Tuesday, 2 November 2010

What are the Risks of Siberian Ginseng (Eleutherococcus senticosus)?

Siberian ginseng is also known as eleuthero, which has been used in the eastern countries including Russia and China for many centuries. Siberian ginseng is related to the Asian ginseng and American ginseng, which has a different active chemical ingredient. It is believed to be effective for enhancing overall health, longevity, vigor restoration and stimulation of appetite as well as the memory. Russians used Siberian ginseng for adapting to stress and enhancing productivity.

In the Chinese medicine, Siberian ginseng is prized for the beneficial effects it brings to the ‘qi’ and the capacity to cure the ‘yang’ deficiency of the kidney and the spleen. Siberian ginseng is also known to be an adaptogen similar to panax ginseng. It is helpful for stress as well as for the balance of the body. Adaptogen can decrease the pressure of the blood for people who have high blood pressure. On the other hand, it can also increase the pressure of the blood for people who have low blood pressure. Eleutherosides is an active ingredient present in Siberian ginseng that helps in enhancing stamina and stimulating the immune system of the body.

Most of the scientific research regarding Siberian ginseng was performed in Russia wherein researches were supported the use of the herb in strengthening the immune system and maintaining the health rather than treating certain diseases and disorders. Siberian ginseng may be helpful for the body in dealing with mental and physical stress, cold, heat, viruses, chemicals, bacteria, physical fatigue noise, pollution and intense working conditions. As the immune system strengthens, several illnesses are prevented.

Different studies prove that the use of Siberian ginseng is beneficial for patients with colds and flu. It is also effective for restoring and maintaining mental alertness. As of physical performance, Siberian ginseng can enhance stamina and improve muscle strength. Ancient Chinese medicine used Siberian ginseng in treating sexual dysfunction and enhancing reproduction. Siberian ginseng is also helpful for elderly people to enhance the quality of life. It improves mental and social function as well.

Supplements with Siberian ginseng are available in the market. The roots of the ginseng have different components including eleutherosides and polysaccharides that are effective in improving the immune system and lowering the levels of blood sugar. You can get Siberian ginseng supplements as solid extracts, powders, tablets, capsules and liquid extracts. Dried roots of ginseng are also available, which are usually used for tea.

Siberian ginseng is not recommended for children. In addition, if you are going to take supplements with Siberian ginseng or other herbs, make sure that you know the other ingredients included in the product. It is always safe to ask your doctor about the benefits of herbs and supplements in your health.

Bear in mind that herbs contain certain components that can cause side effects and may interact with other supplements, medications and herbs. Be cautious in taking herbal supplements and make sure that you are under doctor’s supervision.

People who have obstructive sleep apnea, high blood pressure, narcolepsy as well as pregnant and lactating women must avoid taking Siberian ginseng. Some common side effects of Siberian ginseng include insomnia, high blood pressure, headache, drowsiness, nosebleed and irregular heart rhythm.