Eleuthero (Eleutherococcus senticosus) is a plant that is used as a medicine. It is said to have many health benefits. Even though it is sometimes called “Siberian ginseng,” eleuthero is not related to “true” ginseng like Korean or Asian ginseng or American ginseng. Eleuthero is sometimes used in skin care products and can also be taken as a supplement. 1
What’s the point of Eleuthero?
Eleuthero is thought to be an adaptogen, which is a type of herb that helps the body deal with stress better. Some say that eleuthero can also help with the following health problems:
Syndrome of constant tiredness
Blood pressure that’s too
Eleuthero is also sometimes used to improve athletic performance, boost the immune system, and make chemotherapy side effects less painful.
Few studies have been done on how Siberian ginseng affects health so far.
Some studies, though, show that eleuthero may be useful in treating certain conditions, such as:
The National Institutes of Health say that when Eleuthero is taken with the herb Andrographis, it may help relieve cold symptoms (NIH). A 2004 study of 130 children, which was published in the journal Phytotherapy Research, found that a herbal formula with eleuthero and Andrographis helped shorten the length and severity of a cold when it was given early on.
According to a 2009 review of research published in Current Clinical Pharmacology, eleuthero may help people with mild stress-related fatigue think more clearly and do their jobs better.
A study from Psychological Medicine in 2004 also found that eleuthero might help people with “moderate fatigue.” But the study also showed that eleuthero didn’t help people who were very tired. 96 people with fatigue took either eleuthero or a fake medicine for two months as part of the study.
In a 2009 study published in The Korean Journal of Physiology and Pharmacology, researchers gave 57 people with knee osteoarthritis either a placebo or a herbal formula with eleuthero, Panax ginseng, and Chinese foxglove to take every day for six weeks.
At the end of the study, those who got the herbal formula had less pain and could move around better (compared to those who had taken the placebo). But it’s not known if eleuthero can help with osteoarthritis on its own.
A lot of cholesterol
A small study published in Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications in 2008 suggests that eleuthero may help lower high cholesterol. For the study, 40 women who had gone through menopause were given either calcium alone or calcium plus eleuthero for six months.
When people were given calcium and eleuthero, study results showed that their LDL cholesterol and certain signs of oxidative stress went down significantly (a destructive biological process linked to many major health problems, including heart disease and cancer).
Possible Side Effects
Even though short-term use of eleuthero is likely safe, it can cause a number of side effects, such as insomnia, headaches, nervousness, stomach upset, and diarrhoea.
Siberian ginseng should also be used with care if you have high blood pressure, a heart condition, diabetes, a condition that is affected by hormones (like breast cancer or uterine fibroids), or a mental illness (such as mania or schizophrenia).
In these situations, the NIH says to avoid using eleuthero or to only use it under the supervision of a health care provider.
Not all supplements are tested to make sure they are safe, and since most of them are not regulated, the ingredients in some products may be different from what is written on the label.
Also, keep in mind that it hasn’t been proven that supplements are safe for pregnant women, nursing mothers, children, people with medical conditions, or people who take medications.
Capsules of eleuthero
Verywell by Anastasia Tretiak: How to Take It and How to Make It
There isn’t enough scientific evidence to say how much eleuthero is safe to take. In studies on the herb’s effects on colds, 400 mg of a combination treatment (Siberian ginseng plus a specific andrographis extract) was taken three times a day. This treatment was standardised to contain 4-5.6 mg of andrographolide.
The right dose for you may depend on your age, gender, and medical history, among other things. Talk to your doctor or nurse for advice that is specific to you.
Where to Look
The NIH says that eleuthero products often have “adulterants,” which are other ingredients that don’t help the product work. The NIH says that silk vine is often used to fake eleuthero.
Carefully read product labels or ask your health care provider to recommend an eleuthero product so you don’t get anything else.
It’s also important not to mix up eleuthero with other types of ginseng that are often used in herbal medicine, like Panax ginseng and American ginseng.
If you’re thinking about taking Siberian ginseng to treat a long-term illness, make sure to talk to your doctor before you start taking the supplement. Self-treating an illness and avoiding or putting off standard care could lead to serious problems.