Successful Schisandra

 

Here you can see a schisandra plant I have grown from seed. I am still finding my way in what these plants need for strong growth. The Chi berry farm in America is situated on river flats so maybe fertile deep soils are what it desires. These plants are two years old and are still in pots.

This coming season I will fertilise with some worm wee – liquid run off from worm baths. Its the wonder tonic for just about anything in the plant kingdom.

It will be a good day when they fruit and produce berries for harvest. My American species of Schisandra described in another post has not germinated at all – sigh.

Schisandra root system

Schisandra root system

Polygonum multiflorum – He Shou Wu

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After quite a search I finally was able to purchase some He Shou Wu plants from All Rare Herbs. This is a legendary Chinese tonic herb. The title translates as Uncle Wu’s black hair this being one of its properties to restore hair colour in many cases. Mine is still a work in progress though there is some reversal. The consumption of tonic herbs is best started early in life to nourish and conserve what life energies you have then. This is a message I have taken to heart with daily consumption of He Shou Wu and Schizandra.

This plant has large underground orange tubers which form over time. Recently re potted the roots were still establishing and no tubers was noticeable. To create the medicinal He Shou Wu the tubers are harvested ,sliced and then dried. After this they are simmered in a black bean liquor for several hour sr even days to modify the medicinal properties. This is one of the amazing aspects of Chinese herbalism that considerable effort goes into creating by various after treatments specific medicinal properties in the herb material. An aspect Western herbalism has not developed. In Chinese medicine it is extensive and very sophisticated.

There are very few sources of information about these herbal after treatments in the literature.  The picture is pieced together from various sources some of which contradict. Ahhhh the wonders of research and considered judgement.

To see this plant and learn more about it sign on for one of my herbal experience workshops.

 

Successful Schisandra germination

Link

Successful Schisandra germination

Well all the effort has brought success.  Here you can see photographs of the seed germinating and the radical (root) emerging after the involved manipulation of temperatures to stimulate germination.

The technique outlined in an earlier post has cut germination time from a sporadic year to about six months. Looking at the germination progressing over the last few days has been fascinating.

I have just found out  from All Rare Herbs that these plants  are male and female on separate plants so the next challenge is to determine the gender of the plants I am raising.

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Schisandra the five flavoured fruit

 

Wu wei zi  its Chinese name means five flavoured fruit.

This fruit from this vine encompasses the tastes of sour, sweet. bitter, pungent and salty. Quite a range for one plant. This is a superior tonic herb in Chinese medicine.

Schisandra relates to all five elements and the plant energy enters all twelve meridians. Such is its wide ranging effect that Ron Teeguarden’s Korean Master held it as his personal favourite amongst the Superior tonic Herbs.

It also contains in abundance all three energetic treasures in the Chinese medical system. These are Jing Qi and Shen. This is a personal favourite of mine in the Superior tonic range of Chinese herbs.

An interesting lesson I learned from Schisandra tincture was using a bottle of 12 year old tincture and finding it still good and efficacious. The finer notes of the taste had diminished but the medicinal effect was still good. Whilst this cannot be extrapolated across all plant type tinctures it shows that an alcoholic tincture can be a very long lasting medicine. Far longer than the recommended shelf life codes placed on just about anything these days.

I respond well to Schisandra and with the 12 year old tincture I felt a beneficial effect from just five drops straight away. Powerful tonic herb indeed

From there I moved on to making my own tincture and after pressing out the berries decided to use them on my breakfast each morning rather than throwing them out. They make a nice surprise in the morning muesli with their complex flavour.

Growing this interesting plant from seed is my current project. Richo Cech has this plant down as belonging to the seed whispering category for success. My first attempt is still sitting in a pot with not much happening.

The current second attempt is looking more promising after some internet research revealed a scientific paper on propagating this plant from seed and cuttings. The seed needs to go through a range of very specific conditions especially temperature. This paper hailing from authors in Moldova was a revelation for me.

The link to a PDF of this paper is below.

By the way Schisandra is spelled in a few different ways, the second s sometimes being a z. The Chinese name Wu Wei Zi also varies amongst authors. Scientific name is always the same and I have a related article talking about its American cousin.

 

References

Ron Teeguarden – The ancient wisdom of the Chinese tonic herbs

Brandon Daemon – Tonic herbs audio talk

Links

The biology of the propagation of Schisandra chinensis

The paper from scientists in Moldova on propagating this wonderful plant.

Chi  Berry Farm

This link takes you to some details about Dr Chang’s Schisandra farm in Western Massachusetts. I have no commercial relationship with Dr Chang.