Our rating
 Question mark: This treatment has not been properly researched. It is not possible to say whether they are useful or not.


The rating system

  • 3 smiliesThese treatments are very useful. They are strongly supported as effective by scientific evidence.
  • 2 smiliesThese treatments are useful. They are supported by scientific evidence as effective, but the evidence is not as strong.
  • 1 smileyThese treatments are promising and may be useful. They have some evidence to support them, but more evidence is needed to be sure they work.
  • No smiley On the available evidence, these treatments do not seem to be effective.
  • Question markThese treatments have not been properly researched. It is not possible to say whether they are useful or not.
  • Exclamation MarkSafety or other concerns have been raised for the use of these treatments.

What is it?

Schisandra (scientific name Schisandra chinensis) is a type of vine native to China and Russia. It produces red berries, also known as “five flavour berries” which are used in alternative medicine.

How does it work?

It is not known how schisandra might help depression.

Is it effective?

There is no scientific evidence on schisandra for the treatment of depression. 

Are there any disadvantages?

Dietary and herbal supplements, including schisandra, may have negative interactions with prescribed medications or other supplements. They should always be taken under the supervision of a health care professional.

Where do you get it?

Schisandra supplements can be purchased from health food shops and alternative medicine providers.


Given the lack of evidence on schisandra, it cannot be recommended as a treatment for depression.

Last updated and reviewed: 27 November 2023