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Cold Sores (Herpes Simplex Type 1) and Eleutherococcus senticosus

Written by ColleenO, FoundHealth.

Eleutherococcus senticosus is popularly and incorrectly called Russian or Siberian ginseng, and has shown strong potential to significantly reduce the number of outbreaks in people with genital herpes. Although cold sores (oral herpes) are not caused by the same virus, the viruses are related, and therefore Eleutherococcus may be useful in reducing cold sore outbreaks.

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, exertion, trauma, sleep deprivation, toxic exposure, radiation, infection, or psychological stress. Adaptogens are also believed to cause no side effects, be effective in treating a wide variety of illnesses, and help return an organism toward balance no matter what may have gone wrong.

Read more details about Eleutherococcus senticosus.

Research Evidence on Eleutherococcus senticosus

A 6-month, double-blind trial of 93 men and women with recurrent genital herpes infections found that treatment with Eleutherococcus (2 g daily) reduced the frequency of infections by almost 50%.18

How to Use Eleutherococcus senticosus

The typical recommended daily dosage of Eleutherococcus is 2-3 g whole herb or 300 g to 400 mg of extract daily. The study cited in this article featured daily doses of 2 g.

Types of Professionals That Would Be Involved with This Treatment

  • Herbalist
  • Naturopathic doctor
  • Integrative MD
  • Other health practitioners who specialize in herbology

Safety Issues

According to studies performed primarily in the former Soviet Union, Eleutherococcusappears to present a low order of toxicity in both the short- and long-term. Human trials have not resulted in any significant side effects. 1 Safety in pregnant or nursing women, young children, or people with severe liver or kidney disease is not known.

One report suggests that Eleutherococcusmay alter the results of a test for the medication digoxin. 2 However, it is not clear whether it was the Eleutherococcusor a contaminant (eg, digoxin mixed with the herb) that caused these problems.

Interactions You Should Know About

If you are taking:

  • Digoxin : Eleutherococcus may interfere with blood tests designed to measure digoxin level.


  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. McRae S. Elevated serum digoxin levels in a patient taking digoxin and Siberian ginseng. CMAJ. 1996;155:293-295.
  1. Williams M. Immuno-protection against herpes simplex type II infection by eleutherococcus root extract. Int J Alt Complement Med. 1995;13:9-12.

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Posted 8 years ago

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Posted 8 years ago

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Posted 3 years ago


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Posted a month ago

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