Eleutherococcus senticosus

Eleuthero, also known as Siberian ginseng, is the root, root bark, or stem of a shrub in the ginseng family. It grows in thickets in northeast China, eastern Russia, Korea, and Japan’s northern island, Hokkaido. Most of the supply comes from Siberia and China, but it is also grown in eastern Europe. The Chinese call it ci-wu-jia. A relative of the more famous red ginseng, eleuthero has been used in Traditional Chinese Medicine since about 190 AD.

Eleuthero has been used in China as a tonic for invigorating vital energy (qi) for more than 2,000 years.

Eleuthero as an Herb for Medicinal Uses

eleutheroRecent use in China derives from Russian research since the early 1950s. In Chinese medicine, it is used to normalize body functions, restore vigor, improve health, promote good appetite, and help to assure a long life. Eleuthero boosts concentration and focus without the letdown than comes from drinking coffee or other sources of caffeine.

Eleuthero also boosts immunity and may also enhance athletic performance. Eleuthero was a favorite of trainers and coaches of Olympic athletes in the old Soviet Union. A company in New Jersey found that taking eleuthero for 8 weeks increased the body’s ability to burn fat through exercise by about 43 percent.

I. I. Brekhman, the leading Russian researcher on ginseng, has described eleuthero as an “adaptogen”, an innocuous substance that causes minimal disorders of an organism’s function. It must have a “nonspecific action” that normalizes body functions, no matter what the condition or disease. Adaptogens are essentially general tonics.

Combining eleuthero with other herbs can be even better. Soviet scientists found taking both schisandra and eleuthero benefited endurance athletes by giving them an immune system boost. The two herbs together helped prevent colds, flu, and other infections after athletic events. For best results, increase the vitamin C foods in your diet when you take these herbs.

German authorities allow eleuthero to be labeled as an invigorating tonic for fatigue, convalescence, decreased work capacity, or difficulty in concentration.


Decoctions or eleuthero extract Supplement of the root.

  • Maintenance Tonic: Two times per day. Blend 30 to 40 drops diluted in water.
  • Restorative Tonic: Three times per day, take 30 to 40 drops in diluted in water. One to three months’ use may be needed for full results.

Culinary Uses of Eleuthero

None known.


May cause insomnia if taken too close to bedtime.

Not recommended for persons with uncontrolled high blood pressure.

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