Botanical: Eleutherococcus senticosus - formerly known as Acanthopanax senticosus
Family: Araliaceae (ginseng)
Other common names: Ci wu ju, Devil's Shrub, Eleuthero, Ussurian Thorny Pepperbush,
Russian Ginseng, Eleutherococcus, Touch-me-not, Wild Pepper, Shigoka
Tired? Why not help reduce fatigue and build stamina, while stimulating your immune system against the effects of stress, with Eleuthero Root. It helps to support the body's resistance to infection during prolonged periods of physical and mental stress, and athletes who want to increase energy levels, endurance and performance favor its stamina-building benefits. Long used as a sedative, Eleuthero's stress-fighting capacities have been useful in helping to relieve depression symptoms, Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD), problems with concentration and environmental sensitivity, as well as a means to improve memory. Eleuthero Root may also be useful during radiation and chemotherapy treatments to help reduce unpleasant side effects and detoxify the liver.
The information presented herein by Herbal Extracts Plus is intended for educational purposes only. These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA and are not intended to diagnose, cure, treat or prevent disease. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplements, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.
Originating in Russia, Eleuthero Root is a small, woody, hardy shrub, native to southeastern Siberia, just north of China's Amur River, and it also grows in China, Japan and Korea. It is also well adapted to the Pacific Northwest of the United States and British Columbia. Eleuthero grows to a height of ten feet and thrives as a crop in well-drained, rich, moist soil in sun or partial shade, but it can be broadly tolerant of soils, growing in loamy and heavy clay soils with acid, neutral or alkaline chemistry, including soils of low nutritional value. The plant is deciduous with flowers that are hermaphrodite and are pollinated by insects. The dried roots and root bark are used in herbal medicine, and since the age of the root is thought to be essential (because older roots contain more healing properties), they are more highly valued and best when harvested after two or more years of age. Although Eleuthero Root is technically not a true ginseng (and only a distant relative from the same Araliaceae family), it was often traditionally called Siberian ginseng or Russian ginseng, having many of the same properties and applications. This name, however, has been proscribed by the FDA, and naming conventions require that Eleutherococcus senticosus must not be referred to as “ginseng,” since it is not from the genus Panax. Eleuthero's use dates back about two thousand years; however, it was "rediscovered" in Siberia in 1855, mistaken for Panax ginseng, and thus, it acquired the incorrect name of Siberian ginseng. Some of the constituents in Eleuthero Root include a rich source of amino acids, terpenoids (oleanolic acid), volatile oils, caffeic acid, coniferyl aldehyde, glucose, maltose, sucrose, beta-sitosterol, polysaccharides (eleutherans), carbohydrates, coumarins (eleutheroside B1 and B3, isofraxidine), glycosides (eleutheroside-A [daucosterin], B1, C - G), saponins, important vitamins (including niacin and B-complex) and minerals.
Eleuthero Root is considered an "adaptogen" in that it normalizes bodily functions during stressful or other situations that might alter those functions, helping the body to adapt and return to an overall sense of well-being. The herb contains active chemical ingredients called eleutherosides, which appear to inhibit the stress response by reducing the activity of the adrenal cortex and is an immune system stimulant that is especially useful for preventing infection during times of intense physical activity. Its stress-fighting and depression-relieving capacities have made it useful in the treatment of Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD).
Eleuthero Root has been known to support the body by helping the liver detoxify harmful toxins and products of radiation exposure. Preliminary studies in Russia have confirmed the use of the herb for people undergoing chemotherapy and radiation treatments to help alleviate side effects. In human studies the herb has been successfully used to treat bone marrow suppression caused by chemotherapy or radiation.
Some researchers claim that Eleuthero Root increases the synthesis of interferon, a powerful chemical that boosts immune system activity, literally interfering with every stage of viral infection. It has also been known to stimulate the activity of several immune-system components, including the B- and T-cells that attack bacteria, making it useful in treating many kinds of infection. Eleuthero is said to combat respiratory infections and has been used to treat bronchitis and chronic lung ailments.
In Chinese Traditional Medicine (TCM), Eleuthero Root has been used to treat rheumatic diseases and heart ailments. The herb is thought to reduce cholesterol, lower blood pressure and restore cardiovascular health.
Many claim that Eleuthero Root helps to increase circulation and thus aids in restoring memory, concentration and mental clarity, which may be impaired by poor blood supply to the brain.
Eleuthero Root has been known to ease depression symptoms by directly balancing serotonin, dopamine, epinephrine and norepinephrine, the brain chemicals that determine mood.
Eleuthero Root may also be useful when the HPA (hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis) is depleted, symptoms of which include fatigue, stress, neurasthenia and sore muscles associated with the hypofunctioning of an underactive endocrine system.
Recent evidence suggests that Eleuthero Root may prove valuable in the long-term management of various diseases of the immune system, including HIV, chronic fatigue syndrome and other autoimmune illnesses.
In men, Eleuthero Root appears to stimulate the body's production of testosterone and thus may be helpful in increasing sex drive and fighting impotence.
Russian athletes have been using Eleuthero Root for years for consistent training, quicker reflexes, better stamina and increased energy levels. It is favored by many athletes, who maintain that it prevents them from getting sick and becoming run down through heavy training and will actually improve an athlete’s overall training, promote more consistent training, quicken reflexes and lower race times. Moreover, after strenuous workouts, the use of Eleuthero has been said to help restore a feeling of well being with less fatigue.
Eleuthero Root is also said to reduce “burn” after workouts. It is believed to resist stress, and during a stressful situation, the adrenal glands release corticosteroids and adrenaline, which initiate the “fight-or-flight” response. When these hormones are depleted, the body reaches an exhausted phase, but the herb delays the exhausted phase and allows a more efficient release of the hormones.
Chinese healers believe that Eleuthero Root is an herbal sedative and one of the best remedies for insomnia.
Men with prostate disorders should not use Eleuthero Root Herbal Supplement, as it contains compounds that may stimulate testosterone production. Pregnant and nursing women may use it but should avoid products that also contain Panax Ginseng. Anyone taking digoxin (Lanoxicaps, Lanoxin) for congestive heart failure or cardiac arrhythmia should seek the advice of a health-care professional before taking Eleuthero. Patients with hypertension should not consume Eleuthero Root. Rare side effects have been reported: Insomnia, drowsiness, nervousness, tachycardia, headache, hypoglycemia.