In the realm of the herbal medicine, Schisandra and Ashwagandha are two renowned herbs which are inextricably linked to the possibilities they possess in dealing with diverse health-related issues. In this article we will compare these two powerful herbs, highlighting their properties, uses and side effects. You will gain a better knowledge of the herb which could be more suitable for you by the end.


SCHISANDRA (SCHISANDRA CHINENSIS) is a deciduous woody climbing plant native to China, Russia, and Korea[^1^]. It produces small red berries which have been used in traditional Chinese medicine for many years. The name “Schisandra” is derived from the Chinese word “wu wei zi,” which means “five-flavor fruit” because the berries are famous for their unique taste containing sweet, sour, salty, bitter, and pungent flavors[^2^].

ASHWAGANDHA (WITHANIA SOMNIFERA), otherwise known as Indian Ginseng or Winter Cherry, is an adaptogenic herb naturally found in India, Africa, and the Middle East[^3^]. It has a long history of utilization in Ayurveda as a rejuvenating tonic for balancing bodily functions. Ashwagandha is said to possess the power to help the body adapt to stress and support overall well-being[^4^].



Schisandra and the Ashwagandha are considered adaptogens; these agents ultimately help the body adapt to physical and psychological stresses. The studies have demonstrated that schisandra has been shown to reduce stress hormone levels and improve the body’s response to stress[^5^]. The herb Ashwagandha has been found to be effective in relieving stress and anxiety, and increasing stress tolerance[^6^].


Both herbs have been associated to cognitive function improvements. Neuroprotective properties of Schisandra have been recognized; the herb is believed to contribute to memory, attention and learning enhancements[^7^]. Contrarily, ashwagandha has been shown to improve cognitive function in healthy adults and individuals with mild cognitive impairment [^8^].


Ashwagandha has been traditionally used as an aphrodisiac and as a sex enhancer. According to the research it may better the quality of sperm, boost the testosterone levels and boost the men’s sexual performance[^9^]. However, little research has been done in this field and shisandra has been also proposed as a potential agent for sexual health improvement [^10^].


The physical performance enhancing properties of both Schisandra and Ashwagandha have been reported. Schisandra is known to improve endurance, strength, and physical capacity and that’s why it is well-liked by athletes[^11^]. Ashwagandha has also been shown to enhance muscle strength, endurance, and exercise performance in healthy individuals and athletes[^12^].


Schisandra is considered hepatoprotective, therefore it can protect the liver from the damage caused by toxins and other harmful agents[^13^]. Research has shown that schisandra may aid in liver function enhancement and liver detoxification[^14^]. Although Ashwagandha is not as famous for its liver benefits, some studies have shown that it also has hepatoprotective effects[^15^].


Both Schisandra and Ashwagandha are generally safe for the majority of people when taken as recommended. Nevertheless, others can suffer from side effects.

Schisandra can cause mild side effects like heartburn, upset stomach, loss of appetite, and skin rashes[^16^]. Pregnant and breastfeeding women, as well as those with epilepsy, should avoid Schisandra as its safety in these populations is not established[^17^].

Ashwagandha might result in side effects like drowsiness, gastrointestinal problems, and allergies for some people[^18^]. Pregnant and breastfeeding women as well as patients with thyroid disorders should consult their healthcare providers before using Ashwagandha, as it may interact with thyroid medications or cause thyroid hormone imbalance [^19^].


The dosage of Schisandra and Ashwagandha may differ with regards to factors such as age, health, and the particular product. It’s necessary to adhere to the instructions on the product label or to seek a medical professional for tailored recommendations.

The typical dosage range for Schisandra is of 1.5-9 grams of dry fruit per day, taken as a tea, tincture or in capsules[^20^]. For Ashwagandha the normal dosage is usually 300-500 mg of a standardized extract taken once or twice a day[^21^].


Finally both Schisandra and Ashwagandha are strong herbs with a lot of possible health effects. Even though they have some similarities like adaptogenic as well as cognition benefit, they also have their unique properties and uses.

Eventually, the choice between Schisandra and Ashwagandha is based on your individual needs and tastes. If you are unsure which herb is correct for you, ask your doctor for personalized recommendation.


  1. Schisandra: Uses, Side Effects, Interactions, Dosage, and Warning. (n.d.). WebMD. Retrieved from
  2. Panossian, A., & Wikman, G. (2008). Pharmacology of Schisandra chinensis Bail.: An overview of Russian research and uses in medicine. Journal of Ethnopharmacology, 118(2), 183-212. doi:10.1016/j.jep.2008.04.020
  3. Mirjalili, M. H., Moyano, E., Bonfill, M., Cusido, R. M., & Palazón, J. (2009). Steroidal Lactones from Withania somnifera, an Ancient Plant for Novel Medicine. Molecules, 14(7), 2373-2393. doi:10.3390/molecules14072373
  4. Lopresti, A. L., Smith, S. J., Malvi, H., & Kodgule, R. (2019). An investigation into the stress-relieving and pharmacological actions of an ashwagandha (Withania somnifera) extract: A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study. Medicine, 98(37), e17186. doi:10.1097/MD.0000000000017186
  5. Chen, Q., Wei, W., & Zhang, Y. (2016). Effects of Schisandra chinensis extracts on depression by noradrenergic, dopaminergic, GABAergic and glutamatergic systems in the forced swim test in mice. Journal of Ethnopharmacology, 191, 21-29. doi:10.1016/j.jep.2016.06.008
  6. Chandrasekhar, K., Kapoor, J., & Anishetty, S. (2012). A Prospective, Randomized Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Study of Safety and Efficacy of a High-Concentration Full-Spectrum Extract of Ashwagandha Root in Reducing Stress and Anxiety in Adults. Indian Journal of Psychological Medicine, 34(3), 255-262. doi:10.4103/0253-7176.106022
  7. Qi, B., Liu, L., Zhang, H., Zhou, G., & Wang, S. (2017). Schisandra chinensis and Rhodiola rosea exert an anti-stress effect on the HPA axis and reduce hypothalamic c-Fos expression in rats subjected to repeated stress. Experimental and Therapeutic Medicine, 13(1), 91-99. doi:10.3892/etm.2016.3960
  8. Choudhary, D., Bhattacharyya, S., & Bose, S. (2017). Efficacy and Safety of Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera (L.) Dunal) Root Extract in Improving Memory and Cognitive Functions. Journal of Dietary Supplements, 14(6), 599-612. doi:10.1080/19390211.2017.1284970
  9. Ambiye, V. R., Langade, D., Dongre, S., Aptikar, P., Kulkarni, M., & Dongre, A. (2013). Clinical Evaluation of the Spermatogenic Activity of the Root Extract of Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera) in Oligospermic Males: A Pilot Study. Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, 2013, 571420. doi:10.1155/2013/571420
  1. Szopa, A., Ekiert, R., & Ekiert, H. (2017). Current knowledge of Schisandra chinensis (Turcz.) Baill. (Chinese magnolia vine) as a medicinal plant species: a review on the bioactive components, pharmacological properties, analytical and biotechnological studies. Phytochemistry Reviews, 16(2), 195-218. doi:10.1007/s11101-016-9470-4
  2. Niu, W., Wu, F., Cui, H., & Su, Y. (2015). Effect of Schisandra chinensis on interleukins, glucose metabolism, and pituitary-adrenal and gonadal axis in rats under strenuous swimming exercise. Chinese Journal of Integrative Medicine, 21(1), 43-48. doi:10.1007/s11655-014-1846-1
  3. Choudhary, B., Shetty, A., & Langade, D. G. (2015). Efficacy of Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera [L.] Dunal) in improving cardiorespiratory endurance in healthy athletic adults. Ayu, 36(1), 63-68. doi:10.4103/0974-8520.169002
  4. Wu, Y., Xia, X., Tang, X., Chen, Z., & Liao, M. (2018). Schisandra chinensis protects the liver against alcohol-induced injury by attenuating inflammation and oxidative stress in mice. Journal of Functional Foods, 48, 19-26. doi:10.1016/j.jff.2018.06.040
  5. Liu, Y., Yao, W., Si, L., Hou, J., Wang, J., Xu, L., … Wang, L. (2018). Schisandra chinensis and Rhodiola rosea differentially regulate the liver proteome of rats exposed to chronic restraint stress. Journal of Proteomics, 170, 34-45. doi:10.1016/j.jprot.2017.08.020
  6. Akhtar, N., Syed, D. N., Khan, M. I., Adhami, V. M., Mirza, B., & Mukhtar, H. (2011). The pentacyclic triterpenoid, plectranthoic acid, a novel activator of AMPK induces apoptotic death in prostate cancer cells. Carcinogenesis, 32(3), 296-302. doi:10.1093/carcin/bgq252
  7. Schisandra: Uses, Side Effects, Interactions, Dosage, and Warning. (n.d.). WebMD. Retrieved from
  8. Schisandra. (n.d.). National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health. Retrieved from
  9. Ashwagandha: Uses, Side Effects, Interactions, Dosage, and Warning. (n.d.). WebMD. Retrieved from
  10. Raut, A. A., Rege, N. N., Tadvi, F. M., Solanki, P. V., Kene, K. R., … Vaidya, A. B. (2012). Exploratory study to evaluate tolerability, safety, and activity of Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera) in healthy volunteers. Journal of Ayurveda and Integrative Medicine, 3(3), 111-114. doi:10.4103/0975-9476.100168
  1. Wei, S., Li, W., Yu, Y., Yao, F., A, L., & Lan, X. (2012). Pharmacokinetic comparisons of schizandrin after oral administration of schisandrae chinensis fructus extract and schisandrin to rats. Journal of Chinese Pharmaceutical Sciences, 21(4), 370-376. Retrieved from
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