Mar 01 2016
By M. Ostarello

Stressed out on high adrenaline? Wiped out from too much on your to-do list? Modern living can have many of us feeling that rollercoaster of energy levels––the highs, the lows, the sharp turns––when what we're trying to achieve in our lives is balance. 

Luckily, we can look to the past to help with contemporary life. Siberian ginseng, more recently referred to by its scientific name Eleutherococcus senticosus (or eleuthero, for short), is one of the five most important herbal adaptogens. Functionally, when we’re too revved up with stress, or too slowed down with fatigue, adaptogens help our bodies adapt and rebalance, regardless of which rollercoaster loop we’re on. 

Eleuthero's use dates back 2,000 years in Chinese medicine. Not to be confused with Chinese or Korean ginseng, eleuthero produces somewhat different effects on the human body. Pronounced eh-LOO-thero, it is one of the most widely researched herbs in the world, proving its efficacy not only through scientific studies but also through the empirical evidence of thousands of years of application. 

So, how does an adaptogen work? 

According to an article by Jill Stansbury, ND, in the Journal of Restorative Medicine, “Adaptogens are plant-derived compounds that normalize endocrine function and promote adaptation to environmental stress. Adaptogenic herbs modulate stress responses, enhancing energy production and sleep quality and improving immune function.” 

The Natural Medicine Journal includes, “Siberian ginseng is used to invigorate qi; strengthen the spleen; nourish the kidney; provide energy and vitality; and treat high blood pressure, inflammation, respiratory tract infections, ischemic heart disease, spasms, and hepatitis. In traditional Russian medicine, Siberian ginseng is used to stimulate the immune system. Siberian ginseng is among the five adaptogens most commonly used by Western herbalists.”

In my own experience, having used eleuthero on and off for more than a decade, I can attest to my body’s response when taking this particular adaptogen. When I’ve been pushing too hard, I’ll find myself recovering in a deep sleep. When I’m dragging, it seems to revitalize me. 

HerbWisdom.com says, “Unlike many herbs with a medicinal use, it [eleuthero] is more useful for maintaining good health rather than treating ill health. Research has shown that it stimulates resistance to stress and so it is now widely used as a tonic in times of stress and pressure.”

Can anyone out there in the modern age not relate to this?

 

Sources:

http://www.ingentaconnect.com/content/aarm/jrm/2012/00000001/00000001/art00008?crawler=true&mimetype=application/pdf

http://www.naturalmedicinejournal.com/journal/2012-03/siberian-ginseng-review-literature

http://www.herbwisdom.com/herb-ginseng-russian.html

http://www.drweil.com/drw/u/REM00049/Eleuthero-or-Siberian-Ginseng-Dr-Weils-Herbal-Remedies.html