Siberian ginseng, also known as eleuthero, has been used for centuries in Eastern countries, including China and Russia. Although a distant relative of American (Panax quinquefolius ) and Asian ginseng (Panax ginseng ), with some overlap in its uses, Siberian ginseng is a distinct plant with different active chemical components. Prized for its ability to restore vigor, increase longevity, enhance overall health, and stimulate both a healthy appetite and a good memory, it is widely used in Russia to help the body adapt to stressful conditions and to enhance productivity.
In Chinese medicine, it is valued for its beneficial effects on ¡¥qi¡¦ and its ability to treat ¡¥yang¡¦ deficiency in the spleen and kidney. Like Panax ginseng, Siberian ginseng is considered to be an adaptogen. This means it helps in stressful circumstances and also helps return the body to a normal balance. For example, an adaptogen might lower blood pressure in someone who has high blood pressure, but it might raise blood pressure in someone who has low blood pressure. The active ingredients in Siberian ginseng, called eleutherosides, are thought to increase stamina and to stimulate the immune system.
Until recently, most scientific research on Siberian ginseng was conducted in Russia. This research has largely supported its use to maintain health and strengthen the system rather than to treat particular disorders. Siberian ginseng may help the body deal with physically and mentally stressful exposures, such as heat, cold, physical exhaustion, viruses, bacteria, chemicals, extreme working conditions, noise, and pollution. By strengthening the system, it may also help prevent illness.