Herbs and shrubs are commonly used to add beauty to gardens or for their medicinal properties and as garnish too. As ornamentals, they are different types, some which are ground covers and spread around to make the grounds green and beautiful. They also have many medicinal and therapeutic values and hence are very important. Eleuthero is one such herb which consists of adaptogen – an agent which is known to relieve stress. Eleuthero has a constituent called Eleutherosides. About 7 types of them have been isolated and the research till date has been mainly focused on Eleutherosides B & E. It is also known to contain polysaccharides (complex sugar molecules) which can be very beneficial in supporting immunity.
What is the Classification of Eleuthero ?
Botanical or Latin name: Eleutherococcus senticosus
Family : Araliaceae
Genus : Eleutherococcus
Species : E. senticosus
Common name: Eleuthero
Parts used: Roots
Although it is called Siberian ginseng in some parts of the world, this terminology is illegal from using in US as the name Gingseng cannot be applied to this plant. Some other names of this herb are Canthopanax senticosus, Eleutherococcus senticosus, Ci Wu Jia, Devil's Bush, Russian Root, Taiga, Shigoka, Thorny Pepperbush, Wild Pepper and Touch-Me-Not.
What is the History of Eleuthero?
Chinese has been using this herb since the past 2000 years. They use it to boost energy levels and stamina (Qi Chi). During the 20th century, Russians came to know about its healing properties and health improving qualities. They found out that using Eleuthero helped with improving general health, boosting vigor, normalizing functions of the body, and increasing appetite.
The Eleutherosides along with polysaccharides maintain the level of glycogen when the body is performing heavy physical activity and meeting the need with the help of fatty acids.
It helps people to adapt to new changes in their lives and reduce stress. This includes changes in weather conditions, lack of sleep and exertion. Eleuthero does this by maintaining the normal functioning of adrenaline glands.
It is used to promote general health as well as longevity.
This herb prevents and checks the side effects of exposure to radiation. And hence it works wonders for bone marrow patients who are undergoing chemotherapy.
It also protects the body from general cold and flu when used along with andrographis. This combination formula is known as Kan Jang.
The immune system related condition lupus which is a long term problem can be controlled by Eleuthero. Recent research are also indicating that this herb can be helpful in managing long term immunity system related diseases and infections like HIV and chronic fatigue syndrome. People taking 10 ml tincture regularly have been found to have increased T4 lymphocytes which are helpful in reducing the effects of HIV infection and AIDS.
It is known to retain your stamina and energy levels by controlling the spending of oxygen levels in the body. This is of immense use to people who exercise heavily as well as athletes who are short of oxygen or breathless after heavy practice and exercising.
It helps the liver by assisting with the detoxification process.
It is known to increase physical endurance and mental acuity and do not have the same side effects as caffeinated products.
It has been found out that Eleuthero is protective towards certain chemicals like sodium barbital, ethanol, tetanus toxins and chemotherapeutic agents.
How is Eleuthero used as medicine?
For General health : Commonly dried powdered roots and rhizomes are used in the measure of 2 to 3 gms per day. 300 to 400 mg of standardized Eleutherosides B & E with alcohol based extract are used every alternate day. In olden days, Eleuthero was used consecutively for 8 weeks and resumed again after a gap of 2 week.
In Herpes simplex type 2 infections: Siberian ginseng extract standardized to contain eleutheroside E , about 0.3% in doses of 400 mg per day is taken
What are the interactions with Eleuthero?
People taking Lithium should consult their doctor before taking Eleuthero as it can interfere with the body's mechanism of expelling lithium.
As Eleuthero has an effect in detoxification of liver it can interfere with the amount of time it takes to metabolize some drugs that liver acts on such as, Cytochrome P450 2C9 (CYP2C9),and diabetic medications, blood clotting medications, sedatives or depressants.