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The Anti-Obesity Berry with Five Flavors: Omija

A woody vine that is indigenous to China and the far eastern areas of Russia bears clusters of berries that look a lot like red currents. The scientific name for this plant is Schisandra chinensis, with a common name being Magnolia vine. The berries from the plant possess all five basic flavors that human taste buds can detect: sweet, salty, sour, pungent (spicy) and bitter. This fruit has been used as a staple of Chinese herbal medicine and is referred to as Wu Wei Zi (five flavored berry). Another common name for the berry of the Magnolia vine is omija.

Consumption of omija fruit has been reported to exert anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory effects which contribute to the healthy benefits of eating this berry. A new study published in the Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry demonstrates that ethanol extracts from the omija berry (which contain the phenolic compounds of the fruit) improve metabolic functions in obese laboratory animals suggestive of important uses for the fruit in the…

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