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Eleuthero

Botanical names: Acanthopanax senticosus, Eleutherococcus senticosus

Eleuthero belongs to the Araliaceae family and is a distant relative of Asian ginseng (Panax ginseng). Also known commonly as touch-me-not and devil’s shrub, eleuthero has been most frequently nicknamed Siberian ginseng in this country. Eleuthero is native to the Taiga region of the Far East (southeastern part of Russia, northern China, Korea, and Japan). The root and the rhizomes (underground stem) are used.

Uses

Used for Amount Why
Athletic Performance Refer to label instructions Eleuthero supplementation may improve athletic performance, according to preliminary research. The herb strengthens the immune system and thus might reduce the risk of post-exercise infection.
Immune Function 10 ml of tincture three times per day Eleuthero has historically been used to support the immune system.
Stress 2 to 3 grams per day of powdered root for 6 to 8 weeks, then stop 1 to 2 weeks, then resume if desired Eleuthero appears to have antistress effects. Supplementing with an eleuthero extract led to higher quality-of-life measures in healthy elderly people, according to one study.

How It Works
The constituents in eleuthero that have been most studied are the eleutherosides. Seven primary eleutherosides have been identified, with most of the research attention focusing on eleutherosides B and E. Eleuthero also contains complex polysaccharides (complex sugar molecules). These constituents may play a critical role in eleuthero’s ability to support immune function.

Eleuthero is an “adaptogen” (an agent that helps the body adapt to stress). It is thought to help support adrenal gland function when the body is challenged by stress.

Side Effects 
Reported side effects have been minimal with use of eleuthero. Mild, transient diarrhea has been reported in a very small number of users. Eleuthero may cause insomnia in some people if taken too close to bedtime. Eleuthero is not recommended for people with uncontrolled high blood pressure. There are no known reasons to avoid eleuthero during pregnancy and breast-feeding. However, pregnant or breast-feeding women should be aware that some products may be adulterated with herbs that should not be taken in pregnancy, such as Asian ginseng. Only eleuthero from a trusted source should be used.

Interactions with Supplements, Foods, & Other Compounds
In one case report, a person taking eleuthero with digoxin developed dangerously high serum digoxin levels. Although a clear cause-and-effect relationship could not be established, it is wise for someone taking digoxin to seek the advise of a doctor before taking eleuthero. This herb also interacts with certain other drugs; check with your healthcare provider.


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