Aromatic Schisandra Decoction
What is a Decoction?
A simple definition of decoction would be a simmered herbal tea. Decoctions are often best for harder botanicals like roots or seeds that are not as readily infused by steeping in a teapot. A solid standard ratio of plant matter to water is 1oz herbs to 32 oz water. Bring the herbs to a low boil and simmer for around 15 minutes, remove from heat and let stand for another 10 min, strain and enjoy. Some decoctions are preferred to simmer with the lid on, depending on the aromatics of ingredients.
Why Schisandra and Citrus?
Schisandra has been used as herbal medicine for centuries and is regarded for its traditional use against mental fatigue and stress.
Preparing schisandra as a decoction allows the lignans in the seeds of the berry to be released and more bioavailable when consumed. Lignans, including schizandrin and gomesin, are thought to be responsible for many of the adaptogenic qualities of the schisandra berry.
Citrus fruits, including peels, fruits, and seeds, have been used in medicinal tonics in many eastern countries including China, Japan and Korea. Citrus has also been recognized by many western food cultures for its health benefits.
Citrus contains a wide number of secondary metabolites including flavonoids, alkaloids, coumarins, phenolic acids, and essential oils. These components are known to provide anti-inflammatory effects, prevent certain cancers, and protect the cardiovascular system. A contemporary study tested the efficacy of aqueous extracts, meaning citrus extracts made with hot water, against specific bacteria that are known to effect oral health. This hot water extract was found to significantly reduce the bacteria.
Citrus and Schisandra Decoction
A wonderful recipe for a simple, yet potent at-home decoction calls for fresh and dried rosemary and a variety of citrus. You can get creative with a wide variety of fresh or dried citrus like Meyer lemons, pink variegated lemons, and grapefruit. The example below uses makrut lime, bergamot, and grapefruit.
25-30 grams Schisandra Berries
Large Fresh Rosemary Spring
Handful dried Rosemary
Assorted Dry and Fresh Citrus Fruits (this recipes uses dried makrut lime, bergamot, and grapefruit).
1.5 Liters water
1. Rinse 25-30 grams of schisandra berries with cold water and add to a small stock pot. Add fresh and dried rosemary and dried makrut lime, bergamot, and grapefruit.
2. Simmer, covered in 1.5 liters of water for 15 min, or until the color of the berries and citrus are extracted. The starting water will be reduced by about 25%. After 15 min, cut the heat and let the pot steep covered for another 10 min.
3. Strain and drink.
This schisandra decoction tonic is stimulating and strong with a deep taste and lofty aroma. The tangy, bittersweet, fruity, and slightly pungent flavor will warm you up and is thought to bolster your Qi (lifeforce energy). Rosemary is frequently used to stimulate the central nervous system and complements the mood-boosting effect of schisandra.