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Ginseng, Siberian

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What other names is Siberian Ginseng known by?

Acanthopanax Obovatus, Acanthopanax Obovatus Hoo, Acanthopanax senticosus, Buisson du Diable, Ci Wu Jia, Ciwujia, Ciwujia Root, Ciwujia Root Extract, Devil's Bush, Devil's Shrub, Éleuthéro, Eleuthero Extract, Eleuthero Ginseng, Eleuthero Root, Eleutherococci Radix, Eleutherococcus senticosus, Éleuthérocoque, Ginseng de Sibérie, Ginseng des Russes, Ginseng Root, Ginseng Siberiano, Ginseng Sibérien, Hedera senticosa, North Wu Jia Pi, Phytoestrogen, Plante Secrète des Russes, Poivre Sauvage, Prickly Eleutherococcus, Racine d'Eleuthérocoque, Racine de Ginseng, Racine Russe, Russian Root, Shigoka, Siberian Eleuthero, Siberian Ginseng, Thorny Bearer of Free Berries, Touch-Me-Not, Untouchable, Ussuri, Ussurian Thorny Pepperbrush, Wild Pepper, Wu Jia Pi, Wu-jia.

What is Siberian Ginseng?

Siberian ginseng is a plant. People use the root of the plant to make medicine.

Siberian ginseng is often called an "adaptogen." This is a non-medical term used to describe substances that can supposedly strengthen the body and increase general resistance to daily stress.

In addition to being used as an adaptogen, Siberian ginseng is used for conditions of the heart and blood vessels such as high blood pressure, low blood pressure, hardening of the arteries (atherosclerosis), and rheumatic heart disease.

It is also used for kidney disease, Alzheimer's disease, attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), chronic fatigue syndrome, diabetes, high cholesterol, improving loss of sensation in extremities (peripheral neuropathy), fibromyalgia, rheumatoid arthritis, reducing the effects of a hangover, flu, colds, chronic bronchitis, and tuberculosis. It is also used for treating the side effects of cancer chemotherapy.

Some people use Siberian ginseng to improve athletic performance and the ability to do work. They also use it to treat sleep problems (insomnia) and the symptoms of infections caused by herpes simplex type 2.

It is also used to boost the immune system, prevent colds, and increase appetite.

In manufacturing, Siberian ginseng is added to skin care products.

Don't confuse Siberian ginseng with other types of ginseng. Siberian ginseng is not the same herb as American or Panax ginseng. Be careful about which product you choose. American and Panax ginseng can be a lot more expensive. It is said that years ago, the Soviet Union wanted to provide its athletes with the advantages offered by ginseng but wanted a less expensive version. So, Siberian ginseng became popular, and this is why most studies on Siberian ginseng have been done in Russia.

You should know that the quality of Siberian ginseng products varies a lot. Siberian ginseng is often misidentified or contains "adulterants," which are other ingredients that do not contribute to the benefit of the product, but take up space in the product. Silk vine is a common adulterant of Siberian ginseng.

Before taking Siberian ginseng, talk with your healthcare provider if you take any medications. This herb interacts with many prescription drugs.

Possibly Effective for...

  • Bipolar disorder. Taking Siberian ginseng plus lithium by mouth for 6 weeks appears to induce a similar response rate and remission rate as taking lithium plus fluoxetine in people with bipolar disorder.
  • Relieving symptoms of the common cold, when used in combination with an herb called andrographis. Some clinical research shows that taking a specific combination product containing Siberian ginseng plus andrographis (Kan Jang, Swedish Herbal Institute) by mouth improves symptoms of the common cold when started within 72 hours of symptom onset. Some symptoms can improve after 2 days of treatment. However, it generally takes 4-5 days of treatment for the maximum benefit. Some research suggests this combination of Siberian ginseng and andrographis relieves cold symptoms in children better than echinacea. Also taking a specific product containing Siberian ginseng, echinacea, and malabar nut (Kan Jang, Swedish Herbal Institute) for 6 days appears to improve coughing and congestion better than taking the drug bromohexine.
  • Diabetes. Taking Siberian ginseng extract appears to decrease blood glucose levels in people with type 2 diabetes.
  • A viral infection called herpes simplex 2 (HSV-2). Taking a specific Siberian ginseng extract, standardized to contain a specific ginseng ingredient called eleutheroside 0.3% (Elagen), seems to reduce the number, severity, and duration of herpes simplex type 2 infections.

Insufficient Evidence to Rate Effectiveness for...

  • Improving athletic performance. Research on the effects of Siberian ginseng for improving athletic performance is conflicting. Some research shows that taking a specific Siberian ginseng product (Endurox) does not seem to improve breathing or heart rate recovery following treadmill, cycling, or stair-stepping exercises. Also, taking a Siberian ginseng liquid extract that contains chemicals called eleutheroside B and eleutheroside E does not appear to improve endurance or performance in trained distance runners. However, other research shows that taking powdered Siberian ginseng containing these two chemicals might improve breathing and endurance while cycling.
  • Chronic fatigue syndrome. Taking Siberian ginseng by mouth does not seem to reduce symptoms of chronic fatigue syndrome.
  • Mental performance. Early research suggests that Siberian ginseng might improve memory and feelings of well-being in middle-aged people. Also, taking a combination of rhodiola, schisandra, and Siberian ginseng (ADAPT-232) seems to improve attention and mental speed and accuracy in women experiencing mental stress.
  • An inherited disorder that causes swelling and fevers (Familial Mediterranean fever). Early research suggests that taking a combination of Siberian ginseng, andrographis, schisandra, and licorice (ImmunoGuard, Inspired Nutritionals) reduces the duration, number, and severity of attaches of familial Mediterranean fever in children.
  • Hangover. Early research suggests that taking Siberian ginseng extract might relieve some symptoms associated with a hangover.
  • Heart disease. Early research suggests that injecting Siberian ginseng intravenously (by IV) might help reduce some risk factors for heart disease, including high cholesterol and an abnormal heart rate.
  • High Cholesterol. Taking Siberian ginseng extract appears to decrease triglyceride and total cholesterol levels.
  • Flu. Early research suggests that taking a specific product containing Siberian ginseng plus andrographis (Kan Jang, Swedish Herbal Institute) helps relieve symptoms faster and reduce the risk of flu complications better than taking the drug amantadine.
  • Stress. Early research suggests taking Siberian ginseng root has no effect on stress levels when taken alone or with stress management training.
  • Stroke. Early research suggests that injecting Siberian ginseng intravenously (by IV) might help treat strokes caused by a blockage of blood vessels that supply blood to the brain.
  • Osteoarthritis. Taking a combination of Panax ginseng, Siberian ginseng, and rehmannia for 6 weeks seems to improve physical function in people with knee osteoarthritis. However, the combination does not seem to reduce pain or stiffness.
  • Osteoporosis. Early research suggests that adding rehmannia and Siberian ginseng to calcium plus vitamin D treatment for one year helps reduce the loss of bone density in the spine and thigh bone in postmenopausal women.
  • Pneumonia. Early research suggests that taking a combination of rhodiola, schisandra, and Siberian ginseng (Chisan) along with standard treatment for 10-15 days helps reduce the length of time that antibiotics are needed and may improve quality of life in people with pneumonia better than standard treatment alone.
  • Quality of life. Some research shows that Siberian ginseng significantly improves sociability and sense of well-being in people over 65 years of age after 4 weeks of treatment. But the effects seem to disappear after 8 weeks.
  • Alzheimer's disease.
  • Attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).
  • Bronchitis.
  • Chemotherapy side effects.
  • Fatigue.
  • Fibromyalgia.
  • Kidney problems.
  • Low oxygen levels.
  • Motion sickness.
  • Tuberculosis.
  • High cholesterol.
  • Other conditions.
More evidence is needed to rate Siberian ginseng for these uses.

Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database rates effectiveness based on scientific evidence according to the following scale: Effective, Likely Effective, Possibly Effective, Possibly Ineffective, Likely Ineffective, and Insufficient Evidence to Rate (detailed description of each of the ratings).

Therapeutic Research Faculty copyright

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