Siberian ginseng, also called Eleuthero, is a classic adaptogen used to help the body cope with stress, boost immune function and improve both physical and mental performance. Historically it was used in Russia and Asia but its use has now been assimilated into western herbalism.
Research studies conducted on athletes and people subjected to various environmental stressors suggest that although eleuthero does not posses significant anabolic effects, it may increase the body's maximum work capacity and help with mental focus and memory. It also helps decrease fatigue, prevent exhaustion and improve quality of life in the elderly. It posses hepatoprotective properties that protect the body against chemical stressors, and recent clinical trials show it may reduce alcohol hangovers.
The active ingredients are broadly classified as "Eleuthrosides": Eleutheroside A is a steroidal saponin that likely modulates stress hormones, and Eleuthrosides B & D are glycosides of lignans and phenylpropenes that potentially affect neurotransmitters.
Eleuthero has been shown to possess some immunomodulating effects. Research shows it has antiviral activity against some RNA viruses, like those responsible for colds and flus, but has no activity against DNA viruses like those that cause cold sores (e.g. herpes simplex virus). In cancer treatment, it mitigates some of the side-effects of radiation and chemotherapy (e.g. immunosuppression, fatigue). It may also have some direct anticancer and antimetastatic effects, but clinical trials are limited and efficacy has not been established.
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