Eleuthero, also known as Siberian Ginseng, has been an herb occupying a significant place in Chinese medicine for thousands of years as an adaptogen. Russian and Korean folk medicine have also used Eleuthero for several purposes, including using it to increase stamina, promote mental health and also to promote overall health.
However, not much attention was drawn to the health benefits of Eleuthero until the 1960’s when Russian researchers started confirming some impressive benefits this amazing herb can offer. Today, Eleuthero has even gotten its name registered in most households and food stores in North America.
Native to China, Japan, and the Far East of Russia, Eleuthero is a member of the ginseng family together with the popular American ginseng (Panax quinquefolius) and Devil’s walkingstick (Aralia spinosa).
Eleuthero has gained so much awareness in China for its several medicinal purposes that it is listed in many Chinese herbal formulas in the name Acanthopanax senticosus which is the old name of the root herb.
Below are 17 amazing science-backed health benefits locked up in Eleuthero for you.
For decades, Eleuthero has proved to be an active agent in improving blood sugar levels, blood lipid levels and insulin usage in diabetics. When tested out in type 2 diabetes mice, it was observed that it significantly reduced insulin resistance and thus reduced blood glucose levels. In a laboratory study to confirm the effect of the eleutheroside components; eleutherans A, B, C, D, E, F and G on blood sugar, it was proved that these compounds were able to normalize blood sugar levels making Eleuthero very useful for improving diabetes.
Eleuthero was found to enhance the neuronal communication concerned with memory and learning in animal studies and this property could be of great benefit in helping patients living with Alzheimer's Disease. Eleuthero also has a significant stress-reducing ability that helps restore memory deficits as a result of excess stress.
By increasing immune cell production of the body, Eleuthero helps boost the immune system. When tested in an animal study, the root extract of Eleuthero was found to increase the levels of antibody molecules IgG and IgM which are responsible for protecting the body against microbes.
Also, by supporting natural detoxification processes of the liver, Eleuthero helps boost the body’s immune system and has also been found effective in helping the liver process harmful toxins, including sodium barbital, alcohol, and tetanus toxin.
Eleuthero has also been found to be effective in helping to improve mental function such as memory and concentration by increasing the flow of blood to the brain.
Some pain-relieving drugs like naproxen sodium work by inhibiting the inflammatory pathway activating enzyme, COX-2. Eleuthero has also been found to be associated with reduced expression of COX-2, thus making it a promising agent for preventing inflammation. It also reduces the excess mast cell activity associated with allergic inflammation.
Being a stimulant, this root herb increases circulation and heart rate, and may hence, help raise blood pressure over time, making Eleuthero a beneficial herb for people living with hypotension.
By slowing cancer progression and boosting the body’s immune system, Eleuthero has shown a promising effect in improving cancer outcomes. In a study, it was found to significantly reduce the growth of lung and liver cancers. Eleuthero also helps protect from the mutation of cancerous cell aside helping to fight already formed cancer cells.
Eleuthero has been used for decades in several traditional medicines to increase muscle and bone strength. In a study conducted in 2013, 100mg of Eleuthero given to rats over a period of 8 weeks was found to increase femur bone density by as much as 16.7%.
Following a review of studies where a standardized extract of Eleuthero was used, it was confirmed that this herb is effective in treating herpes simplex 2 and relieves the symptoms of common cold. The liquid extract of Eleuthero has been found to be effective against several RNA viruses, including influenza A virus, respiratory syncytial virus, and human rhinovirus. The herb helps fight against these viruses as it prevents their replication.
Extracts of Eleuthero and eleutherosides are associated with binding to estrogen receptor sites and thus could help lessen the effect of estrogen withdrawal in women going through menopause.
Studies in athletes have revealed that Eleuthero is capable of increasing performance by prolonging endurance time, decreasing blood glucose levels, and increasing heart rate. It also reduces exercise-induced immunosuppression and exercise-induced serotonin release. These are two factors that make exercise more tasking and can prolong recovery time after exercise.
According to several animal studies on the supplementation of Eleuthero, the results have shown a reduction in the degenerative effects of Parkinson’s disease. However, there is still more research to be conducted to confirm the same effect in human clinical usage.
Different studies have confirmed the effect of Eleutherosides in preventing and repairing nerve damage. It has been used for decades as a management and preventative medication for progressive neurological conditions like Alzheimer’s disease. A study involving rats with nerve damage confirmed the effect of Eleuthero in improving nerve regeneration and synapse reformation.
Eleuthero has been found to reduce physical and mental fatigue in response to physical stress in animal studies. The herb has also been associated with reduced stress-related changes in behavior animals that were deprived of sleep. Eleuthero also decreases recovery time from stress in animal studies.
Eleutherosides have been associated with lymphatic function of the lymph node network. In a 2016 study, Eleuthero powder was found to significantly reduce edema within 2 to 4 hours after consumption in 50 healthy volunteers.
By boosting the immune system, Eleuthero may help speed up healing process. The compound components of Eleuthero have also shown some properties that could help prevent ulcer formation, including diabetic foot ulcers.
Being an immune stimulant, Eleuthero may help bring about a shortened length and severity of lung infections such as pneumonia and influenza.
The leaves of Eleuthero can either be prepared as a tea or eaten raw. However, most studies that have looked into the health benefits of this amazing herb have only focused on the root, meaning it is possible not to have as much effect of Eleuthero with the leaves as with its root.
Jiyun, A., Min, Y., Hyunjung, L., Chang, H. (2013 April). Eleutheroside E, An Active Component of Eleutherococcus senticosus, Ameliorates Insulin Resistance in Type 2 Diabetic Db/Db Mice. Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3638629/
Debin, H., Zehua, H., Zhaofen, Y. (2013 April). Eleutheroside B or E Enhances Learning and Memory in Experimentally Aged Rats. Neural Regeneration Research. Retrieved from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4145894/.
Gross, G. J., Moore, J. (2004). Effect of COX-1/COX-2 Inhibition versus Selective COX-2 Inhibition on Coronary Vasodilator Responses to Arachidonic Acid and Acetylcholine. Karger. Retrieved from https://www.karger.com/Article/Abstract/77447
Hibasami, H., Fujikawa, T., Takeda, H., Nishibe, S. (2000 Nov). Induction of Apoptosis by Acanthopanax Senticosus HARMS and Its Component, Sesamin In Human Stomach Cancer KATO III Cells. Oncology Reports. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11032916
Dong, W., Jae, G., Youngseok, L. (2013). Preventive Effects of Eleutherococcus senticosus Bark Extract in OVX-Induced Osteoporosis in Rats. Molecular Diversity Preservation International. Retrieved from http://www.mdpi.com/1420-3049/18/7/7998/htm.
Glatthaar-Saalmüller, B., Sacher, F., Esperester, A. (2001). Antiviral Activity of An Extract Derived from Roots of Eleutherococcus Senticosus. Antiviral Research. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11397509
Gaffney, B. T., Hügel, H. M., Rich, P. A. (2001 Dec). The Effects of Eleutherococcus Senticosus And Panax Ginseng on Steroidal Hormone Indices of Stress and Lymphocyte Subset Numbers in Endurance Athletes. Life Sciences. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11798012
Fujikawa, T., Kanada, N., Shimada, A., Ogata, M., Suzuki, I., Hayashi, I., Nakashima, K. (2005 Jan). Effect of Sesamin In Acanthopanax Senticosus HARMS on Behavioral Dysfunction in Rotenone-Induced Parkinsonian Rats. Biological and Pharmaceutical Bulletin. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15635186
Yanjing, B., Chihiro, T., Shu, Z., Masao, H., Katsuko, K. (2011 July). Active Components from Siberian Ginseng (Eleutherococcus Senticosus) For Protection of Amyloid Β (25–35)-Induced Neuritic Atrophy in Cultured Rat Cortical Neurons. Journal of Natural Medicine. Retrieved from https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s11418-011-0509-y
Huang, L. Z., Huang, B. K., Ye, Q., Qin, L. P. (2011 Jan). Bioactivity-Guided Fractionation for Anti-Fatigue Property of Acanthopanax Senticosus. Journal of Ethnopharmacology. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20920564
Kaedeko, F., Mika, K. Yuko, M. (2016 July). Antiedema Effects of Siberian Ginseng in Humans and Its Molecular Mechanism of Lymphatic Vascular Function In Vitro. Nutrition Research. Retrieved from https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0271531716000531