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Compilation by Armando Gonzalez Stuart, PhD

Scientific Name:

Eleutherococcus senticosus

Other Common Name:

Siberian “ginseng”*, Ginseng siberiano, Eleuterococo. *Note: This species is not considered a true ginseng. It belongs to the same plant family (Araliaceae) as the true ginsengs (Panax ginseng and P. qui

Parts of the plant used:

The root.

How is it used?

This herb is usually taken as a tea, in capsules, tinctures or extracts.

What is it used for?

This plant is used as an invigorating tonic to combat stress and fatigue. It purportedly enhances physical endurance and mental concentration ability. Most of the early research on this herb came from the ex-Soviet Union, where it was tested mainly on athletes. The results shown were positive, but some of the research trials have been criticized by western scientists as being flawed in their methodology, as well in the interpretation of the results. Soviet scientists coined the term “adaptogen” to describe a substance or herb that could increase resistance to stress or had an invigorating action upon the consumer. Thus eleuthero is considered to be, along with the true ginsengs (American and Korean), an adaptogenic herb. Currently, eleuthero is used to increase resistance to physical and mental stress, with varying results. The herb also lowers blood sugar levels. Its active ingredients may be of use in combating herpes simplex type II infections, but more research in human subjects is needed to reach a definitive conclusion. Eleuthero has been used to adulterate certain herbal products claimed to contain true ginseng (Panax ginseng or P. quinquefolius ).


Safety / Precautions


  • Avoid in pregnancy and lactation. •Avoid use in patients with high blood pressure, liver or kidney disease.
  • Eleuthero may interact with certain medications, such as sedatives, barbiturates and anti psychotic drugs.
  • Diabetic patients should ingest it solely under medical supervision. Eleuthero may cause an increase in the effects of oral antidiabetic medications.
  • Avoid combining this herb with other plants or substances that have a stimulating effect upon the central nervous system, such as Guaraná, Coffee, Ephedra (Ma Huang), mate or black tea.
  • Avoid use during acute phase of infections.
  • Avoid use at night in patients suffering from insomnia.

Before you decide to take any medicinal herb or herbal supplement, be sure to consult with your health care professional first. Avoid self-diagnosis and self-medication: Always be on the safe side!