Eleutherococcus senticosus
What is it? Overview Usage Side Effects and Warnings

Eleutherococcus senticosus Usage

Written by FoundHealth.


Effect of Eleutherococcus senticosus on Cold Sores (Herpes Simplex Type 1)

The effect of Eleutherococcus on herpes is not clear. The herb is generally regarded as an adaptogen, or something that helps the body adapt to stresses of various kinds, whether heat, cold,...

Read more about Cold Sores (Herpes Simplex Type 1) and Eleutherococcus senticosus.

Effect of Eleutherococcus senticosus on Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS)

A fairly substantial (96-participant) double-blind, placebo-controlled study failed to find Eleutherococcus senticosus("Siberian ginseng") helpful for people with CFS.28 Over the 2-month study...

Read more about Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) and Siberian Ginseng.

What Is Eleutherococcus Used for Today?

If Brekhman is right, ginseng (whether Eleutherococcusor Panax) should be the right treatment for most of us. Modern life is tremendously stressful, and if an herb could help us withstand stress , it would be a useful herb indeed. Eleutherococcusis widely used for this purpose in Russia and Eastern Europe, and it is popular elsewhere as well. However, there is little meaningful evidence to support this theory. Existing evidence on the supposed adaptogenic properties falls far beneath current scientific standards. 1 Better quality studies have evaluated the potential usefulness of Eleutherococcusfor specific conditions. Most, however, have failed to find benefit.

In the one unquestionably positive study, a 6-month, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial of 93 men and women with recurrent herpes infections, treatment with eleutherococcus (2 g daily) reduced the frequency of outbreaks by approximately 50%. 2 Although Eleutherococcusis widely used as a sports supplement , evidence from studies is largely negative. For example, a double-blind, placebo-controlled study of 20 athletes over an 8-week period found no improvement in physical performance. 3 In addition, a small double-blind, crossover trial found Eleutherococcusineffective for improving performance in endurance exercise (ie, prolonged cycling). 4 Finally, in a small double-blind, placebo-controlled trial of endurance athletes, use of Eleutherococcusactually increasedphysiological signs of stress during intensive training. 5 One study failed to find Eleutherococcushelpful for chronic fatigue syndrome . 6 Several double-blind studies enrolling a total of about 500 people have evaluated a proprietary combination therapy containing extracts of Eleutherococcus and the herb andrographis for the treatment of upper respiratory infections , and found benefit. 7 8 In general, these studies reported that use of the combination therapy may decrease both severity and duration of upper respiratory infections. However, it is not clear whether the presence of the Eleutherococcusadds any benefit beyond that of the andrographis constituent, which taken alone has shown efficacy in clinical trials. For more information, see the Andrographis article.


  1. Farnsworth NR, Kinghorn AD, Soejarto DD, et al. Siberian ginseng ( Eleutherococcus senticosus ): current status as an adaptogen. Econ Med Plant Res. 1985;1:156-215.
  2. Williams M. Immuno-protection against herpes simplex type II infection by Eleutherococcus root extract. Int J Alt Complement Med. 1995;13:9-12.
  3. Dowling EA, Redondo DR, Branch JD, et al. Effect of Eleutherococcus senticosus on submaximal and maximal exercise performance. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 1996;28:482-489.
  4. 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;10:444-451.
  5. 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;70:431-442.
  6. Hartz AJ, Bentler S, Noyes R, Hoehns J, Logemann C, Sinift S, Butani Y, Wang W, Brake K, Ernst M, Kautzman H. Randomized controlled trial of Siberian ginseng for chronic fatigue. Psychol Med. 34(1):51-61.
  7. Melchior J, Spasov AA, Ostrovskij OV, et al. Double-blind, placebo-controlled pilot and phase III study of activity of standardized Andrographis paniculata Herba Nees extract fixed combination (Kan jang) in the treatment of uncomplicated upper-respiratory tract infection. Phytomedicine. 2000;7:341-350.
  8. Spasov AA, Ostrovskij OV, Chernikov MV, et al. 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.


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