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Nutritional Supplement

Eleuthero

  • Immune System Support

    Immune Function

    Eleuthero has historically been used to support the immune system.
    Immune Function
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    Eleuthero (Siberian ginseng) has also historically been used to support the immune system. Preliminary Russian research has supported this traditional use.13 A double-blind study has shown that healthy people who take 10 ml of eleuthero tincture three times per day had an increase in certain T lymphocytes important to normal immune function. These effects have not been studied in people with lowered immune function. The amount of eleuthero used in this trial is exceptionally high, though no side effects were seen.

    Common Cold and Sore Throat

    Adaptogens such as eleuthero are thought to help keep various body systems—including the immune system—functioning optimally.
    Common Cold and Sore Throat
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    Eleuthero contains eleutherosides that appear to have immune-enhancing effects according to preliminary studies.14,15 Human research, some of it double-blind,16,17 has shown benefits for treating the common cold using Kan Jang, a combination of andrographis extract (48 to 60 mg andrographolides per day) and an eleuthero extract containing 2.0 to 2.4 mg per day of eleutherosides.

    Influenza

    Eleuthero has immune-enhancing properties, which may play a role in preventing infection with the influenza virus.
    Influenza
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    Asian ginseng and eleuthero (Siberian ginseng) have immune-enhancing properties, which may play a role in preventing infection with the influenza virus. However, they have not yet been specifically studied for this purpose. One double-blind trial found that co-administration of 100 mg of Asian ginseng extract with a flu vaccine led to a lower frequency of colds and flu compared to people who just received the flu vaccine alone.18

    Infection

    Eleuthero supports the immune system and protects against microbes.
    Infection
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    Herbs that support a person’s immune system in the fight against microbes include the following: American ginseng, andrographis, Asian ginseng, astragalus, coriolus, eleuthero, ligustrum, maitake, picrorhiza, reishi, schisandra, and shiitake.

    Double-blind trials have shown that common cold symptoms improve19,20 and recovery is faster21 when andrographis extract containing 48 to 60 mg andrographolides is taken in three or four divided doses daily, beginning as soon as possible after symptoms appear. In addition, preliminary research in Russia suggests andrographis extract may be effective for the treatment of influenza.22 This extract was also tested for preventing colds in a double-blind study of teenagers.23 After three months, the group taking 5 mg of andrographolides twice daily had only half the number of colds experienced by the placebo group.

    Other preliminary24 and double-blind25,26 research has shown similar benefits for treating the common cold from a combination of andrographis extract and an eleuthero extract containing 2.0 to 2.4 mg per day eleutherosides.

    HIV and AIDS Support

    Eleuthero is an immune-modulating plant that may be beneficial for people with HIV infection.
    HIV and AIDS Support
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    Immune-modulating plants that could theoretically be beneficial for people with HIV infection include Asian ginseng, eleuthero, and the medicinal mushrooms shiitake and reishi. One preliminary study found that steamed then dried Asian ginseng (also known as red ginseng) had beneficial effects in people infected with HIV, and increased the effectiveness of the anti-HIV drug, AZT.27 This supports the idea that immuno-modulating herbs could benefit people with HIV infection, though more research is needed.

  • Stress and Mood Management

    Stress

    Eleuthero appears to have antistress effects. Supplementing with an eleuthero extract led to higher quality-of-life measures in healthy elderly people, according to one study.
    Stress
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    The herbs discussed here are considered members of a controversial category known as adaptogens, which are thought to increase the body's resistance to stress, and to generally enhance physical and mental functioning.28,29 Many animal studies have shown that various herbal adaptogens have protective effects against physically stressful experiences,30,31 but whether these findings are relevant to human stress experiences is debatable.

    Animal research has reported antistress effects of Eleutherococcus senticosus (also known as Siberian ginseng),32 and Russian research not available in the English language reportedly describes human studies showing similar effects in humans.28,34 A double-blind study of healthy elderly people reported that those who took 60 drops per day of a eleuthero liquid extract (concentration not specified) scored higher in some quality-of-life measures after four weeks, but not after eight weeks, compared with a group taking a placebo.35 Athletes experiencing the stress of training who took an eleuthero extract equivalent to 4 grams per day had no changes in their blood levels of an adrenal stress hormone after six weeks.36 More research is needed to clarify the value of eleuthero for treating stress.

  • Fitness

    Athletic Performance

    Eleuthero supplementation may improve athletic performance, according to preliminary research. The herb strengthens the immune system and thus might reduce the risk of post-exercise infection.
    Athletic Performance
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    Eleuthero(Eleutherococcus senticosus) supplementation may improve athletic performance, according to preliminary Russian research.36 Other studies have been inconclusive and two recent double-blind studies showed no beneficial effect on endurance performance in trained men.37,38,39 Eleuthero strengthens the immune system and thus might reduce the risk of post-exercise infection. Although some doctors suggest taking 1 to 4 ml (0.2 to 0.8 tsp) of fluid extract of eleuthero three times per day, evidence supporting the use of this herb to enhance athletic performance remains weak.

  • Energy Support

    Fatigue

    One study found that an eleuthero extract improved symptoms in patients suffering from mild-to-moderate chronic fatigue.
    Fatigue
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    One study found that an eleuthero extract improved symptoms in patients suffering from mild-to-moderate chronic fatigue. However, after one month of treatment, the benefit began to wane, and eleuthero was not more effective than a placebo after two months of treatment.40 These findings support the observation of herbalists that eleuthero is more effective when used in a pulsed manner (a few weeks at a time) than when used continuously.

    Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

    “Adaptogenic” herbs such as eleuthero have an immunomodulating effect and help support the normal function of the body’s hormonal stress system.
    Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
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    Adaptogenic herbs such as Asian ginseng and eleuthero may also be useful for CFS patients—the herbs not only have an immunomodulating effect but also help support the normal function of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis, the hormonal stress system of the body.41 These herbs are useful follow-ups to the six to eight weeks of taking licorice root and may be used for long-term support of adrenal function in people with CFS. However, no controlled research has investigated the effect of adaptogenic herbs on CFS.

    One study found that an eleuthero extract improved symptoms in patients suffering from mild-to-moderate chronic fatigue. However, after one month of treatment, the benefit began to wane, and eleuthero was not more effective than a placebo after two months of treatment.These findings support the observation of herbalists that eleuthero is more effective when used in a pulsed manner (a few weeks at a time) than when used continuously.

What Are Star Ratings?
×
Reliable and relatively consistent scientific data showing a substantial health benefit.
Contradictory, insufficient, or preliminary studies suggesting a health benefit or minimal health benefit.
For an herb, supported by traditional use but minimal or no scientific evidence. For a supplement, little scientific support.

Our proprietary “Star-Rating” system was developed to help you easily understand the amount of scientific support behind each supplement in relation to a specific health condition. While there is no way to predict whether a vitamin, mineral, or herb will successfully treat or prevent associated health conditions, our unique ratings tell you how well these supplements are understood by the medical community, and whether studies have found them to be effective for other people.

For over a decade, our team has combed through thousands of research articles published in reputable journals. To help you make educated decisions, and to better understand controversial or confusing supplements, our medical experts have digested the science into these three easy-to-follow ratings. We hope this provides you with a helpful resource to make informed decisions towards your health and well-being.

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Traditional Use (May Not Be Supported by Scientific Studies)

Although not as popular as Asian ginseng, eleuthero use dates back 2,000 years, according to Chinese medicine records. Referred to as ci wu jia in Chinese medicine, it was used to prevent respiratory tract infections, colds and flu. It was also believed to provide energy and vitality. In Russia, eleuthero was originally used by people in the Siberian Taiga region to increase performance and quality of life and to decrease infections.

In more modern times, eleuthero has been used to increase stamina and endurance in Soviet Olympic athletes. Russian explorers, divers, sailors, and miners also used eleuthero to prevent stress-related illness. After the Chernobyl accident, many Russian and Ukrainian citizens were given eleuthero to counteract the effects of radiation.

References

1. Collisson RJ. Siberian ginseng (Eleutherococcus senticosus). Brit J Phytother 1991;2:61-71 [review].

2. Farnsworth NR, Kinghorn AD, Soejarto DD, Waller DP. Siberian ginseng (Eleutherococcus senticosus): Current status as an adaptogen. In Economic and Medicinal Plant Research, vol 1, ed. Wagner H, Hikino HZ, Farnsworth NR. London: Academic Press, 1985, 155-215 [review].

3. Hikino H, Takahashi M, Otake K, konno C. Isolation and hypoglycemic activity of eleutherans A, B, C, D, E, F and G: glycans of Eleutherococcus senticosus roots. J Natural Prod 1986;49:293-7.

4. Wagner H, Nörr H, Winterhoff H. Plant adaptogens. Phytomedicine 1994;1:63-76.

5. Asano K, Takahashi T, Miyashita M, et al. Effect of Eleutherococcus senticosus extract on human working capacity. Planta Medica 1986;37:175-7.

6. Kelly GS. Sports nutrition: A review of selected nutritional supplements for endurance athletes. Alt Med Rev 1997;2:282-95 [review].

7. McNaughton L. A comparison of Chinese and Russian ginseng as ergogenic aids to improve various facets of physical fitness. Int Clin Nutr Rev 1989;9:32-5.

8. Ben-Hur E, Fulder S. Effect of P. ginseng saponins and Eleutherococcus S. on survival of cultured mammalian cells after ionizing radiation. Am J Chin Med 1981;9:48-56.

9. Kupin VI, Polevaia EB. Stimulation of the immunological reactivity of cancer patients by eleutherococcus extract. Vopr Onkol 1986;32:21-6 [in Russian].

10. Poolsup N, Suthisisang C, Prathanturarug S, et al. Andrographis paniculata in the symptomatic treatment of uncomplicated upper respiratory tract infection: systematic review of randomized controlled trials. J Clin Pharm Ther 2004;29:37-45.

11. Coon JT, Ernst E. Andrographis paniculata in the treatment of upper respiratory tract infections: a systematic review of safety and efficacy. Planta Med 2004;70:293-98.

12. Bohn B, Nebe CT, Birr C. Flow cytometric studies with Eleutherococcus senticosus extract as an immunomodulating agent. Arzneim-Forsch Drug Res 1987;37:1193-6.

13. Baranov AI. Medicinal uses of ginseng and related plants in the Soviet Union: Recent trends in the Soviet literature. J Ethnopharmacol 1982;6:339-53 [review].

14. Li XY. Immunomodulating Chinese herbal medicines. Mem Inst Oswaldo Cruz 1991;86 Suppl 2:159-64.

15. Davydov M, Krikorian AD. Eleutherococcus senticosus (Rupr. & Maxim.) Maxim. (Araliaceae) as an adaptogen: a closer look. J Ethnopharmacol 2000;72:345-93.

16. Melchior J, Spasov AA, Ostrovskij OV, et al. Double-blind, placebo-controlled pilot and phase III study of activity of standardized Andrographis paniculata Herba Ness extract fixed combination (Kan jang) in the treatment of uncomplicated upper-respiratory tract infection. Phytomedicine 2000;7:341-50.

17. Gabrielian ES, Shukarian AK, Goukasova GI, et al. A double blind, placebo-controlled study of Andrographis paniculata fixed combination Kan Jang in the treatment of acute upper respiratory tract infections including sinusitis. Phytomedicine 2002;9:589-97.

18. Scaglione F, Cattaneo G, Alessandria M, Cogo R. Efficacy and safety of the standardized ginseng extract G 115 for potentiating vaccination against common cold and/or influenza syndrome. Drugs Exp Clin Res 1996;22:65-72.

19. Caceres DD, Hancke JL, Burgos RA, et al. Use of visual analogue scale measurements (VAS) to assess the effectiveness of standardized Andrographis paniculata extract SHA-10 in reducing the symptoms of common cold. A randomized double blind-placebo study. Phytomedicine 1999;6:217-23.

20. Hancke J, Burgos R, Caceres D, Wikman G. A double-blind study with a new monodrug Kan Jang: Decrease of symptoms and improvement in recovery from common colds. Phytother Res 1995;9:559-62.

21. Melchior J, Palm S, Wikman G. Controlled clinical study of standardized Andrographis paniculata extract in common cold-a pilot trial. Phytomedicine 1996;34:315-18.

22. Kulichenko LL, Kireyeva LV, Malyshkina EN, Wikman GA. Randomized, controlled study of Kan Jang versus amantadine in the treatment of influenza in Volgograd. J Herb Pharmacother 2003;3:77-93.

23. Caceres DD, Hancke JL, Burgos RA, et al. Prevention of common colds with Andrographis paniculata dried extract: a pilot double blind trial. Phytomedicine 1997;4:101-104.

24. Spasov AA, Ostrovskij, OV, Chernikov MV, Wikman G. Comparative controlled study of Andrographis paniculata fixed combination, Kan Jang and an Echinacea preparation as adjuvant, in the treatment of uncomplicated respiratory disease in children. Phytother Res 2004;18:47-53.

25. Melchior J, Spasov AA, Ostrovskij OV, et al. Double-blind, placebo-controlled pilot and phase III study of activity of standardized Andrographis paniculata Herba Ness extract fixed combination (Kan jang) in the treatment of uncomplicated upper-respiratory tract infection. Phytomedicine 2000;7:341-50.

26. Gabrielian ES, Shukarian AK, Goukasova GI, et al. A double blind, placebo-controlled study of Andrographis paniculata fixed combination Kan Jang in the treatment of acute upper respiratory tract infections including sinusitis. Phytomedicine 2002;9:589-97.

27. Cho YK, Kim Y, Choi M, et al. The effect of red ginseng and zidovudine on HIV patients. Int Conf AIDS 1994;10:215 [abstract no. PB0289].

28. Brekhman II, Dardymov IV. New substances of plant origin which increase nonspecific resistance. Annu Rev Pharmacol 1969;9:419-30 [review].

29. Panossian A, Wikman G, Wagner H. Plant adaptogens. III. Earlier and more recent aspects and concepts on their mode of action. Phytomedicine 1999;6:287-300 [review].

30. Rege NN, Thatte UM, Dahanukar SA. Adaptogenic properties of six rasayana herbs used in Ayurvedic medicine. Phytother Res 1999;13:275-91 [review].

31. Wagner H, Nörr H, Winterhoff H. Plant adaptogens. Phytomedicine 1994;1:63-76.

32. Deyama T, Nishibe S, Nakazawa Y. Constituents and pharmacological effects of Eucommia and Siberian ginseng. Acta Pharmacol Sin 2001;22:1057-70 [review].

33. Farnsworth NR, Kinghorn AD, Soejarto D, Waller DP. Siberian ginseng (Eleutherococcus senticosus): Current status as an adaptogen. Econ Med Plant Res 1985;1:156-215.

34. Cicero AFG, Derosa G, Brillante R, et al. Effects of Siberian ginseng (eleutherococcus senticosus maxim.) on elderly quality of life: a randomized clinical trial. Arch Gerontol Geriatr Suppl2004;9:69-73.

35. Gaffney BT, Hugel HM, Rich PA. The effects of Eleutherococcus senticosus and Panax ginseng on steroidal hormone indices of stress and lymphocyte subset numbers in endurance athletes. Life Sci 2001;70:431-42.

36. Kelly GS. Sports nutrition: A review of selected nutritional supplements for endurance athletes. Alt Med Rev 1997;2:282-95 [review].

37. McNaughton L. A comparison of Chinese and Russian ginseng as ergogenic aids to improve various facets of physical fitness. Int Clin Nutr Rev 1989;9:32-5.

38. Dowling EA, Redondo DR, Branch JD, et al. Effect of Eleutherococcus senticosus on submaximal and maximal exercise performance. Med Sci Sports Exer 1996;28:482-9.

39. Eschbach LF, Webster MJ, Boyd JC, et al. The effect of siberian ginseng (Eleutherococcus senticosus) on substrate utilization and performance. Int J Sport Nutr Exerc Metab 2000;10:444-51.

40. No authors listed. Monograph. <em>Eleutherococcus senticosus</em>. <em>Altern Med Rev</em> 2006;11:151-5.

41. Brown D. Licorice root - potential early intervention for chronic fatigue syndrome. Quart Rev Natural Med 1996;Summer:95-7.

42. Brown DJ. Herbal Prescriptions for Better Health. Rocklin, CA: Prima Publishing, 1996, 69-77.

43. McGuffin M, Hobbs C, Upton R, Goldberg A. American Herbal Products Association's Botanical Safety Handbook. Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press, 1997, 45.

Copyright © 2020 TraceGains, Inc. All rights reserved.

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The information presented by TraceGains is for informational purposes only. It is based on scientific studies (human, animal, or in vitro), clinical experience, or traditional usage as cited in each article. The results reported may not necessarily occur in all individuals. For many of the conditions discussed, treatment with prescription or over the counter medication is also available. Consult your doctor, practitioner, and/or pharmacist for any health problem and before using any supplements or before making any changes in prescribed medications. Information expires December 2020.

Copyright © 2020 TraceGains, Inc. All rights reserved.

The information presented by TraceGains is for informational purposes only. It is based on scientific studies (human, animal, or in vitro), clinical experience, or traditional usage as cited in each article. The results reported may not necessarily occur in all individuals. Self-treatment is not recommended for life-threatening conditions that require medical treatment under a doctor's care. For many of the conditions discussed, treatment with prescription or over the counter medication is also available. Consult your doctor, practitioner, and/or pharmacist for any health problem and before using any supplements or before making any changes in prescribed medications. Information expires December 2020.