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Siberian Ginseng

Eleutherococcus senticosus Photo by Stanislav Doronenko

Eleutherococcus senticosus
Photo by Stanislav Doronenko

Eleutherococcus senticosus/Siberian Ginseng is Unscheduled in the United States.

Addictive Potential: None

Emergency Room Visits Yearly: Unknown

Mandatory Minimum Sentence: NA

Mechanism of Action:

Overview:

Eleutherococcus senticosus (formerly Acanthopanax senticosus) is a species of small, woody shrub in the family Araliaceae native to Northeastern Asia. It is commonly called eleuthero, and was previously marketed in the United States as Siberian Ginseng as it has similar herbal properties to those of Panax ginseng. However, it belongs to a different genus in the family Araliaceae, and it is currently illegal in the United States to market eleuthero as Siberian Ginseng since “ginseng” only refers to Panax species.

The herb grows in mixed and coniferous mountain forests, forming low undergrowth or is found in groups in thickets and edges. E. senticosus is sometimes found in oak groves at the foot of cliffs, very rarely in high forest riparian woodland. Its native habitat is East Asia, China, Japan and Russia. E. senticosus is broadly tolerant of soils, growing in sandy, loamy and heavy clay soils with acid, neutral or alkaline chemistry and including soils of low nutritional value. It can tolerate sun or dappled shade and some degree of pollution. E. senticosus is a decidious shrub growing to 2m at a slow rate. It is hardy to zone 3. It flowers in July in most habitats. The flowers are hermaphroditic and are pollinated by insects.

E. senticosus is a new addition to Western natural medicine, but has quickly gained a reputation similar to that of the better known and more expensive Chinese Ginseng. Though the chemical make-up of the two herbs differs, their effects seem to be similar.

The herb is an adaptogen, is anticholesteremic, is mildly anti-inflammatory, is antioxidant, is a nervine and an immune tonic. It is useful when the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis (HPA) is depleted. Symptoms of this condition include fatigue, stress, neurasthenia and sore muscles associated with the hypofunctioning of the endocrine system, and adrenal exhaustion indicated by a quivering tongue, dark circles under the eyes, and dilating/contracting pupils. Eleuthero may alleviate these symptoms.

E. senticosus is an adaptogen which has a wide range of health benefits attributed to its use. Currently, most of the research to support the medicinal use of E. senticosus is in Russian or Korean. E. senticosus contains eleutherosides, triterpenoid saponins which are lipophilic and which can fit into hormone receptors.

Supporters of E. senticosus as medicine claim it possesses a variety of medicinal properties, such as:

increased endurance
memory improvement
anti-inflammatory
immunogenic
chemoprotective
radiological protection

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