Eleuthero is also known as Siberian ginseng. It is an Asian herb used for thousands of years as part of folk medicine. It is a relative of the other ginsengs, including the American Ginseng (Panax quinquefolius) and the Asian Ginseng (Panax ginseng).
It is believed to help the body handle stress better (as an adaptogen). Proponents believe it can also boost immunity and fight infections. However, there is no good human evidence supporting most of its purported benefits (1).
There is some evidence that it may also elevate blood pressure levels (1).
Is eleuthero really the powerfully beneficial herb it is thought to be? We will explore that question in this post.
Table Of Contents
More On Eleuthero
Eleuthero is not the same as the true ginseng (Asian and American ginsengs). It has different constituents. Some of these include phytosterols, triterpene saponins, and glycosides (1).
Though certain benefits of eleuthero can be comparable to that of true ginseng, the former could be less potent. The herb is available in the form of a tincture, tea, herbal supplement capsule, or a pill.
Whether eleuthero actually benefits human health is still a matter of debate. Research has been done on the herb’s potency, and in the following section, we have discussed it in length.
Does Eleuthero Have Any Health Benefits?
The health benefits of eleuthero that have been proven by solid research are limited. While some evidence is conflicting, some other studies offer unclear answers. The potential health benefits of eleuthero include the following:
1. May Enhance Energy Levels And Exercise Performance
Some research suggests that eleuthero may have anti-fatigue properties. The herb may help alleviate both physical and mental fatigue. It may achieve this by increasing fat utilization and reducing the accumulation of lactic acid in the muscles (2).
Eleuthero supplementation was also found to improve endurance capacity and metabolism in humans. The herbal supplement could also elevate cardiovascular functions (3).
In yet another study, the active components in eleuthero were found to affect physical fitness in humans (4).
Another study conducted on the elderly showed some promise. The use of Siberian ginseng (eleuthero) in the elderly helped improve certain aspects of their mental health and social functioning. The herb could also improve fatigue (5).
2. May Promote Cardiovascular Health
Laboratory studies show that the active components of eleuthero may promote cardiovascular health. However, more research is warranted to arrive at a conclusion (6). Though the herb seems to have been used in folk medicine for heart health, modern medicine is yet to find strong evidence.
There is some contradictory evidence too. Some research says that eleuthero may elevate blood pressure levels (7). This may cause more harm to heart health.
Please check with your doctor before trying this herb for heart health as research is scant.
3. May Improve Brain Health
In rat studies, eleuthero exhibited neuroprotective effects. The herb was found to prevent delayed neuronal death in the rats. It could also help the rats with the recovery of their spacial memory. These effects of eleuthero could be attributed to its possible anti-inflammatory properties (8).
Eleuthero may also boost cognitive function, though the mechanism is yet to be studied. Some reports state that the herb may also help treat hangovers (9).
4. May Aid Cancer Treatment
A specific carbohydrate in eleuthero may help prevent cancer and even aid its treatment. It may stimulate the immune system and contribute in recovery. The herb may also help the patients fight the fatigue associated with the disease (10).
The herb had also shown inhibitory effects on the cancers of the lung and colon (10).
A dietary supplement with eleuthero as one of the major ingredients had shown therapeutic effects against prostate cancer (11).
5. May Help Lower Blood Sugar Levels
Siberian ginseng had shown beneficial effects on glucose metabolism in type 2 diabetes patients. This effect was attributed to the eleutherosides in the herb. In the study, the herb was also found to induce no adverse effects (12).
In another study, the same compound in eleuthero could also improve insulin resistance in diabetic mice (13).
However, some research states that eleuthero may increase blood sugar levels (7). Hence, please check with your doctor before using eleuthero for this purpose.
6. May Promote Bone Health
Eleuthero may prevent bone loss. This effect was observed in rats with osteoporosis (14). After eight weeks of treatment with the herb, the femur bone density in the rats was higher.
In another study, treatment with eleuthero had reduced calcium excretion in rats. This way, it could increase the strength of the vertebrae of the rats (15).
7. May Help Promote Respiratory Health
In ancient Chinese medicine, eleuthero was used to prevent colds, flu, and other respiratory tract infections. The herb enhanced the activation of T lymphocytes, cells that are part of the immune system that help protect the body from infections (18).
However, more research is warranted in this area.
8. May Promote Lymphatic Function
The lymphatic system is responsible for the removal of interstitial fluids from the body’s tissues. It also absorbs and transports the beneficial fatty acids across the body.
Some research shows that eleuthero can promote lymphatic function. It may also help treat edema in individuals (19).
9. May Help Repair Nerve Damage
There is less research here. One study states that extracts of eleuthero may have protective effects on the body’s neurons and may even help repair nerve damage (20). However, more research is warranted to establish these findings.
Though eleuthero has been in use for millennia, modern science is yet to discover concrete evidence for some of its benefits. As discussed, the safety of this herb is still under question (at least in some cases). In the following section, we discuss the possible health complications this ancient herb may result in.
What Are The Possible Health Complications Of Eleuthero?
- May Increase Bleeding
Ginseng, in general, can alter bleeding time and increase bleeding in individuals. Eleuthero may have similar effects. This herb thins the blood, so patients who already are on blood thinners (like Warfarin) must exercise caution (21).
- May Elevate Blood Pressure
Eleuthero may elevate blood pressure levels and even cause heart palpitations (22). Though some research states its cardioprotective properties, we suggest you be careful. Please consult your doctor before using eleuthero for heart health.
- May Cause Insomnia And Nervousness
Eleuthero may also cause anxiety and irritability (22). These can possibly lead to insomnia and nervousness. Hence, we do not recommend taking eleuthero before you go to bed.
- Possible Issues During Pregnancy And Breastfeeding
There is no data on the safety of using eleuthero during pregnancy and breastfeeding. Hence, please avoid use and make sure you discuss it with your doctor.
As discussed, more research is warranted, and until then, you should use the herb only under the guidance of an established health expert.
If your health care provider recommends the herb, there are a few things you must consider.
What Should You Consider While Buying Eleuthero?
If your doctor recommends it, you may consider buying eleuthero. It is sold in the form of powder, tincture, capsules, or tablets.
The US FDA does not regulate the production and safety of most herbal supplements, including that of eleuthero. Hence, you must consult your health care provider. Please avoid self-medication.
Go for a trusted brand. Make it a point to read the product ingredient labels. Also, do not confuse eleuthero (Siberian Ginseng) with the other types of ginseng.
The ideal dosage of eleuthero is not specified. Please follow the instructions given by your doctor. The safe dosage for treating certain infections seems to be 400 milligrams, thrice a day (about 1,200 milligrams a day) (22).
Eleuthero has been used for thousands of years in folk medicine. It sure may improve exercise performance and help fight fatigue. But it doesn’t fare well on most of the other benefits we discussed in this post as more research is required. Hence, it is important to consult your doctor before you consume eleuthero.
Hope this article has given you an insight into eleuthero. Share your feedback by leaving a comment in the box below.
Frequently Asked Questions
How to make eleuthero root tea?
You can use the powder or the leaves to make the tea. Boil them and filter the liquid. You can have the tea as specified by your doctor.
Is eleuthero good for weight loss?
There is no research to back this up. You may want to consider other healthier weight loss options (regular exercise, proper diet, and sleep).
- Eleuthero, Drugs and Lactation Database, National Center for Biotechnology Information.
- Bioactivity-guided fractionation for anti-fatigue property of Acanthopanax senticosus, Journal of Ethnopharmacology, US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health.
- The effect of eight weeks of supplementation with Eleutherococcus senticosus on endurance capacity and metabolism in human, The Chinese Journal of Physiology, US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health.
- The influence of active components of Eleutherococcus senticosus on cellular defence and physical fitness in man, Phytotherapy Research, US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health.
- Effects of Siberian ginseng (Eleutherococcus senticosus maxim.) on elderly quality of life: a randomized clinical trial, Archives of Gerontology and Geriatrics, US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health.
- Eleutherococcus senticosus: Studies and effects, CiteSeerX.
- Eleuthero, Drugs and Lactation Database, US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health.
- Neuroprotective effects of Eleutherococcus senticosus bark on transient global cerebral ischemia in rats, Journal of Ethnopharmacology, ScienceDirect.
- Clinical effect of a polysaccharide-rich extract of Acanthopanax senticosus on alcohol hangover. Die Pharmazie, US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health.
- Proliferative and Inhibitory Activity of Siberian ginseng (Eleutherococcus senticosus) Extract on Cancer Cell Lines; A-549, XWLC-05, HCT-116, CNE and Beas-2b, Asian Pacific Journal of Cancer Prevention, US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health.
- Suppression of growth and invasive behavior of human prostate cancer cells by ProstaCaid™: mechanism of activity, International Journal of Oncology, US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health.
- Siberian Ginseng Results in Beneficial Effects on Glucose Metabolism in Diabetes Type 2 Patients: A Double Blind Placebo-Controlled Study in Comparison to Panax Ginseng, Science and Education Publishing.
- Eleutheroside E, An Active Component of Eleutherococcus senticosus, Ameliorates Insulin Resistance in Type 2 Diabetic db/db Mice, Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health.
- Preventive Effects of Eleutherococcus senticosus Bark Extract in OVX-Induced Osteoporosis in Rats, Molecules, MDPI.
- Ginseng saponins and the treatment of osteoporosis: mini literature review, Journal of Ginseng Research, US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health.
- A targeted approach for evaluating preclinical activity of botanical extracts for support of bone health, Journal of Nutritional Science, US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health.
- Eleutherococcus senticosus as a crude medicine: Review of biological and pharmacological effects, Journal of Medicinal Plants Research, CiteSeerX, PennState.
- Flow-cytometric studies with eleutherococcus senticosus extract as an immunomodulatory agent. Arzneimittel-Forschung, US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health.
- Antiedema effects of Siberian ginseng in humans and its molecular mechanism of lymphatic vascular function in vitro, Nutrition Research, US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health.
- Active components from Siberian ginseng (Eleutherococcus senticosus) for protection of amyloid β(25–35)-induced neuritic atrophy in cultured rat cortical neurons, Journal of Natural Medicines, SpringerLink.
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- WHOLE HEALTH: CHANGE THE CONVERSATION; Adaptogens, VHA Office of Patient Centered Care and Cultural Transformation.
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