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Eleutherococcus senticosusis only distantly related to the true ginseng species ( Panax ginsengand P. quinquefolius) and possesses entirely different, unrelated chemical constituents. However, it is popularly called Russian or Siberian ginseng. The origin of this misnomer lies in the work of a Soviet scientist, I.I. Brekhman, who believed that eleutherococcus has the same properties as ginseng, and popularized it as a less-expensive alternative herb.
According to Brekhman, eleutherococcus and ginseng are both adaptogens . This term refers to a hypothetical treatment defined as follows: An adaptogen should help the body adapt to stresses of various kinds, whether heat, cold, exertion, trauma, sleep deprivation, toxic exposure, radiation, infection, or psychological stress. Furthermore, an adaptogen should 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.
Perhaps the only indisputable example of an adaptogen is a healthful lifestyle. By eating right, exercising regularly, and generally living a life of balance and moderation, you will increase your physical fitness and ability to resist illnesses of all types. Brekhman felt certain that both eleutherococcus and ginseng produced similarly universal benefits. However, there is little to no meaningful evidence supporting this theory.
Herbs sold under the name ciwuja are most likely Eleutherococcus, as well.
The typical recommended daily dosage of eleutherococcus is 2 g to 3 g whole herb or 300 g to 400 mg of extract daily.