Acanthopanax senticosus, Eleutherococcus senticosus
The medicinal portion of Siberian ginseng is derived from the dried root of Acanthopanax senticosus and Eleutherococcus senticosus. Eleutheroside appears to be the active ingredient responsible for the plant's immunomodulatory effects. It may also affect the pituitary-adrenocortical system and increase T-Iymphocyte counts in healthy people. Eleutheroside is believed to strengthen the body and increase resistance to disease.

Siberian ginseng is available as tablets, capsules, liquid (ethanol extract), and tea. Common trade names include Devil's Shrub, Eleuthero Ginseng, Eleuthero Ginseng Root, Pepperbush, Shigoka, Siberian Ginseng Power Herb, Siberian Ginseng Root, Spiny Ginseng, and Wild Pepper.

Reported uses

Siberian ginseng is used to manage fatigue and lack of concentration. It's also used to treat diabetes,hypotension,cance,and infertility.


• Capsules: Dosage is 1 g of powdered root in capsule by mouth every day
• Dry root: Dosage is 2 to 3 g by mouth every day for up to 1 month
• Ethanol extract: For a healthy patient, dosage is 2 to 16 ml by mouth every day, up to three times a day, for up to 2 months. For a sick patient, dosage is 0.5 to 6 ml by mouth every day, up to three times a day, for 35 days. A second course of therapy should never be started less than 2 to 3 weeks after the first course ended
• Root decoction: Dosage is 35 ml by mouth twice a day.


Adverse effects of Siberian ginseng include drowsiness, anxiety, insomnia, tachycardia, hypertension, pericardial pain, and muscle spasm. When given with anticoagulants or antiplatelet drugs, a decreased effectiveness of these drugs may be noted. Decreased metabolism of barbiturates leads to additive adverse effects. Elevated serum digoxin levels may be seen when given with digoxin.
Patients with a history of allergic reactions to Siberian ginseng or its components should avoid use, as should patients with hypertension. Patients receiving anticoagulant or antiplatelet medications should use with caution.

Clinical considerations

• The German Commission E doesn't recommend using Siberian ginseng for more than 3 months.
• Monitor patient for adverse effects such as tachycardia, hypertension, pericardial pain, drowsiness, anxiety, muscle spasm, and insomnia.
• Siberian ginseng may increase serum alkaline phosphatase, gamma glutamyl transferase, BUN, and serum creatinine levels. It may also decrease serum glucose and serum triglyceride levels. Monitor these laboratory results, as needed.
• Advise patient to consult his a health care provider before using an herbal preparation because a conventional treatment with proven efficacy may be available.
• Tell patient to notify pharmacist of any herbal or dietary supplement that he's taking when obtaining a new prescription.
• Inform patient that the therapeutic and toxic components of Siberian ginseng can vary significantly from product to product. Advise him to obtain ginseng from a reliable source.

Safety Risk Adulterating ginseng with other herbs, especially substances containing caffeine, is dangerous. Ginseng products, if contaminated with germanium, may cause nephrotoxicity.

Research summary

The concepts behind the use of Siberian ginseng and the claims made regarding its effects haven't yet been validated scientifically.

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