Siberian Ginseng (Eleutherococcus senticosus)
Siberian ginseng, also known as eleuthero, has been used for centuries in Eastern countries, including China and Russia. Although a distant relative of American (Panax quinquefolius ) and Asian ginseng (Panax ginseng ), with some overlap in its uses, Siberian ginseng is a distinct plant with different active chemical components. Prized for its ability to restore vigor, increase longevity, enhance overall health, and stimulate both a healthy appetite and a good memory, it is widely used in Russia to help the body adapt to stressful conditions and to enhance productivity.
In Chinese medicine, it is valued for its beneficial effects on "qi" and its ability to treat "yang" deficiency in the spleen and kidney. Like Panax ginseng, Siberian ginseng is considered to be an adaptogen. This means it helps in stressful circumstances and also helps return the body to a normal balance. For example, an adaptogen might lower blood pressure in someone who has high blood pressure, but it might raise blood pressure in someone who has low blood pressure. The active ingredients in Siberian ginseng, called eleutherosides, are thought to increase stamina and to stimulate the immune system.
Until recently, most scientific research on Siberian ginseng was conducted in Russia. This research has largely supported its use to maintain health and strengthen the system rather than to treat particular disorders. Siberian ginseng may help the body deal with physically and mentally stressful exposures, such as heat, cold, physical exhaustion, viruses, bacteria, chemicals, extreme working conditions, noise, and pollution. By strengthening the system, it may also help prevent illness.
Research on Siberian ginseng has included studies on the following:
A 4-week study in healthy subjects found that those who received Siberian ginseng extract had improvements in a number of measures that reflect the functioning of the immune system. Several combination supplements containing Siberian ginseng and other herbs have reported benefits in patients with colds and the flu. Laboratory studies also support the use of Siberian ginseng to improve immunity.
A 3-month human study of Siberian ginseng among middle aged volunteers found that there was a significant improvement in memory and concentration as compared to placebo.
Another popular but unproven use of Siberian ginseng is to maintain or restore mental alertness.
Although Siberian ginseng is frequently used to enhance physical stamina and increase muscle strength, studies have shown mixed results for these purposes. Other studies support the use of Siberian ginseng to decrease symptoms of fatigue.
Siberian ginseng has a long history of folkloric use for male infertility. Animal studies suggest that Siberian ginseng may be helpful in increasing reproductive capacity.
Elderly quality of life
One study found Siberian ginseng use in elderly patients improved their quality of life including aspects of mental health and social functioning after 4 weeks of therapy. When the ginseng was stopped, the improvements decreased.
Herpes viral infection
A 6-month study of 93 people with herpes simplex virus type 2 (which can cause genital herpes lesions) found that Siberian ginseng reduced frequency, severity, and duration of outbreaks. Talk to your doctor about whether it is safe or appropriate for you to use Siberian ginseng as a supplement to prevent herpes outbreaks.
Siberian ginseng is a shrub that grows 3 - 10 feet high. Its leaves are attached to a main stem by long branches. Both the branches and the stem are covered with thorns. Flowers, yellow or violet, grow in umbrella-shaped clusters, and turn into round, black berries in late summer. The root itself is woody and is brownish, wrinkled, and twisted.
What's It Made Of?:
Siberian ginseng supplements are made from the root. The root contains a mixture of components, common to many plants but occurring together in Siberian ginseng, called eleutherosides. Among the other ingredients are chemicals called polysaccharides, which have been found to boost the immune system and lower blood sugar levels in laboratory studies using animals.
Siberian ginseng is available as liquid extracts, solid extracts, powders, capsules, and tablets, and as dried or cut root for tea.
It is important to note that there is a wide variation in the quality of many herbal supplements, including Siberian ginseng. Previous evaluations of commercial products claiming to have Siberian ginseng found that as many as 25% had no measurable ginseng at all. Plus, many formulas for sale were contaminated with contents not marked on the label. Care should be taken to purchase Siberian ginseng and all herbal products from reputable manufacturers. Ask your pharmacist.
Skin Benefits of Siberian Ginseng.
Rich in complex polysaccharides, Siberian Ginseng has frequently been sited as an immune stimulator used to fight infection of the skin and lungs and as a supplement to promote overall well being. The plant itself is believed to have been used in Chinese and Russian medicine for over 4,000 years, but it was the mid-twentieth century before Siberian Ginseng was evaluated by Russian Scientists, where it was found to enhance physical and mental performance.
Siberian Ginseng Extract is a 25% active, aqueous extract consisting primarily of the complex polysaccharides and associated glycoproteins from the root Elcutherococcus senticosus. When applied to the skin in a cosmetic vehicle, these compounds will form an elegant film on the skin that will tighten and smooth the treated skin immediately. This perceivable phenomenon is due to physical changes in the polymer structure of the polysaccharides as they dry on the skin. This gentle sensation of smooth skin will last for hours without flaking or leaving the skin feeling overly tight. Best of all, the use of Siberian Ginseng Extract is totally safe and non-invasive.
There is clearly no end in sight to our search for the fountain of youth. Some of us, in fact, will go to great lengths to conceal our aged appearance. However, nature has provided us with numerous ways to combat the signs of time. Siberian Ginseng Extract is a naturally derived, skin-tightening ingredient that can help to physically 'lift' sagging skin, reducing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. It is also used for firming eye gels and in skin firming serums and décolletage creams.
Return to Information Library
The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA and are not intended to diagnose, cure, treat or prevent disease. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplements, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.