Siberian ginseng, also known as eleuthero, has been used in the Orient for thousands of years. While appearing similar to the American (Panax quinquefolius) and Asian ginseng (Panax ginseng), the Siberian plant is quite separate and the extracts of the plant have been found to contain have different chemicals. Other names by which Siberian ginseng is known as include Acanthopanax senticosus; Eleuthero and Eleutherococcus senticosus. Most reports indicate that daily ingestion of Siberian ginseng can boost energy, increase longevity, enhance over all fitness and health and prevent dementia. Russians have been known to consume vast quantities of the Siberian herb in the belief that it helps adapt to stress better and leads to enhanced efficiency.
Orientals strongly believe that Siberian ginseng can help individuals face stressful situations and help the body return back to its normal status. The belief is that all things abnormal can be return back to normal with Siberian ginseng. Extracts of Siberian ginseng include eleutherosides which are thought to act as body energizers and improve the body defense mechanisms against infections.
Most of the research benefits on Siberian ginseng have been derived from Russian studies. The majority of this research supports the use of Siberian ginseng to help maintain good health and remain energetic. Siberian ginseng is more like a vitamin and helps humans face stress both mental and physical without undue difficulties. For example, Siberian ginseng may help the body fight extremes of temperature, exhaustion, infections, noise and pollution. By increasing the body’s tolerance to adversity, it also helps prevent infections.
At the moment, Siberian ginseng is also recommended for individuals who are prone to the common cold. The herb may help fight off and shorten the period of infection. Others recommend Siberian ginseng to help fight off fatigue, improve mental performance and fight of stress. This may be of benefit to long distance truck drivers, student, military personnel and airline pilots who want to study late and pass exams.
While many reports exist about Siberian ginseng’s ability to improve male infertility, there is not clinical data to support it. The other area where use of Siberian ginseng is doubtful is in treatment of herpetic infections. The herb does not work all the time and part of the problem is that it is started too late. Experts believe that if the herb is started within 24 hours of herpetic infection, then it results in less pain. Siberian ginseng products are generally made from the root as it has been found to contain the most active ingredient. The herb is available in many formations including liquid extracts, solid, powder, capsules, tablets and cut roots for tea.
The chief problem with buying Siberian ginseng is that there is wide variability in quality and quantity. Moreover many supplies from the Orient have been found to be contaminated with synthetic chemicals. Evaluation of many formulations has revealed that more than ¼ of supplies do not contain any Siberian ginseng except sugar. Therefore, it is vital that you buy your product from a reputable dealer.
The dose of Siberian ginseng depends on the formula. The dried root extract is supposed to be taken once a day at a dose of 500-3000 mg. To relieve fatigue or boost energy, it has to be taken regularly for 3 months. It is recommended that one take a 2 week break at the end of these 3 months to allow the herb to work.
Siberian ginseng is relatively safe when taken as directed but there are reports that it can cause high blood pressure, lack of sleep, drowsiness, vomiting, headaches, confusion, irregular heart rhythms and nose bleeds.
For safe use about this product, talk to a pharmacist and read about the herb. The more informed you are the better choices you can make.