Eleuthero (elu-thero), also known as Siberian ginseng, is a powerful adaptogen that has been used medicinally in Chinese medicine since the 16th century.
Although there were countless herbs being used as medicine at that time, eleuthero was considered to be one of the best.
Li Shih-Chen, a famous 16th century Chinese doctor, even commented on eleuthero in his manuscripts. He wrote,
“I would rather take a handful of eleuthero than a carload of gold and jewels” .
The point is, Li Shih-Chen studied over 10,000 medicinal substances and he regarded eleuthero to be one of the best.
And it’s not just the Chinese healers who recognize eleuthero’s healing potential. Recent evidence reveals that it’s a powerful adaptogen that can help you cope with stress, enhance your energy, and even improve your brain function.
So let’s take a look at what exactly eleuthero can do for your health.
1. Eleuthero Improves Mental Performance and Memory
According to a several studies, eleuthero has some memory-enhancing effects. Specifically, eleuthero has been suggested to improve your ability to remember (recall) things.
One study in particular found that middle-aged people who took eleuthero experienced a significant improvement in memory compared to those who did not take it.
But there still needs to be more studies done on the subject to determine if eleuthero consistently delivers memory-enhancing benefits. In other words, there is evidence out there that eleuthero boosts mental performance, but there needs to be more studies on the subject to be sure.
2. Helps You Adapt to Stress
Being an adaptogen, eleuthero can help your body and mind cope with stress. Adaptogens, like eleuthero, specifically improve the health of your adrenal system, which is in charge of managing your body’s response to stress. In doing so, eleuthero is able to combat stress and the negative effects it causes such as fatigue.
3. Fights & Prevents Fatigue
If you’re stressed out on the norm, it can lead to some serious fatigue or even a condition called adrenal fatigue. Our bodies aren’t designed to face constant stress. So when you are stressed out all the time, your body (along with the adrenals) begin to wear down.
This can cause you to experience the symptoms of chronic stress such as fatigue, headaches, insomnia, and a loss of sexual desire.
Being an adaptogen, eleuthero helps heal and rebalance your adrenals. As a result, you can combat the negative effects of stress and become more energized throughout the day.
4. Reduces Herpes Outbreaks
One surprising benefit of eleuthero is its ability to reduce the number of herpes (herpes simplex virus) outbreaks.
That means less cold sores.
One study, for example, found that taking eleuthero reduced the number of herpes outbreaks, the severity of the outbreaks, and outbreak duration .
So if you have herpes, it may be helpful to take eleuthero to reduce the severity, duration, and frequency of your outbreaks.
5. Boosts Your Immune System
Studies have shown that eleuthero can also boost your immune system . Eleuthero has been specifically shown to increase the number of T-lymphocytes which are cells that are important for your immune system’s ability to function.
Eleuthero has also been suggested to reduce the severity and length of colds.
But there’s a catch.
In order for eleuthero to work in this way, you must have been taking it 72 hours before the symptoms of a cold arise—this is very similar to how vitamin C works!
So if you notice that everyone around you is getting the cold, it may be wise to take some eleuthero and vitamin C.
6. Physical Performance
Some studies have found that eleuthero can boost athletic performance and increase muscle strength. It’s thought to do this by decreasing your perceived exertion . In other words, it makes your more resistant to fatigue when performing.
But the data is inconclusive as other studies have suggested that eleuthero provides no physical performance benefits [5, 2].
If you’re looking to boost physical performance, a supplement that contains multiple adaptogens, like rhodiola rosea, may provide better results.
7. Increases Overall Quality of Life
Although there needs to be more research on the topic, eleuthero has been found to improve mental health and social functioning . Both of which are strong influencers of what determines a “quality life.”
It’s also likely that eleuthero can improve the quality of your life simply by helping you cope with stress and feeling less fatigue. I don’t know about you, but when I’m less stressed and more energized, life is a lot more enjoyable. So even though the evidence isn’t very strong, I would bet it’s a very possible benefit of eleuthero.
Eleuthero Side Effects
Eleuthero is considered to be generally safe for most adults when taken by mouth. In rare cases, eleuthero has been associated with agitation, palpitations, or insomnia in people with cardiovascular disorders. With that said, if you have high blood pressure, you should consult your doctor before taking it (you should always consult your doctor before taking a new herb or supplement anyways).
It’s also suggested that pregnant or breastfeeding women should not take eleuthero. While there is no evidence that it can cause any harm, it’s better to play it safe.
]If you’re considering an eleuthero supplement, the recommended dosage is around 2-3 grams of the dried root or around 1 gram of extract (depends on the potency) per day.
When picking out a supplement, make sure there are no other filler substances in the capsules such as magnesium stearate. While browsing, I found several products that included fillers like this in their capsules. You obviously want the real thing without any fillers, so it’s best to avoid products like this.
If you want to just skip the research, I have done the work for you. Here is the eleuthero product I suggest.
Also, if you’re looking at eleuthero specifically for its ability to fight fatigue, you may want to consider a supplement that contains multiple adaptogens, as they tend to work better for fatigue. This is what I did, among other things, to cure my adrenal fatigue.
Many of the studies that have looked at the effects of eleuthero have noted that the effects wear off after a few months. So if you want to try it, it may be best that you only take it for a few months, take a month or so break, and go back on it if desired. This method should be used for most adaptogens like rhodiola rosea because they can have a decreasing effect over time.
What are your experiences with eleuthero or adaptogens in general? I’d love to hear your story.
1. Baranov AI. Medicinal uses of ginseng and related plants in the Soviet Union: Recent trends in the Soviet literature. J Ethnopharmacol 1982;6:339-53 [review].
2. Dowling EA, Redondo DR, Branch JD, et al. Effect of Eleutherococcus senticosus on submaximal and maximal exercise performance. Med Sci Sports Exer 1996;28:482-9.
3. Halstead, BW et al. Eleutherococcus Senticosus: Siberian ginseng: An Introduction To Adaptogenic Medicine. Oriental Healing Arts Institute. P. 15
4. Kelly GS. Sports nutrition: A review of selected nutritional supplements for endurance athletes.Alt Med Rev1997;2:282-95 [review].
5. McNaughton L. A comparison of Chinese and Russian ginseng as ergogenic aids to improve various facets of physical fitness.Int Clin Nutr Rev1989;9:32-5.
6.Williams M. Immuno-protection against herpes simplex type II infection by Eleutherococcus root extract. Int J Alt Complement Med. 1995;13:9-12.
7. Cicero AF, Derosa G, Brillante R, et al. Effects of Siberian ginseng (Eleutherococcus senticosus maxim.) on elderly quality of life: a randomized clinical trial. Arch Gerontol Geriatr Suppl. 2004;(9):69-73.[/text_output][/vc_column][/vc_row]