The herb known as Siberian ginseng has been used in Eastern countries for centuries. People in Russia and China, especially, have found the herb, also called eleuthero, to have a great number of uses. While it is similar to the Asian and American forms of ginseng, it is a very distinctive plant and has different active components. Siberian ginseng has been used to help stimulate memory, appetite, vigor, and has said to even help increase life. In Russia, many use the herb to help adapt to the stressful conditions of the cold, thus the reason it is called Siberian ginseng—many in the cold, harsh area of Siberia use this herb.
The Chinese, likewise, also use Siberian ginseng. They believe is it quite helpful to their qi, or the energy that flows through all things. They use Siberian ginseng to balance the kidneys and the spleen, and they also believe that the herb can help increase stamina and even help with the immune system. While there’s no scientific proof of any of this, research done in Russia has shown that Siberian ginseng can help the body handle stress, exposure to severe cold and heat, physical exhaustion, and may even help recover from illnesses and exposure to chemicals. The studies have been broken down into a number of different areas, as listed below.
A study on the effects of Siberian ginseng on the immune system showed that those use took the extract actually did have a number of improvements. This was especially true when Siberian ginseng was combined with other herbs that were said to affect the immune system. Those who were suffering from a common cold or the flu reported benefiting from the herb.
When it comes to use as an enhancement for physical performance, however, studies are often mixed. While it is common for people to take Siberian ginseng for this reason, there is no conclusive evidence that it helps reduce fatigue. Some studies and reports, however, do support the claim. On the other hand, studies have shown that Siberian ginseng does affect mental fatigue and health. The results of a three month study found that those who took the supplement were able to concentrate better and had a better memory compared to those who took a placebo.
Three other uses of Siberian ginseng have been studies. According to Russian stories, the herb is useful for male fertility. Studies are inconclusive in this regard, although they do show that Siberian ginseng may be useful. Another study was done with the elderly. After four weeks, many elderly patients reported being able to concentrate better and having better overall mental health. Finally, a study done with patents infected with herpes simplex virus type 2 seems to indicate that taking Siberian ginseng can help reduce the number of breakouts, their severity, and their duration. However, more studies need to be done in this area.
Siberian ginseng is generally available in a multitude of forms, including solid and liquid extracts, powder, tablets, capsules, and as dried roots that can be used to make a tea. The recommended dosage varies depending on how you take the herb—between 500 to 3,000 mg is usually taken daily in tea if you are using dried root. If you’re taking standard extract supplements, you will want to take between 100 and 200 mg twice a day. You should take a two to three week break after using Siberian ginseng for a three month period.
If you suffer from narcolepsy, sleep apnea, or high blood pressure, do not use Siberian ginseng. Likewise, children and pregnant women should not take the herb.