants climb by twining around supports. Any pruning is best carried out in the spring[219]. Dioecious. Male and female plants must be grown if seed is required.
E. Asia – Southern and Western China.

Become ungovernable, break the chains of the matrix; grow and forage your own food and medicine.

*None of the information on this website qualifies as professional medical advice. Take only what resonates with your heart and use your own personal responsibility for what’s best for you. For more information [brackets] [000], see bibliography.