Also Known as: Devil's Shrub, Ci wu jia (Chinese), Ussurian thorny pepperbush, Acanthopanax senticosus
Farming Type: Organic
Eleutherococcus senticosus is the plant commonly referred to as Eleuthero and Siberian Ginseng. It is a member of the Araliaceae or ginseng family. Eleuthero is best known as being an adaptogen and has been part of the herbal repertoire in Chinese medicine for thousands of years. It was also used in Korean and Russian folk medicine, not only for increasing stamina but for promoting overall health. Russian researchers brought attention to this impressive root in the 1960's at which point its fame spread to the West. It can now be found lining the shelves in most health food stores in North America.
Botanically, Eleuthero is a slender, thorny shrub that grows to heights ranging from 3 to 15 feet tall. It has grey-brown colored branches with downward pointing spikes. The plant's leaves are colored bright green and divided into 3 - 5 leaflets. The flowers can vary in color from a light violet to a rich yellow. The root of eleuthero is the part of the plant commonly used for medicinal application, as it is long, woody, and pliable. Preparation methods vary, and many are considered quite bitter in taste.
Listed in the Chinese Shen Nong Ben Cao Jing (The Divine Husbandman’s Classic of the Materia Medica) over 2000 years ago, eleuthero has been used extensively in traditional Chinese medicine for millennia, yet was barely noticed by the rest of the world until Russian researchers began studying it in the 1960's. In fact the term 'adaptogen' came from Soviet scientist, N.V. Lazarev, who, in 1947 coined this term when describing eleuthero's actions. He stated that an adaptogen increased "non-specific resistance of an organism to adverse influence." It is also referred to as 'Siberian ginseng' and is often compared with the more familiar Panax ginseng or 'true ginseng' yet they differ substantially and therefore can't be considered interchangeable.
In Chinese medicine (TCM) eleuthero root is used to invigorate qi (chi or energy), strengthen and nourish the spleen and kidney and to balance vital energy. Eleuthero has been used in China to support general health. Additionally, it has been employed when there is sleeplessness with too many dreams. It is considered pungent and slightly bitter in taste and is often prepared as a preparation in sweet rice wine. It is considered energetically warming, and relates to the spleen, kidney and heart meridians. Generally, it is just the root that is used, however some leaves of various eleuthero species have been used in herbal teas as well.
In the traditional medicine of northeastern Asia and far eastern Russia, eleuthero is called 'shigoka' and used as a tonic. It has also been used in traditional Korean medicine for its qi strengthening qualities.
Eleuthero is now widely utilized in the western herbalism to support general health and to improve endurance and stamina. It is prescribed for use in France, Germany, and Russia as well.
Note: May cause insomnia if taken too close to bedtime. Not recommended for persons with uncontrolled high blood pressure.
For educational purposes only This information has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.