In an effort to spend the summer recovering and destressing, I came up with this Schisandra Five Flavor Tea (adapted from a recipe in the book; ‘Adaptogens: Herbs for Strength, Stamina and Stress Relief‘). My herbalist highly recommended I try to get some adaptogenic herbs into me in whatever way I could for a few months. So, I used what adaptogens I had on hand (schisandra, licorice root and eleuthero) from the winter and came up with this lovely and delicious tea. I’ve had some great results with it too.
The Chinese name for schisandra wu wei zi actually means ‘five flavors fruit‘. Since schisandra has all five flavors, sweet, sour, bitter, pungent and salty. And, because of these five tastes/flavors it is known to benefit the five yin organs: the liver, kidneys, heart, lungs and spleen.
Schisandra is known for it’s powerful energizing effect. In fact, traditionally, Siberian hunters used it as a staple food taken on journeys to relieve fatigue. Schisandra is also known for it’s support in those with asthma. Great for insomnia, anxiety, bad dreams, as a liver antioxidant, supportive to the kidneys, anyone with chronic fatigue syndrome. Studies have found it helps to normalize the blood pressure. It’s also a great endocrine support.
Adaptogens & Stress
Herbalists, Ayurvedic and Chinese medicine have known of the effects of adaptogenic herbs since as early as 3000 BC. It’s time we as Americans take advantage of their benefits as well, consider the majority of us are unable to avoid the stressers of our day and age.
This quote from the book ‘Adaptogens: Herbs for Strength, Stamina & Stress Relief‘ further explains how adaptogens support our bodies systems;
Adaptogens modulate our responses to stress (physical, environmental, and emotional) and help regulate and support the interconnected neuroendocrine and immune systems. This re-regulation of an unbalanced or highly stressed system is achieved by the actions of metabolic regulators such as the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis.
Adaptogenic herbs support the entire neuroendocrine system, in particular adrenal function, thus counteracting the adverse effects of stress. They allow our bodies to sustain an adaptive response and minimize the damage that a prolonged stress response can cause.
Adaptogens help maintain homeostasis during chronic stress by regulating the body’s adaptive reactions. They produce changes in the body due to the stimulation and balancing of several systems, including the neuroendocrine and immune systems. They have an amphoric effect and can reduce hyperactivity or hypoactivity of the central nervous system, immune system, blood sugar metabolism, mitochondrial functions, and the HPA axis.
Maintaining homeostasis also contributes to the proper regulation of biorhythms and circadian (time-released) rhythms within the body, including the normalization of body temperature and production of the hormone cortisol.
Adaptogens act as prophylactics by enhancing nonspecific resistance of the body to various stressors. They decrease the incidence of the harmful side effects of stress on the body by stimulating its natural defense systems. This ability to enhance the overall resistance of the body is the key to their health-promoting qualities. These effects help the body resist unfavorable environmental influences such as extreme cold or heat, noise, and exposure to toxic chemicals.
Why Drink This Tea?
Schisandra Five-Flavor tea is a blend of herbs and aromatics that make a great support for stress or anyone who may need a little extra adrenal support. This tonic beverage can be drunk hot or cold and has a very balancing effect on the body. I’ve personally seen it keep me even, calm yet also have steady energy while consuming it. *Note: Do not add the licorice root if you tend towards high blood pressure.
- 2 Tbsp Schisandra Berries
- 2 Tbsp Elderberries (optional)
- 6 small pieces of licorice root, broken into small pieces
- 5-6 inch knob of ginger peeled and coarsely chopped
- A palmful or two of dried eleuthero
- 1-2 Tbsp of dried green stevia leaves
- 1-2 cinnamon sticks, crushed
- Combine everything (except for the stevia) in a saucepan and cover with 4 cups of water.
- Cover and bring to a boil.
- Add the stevia
- Keep covered, reduce the heat to medium low, and let simmer for 15 minutes.
- Strain, add to a large pitcher and add 8 cups water.
- Makes 12 cups
How Often To Drink – What To Expect
My herbalist told me to take as much as like for several months. This could vary for everyone. For example, if you have complete adrenal exhaustion, please consult with an experienced holistic practitioner before beginning any adaptogenic herbal support. From what I understand, you should feel the effects of the adaptogenic herbs pretty quickly within 1-3 weeks and for best effects may need to consume them for 3-6 months. If you do not feel an overall balancing effect, or energizing effect from this tea within a few weeks you may need to try different herbs.
Some practitioners recommend not to take any herb continuously, but to take breaks and test to see if you body still wants the herb. Again, everyone will be different in how they respond.
I can’t recommend this book enough, Adaptogens: Herbs for Strength, Stamina and Stress Relief. Seriously -go-buy-a-copy-today! You will learn so much about how the body works in correlation to stress, about the adrenal glands and their function and the phases of adrenal fatigue. Plus, loads of info. on all the adaptogenic herbs, their history, use and recipes!
If you want to read more about the book, my friend Jessica of Delicious Obsessions recently did a review of the book – ‘Adaptogens: Herbs for Strength, Stamina and Stress Relief‘.
Where to Buy Schisandra Beries
Personally, I buy the majority of my herbs and teas from Mountain Rose Herbs. The prices are reasonable and the quality is excellent. If you plan to make this tea regularly for a few months you’ll likely need at least 1 pound of schisandra berries.
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