Schisandra – herbal adaptogen for athletes

Maksim Khotimchenko

Schisandra chinensis is a natural remedy recommended for use by athletes due to its toning activity helping to reduce mental and body tiredness.

This herb can increase physical capacity in gym and reduce signs of an overload. Thus, intake of such pharmacologically active remedy as schisandra before training is rather reasonable.

Pharmaceuticals and supplements containing schisandra are perfect antioxidants helping to improve health, increase stamina, activate muscle performance as well as metabolic processes in the body.

In comparison to other adaptogens Schisandra stimulates nervous systems more effectively and this results in increased working performance. That is why this herb is especially useful for athletes.

As this remedy exerts tonic effect in the body and removes signs of mental and body tiredness schisandra is usually recommended for intake during preparation before competition when frequent and hard training is necessary as well as positive emotional mood. According to the results of the numerous research studies, athletes regularly taken schisandra are more patient and communicative, they have a low level of emotional stress and anxiety, improved analytical capacity which is very important for a full-value communication between athletes and coaches.

Besides, this herb is recommended for intake during a weight gain as it stimulates appetites and increases acidity of gastric juice.

For competition it is especially important for an athlete to be focused on the win, be fresh as physically as mentally. For this goal schisandra helps to remove depression, asthenia and apathy.

If an intake of schisandra is discontinued after a long-term use, it may result in significantly reduced working performance. But this effect goes down very soon.

Frequently athletes consider schisandra chinensis as a doping because of the very strong toning effect of this herb. Also, results of the anti-doping studies showed that schisandra remedies possess doping properties but their mechanism of action is quite different than that of the chemical stimulators. The latter provokes signs of suppression after their use is discontinued. Besides, real doping agents make the body to wear whereas influence of schisandra is relatively mild and natural. But the decision of the possible intake of schisnadra must be made after consultation with a coach and physician.

Remedies with schisandra help to cope substantial physical overload because they contribute to fast recovery of strengths after quite intensive training or competition.

Toning remedy can be easily prepared at home using 15 g of the schisandra berries poured with 300 ml of warm water and following a slight heating. This is important not to get the water boil. After 15 minutes the final infusion (tea) has to be cooled and taken table spoonful three times per day. To avoid sleeping disorders schisandra tea must be taken no later than 6-7 p.m.

Athletes generally prefer to use Schisandra oil which can be found in stores. Schisandra oil was proved to exert the following effects:

  1. Increase of the background levels of adrenaline and noradrenaline;
  2. Increase of the sport performance when taken 1 ml of oil daily;
  3. Activation of humoral immunity helping to keep its level on the initial normal values whereas generally intensive physical training in many athletes causes immune deficiency disorders;
  4. Reduction of negative effects of the central nervous regulatory systems and the increase of their activating influence on the brain cortex.
  5. Optimization of the adaptive capacities of the body.
  6. Easy adaptation of the body systems to intensive physical loads.

 If there are no contraindication, the regular intake of the schisandra seed extract results in:

  • Increased adrenaline level;
  • Increased training capacity due to the natural energy boost;
  • Increased of the body resistance to various diseases;
  • Activation of the central nervous system functions;
  • Increased general stamina.

Benefits of the use of schisandra in athletes is also caused by its immune stimulating properties.

Effective dose of the schisandra remedy is to be calculated on the base of individual characteristics of the body as well as weight of athlete and goal of its use. For example, if the goal of the schisandra intake is stress relief than 1 g of liquid extract in the glass of warm water is enough.

For the energy boost the amount of the extract should be increased up to 1.5-2.0 ml.

Remedies with schisandra may be taken before or after meal but the period between them must be at least 30 minutes.

It should be noted that active compounds of schisandra named schisandrins are not soluble in water. Therefore, intake of the liquid extract with water is not very useful. Much more benefits of schisandra can be kept in the remedy containing dry extract and taken in capsules. This drug form helps schisandrins to reach intestine and be absorbed into blood in high amount. This results in pronounced activity and relative safety of the schisandra intake.

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