Chinese Schizandra Berry

(picture(s) credit in reference section)

 Schizandra berry

Magnoliaceae family  

Part: berry (fruit)

Energy: warming

Taste: sour, touches on all 5 flavors (sweet, sour, bitter, pungent, salty)

Latin name: Schisandra chinensis

Western and Chinese herbalism: (*not an exhaustive list) constituents include; “protocatechuic acid(1), quinic acid(2), 2-methyl citrate(3), 5-hydroxymethyl-2-furancarboxaldehyde(4), zingerone glucoside(5), thymoquinol 2-glucoside(6), thymoquinol 5-glucoside(7), and daucosterol(8)” (Dai, Haofu, et al. 2001)

“compounds including schizandrins, schisandrols, gomisins, fargesin, eudesmin and lirioresinol B dimethyl ether” (Lim, Hyun, et al. 2009)

Actions:  astringent, tonifying, adaptogen, antioxidant, anticarcinogenic, antiallergic

“These results indicate that the lignans could potentially be a potent class of AChE inhibitors.” (Dai, Haofu, et al. 2001) – acetylcholinesterase inhibitor (AChE) is the enzyme inhibitor that inhibits acetylcholinesterase from breaking down acetylcholine (neurotransmitter), acetylcholine imbalance is potentially identified as effecting the development of diseases like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s

“SCE” being Schisandra Chinensis Extract- “Cells pretreated with SCE (100–400 μg/mL) showed an increased resistance to oxidative stress in a dose-dependent manner. SCE can be useful for management of antioxidant and hepatoprotective effects.” (Sung, Misun, et al. 2014)

“These compounds have the potential to be developed as novel antiallergic agents and may contribute to the antiallergic pharmacological use of these plant materials in Chinese medicine.” (Lim, Hyun, et al. 2009)

“Schisandra chinensis can be a safe and effective complementary medicine for menopausal symptoms, especially for hot flushes, sweating, and heart palpitations.” (Yan Liu, Jiang Hu, Yan Lv, Xiao-Yun Huang, Guo-Xu Zhang. 2018)

“mechanism of action of an active compound schizantherin C in A549 human lung cancer cells was related to the inhibition of cell cycle progression” (Min, Hye-Young, et al. 2008)

Chinese name:  Wu Wei Zi

Traditional Chinese Medicine use:  said to tonify the Organs; Heart, Kidney and Lungs, as well as, “astringes the essence” (Tierra, 1998).  Also considered for lung deficiency (ex: reduce coughing), kidney deficiency (ex: urinary incontinence) and essence leakage.  Used in formulas to balance, as it touches on all 5 flavors of TCM.  Used to calm the Shen (Spirit of the Heart)

Cautions: As this herb is warming, it should not be used by those with internal heat conditions (examples of symptoms of too much internal heat; rashes, headaches, irritability, nosebleeds, restlessness, burning sensations, red face, red tongue, etc.), use caution with colds/flu or infections.

Preparation and dosage: 3-9 grams (Tierra, 1998)

Standardized extract capsule: “Schisandra extract is 100 mg twice daily” (2020 Elsevier B.V. or its licensors or contributors. ScienceDirect,

-Traditionally added to food, used in small amounts to enhance all 5 TCM flavors

-tea (infusion)

*Always consult a qualified health professional before using herbal medicine, especially in conjunction with pharmaceuticals


Book an appointment today with

Shannon Hobson

Certified East West Herbalist

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Images: Dried berry (, Ripe berry image (

  • Dai, Haofu, et al. “Studies on the chemical constituents of Schizandra chinensis.” Natural Product Research and Development 13.1 (2001): 24-26.
  • Lim, Hyun, et al. “5‐Lipoxygenase‐inhibitory constituents from Schizandra fructus and Magnolia flos.” Phytotherapy Research: An International Journal Devoted to Pharmacological and Toxicological Evaluation of Natural Product Derivatives 23.10 (2009): 1489-1492.
  • Sung, Misun, et al. “Antioxidant activity and hepatoprotective effect of Schizandra chinensis Baill. Extracts containing active components in alcohol-induced HepG2 cells.” Food Science and Biotechnology 23.5 (2014): 1615-1621.
  • Yan Liu, Jiang Hu, Yan Lv, Xiao-Yun Huang, Guo-Xu Zhang. (2018) Cytotoxic lanostane triterpenoids from the stems of Schisandra glaucescens. Journal of Asian Natural Products Research 20:8, pages 727-733.
  • Min, Hye-Young, et al. “Antiproliferative effects of dibenzocyclooctadiene lignans isolated from Schisandra chinensis in human cancer cells.” Bioorganic & medicinal chemistry letters 18.2 (2008): 523-526.
  • “The Way of Chinese Herbs”, Tierra Michael, 1998, Pocket Books, New York.

Common Boneset

(photo by 2018, John Hilty)

Common Boneset

Asteraceae family  

Part: leaf and flowering top

Energy: neutral to cool

Taste: bitter, slightly acrid and astringent

Latin name: Eupatorium perfoliatum

Western herbalism use:  constituents include; caffeic acid derivatives, immune-stimulating polysaccharides; flavonoids, quercetin, kaempferol, astragalin; sesquiterpene lactones, eupafolin, eufoliatin, vitamin.C, and volatile oils, etc.

Actions:  diaphoretic, febrifuge, expectorant, bitter tonic, sudorific tonic, stimulant, anti-inflammatory, anti-rheumatic, emetic (induces vomiting) in large doses

Considered a detoxifying herb, especially for the skin (sudorific tonic action) and via detoxifying action of the liver (bitter tonic) and is said to inhibit viral activity in relation to influenza (immune-stimulating and diaphoretic action).

“The extract showed potent cytotoxicity with EC50 values (12–14 µg/mL) comparable to a standard cytotoxic agent, chlorambucil.” (Habtemariam, Solomon, and Angela M. Macpherson, 2000). *chlorambucil, also known as Leukeran, is a chemotherapy pharmaceutical used to treat chronic lymphoma and some other associated lymphoma conditions. Boneset showed cytotoxicity to cancer cells as comparable to Leukeran in this study.

“The polysaccharides show a phagocytosis enhancing effect as determined in three immunological test systems” (Vollmar, Angelika, Wolfram Schäfer, and Hildebert Wagner, 1986).

“in vitro experiments with plant extracts both indicate antiinflammatory effects beside antiplasmodial effect against Plasmodium falciparum. Such, antiinflammation caused by the ethanolic extracts can be correlated well with clinical symptoms related to diseases as common cold, rheumatism, arthritis etc.” (Hensel, Andreas, et al. 2011).

“extracts from the aerial parts of E. perfoliatum were shown to inhibit growth of a clinical isolate of IAV(H1N1)” (Derksen, Andrea, et al. 2016).

Chinese name:  Guan Ye Zelan

Traditional Chinese Medicine use: considered to have an effect on the Organs; Liver and Lungs, and  helps with releasing or expelling pathogenic Wind/Heat and clearing Heat in relation to feverish conditions (sometimes called “breakbone fever” or dengue). Also, considered for use with rheumatic conditions that come and go (Wind) along with inflammation (Heat) and swelling (stagnation leading to dampness).

Cautions: considered safe in small doses taken over short periods of time

“Common Boneset is emetic and laxative in large doses, and it may contain pyrrolizidine alkaloids that are potentially harmful to the liver” (Belt, S. 2009) *

Preparation and dosage: 0.5 to 20 grams, some books say 3-9 grams (Tierra, 2011)

-tea (infusion), 1 cup 3x/day along with other liver herbs or other Wind patterns

-decoction (simmer herbs with water for at least ten minutes), 4 tbsp every 3-4 hours, combine with other diaphoretic/anti-bacterial/anti-viral herbs or along with other liver herbs for liver complaints and constipation

*Always consult a qualified health professional before using herbal medicine, especially in conjunction with pharmaceuticals

Book an appointment today with

Shannon Hobson

Certified East West Herbalist

Text or call 604-993-0169, or Click to Email

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Image: (common boneset photo) 2018, John Hilty.

1)       Habtemariam, Solomon, and Angela M. Macpherson. “Cytotoxicity and antibacterial activity of ethanol extract from leaves of a herbal drug, boneset (Eupatorium perfoliatum).” Phytotherapy Research: An International Journal Devoted to Pharmacological and Toxicological Evaluation of Natural Product Derivatives 14.7 (2000): 575-577.

2)       Vollmar, Angelika, Wolfram Schäfer, and Hildebert Wagner. “Immunologically active polysaccharides of Eupatorium cannabinum and Eupatorium perfoliatum.” Phytochemistry 25.2 (1986): 377-381.

3)       Hensel, Andreas, et al. “Eupatorium perfoliatum L.: phytochemistry, traditional use and current applications.” Journal of ethnopharmacology 138.3 (2011): 641-651.

4)       Derksen, Andrea, et al. “Antiviral activity of hydroalcoholic extract from Eupatorium perfoliatum L. against the attachment of influenza A virus.” Journal of ethnopharmacology 188 (2016): 144-152.

5)      Belt, S. 2009. Plant fact sheet for common boneset (Eupatorium perfoliatum L.). USDA-Natural Resources Conservation Service, Norman A. Berg National Plant Materials Center, Beltsville, MD 20705.

6) Tierra, 2011. East West Herb Course, Section II

Rose (petals) – fragrant, warming, uplifting

*image credit in reference section

Rose  *petals

Rosacea family  

Part: Flower petals

Energy: warm (Chinese), cooling (Ayurvedic)

Taste: sweet

Latin name: *not an exhaustive list:  Rosa chinensis, Rosa rugosa, Rosa canina, Rosa damascene, Rosa centifolia and spp.

Western herbalism use: constituents include; anthocyanins, terpene alcohol, glycosides; pelargonidins, peonidins and cyanidins, flavonols; quercetin, kaempferol, procyanidins which are derivatives of flavan-3-ols, polyphenols; ellagitannins, etc.

Actions:  slightly carminative (calming flatulence), aperient (relieves constipation), emmenagogue (increase uterine circulation), antidepressant, anti-inflammatory, antispasmodic, kidney tonic, sedative, etc.

Anthocyanins have been categorized as the largest group of water-soluble pigments present in flowers. These natural pigments are of great interest in the food industry, due to their attractive colors and beneficial health effects, including anti-inflammatory, anticancer, antidiabetic, and antioxidant activities.” (Prata, G. G. B., et al. 2017)

“Rosa damascena mill L., known as Gole Mohammadi in is one of the most important species of Rosaceae family flowers. R. damascena is an ornamental plant and beside perfuming effect, several pharmacological properties including anti-HIV, antibacterial, antioxidant, antitussive, hypnotic, antidiabetic, and relaxant effect on tracheal chains have been reported for this plant.” (Boskabady, Mohammad Hossein, et al. 2011)

Rosa rugosa – “significant cytotoxic (up to 100% of dead cells) and antiradical properties (IC50 1.33 – 0.08 mg mg(-1) DPPH(•) ) were demonstrated. Moreover, notable antimicrobial activity against eight bacterial (i.e. S. epidermidis, S. aureus, B. subtilis, M. luteus, E. coli, K. pneumoniae, P. aeruginosa, P. mirabilis) and two yeast strains (C. albicans, C. parapsilosis) was showed.” (Olech, Marta & Pecio, et al. 2014)

“It soothes mind and heals depression, grief, nervous tension and stress” (Nikbakht, A., and M. Kafi, 2004)

“It helps in problems with digestive system so many Iranians add the powder of dried petals to yogurt and use it with their meal.” (Nikbakht, A., and M. Kafi, 2004)

Chinese name:  Yue Ji Hua

Traditional Chinese Medicine use: effecting the Liver Organ, it is considered to counteract swelling, regulate irregular menses, used topically for boils, and considered to create an uplifting effect for use on depression/anxiety (disturbances to the Shen or Spirit of the Heart)

“Chinese rose tea ‘Yue Ji Hua’ (Rosa chinensis) had higher antioxidant property values than green teas.” (Jin, Liang, et al. 2016)

Ayurvedic use: used to balance Pitta (Fire) dosha, some books say that it has an equalizing effect on all doshas, considered to help anxiety, anger, depression, diarrhea, high cholesterol, exhaustion, rheumatoid arthritis, etc.

Cautions: potential for seeds to cause “toxicity” (nausea) (Western), not to be used in pregnancy as it increases uterine circulation and can cause uterine contractions, not to be used with weak digestion (Ayurvedic- cooling effect decrease digestive energy and is used as a mild laxative)

Preparation and dosage: 3 to 10 grams

-tea infusion (steep covered for 5 minutes) blend with other herbs

-topical oil/salve, decoction (strong tea for more medicinal effect)

-mix into sugar or honey for tasty use for depression/anxiety

*Always consult a qualified health professional before using herbal medicine, especially in conjunction with pharmaceuticals

Book an appointment today with

Shannon Hobson

Certified East West Herbalist

Text or call 604-993-0169, or Click to Email

IG: natural_knowhow

Facebook: Natural-Know How



Images: (dried rose with spoon, left) Suncore Foods Inc. 2019, (fresh Damask rose, right) Eroma Store Pty Ltd. 2019

1)       Prata, G. G. B., et al. “Nutritional characterization, bioactive compounds and antioxidant activity of brazilian roses (Rosa spp).” Embrapa Agroindústria Tropical-Artigo em periódico indexado (ALICE) (2017).

2)       Boskabady, Mohammad Hossein, et al. “Pharmacological effects of Rosa damascena.” Iranian journal of basic medical sciences 14.4 (2011): 295.

3)       Olech, Marta & Pecio, Łukasz & Oleszek, Wieslaw & Los, Renata & Malm, Anna & Rzymowska, Jolanta. (2014). Cytotoxic, Antioxidant, Antimicrobial Properties And Chemical Composition Of Rose Petals.. Journal of the science of food and agriculture. 10.1002/jsfa.6294.

4)       Nikbakht, A., and M. Kafi. “A study on the relationships between Iranian people and Damask rose (Rosa damascena) and its therapeutic and healing properties.” VIII International People-Plant Symposium on Exploring Therapeutic Powers of Flowers, Greenery and Nature 790. 2004.

5)       Jin, Liang, et al. “Antioxidant properties and color parameters of herbal teas in China.” Industrial Crops and Products 87 (2016): 198-209.