Schisandra (Schisandra Chinensis) is an evergreen climbing vine that is native to China and Russia but can grow in many soils. It has beautiful red berries which have been used in traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) historically. According to TCM, schisandra classifies as an adaptogen which is a plant or herb that can help to balance body functions while maintaining homeostasis, which is the condition of optimal functioning for an organism.
In Chinese, schisandra is called 'wŭ wèi zĭ' which translates as "five-flavour berry". This is because it possesses all five of the essential flavours of Chinese herbal medicine: salty, sweet, sour, spicy, and bitter. Having these flavours means that it can benefit all five yin organs: the liver, lungs, heart, kidneys, and spleen.
According to TCM, some benefits of schisandra includes increasing endurance and mental performance. Recent research suggests that the claims may have some basis in science. For instance, a review of studies (2009) from Sweden reported that schisandra can trigger the production of hormones like epinephrine, increasing heart rate, muscle strength, blood pressure, and sugar metabolism.
The taste of this tea was very sour. I could not taste the other four flavours this fruit should possess according to its Chinese name. I went onto eating a couple of the berries, and for me, they tasted like something between peppercorn and very sour pomegranate.
Happy to discover this medicinal tea. I can drink it just for its health benefits. I'll though think about how I can improve its taste.
Origin: Jilin, China
Harvest time: 2020
Leaf colour: Burgundy berries
Liquor colour: Tones of pink (depending on the brewing time)
Tea aroma: Fruity
Tea taste: High level of sourness masks away other flavours
Steeping/brewing: Place 3-4 g of this tea in a teapot and add about 100 ml water at around 100°C. Rinse after 5 sec. Steep for 1-2 minutes for the second time and increase the consecutive steeping time by 30 seconds each time. You can steep this tea a few times.
Shelf life: 12 months