Overview

Eleuthero is a small, woody shrub. People use the root of the plant to make medicine. Eleuthero is sometimes called "Siberian ginseng". But eleuthero is not related to true ginseng. Don't confuse it with American ginseng or Panax ginseng.

Eleuthero is often called an "adaptogen." This is a non-medical term used to describe compounds that might improve resistance to stress. But there is no good evidence showing that eleuthero has adaptogen-like effects.

Eleuthero is used for diabetes, athletic performance, memory and thinking skills (cognitive function), the common cold, and many other conditions, but there is no good scientific evidence supporting most of its uses.

How does it work ?

Eleuthero contains many chemicals that affect the brain, immune system, and certain hormones. It might also contain chemicals that have activity against some bacteria and viruses.

Uses & Effectiveness ?

Possibly Effective for

  • Genital herpes. Taking a specific eleuthero extract (Elagen) can reduce how often genital herpes flares up.

Insufficient Evidence for

  • Athletic performance. Most research shows that taking eleuthero doesn't improve breathing or heart rate recovery after treadmill, cycling, or stair-stepping exercises. Taking eleuthero also doesn't improve endurance or performance in trained distance runners. But some research shows that taking powdered eleuthero might improve breathing and endurance while cycling.
  • Bipolar disorder. Taking eleuthero plus lithium for 6 weeks might improve symptoms of bipolar disorder about as well as taking lithium plus fluoxetine. It's unclear if taking eleuthero plus lithium works better than taking only lithium.
  • Heart disease. It is unclear if oral eleuthero fruit helps to prevent heart disease.
  • Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS). Taking eleuthero by mouth doesn't seem to reduce symptoms of CFS any better than a placebo.
  • Memory and thinking skills (cognitive function). Early research shows that taking eleuthero might improve memory and feelings of well-being in some healthy, middle-aged people.
  • Diabetes. Taking eleuthero extract can reduce blood glucose levels in some people with type 2 diabetes.
  • Nerve pain in people with diabetes (diabetic neuropathy). Early research shows that taking eleuthero extract may improve nerve pain by a small amount in some people with diabetes.
  • Hangover. Early research shows that taking eleuthero extract before and after drinking alcohol might relieve some hangover symptoms.
  • Quality of life. Some research shows that taking eleuthero can improve sense of well-being in people over 65-years-old. But this effect doesn't seem to last for more than 8 weeks.
  • Stress. Early research shows taking eleuthero root doesn't reduce stress levels.
  • An inherited fever disorder (familial Mediterranean fever).
  • Bronchitis.
  • Common cold.
  • Fibromyalgia.
  • Flu (influenza).
  • High cholesterol.
  • Osteoarthritis.
  • Osteoporosis.
  • Pneumonia.
  • Upper airway infection.
  • Other conditions.
More evidence is needed to rate eleuthero for these uses.

Side Effects

When taken by mouth: Eleuthero is LIKELY SAFE for most adults when taken for up to 3 months. While side effects are rare, some people can have nausea, diarrhea, and rash. In high doses, eleuthero might cause nervousness and anxiety. There isn't enough reliable information to know if eleuthero is safe to use for longer than 3 months.

Special Precautions and Warnings

Children: Eleuthero is POSSIBLY SAFE in teenagers (ages 12-17 years) when taken by mouth for up to 6 weeks. There isn't enough reliable information to know if it safe when taken for longer than 6 weeks or when taken by children younger than 12 years of age.

Pregnancy and breast-feeding: There isn't enough reliable information to know if eleuthero is safe to use when pregnant or breast-feeding. Stay on the safe side and avoid use.

Heart conditions: Eleuthero might cause a pounding heart, irregular heartbeat, or high blood pressure in people who have heart disorders. People with "hardening of the arteries" or rheumatic heart disease should use eleuthero only under the supervision of a healthcare provider.

Hormone-sensitive conditions such as breast cancer, uterine cancer, ovarian cancer, endometriosis, or uterine fibroids: Eleuthero might act like estrogen. If you have any condition that might be made worse by exposure to estrogen, don't use eleuthero.

Interactions ?

    Moderate Interaction

    Be cautious with this combination

  • Alcohol interacts with ELEUTHERO

    Alcohol can cause sleepiness and drowsiness. Siberian ginseng might also cause sleepiness and drowsiness. Taking large amounts of Siberian ginseng along with alcohol might cause too much sleepiness.

  • Digoxin (Lanoxin) interacts with ELEUTHERO

    Digoxin (Lanoxin) helps the heart beat more strongly. One person had too much digoxin in their system while taking a natural product that might have had Siberian ginseng in it. But it is unclear if Siberian ginseng or other herbs in the supplement were the cause.

  • Medications that slow blood clotting (Anticoagulant / Antiplatelet drugs) interacts with ELEUTHERO

    Siberian ginseng might slow blood clotting. Taking Siberian ginseng along with medications that also slow clotting might increase the chances of bruising and bleeding

    Some medications that slow blood clotting include aspirin, clopidogrel (Plavix), diclofenac (Voltaren, Cataflam, others), ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin, others), naproxen (Anaprox, Naprosyn, others), dalteparin (Fragmin), enoxaparin (Lovenox), heparin, warfarin (Coumadin), and others.

  • Medications for diabetes (Antidiabetes drugs) interacts with ELEUTHERO

    Siberian ginseng might affect blood sugar, either lowering or increasing blood sugar levels. Diabetes medications are also used to lower blood sugar. Taking Siberian ginseng along with diabetes medications might cause your blood sugar to go too low or cause your diabetes medication to be less effective. Monitor your blood sugar closely. The dose of your diabetes medication might need to be changed.

    Some medications used for diabetes include glimepiride (Amaryl), glyburide (DiaBeta, Glynase PresTab, Micronase), insulin, pioglitazone (Actos), rosiglitazone (Avandia), chlorpropamide (Diabinese), glipizide (Glucotrol), tolbutamide (Orinase), and others.

  • Medications changed by the liver (Cytochrome P450 1A2 (CYP1A2) substrates) interacts with ELEUTHERO

    Some medications are changed and broken down by the liver.

    Siberian ginseng might decrease how quickly the liver breaks down some medications. Taking Siberian ginseng along with some medications that are changed by the liver might increase the effects and side effects of some medications. Before taking Siberian ginseng talk to your healthcare provider if you take any medications that are changed by the liver

    Some of these medications that are changed by the liver include clozapine (Clozaril), cyclobenzaprine (Flexeril), fluvoxamine (Luvox), haloperidol (Haldol), imipramine (Tofranil), mexiletine (Mexitil), olanzapine (Zyprexa), pentazocine (Talwin), propranolol (Inderal), tacrine (Cognex), theophylline, zileuton (Zyflo), zolmitriptan (Zomig), and others.

  • Medications changed by the liver (Cytochrome P450 2C9 (CYP2C9) substrates) interacts with ELEUTHERO

    Some medications are changed and broken down by the liver

    Siberian ginseng might decrease how quickly the liver breaks down some medications. Taking Siberian ginseng along with some medications that are broken down by the liver can increase the effects and side effects of some medications. Before taking Siberian ginseng talk to your healthcare provider if you take any medications that are changed by the liver.

    Some medications that are changed by the liver include amitriptyline (Elavil), diazepam (Valium), zileuton (Zyflo), celecoxib (Celebrex), diclofenac (Voltaren), fluvastatin (Lescol), glipizide (Glucotrol), ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin), irbesartan (Avapro), losartan (Cozaar), phenytoin (Dilantin), piroxicam (Feldene), tamoxifen (Nolvadex), tolbutamide (Tolinase), torsemide (Demadex), warfarin (Coumadin), and others.

  • Sedative medications (CNS depressants) interacts with ELEUTHERO

    Siberian ginseng might cause sleepiness and drowsiness. Medications that cause sleepiness are called sedatives. Taking Siberian ginseng along with sedative medications might cause too much sleepiness

    Some sedative medications include clonazepam (Klonopin), lorazepam (Ativan), phenobarbital (Donnatal), zolpidem (Ambien), and others.

  • Lithium interacts with ELEUTHERO

    Siberian ginseng might have an effect like a water pill or "diuretic." Taking Siberian ginseng might decrease how well the body gets rid of lithium. This could increase how much lithium is in the body and result in serious side effects. Talk with your healthcare provider before using this product if you are taking lithium. Your lithium dose might need to be changed.

    Minor Interaction

    Be watchful with this combination

  • Medications changed by the liver (Cytochrome P450 2D6 (CYP2D6) substrates) interacts with ELEUTHERO

    Some medications are changed and broken down by the liver.

    Siberian ginseng might decrease how quickly the liver breaks down some medications. Taking Siberian ginseng along with some medications that are change by the liver can increase the effects and side effects of your medication. Before taking Siberian ginseng talk to your healthcare provider if you take any medications that are changed by the liver

    Some medications that are changed by the liver include amitriptyline (Elavil), clozapine (Clozaril), codeine, desipramine (Norpramin), donepezil (Aricept), fentanyl (Duragesic), flecainide (Tambocor), fluoxetine (Prozac), meperidine (Demerol), methadone (Dolophine), metoprolol (Lopressor, Toprol XL), olanzapine (Zyprexa), ondansetron (Zofran), tramadol (Ultram), trazodone (Desyrel), and others.

  • Medications changed by the liver (Cytochrome P450 3A4 (CYP3A4) substrates) interacts with ELEUTHERO

    Some medications are changed and broken down by the liver

    Siberian ginseng might decrease how quickly the liver breaks down some medications. Taking Siberian ginseng along with some medications that are broken down by the liver can increase the effects and side effects of some medications. Before taking Siberian ginseng, talk to your healthcare provider if you are taking any medications that are changed by the liver.

    Some medications changed by the liver include lovastatin (Mevacor), ketoconazole (Nizoral), itraconazole (Sporanox), fexofenadine (Allegra), triazolam (Halcion), and many others.

Dosing

The following doses have been studied in scientific research:

BY MOUTH:
  • For genital herpes: 400 mg of eleuthero extract standardized to contain eleutheroside E 0.3%, daily for 3 months.
View References

CONDITIONS OF USE AND IMPORTANT INFORMATION: This information is meant to supplement, not replace advice from your doctor or healthcare provider and is not meant to cover all possible uses, precautions, interactions or adverse effects. This information may not fit your specific health circumstances. Never delay or disregard seeking professional medical advice from your doctor or other qualified health care provider because of something you have read on WebMD. You should always speak with your doctor or health care professional before you start, stop, or change any prescribed part of your health care plan or treatment and to determine what course of therapy is right for you.

This copyrighted material is provided by Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database Consumer Version. Information from this source is evidence-based and objective, and without commercial influence. For professional medical information on natural medicines, see Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database Professional Version. © Therapeutic Research Faculty 2018.