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Herbal Monograph

Herb: SIBERIAN GINSENG     (Eleutherococcus senticosus;                                                                Araliaceae)

Other Names:    Eleuthero, ci-wu-jia.    (61)

Character/Energetics:  acrid, sweet, bitter, warm         (6)

Meridians/Organs/Body Parts affected:  Iiver, kidney    (6)

Part(s) used:  the bark of the root (6);  root (15)                      

Identification & Harvesting:    A 3′-10′ high shrub with branches thickly covered with pale, thorny bristles, pointing downwards at an angle.  Leaves are in groups of five and are thorny-serrate.  The flowers are in umbels, the central one growing on a long thick stalk.  Grows in Siberia, northern China, Korea and Japan.    (2)

A shrub in the ginseng family.  Grows in thickets in northeast China, eastern Russia, Korea and Japan’s northern island, Hokkaido.  Most comes from Siberia and China, but it’s also grown in eastern Europe.    (61)

Active Constituents:    Polysaccharides, eleutherane A-G, immunostimulants;  triterpene saponins:  eleutheroside I, eleutheroside K (beta-hederin), eleutheroside L, eleutheroside M (hederasaponin B), and for all these an aglycone oleanolic acid;  steroid glycosides: eleutheroside A (daucosterol, beta-stigmasterol-3-O-beta-D-glucoside);  hydroxycoumarins incl. isofraxidin;  phenylacrylic acid derivatives incl. eleutheroside B (syringin);  lignans incl. sesamine, eleutheroside D (epimeric diglucosides of syringaresinols).    (2)

Essential oil, resin, starch, vitamin A    (6) 

Research indicates the important principles to be the triterpenoid saponins known as eleutherosides.    (8)

Actions:    Enhances endurance;  increases lymphocyte count, esp. T-lymphocytes.  Invigorates, improves concentration.    (2)

Chi tonic, antirheumatic, antispasmodic   (6) 

adaptogen, circulatory stimulant, vasodilator. The claims for circulatory effects come from excellent Russian research.    (8)antispasmodic and antirheumatic; increases stamina and ability to cope with stress; less heating than Asian ginseng; suitable for those who find Korean ginseng too stimulating.    (15)

Used for millennia in China for invigorating vital energy, normalizing body functions, improving health, promoting appetite and longevity.  Serves generally as a preventative and tonic.  A leading Russian researcher of ginseng describes eleuthero as an “adaptogen”, defined as a non-specific, non-disruptive that normalizes body functions regardless of the condition.  Studies show it increases mental alertness, productivity, efficiency and effectiveness under stress and in athletic performance.  Also strongly stimulates the immune system.    (61)

Conditions & Uses: Siberian Ginseng is used to treat low vitality and lack of endurance. For athletes, 10-20 gms. is taken daily to increase stamina. It is antirheumatic and often is glven to the aged in the form of a wine. It reduces swelling, treats difficult urination, edema, poor circulation, coldness, and damp swelling of the Iegs  (6)

May be safely used to increase stamina in the face of undue demands and stress;  these may be physical or mental — these are one to the body.  Thus it is used for debility, exhaustion and depression, except where these are due to a specific medical reason that calls for defined treatment.  Has a growing reputation for increasing all kinds of body resistance;  however, the claims may be over-enthusiastic. (8)              

Combinations:   Best used by itself, or with herbs individually indicated.    (8)

Use as a simple    (15)                                                                                                                                                         

Precautions:    Avoid in cases of high blood pressure.  No recorded health risks or side effects with designated dosages.    (2)

Tonic herbs should not be taken during acute illness without professional guidance.    (15)                                                        

No side effects.  Although German Commission E advises people with hypertension to avoid eleuthero, there appears to be no clinical evidence to support this caution.    (61)

Tincturing Process:

Applications:    Usually available as a tablet or powder;  take .2-1 g. 3 x daily over a period of time.    (8)

take a tincture or  500 mg–2 gr  in  capsules or patent tablets    (15)


Dosage:     2-3 g. of dried root.    (2)

3-15 gms.    (6)

Up to 4.5 g capsules daily.  Tincture 1:5, 60% alcohol, 20 drops up to 3 x daily.    (61)




(2)  PDR for Herbal Medicines (Medical Economics Co., 1998), p. 824

(6) Planetary Herbology by Michael Tierra, C.A., N.D., pg. 299

(8)  The New Holistic Herbal by David Hoffman, p. 232

(15) The Complete Medicinal Herbal by Penelope Ody,  pg. 178

(61) 101 Medicinal Herbs by Steven Foster, pgs. 74-75


PHOTO: Wikipedia