Siberian Ginseng (Eleutherococcus senticosus)
Siberian ginseng is a woody shrub native to northeastern Asia. It can grow from 3 to 10 feet tall. Also known as eleuthero, it has been marketed as ginseng because it has similar properties to Panax ginseng. It is not, however, in the same genus. This variety of ginseng prefers to grow in the forest.
Key Medicinal Uses
Internally Siberian ginseng is taken to combat stress and fatigue. It restores energy. This herb enhances the immune system and helps people with chronic fatigue syndrome and fibromyalgia. It is thought to increase T-cell production and improve the blood lipid levels. It helps the reproductive systems and may improve fertility in both men and women. This herb can ease menopausal symptoms and boost mental capacity for people suffering from Alzheimer's disease.
In Chinese medicine, the herb is used for its beneficial effects on the "qi" and it is also used to treat "yang" deficiencies in the kidney and spleen. It is an adaptogen, so it can help return the body into balance. Some people use it to improve their physical stamina and muscle strength. Studies have shown this herb to have beneficial properties for fighting herpes simplex virus type 2. It reduced the frequency, severity and duration of lesions. It is also thought to calm the nerves.
Externally not used externally
Roots The root of the plant is used to make supplements and medicines.
People with high blood pressure, narcolepsy or sleep apnea should not take Siberian ginseng. Pregnant and breastfeeding women should also avoid this herb. Side effects may include increased blood pressure, insomnia, drowsiness, vomiting, confusion, headache, nosebleed and an irregular heart beat.
The herb can interact with some prescription medications. If you take Digoxin, it may raise the levels that remain in your bloodstream. This can put you at risk for side effects from this heart medication. If you are taking sedatives, this can cause interactions with them.
When buying ginseng preparations, read the label carefully. Some are adulterated with Periploca sepium. Labels should include the ingredients and the amount of each ingredient.
Preparation and Dosage
Siberian ginseng preparations are available as extracts, capsules, tablets, powders and dried portions for tea.
The normal recommended dose for using the dried root is 500 to 3,000 mg daily in either herbal tea or capsules. For tincture, take ½ to 1 teaspoon two or three times per day. For a standardized extract, take 1to 200 mg twice a day.