Siberian ginseng (Eleutherococcus senticosus)

Traditional Indications

Siberian ginseng is adaptogen, anti-inflammatory, hypoglycaemic, tonic and vasodilator. Siberian ginseng has been used for centuries in Eastern countries, including China and Russia where it is used as a ginseng substitute. The German Commission E Monographs, a therapeutic guide to herbal medicine, approve Eleutherococcus senticosus for tendency to infection, lack of stamina. Siberian ginseng prized for its ability to restore vigour, increase longevity, enhance overall health, and stimulate both a healthy appetite and a good memory, it is widely used to help the body adapt to stressful conditions and to enhance productivity. 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. 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. (1)

In Traditional Chinese Medicine Siberian ginseng is known as Cì Wǔ Jiā 刺五加. Cì Wǔ Jiā is sweet, slightly bitter and warm and enters the Spleen, Lung, Heart and Kidney channels. Cì Wǔ Jiā tonifies Qi and fortifies the spleen and is indicated for lung and spleen Qi deficiency. It not only supplements Spleen Qi and boosts Lung Qi, but also dispels Phlegm and eases shortness of breath. Cì Wǔ Jiā tonifies the Kidney Qi and Jing to treat sore lower back and knees in Kidney deficiency and warms and assists Yang Qi while strengthening sinew and bone. In TCM Cì Wǔ Jiā is also used to treat impotence, growth retardation in children, and wind damp invasion (bi) patterns and to calm the spirit and treat heart and spleen deficiency, manifesting in insomnia or forgetfulness. (2)


Studied extensively by Russian researchers, Siberian ginseng is distantly related to the Panax species. Siberian ginseng contains unique steroidal saponins termed eleutherosides that appear to be structurally similar to, but are distinct from, Panax ginsenosides. Siberian ginseng improves muscular strength, resistance to fatigue and recovery from exercise.

A randomised clinical trial on elderly quality of life concluded that Eletherococcus senticosus safely improves some aspects of mental health and social functioning. (3)

Eletherococcus senticosus enhances endurance capacity, elevates cardiovascular functions and alters the metabolism for sparing glycogen in recreationally trained males. (4)

Siberian ginseng exerts its potent anti-oedema activity mainly by promoting lymphatic function. (5)

Eleutherococcus senticosus has displayed proliferative and inhibitory Activity on Cancer Cell Lines; A-549, XWLC-05, HCT-116, CNE and Beas-2b. (6) Another study indicates that aaspase-3/MAPK pathways as main regulators of the apoptotic effect of Eleutherococcus senticosus in human cancer cells. (7)

Another study demonstrated that the vascular effect of Eleutherococcus senticosus is endothelium-dependent and mediated by NO and/or EDHF depending on the vessel size. Other vasorelaxation pathways, such as inhibition of K(+)-channels and activation of muscarinic receptors, may also be involved. (4)

1. PFAF. Eleutherococcus senticosus. 2019.
2. Healing WRIo. Eleuthero (Ci Wu Jia) 2019
3. Cicero AF, Derosa G, Brillante R, Bernardi R, Nascetti S, Gaddi A. Effects of Siberian ginseng (Eleutherococcus senticosus maxim.) on elderly quality of life: a randomized clinical trial. Archives of gerontology and geriatrics Supplement. 2004(9):69-73.
4. Kwan C-Y, Zhang W-B, Sim S-M, Deyama T, Nishibe S. Vascular effects of Siberian ginseng (Eleutherococcus senticosus): endothelium-dependent NO- and EDHF-mediated relaxation depending on vessel size. Naunyn-Schmiedeberg's Archives of Pharmacology. 2004;369(5):473-80.
5. Fukada K, Kajiya-Sawane M, Matsumoto Y, Hasegawa T, Fukaya Y, Kajiya K. Antiedema effects of Siberian ginseng in humans and its molecular mechanism of lymphatic vascular function in vitro. Nutrition Research. 2016;36(7):689-95.
6. Cichello SA, Yao Q, Dowell A, Leury B, He XQ. Proliferative and Inhibitory Activity of Siberian ginseng (Eleutherococcus senticosus) Extract on Cancer Cell Lines; A-549, XWLC-05, HCT-116, CNE and Beas-2b. Asian Pac J Cancer Prev. 2015;16(11):4781-6.
7. Kim CG, Castro-Aceituno V, Abbai R, Lee HA, Simu SY, Han Y, et al. Caspase-3/MAPK pathways as main regulators of the apoptotic effect of the phyto-mediated synthesized silver nanoparticle from dried stem of Eleutherococcus senticosus in human cancer cells. Biomedicine & Pharmacotherapy. 2018;99:128-33.


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