Eleuthero Root

Origin

Eleuthero Root is a species of the more commonly known ginseng also known as Siberian Ginseng. Its scientific name is Eleutherococcus Senticocus or E. Senticocus. The root is native to Siberia and the surrounding forest areas of Russia.

Recently having been introduced to the west, Eleuthero Root has been around for several centuries used as a popular medicinal herb in Russia and Korea for the treatment of heart disease, respiratory infections, arthritis and for its ability to increase energy levels and alertness.

History

The history of Eleuthero Root stretches as far back as the 16th century when a Chinese herbalist, Li Shih-Chen documented the benefits of the root. Traditional Chinese medicine classifies Eleuthero Root as one of the 'superior' class of herbs owing to its health benefits.

With over 3000 studies taking place, Eleuthero is the most studied plant on earth. A number of countries are involved in researching this precious herb.

The leaf of the Eleuthero was traditionally used as a poultice and as an anti-inflammatory agent. The active components are found in the dried roots of the plant that are believed to contain the main health benefits.

Eleuthero is also used as a dietary supplement and in skin care products.

What Is It Used For?

Eleuthero Root has a number of uses backed by Russian and Korean scientific studies over the past 15 years. Some of the health benefits are:

  • Used as an antioxidant
  • For the treatment of the common cold
  • Improvement of the immune system
  • To help improve memory and boost energy levels

However, Eleuthero's other claims such as enhancing athletic performance and improving the quality of life are not supported by scientific evidence.

Its biggest advantage lies in its being a powerful antioxidant. The root has been observed to boost immunity by helping to increase the number of disease-fighting cells and its ability to combat symptoms of the flu.

There is some evidence from studies conducted in rats and humans that Eleuthero can improve memory at least in the short term. Other studies conducted on rats showed that the body's insulin response was enhanced, and there was a reduction in blood sugar levels for at least half an hour after the intake of the root.

Common Cold

According to the NIH (National Institutes of Health), Eleuthero works well in combination with Andrographis, another herb to fight the common cold. A 2004 study showed that the duration of the symptoms of the common cold and its severity were considerably reduced when treatment was started early enough.

There has been some success in using Eleuthero in treating bronchitis and chronic lung infections.

Fatigue

A review conducted in 2009 indicated that Eleuthero had an effect on eliminating moderate fatigue but curiously had almost no impact on people suffering from severe fatigue.

Osteoarthritis

A study performed on patients with knee pain confirmed that after six weeks of daily treatment of Eleuthero mixed with an herbal formula, there was an improvement in the relief of pain and general physical functioning. However, it has yet to be ascertained whether Eleuthero can have the same effect when taken in isolation.

High Cholesterol

There is evidence that Eleuthero can reduce cholesterol significantly. Women who were administered Eleuthero alongside Calcium pills showed a considerable reduction in their cholesterol levels.

Eleuthero as an 'Adaptogen'

Eleuthero may act as an adaptogen. Adaptogens are a class of herbs which are thought to enhance body functions to help it cope with stress.

Eleuthero normalizes body functions and helps quick healing as well as instilling a general sense of well-being´╗┐.

Sexual Function

In men, Eleuthero appears to increase testosterone production, improve sexual desire and combat impotence.

It is claimed that Eleuthero can help to relieve the following conditions:

  • Flu
  • High Blood Pressure
  • Kidney Disease
  • Rheumatoid Arthritis

Eleuthero is also thought to soften the effect of chemotherapy. In Russia, the root has been used to treat bone marrow suppression resulting from chemo or radiation therapy.

As an anti-viral agent, Eleuthero has been found to increase the synthesizing process with interferon, the drug used to combat AIDS and Hepatitis C viral infections.

Insomnia

Chinese medical practitioners promote the use of Eleuthero to fight insomnia and sleep-related disorders.

Side Effects

  • Men with prostate conditions should avoid the Eleuthero Root as it might stimulate the production of testosterone.
  • Pregnant and lactating women should take it in small doses only
  • Patients on certain medications for heart disease should consult their health care provider prior to taking this herbal supplement
  • People with hypertension should not take Eleuthero Root
  • There have been reports of insomnia, drowsiness, headache, nervousness and hypoglycemia
  • Changes in heart rhythm
  • Muscular spasms

A Word of Caution

Doctors and medical practitioners advise caution when taking Eleuthero as the supplements are known to contain harmful elements like metals. Patients are advised to read the instructions and ingredients on the package very carefully and if they are uncertain, consult a health care provider immediately.

It is also important to differentiate between Eleuthero and other types of ginseng commonly used in medicines such as Korean or Asian ginseng and American ginseng.

Further Uses of the Eleuthero Root

  • Helps Reduce Fatigue
  • Builds Stamina
  • Fights Stress
  • Increases Body's Immunity to Combat Infection
  • Athletes may find it Helpful in Enhancing their Performance and Endurance
  • Can Relieve Depression
  • Helps Attention Deficit Disorder
  • Can be Used as a Sedative
  • Can Help Detoxify the Liver

Eleuthero has a wide-ranging spectrum of uses and benefits and is considered safe for most people.

Dosage and Administration

According to the Handbook prescribed for Medicinal Herbs, a dose of 200-500 grams is considered safe to take once or twice a day.  The Geniux dosage of Eleuthero root is within the safe range.

If Eleuthero is being taken for chronic fatigue or stress, the treatment should stretch for about three months at a time followed by an interval of 3-4 weeks.

Eleuthero supplements can be found in liquid form, powder form, as capsules and tablets. They are available in the raw form as dried root to be dipped in tea and other beverages. It can also be taken in combination with other herbal formulas and supplements found at health food stores and bought over the counter.