Also known as Siberian ginseng, eleutherococcus is a bushy shrub belonging to the Araliaceae family. The roots of the plant, being rich in precious chemical constituents, are used in the phytotherapeutic field.
Thanks to the high concentration of eleutherosides, the eleutherococcus extract is present in many herbal products which act on psycho-physical tiredness, on the compromised immune system and on cognitive difficulties.
Usually the remedies based on the medicinal plant are found on the market in the form of food supplements, hydroalcoholic extracts and mother tincture, at an affordable price.
Eleutherococcus – what is it?
Eleutherococcus is a shrub belonging to the Araliaceae family, whose botanical name is Eleutherococcus senticosus. It is also popularly known as Siberian ginseng.
The plant is native to Siberia and Mongolia and grows spontaneously up to 800 metres, preferring temperate-cold climates.
During the vegetative rest period of the plant, the roots of Siberian ginseng are harvested, rich in active ingredients with interesting therapeutic virtues. In fact, the extracts of eleutherococcus are easily found in phytotherapeutic remedies with an adaptogenic and tonic-stimulating action. Furthermore, the plant is recognized as having properties that strengthen the immune system and enhance the cognitive and mnemonic faculties.
Products containing eleutherococcus extracts are obtained thanks to a drying process of the root system which is subsequently chopped or pulverized.
Some phytopreparations based on the medicinal plant employ an extraction method consisting of material of vegetable origin dissolved in ethanol or water. With this procedure a liquid extract or an alcohol-based tincture is obtained. Instead to obtain the dry extract of the remedy, we proceed through the evaporation of the solvent.
It is not uncommon to find preparations that combine eleutherococcus with other plants with adaptogenic properties, such as rhodiola and ashwagandha, to obtain a synergistic action.
Properties of eleutherococcus and what it is for
Most of the chemical constituents of Eleutherococcus senticosus are found in the root system of the plant.
The eleutherosides, belonging to the class of lignans, are counted as the most significant active ingredients present in the plant. In particular, eleutherococcus is rich in eleutherosides B (also known as siringenine) and eleutherosides E which could have antidiabetic and anticancer properties.
It also contains, among its bioactive compounds, sesamin, isofrassidine, oleanolic acid and ursolic acid.
- Sesamin is known to have important cholesterol-lowering, neuroprotective and hepatoprotective effects.
- Oleanolic acid has an interesting antioxidant and anti-inflammatory action, as well as being a cholagogue substance.
- Ursolic acid has cardioprotective, anti-inflammatory and cholesterol-lowering properties.
- A hepatoprotective function is associated with isofrassidine.
Eleutherococcus is mainly used in the phytotherapeutic field where it is present in many preparations with tonic-adaptogenic, immunostimulant and memory-enhancing properties.
All the benefits of eleutherococcus
The plant drug is made from the roots of the Eleutherococcus senticosus plant.
Relieves cold and flu symptoms
It has an effective immunostimulant action able to increase the synthesis of IgG and IgM antibodies. It is also believed that Siberian ginseng is also able to act on some white blood cells such as T lymphocytes and natural killer cells.
According to a study reported in the 2020 article “The Role of Adaptogens in Prophylaxis and Treatment of Viral Respiratory Infections”, administering an extract of eleutherococcus as a preventive measure can effectively reduce complications associated with influenza such as:
Furthermore, by taking a supplement containing Siberian ginseng extract, echinacea and Andrographis paniculta, it is possible to alleviate the duration and extent of the cold as long as the remedy is administered at the onset of the disorder.
It is possible to reduce the severity of herpes simplex type 2 infection by supplementing with 400 mg of dry eleutherococcus extract daily, for a total period of six months. Furthermore, the medicinal plant is able to keep the frequency and extent of the symptoms under control.
Siberian ginseng can bring significant benefits to people living with a feeling of moderate fatigue, but it is not effective in treating severe fatigue.
Furthermore, eleutherococcus can effectively improve the mental performance of people affected by mild fatigue caused by stress.
Improve athletic performance
The plant has an ergogenic function capable of improving athletic performance and reducing recovery times after physical exertion.
Eleutherococcus increases physical endurance, heart rate and fat oxidation which occurs during prolonged physical effort.
Recovery time can be reduced by supplementing Siberian ginseng daily by promoting blood flow. In addition, eleutherococcus has a protective action against muscles exposed to damage resulting from prolonged physical exertion.
Based on a study reported in the scientific article “Effects of Siberian ginseng (Eleutherococcus senticosus maxim.) on elderly quality of life: a randomized clinical trial” of 2004, through a daily administration of 300 mg of eleutherococcus root, for 8 weeks , it is possible to make improvements in the cognitive sphere of elderly people with hypertension.
Furthermore, thanks to a phytopreparation based on Siberian ginseng and the Drynaria fortunei plant, it is possible to enhance cognitive ability in healthy people.
Regulates the glycemic index
Eleutherococcus is believed to control blood sugar levels. By taking 480 mg of Siberian ginseng daily it is possible to lower not only postprandial and fasting blood sugar, but also glycated hemoglobin. Furthermore, the medicinal plant acts on triglycerides and total cholesterol, reducing them.
Counteracts high cholesterol
Eleutherococcus, associated with carnitine, inhibits weight gain and the growth of total cholesterol. Furthermore, following the intake of Siberian ginseng associated with a calcium supplement, slight reductions in both bad cholesterol (LDL) and markers of oxidative stress were recorded.
Anti-stress and antidepressant action
Siberian ginseng brings significant improvements in the symptoms associated with fatigue and chronic exposure to stress.
A study reported in the article “Comparison of the Addition of Siberian Ginseng (Acanthopanax senticosus) Versus Fluoxetine to Lithium for the Treatment of Bipolar Disorder in Adolescents: A Randomized, Double-Blind Trial” of 2007, attests that the daily intake of 750 mg of eleutherococcus, together with lithium, brings effective improvements on the symptoms that characterize bipolar disorder.
The effects produced are comparable to those deriving from the administration of 20 mg of fluoxetine (a medicine with antidepressant action), with fewer contraindications.
Strengthens the immune system
Eleutherococcus acts on the immune system by strengthening it. This therapeutic effect of Siberian ginseng is enhanced if it is taken at the same time as other plants with the same therapeutic properties.
If it is taken in the initial stages, the phytopreparations based on eleutherococcus are able to significantly affect the extent and duration of the cold.
Through the administration of eleutherococcus extracts it is possible to make significant improvements to the flexibility and functionality of the suffering joints.
The plant is particularly effective in the treatment of inflammatory pathologies such as gout and osteoarthritis. Furthermore, Siberian ginseng has an analgesic function on the areas affected by inflammation.
Protects heart health
Siberian ginseng reduces blood pressure, promotes circulation and lowers total cholesterol making significant improvements to the health of the cardiovascular system.
The plant, acting on the blood vessels, ensures a better blood flow. In addition, eleutherococcus helps keep cholesterol under control by reducing the risk of developing dangerous conditions such as:
- Heart attacks.
How to use eleutherococcus and recommended dosage
The phytopreparations based on Eleutherococcus senticosus can be found on the market in the form of dry extracts contained in capsules, hydroalcoholic solutions, mother tinctures and herbal teas.
Liquid integral extract of eleutherococcus
A natural remedy with an adaptogenic tonic action, useful for promoting the body’s natural defenses, improving memory and cognitive functions.
Therapeutic indications: take one measuring cup, equivalent to 10 ml, one to two times a day, to be diluted in a little water. Mix the solution and sweeten if desired. The daily dosage can be diluted in a bottle of water to drink during the day.
Ampoules based on Siberian ginseng
The remedy is extracted from the roots of Eleutherococcus and is suitable for improving cognition and memory and strengthening the immune system.
Shake the solution contained in the ampoule and break the tip using a…