|What Is It?||Famed as an energy tonic in China since ancient times, Siberian ginseng only gained recognition in the West in the 1950s, when a Russian scientist (I. I. Brekhman) reported its notable stress-repelling powers. Healthy men and women taking the herb were found to better endure physical strain, resist disease,
and perform tests of mental sharpness. Today, Westerners are perhaps most familiar with the plant's botanical cousin Panax ginseng, but Siberian ginseng's apparent ability to fight fatigue and alleviate myriad ailments has earned it an enthusiastic following. Many people use it the way traditional Chinese healers do--to reinforce the body's vital
energy (what the Chinese call qi). Others take it to enhance memory and ward off
colds and flu. In Russia, millions of people use the herb as a general tonic.
Also known as eleuthero, supplements of the herb are made from the dried root of
Eleutherococcus senticosus, a plant indigenous to China, Japan, Korea, and Siberia.
Siberian ginseng contains remarkable compounds that favorably affect the adrenal
glands, the small glands that rest atop the kidneys and secrete stress-fighting
hormones. Taking the herb is believed to boost the body's capacity to handle physical stresses ranging from heat exposure to extreme exertion. Resistance to
disease increases as well. So does one's overall energy level.
|Specifically, Siberian ginseng may
1) Prevent stress-related illnesses. Several studies have shown that Siberian ginseng can increase a person's resistance to physical stresses. In a series of landmark Russian studies in the 1960s, 2,100 healthy adults (19 to 72 years old) given Siberian ginseng were shown to better handle stressful conditions. Specifically, they experienced an increased ability to perform physical labor, withstand motion sickness, and work with speed and precision despite being surrounded by noise.
They could also proofread documents more accurately and more readily adapt to
such physical stresses such as heat, high altitudes, and low-oxygen environments.
Other research indicates that taking Siberian ginseng can heighten mental alertness
and improve concentration.
(2) Relieve chronic fatigue syndrome and fibromyalgia. Because Siberian ginseng
bolsters the adrenal glands, it's worth trying to relieve the exhaustion and muscle
pain associated with these energy-depleting conditions.
(3) Combat fatigue and restore energy. Siberian ginseng is popular for invigorating
and fortifying the body. It appears to boost energy levels in people with constant
exhaustion. Those recovering from an illness or weary from a heavy work schedule
may also benefit from its energy-boosting and immune-enhancing powers. For otherwise
healthy individuals--even athletes--the story is a little different, however.
In one study, 20 highly trained distance runners given Siberian ginseng failed to
outperform similarly conditioned runners given a placebo when both groups raced
against each other on treadmills. Not only did the Siberian ginseng-taking runners
run no faster, they didn't run for longer either.
(4) Increase male and female fertility and reduce male impotence. By supporting
healthy uterine function, Siberian ginseng may be useful in preventing female
infertility. Males may experience an increased sperm count (rotate it with Panax
ginseng for this purpose). Animal studies indicate that the herb can even boost
testosterone levels and thus help reverse certain cases of male impotence.
(5) Relieve menstrual disorders and menopausal symptoms. Siberian ginseng may positively
affect hormone levels and tone the large uterine muscle. These properties make it
potentially valuable for easing certain menstrual difficulties and menopausal symptoms.
(6) Treat Alzheimer's disease. Siberian ginseng may increase mental alertness,
particularly in the early stages of this progressive disorder. The herb's ability
to boost the transmission of nerve impulses may also enhance memory.
(7) Increase resistance to colds and flu. Historically, the Chinese have found
Siberian ginseng to be effective in suppressing colds and flu. The herb's immune-enhancing powers may play a role. Interestingly, a Russian study of 13,000 auto workers who took Siberian ginseng one winter showed that participants developed 40% fewer respiratory tract infections than they had in previous winters. Note: Siberian ginseng has also been found to be useful for a number of other disorders. For information on these additional ailments, see our Dosage Recommendations Chart for Siberian Ginseng.
· Soft gel
· Dried herb/tea
· For stress: Take 100 to 200 mg three times a day. Special "adrenal gland"
formulas now on the market commonly contain Siberian ginseng in combination
with licorice, pantothenic acid, and other stress-fighting ingredients.
· For fatigue (and chronic fatigue syndrome), female infertility, Alzheimer's
disease, fibromyalgia, and the majority of other conditions mentioned: Take 100
to 300 mg twice a day for 60 to 90 days, and then take a seven-day break before
· For male infertility and impotence: Take l00 to 300 mg twice a day. For infertility,
rotate every three weeks with 100 to 250 mg Panax ginseng standardized to contain
7% ginsenosides (the active ingredient). For impotence, rotate every two weeks.
· For colds and flu: Take 300 mg twice a day for seven to 10 days. Be sure to check out our Dosage Recommendations Chart for Siberian ginseng, which has therapeutic dosages for specific ailments at a glance.
Special tip: · Buy Siberian ginseng extracts from a company with a reputation for quality. Products should be standardized to contain at least 0.8% eleutherosides (the
Guidelines for Use
· To give your body a rest, take a one- to two-week pause from your Siberian ginseng
regimen every three months. (Or ask your doctor about rotating it with other herbs.)
· To avoid possible restlessness, don't take Siberian ginseng within an hour of
If taking high blood pressure medications (antihypertensives), do not take
Siberian ginseng. It should not be taken by people who have hypertension.
Note: For information on interactions with specific generic drugs, see our
WholeHealthMD Drug/Nutrient Interactions Chart.
Possible Side Effects
· Siberian ginseng is very safe at recommended doses, even for long-term use.
· In rare instances, mild diarrhea may occur.
· At very high doses (900 mg daily and higher) insomnia, nervousness, irritability,
and anxiety have been reported.
· Avoid Siberian ginseng if you have high blood pressure.
· Don't take Siberian ginseng while menstruating. Stop taking it if you become
· Alzheimer's Disease 100-200 mg 3 times a day
· Arthritis 100-200 mg twice a day for generalized fatigue
· Back Pain 200 mg twice a day for generalized fatigue
· Chronic Fatigue Syndrome 400 mg every morning
· Colds 300 mg twice a day for 7-10 days
· Fatigue 100-200 mg twice a day
· Flu 300 mg twice a day for 7-10 days
· Impotence 100-300 mg twice a day