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Home > Health Category Library > Siberian Ginseng

Siberian Ginseng
(Eleutherococcus senticosus)

Description

Siberian ginseng is a shrub belonging to the Araliaceae family, which is native to the Far East, China, Japan and Korea. The herbal properties of Eleutherococcus ginseng has been studied in Russia since the 1950s. Following detailed research using human studies, the use of the extract as an adaptogen is now widespread.

Herbal Uses

Eleutherococcus ginseng has been traditionally used in South East Asia as an adaptogen, increasing the body’s resistance to Stress and building up general vitality. Eleutherococcus also acts as a stimulant or sedative, immunostimulant, anti-inflammatory, anti-Oedema (Water Retention) and affects steroidal activity.

Suggested Intakes

Part of the plant used: ROOT.

Herb powder, 0.6-3 g daily.

Long-term users of Siberian ginseng may choose to have a break of 1-3 weeks every 30-60 days of supplementation.

Supplemental Uses

Siberian ginseng has been used to help many body systems "normalise" themselves when imbalanced, to help resist Stress and to build up general vitality.

Nerve Stimulant:
Studies have shown that Siberian ginseng has a stimulant effect on the central nervous system (1,3).

Anti-Stress:
Siberian ginseng is reported to improve the body’s ability to deal with Stress - helping the body metabolise harmful lactic and pyruvic acids released during the stress reaction plus more efficient production of energy (1). Its support of adrenal gland function also helps the body deal with stress (2).

Increased Work Capacity:
Long-term supplementation with Siberian ginseng for up to 60 consecutive days has been shown to improve people’s ability to work in stressful environments (noisy, hot, hectic). An increase in work capacity and performance (physical and mental) was noted (1). Eleuthero, a constituent of ginseng, is shown also to improve the use of oxygen by the muscle (5).

Immune Stimulant:
Siberian ginseng increases the number of white blood cells (4) which, in the Immune System, help to engulf and digest unwanted bacteria, fungi and viruses. It may be helpful as a preventive for colds and flus. Preliminary studies also show that it may help manage chronic immune diseases, such as HIV and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (6).

Heart Health:
Siberian ginseng has been found to reduce blood stickiness (reducing clotting) and to normalise blood pressure (1).

Detoxification:
Eleuthero has also been shown to support liver detoxification of harmful substances (7). In preliminary studies, it has been shown to relieve the side effects of chemotherapy and to speed bone marrow recovery (8).

SIDE-EFFECTS AND PRECAUTIONS

Studies have noted a few side-effects including Insomnia, shifts in heart rhythm, tachycardia (excessively fast heart beat), Headaches, heart Pains, palpitations (rapid/erratic heart beat), hypertonia (increased heart muscle tone in people with Atherosclerosis), extrasystole (a particular type of heart beat - a fast heart rhythm), irritability, melancholy and Anxiety in hypochondriac patients. Hypersensitivity reactions have also been documented in stressed individuals.

Pregnant and lactating women should consult with a qualified medical health professional before taking Siberian ginseng.

Siberian ginseng is not recommended for use by children or by people with uncontrolled high blood pressure.

Interactions and Contra-Indications

Siberian ginseng should not be taken by those who are highly energetic, nervous, tense, hysteric, manic or schizophrenic. The herb should also be avoided whilst on anti-psychotic drugs.

Siberian ginseng should not be taken with hormone treatments.

Studies show that ginseng may interfere with certain therapies including cardiac, hypoglycaemic, hypo/hypertensive and anti-coagulants. Individuals with high blood pressure should consult with a qualified medical practitioner before taking Siberian ginseng.

References

1. Siberian Ginseng: Current status as an adaptogen. In: "Economics and Medicinal Plant Research", vol 1, N R Farnsworth et al, Academic Press, 1985.
2. Wagner H, Nörr H, Winterhoff H. Plant adaptogens. Phytomed 1994;1:63-76 [review].
3. Medon PJ et al. Effects of Eleutherococcus senticosus extracts on hexobarbital metabolism in vivo and in vitro. .J Ethnopharmacol, 10:235-241, 1984.
4. Bohn B, Nebe CT, Birr C. Flow-cytometric studies with eleutherococcus senticosus extract as an immunomodulatry agent. Arzneimittelforschung, 37:1193-1196, 1987.
5. Asano K, Takahashi T, Miyashita M, et al. Effect of Eleutherococcus senticosus extract on human working capacity. Planta Medica 1986;37:175-77.
6. Bohn B, Nebe CT, Birr C. Flow cytometric studies with Eleutherococcus senticosus extract as an immunomodulating agent. Arzneim-Forsch Drug Res 1987;37:1193-96.
7. Collisson RJ. Siberian ginseng (Eleutheroecoccus senticosus). Brit J Phytother 1991;2:61-71 [review].
8. Kupin VI, Polevaia EB. Stimulation of the immunological reactivity of cancer patients by eleutherococcus extract. Vopr Onkol 1986;32:21-26 [in Russian].

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