ELEUTHERO POWDER (SIBERIAN GINSENG, ELEUTHEROCOCCUS SENTICOSUS
Botanical name: Eleutherococcus senticosus
Other names: Eleuthero, Siberian Ginseng, Ci Wu Jia, Devil’s bush, Hedera Senticosa, Pepperbush, Pickly Eleutherococc, Shigoka, Ussuri, Wild Pepper
Distribution: Native from East Asia, Siberia, China, Japan, Russia. Now adapted to Canada, the USA and other temperate parts of the world.
A relative of the more famous red ginseng, eleuthero has been used in Traditional Chinese Medicine since about 190 AD. It became a widely cultivated herb after its use as an adaptogen (an herb that helps the body adapt to stress) was discovered by a Soviet scientist named Brekhman in the 1940’s. It was dispensed to entire cities in Siberia for 10 weeks in early winter to prevent colds and flu, and used as a treatment for radiation exposure after the Chernobyl accident.
Eleuthero is an “adaptogen,” an agent that helps the body adapt to stress. This term, coined by researcher I.I. Brekhman, suggests such a plant has four general properties:
· It is harmless to the host
· It has a general, rather nonspecific effect
· It increases the resistance of the recipient to a variety of physical, chemical, or biological stressors
· For the user, it acts as a general stabilizer/normalizer
Consequently, it has anti-fatigue and anti-stress properties which helps curing many illnesses and improve life conditions. In addition to its anti-fatigue and anti-stress effects, the plant also exhibits immunomodulatory effects;it boosts the immune system. Healthy people taking 2 teaspoons (10 ml) of tincture three times daily have been shown to have increased numbers of the immune cells (CD4+ cells) that have decrease during HIV-infection and AIDS. Another research has shown that the administration of an extract (primarily eleutherosides B and D) increased the cytostatic activity of natural killer cells by 200 percent after one week.
Scientists also believe it helps prevent “adrenal burnout” caused by ongoing physical or mental challenges. Eleuthero boosts concentration and focus without the letdown than comes from drinking coffee or other sources of caffeine.
Eleuthero may also enhance athletic performance. Eleuthero was a favorite of trainers and coaches of Olympic athletes in the old Soviet Union. When the word about eleuthero got out, Western scientists put it to the test. A study of six baseball players found that taking eleuthero for 8 days increased breathing capacity. That is, eleuthero gave the players more wind to sprint between bases. In another clinical test, scientists in Australia found that men (and women) who took eleuthero 8 weeks had 13% strength gains in the pectoral muscles and 15% in the biceps. And 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%. The scientists running these tests recruited experienced athletes.
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. Eleuthero is not the only herb for athletes. American trainers report a combination of sea buckthorn, wild oats, and stinging nettle increases strength, anaerobic power (muscle output when the athlete is out of breath), endurance time, and even feelings of well being.