Eleuthero: King of the Adaptogens

Did You Know…that a superior adaptogen can boost your immune system, increase energy and athletic performance, and sharpen your memory?

Eleuthero is an adaptogenic herb that’s said to help increase energy, stamina, alertness, endurance, and cardiovascular function.  Eleutherococcus senticosus grows in Northeast Asia, particularly China, Japan, and Russia, where it’s been used for everything from preventing and treating colds, to boosting sexual function.  You may have heard about it under its other name: Siberian ginseng, but technically it’s not a member of the ginseng family at all.

Extensive studies conducted by Chinese and Russian researchers, compiled at the Harbin Research Institute, indicate that eleuthero may have the ability to:

  • Boost immunity
  • Increase strength
  • Improve sleep
  • Enhance sexual function
  • Improve cardiovascular function
  • Improve athletic performance
  • Sharpen alertness and focus

The King of the Adaptogens 

An adaptogen is an herb that helps your body “adapt” and deal with physical and mental stress.  Adaptogens improve performance across the board, strengthening tolerance to stressors such as noise, heat, increased exercise, and exposure to environmental toxins.

Eleuthero is perhaps the most superior adaptogen of all, so much so that Chinese herbalists refer to it as the “King of the Adaptogens.”  When taken regularly it can help boost your immune system, work output, endurance, athletic performance, and mental alertness!

Although the precise mechanisms of eleuthero’s adaptogenic powers aren’t yet known, researchers have determined that it stimulates the immune system in two ways.  First, polysaccharides in eleuthero have been shown to boost phagocytosis, which is the process by which protective cells engulf and neutralize health-leaching microorganisms, damaged cells, and foreign particles.

These same polysaccharides also help increase production of B lymphocytes, a type of white blood cell produced by the immune system.  One study found that healthy people supplementing with eleuthero had more immune system T cells after 4 weeks compared to healthy people taking a placebo.

Eleuthero’s main component, eleutherosides, also help to stimulate the immune system… and studies have shown that eleuthero may protect against invading bacterial and chemical toxins.

Improves Physical and Mental Performance 

When taken after strenuous physical endeavors or during high stress situations, eleuthero helps your adrenal glands recover from the adrenaline rush.  Not having to struggle with the stress, the energy in your body is then freed up so that you can enjoy the rest of your day sans fatigue.  It also increases blood oxygen and cortisone levels, and human studies suggest it enhances mental and physical performance.

A preliminary human trial showed that middle-aged volunteers who took eleuthero over a placebo enjoyed improved memory.  Another study suggests that eleuthero may help improve age-related memory loss.  Elderly individuals who took eleuthero exhibited better mental health and social functioning after 4 weeks of therapy, although the effects appeared to taper off after 8 weeks.

Supplementing with Eleuthero 

TCM practitioners traditionally recommend 9-27 grams of raw root daily, but it’s easier to get your hands on eleuthero in tincture, extract, powder, capsule, or tablet form.  Look for Siberian ginseng standardized to 0.8% eleutherosides.  Experts generally recommend 500-100 mg a day, however, eleuthero is often coupled with other herbs and supplements for fatigue and energy.  To find the right dose for you, and to make sure eleuthero is safe to use with other medications, consult a licensed health care practitioner.