- Russian ginseng
- Devil's shrub
- Wild pepper
- Ci wu ja
For Patients & Caregivers
Tell your healthcare providers about any dietary supplements you’re taking, such as herbs, vitamins, minerals, and natural or home remedies. This will help them manage your care and keep you safe.
How It Works
Evidence on whether Siberian ginseng can improve stamina or provide other benefits are lacking.
Scientists are unsure how Siberian ginseng works. It has been used traditionally as an adaptogen and athletic performance enhancer. Compounds from the plant have been shown to stimulate immune cells and protect the nervous system, but no large-scale clinical trials have been conducted.
In small studies of postmenopausal women, Siberian ginseng supplements lowered LDL (bad) cholesterol levels and improved HDL (good) cholesterol levels, and an herbal mixture containing Siberian ginseng reduced knee osteoarthritis pain and symptoms. More research is needed to assess the safety and effects of this botanical.
To reduce chemotherapy side effects
No scientific evidence supports this use.
To stimulate the immune system
Lab studies suggest that Siberian ginseng may stimulate the immune system, but clinical trials have not been conducted.
To increase strength and stamina
Clinical trials to support this use are lacking.
To reduce osteoarthritis symptoms
One small study suggests that Siberian ginseng may reduce pain and symptoms of knee osteoarthritis. More research is needed.
Do Not Take If
For Healthcare Professionals
Siberian ginseng is derived from a perennial plant primarily found in Northern Asia. Although it is not a species of ginseng, it is thought to have comparable activities. Siberian ginseng, or eleuthero, has been used traditionally as an adaptogen, performance enhancer, and immunostimulant (2). Active components include eleutherosides and polysaccharides (28).
In vitro and in vivo studies suggest neuroprotective (8), hypoglycemic (9), steroid receptor binding (10), and cell protective (11) effects.
Studies in humans are quite limited, however. One small study of patients with knee osteoarthritis found that an herbal mixture containing Siberian ginseng relieved pain and improved physical function (5). Siberian ginseng may also help improve serum lipid profiles (7). Additional studies are needed to assess the utility and safety of this botanical.
Mechanism of Action
In vitro studies indicate that eleuthero contains chemicals that bind to estrogen, progestin, mineralocorticoid, and glucocorticoid receptors (10). In macrophages, a Siberian ginseng extract suppressed LPS-induced iNOS expression and thus NO production by possibly inhibiting NF-kappa B activity (15) (16) or Akt and JNK signaling (16), and inhibited ROS production (17).
Eleutherosides B, E, and isofraxidin — active constituents of Siberian ginseng — showed protective effects against induced atrophy of axons and dendrites in rat cultured cortical neurons (22). Isofraxidin also inhibited cell invasion and MMP-7 expression by human hepatoma cell lines, possibly through inhibition of ERK1/2 phosphorylation (18).
In animal studies, eleuthero root bark exhibited neuroprotective effects against cerebral ischemia, possibly via inhibition of COX-2, microglia, and astrocyte expression (23). Eleutherosides restored behavioral and biochemical alterations in mice with sleep deprivation (24), and alleviated both physical and mental fatigue possibly via increased fat utilization, delayed accumulation of blood urea nitrogen, and increased lactate dehydrogenase (25). Eleutherosides also mediated hyperglycemic effects by regulating insulin signaling and glucose utilization (29). In other studies, a Siberian ginseng extract decreased cadmium concentrations and cadmium-induced mitotic and apoptotic activity (26).
Siberian ginseng extract moderately inhibited breast cancer resistance protein-mediated methotrexate transport in BCRP-expressing membrane vesicles (21).