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Eleutherococcus senticosus

Eleutherococcus senticosus
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
(unranked): Angiosperms
(unranked): Eudicots
(unranked): Asterids
Order: Apiales
Family: Araliaceae
Genus: Eleutherococcus
Species: E. senticosus
Binomial name
Eleutherococcus senticosus
(Rupr. & Maxim.) Maxim.[1]
  • Acanthopanax asperatus Franch. & Sav.
  • Acanthopanax senticosus (Rupr. & Maxim.) Harms
  • Eleutherococcus asperatus (Franch. & Sav.) Koidz.
  • Hedera senticosa Rupr. & Maxim.

Eleutherococcus senticosus is a species of small, woody shrub in the family Araliaceae native to Northeastern Asia. It is often colloquially referred to as Siberian ginseng, eleuthero or ciwujia. E. senticosus has a history of use in traditional Chinese medicine where it is known as cì wǔ jiā (刺五加).[1]


  • Synonyms 1
  • Growth 2
  • Alternative medicine 3
  • Pharmacology 4
  • Chemical constituents 5
  • Interactions and side effects 6
  • See also 7
  • References 8
  • External links 9


E. senticosus has been marketed in the United States as Siberian Ginseng because it is believed to have similar herbal properties to those of Panax ginseng. It belongs, however, to a different genus in the family Araliaceae, and it is currently illegal in the United States to market eleuthero as Siberian Ginseng, since the term "ginseng" is reserved for the Panax species.[3]


The herb grows in mixed and coniferous mountain forests, forming low undergrowth or is found in groups in thickets and edges. E. senticosus is sometimes found in oak groves at the foot of cliffs, very rarely in high forest riparian woodland. Its native habitat is East Asia, China, Japan, and Russia. E. senticosus is broadly tolerant of soils, growing in sandy, loamy, and heavy clay soils with acid, neutral, or alkaline chemistry and including soils of low nutritional value. It can tolerate sun or dappled shade and some degree of pollution. E. senticosus is a deciduous shrub growing to 2m at a slow rate. It is hardy to zone 3. It flowers in July in most habitats. The flowers are hermaphroditic and are pollinated by insects.[4]

Alternative medicine

Eleutherococcus senticosus leaves

Eleutherococcus senticosus is promoted for having a wide range of health benefits, including boosting mental performance and making chemotherapy more effective; such claims are, however, not supported by good medical evidence.[5]

In Chinese herbology, E. senticosis is used by people with bone marrow suppression caused by chemotherapy or radiation, angina, hypercholesterolemia, and neurasthenia with headache, insomnia, and poor appetite.[6][7][8]


Extracts of E. senticosus have been shown to have a variety of biological effects in vitro or in animal models, but these effects have not been demonstrated in humans:

  • increased endurance/anti-fatigue [9]
  • memory/learning improvement[10]
  • anti-inflammatory [11]
  • immunogenic[12]
  • antidepressant-like effects in rats[13][14]

Chemical constituents

The major constituents of E. senticosus are ciwujianoside A-E, eleutheroside B (syringin), eleutherosides A-M, friedelin, and isofraxidin.[3]

Interactions and side effects

  • People with medicated high blood pressure should consult their doctor before taking E. senticosus because it may potentiate the medications' side effects.[15]
  • E. senticosus, when purchased from non-GMP sources, has occasionally been adulterated with Periploca graeca, which can potentiate digoxin or similar drugs; this is not an interaction of E. senticosus.[3]

See also


  1. ^ a b c information from NPGS/GRIN"Eleutherococcus senticosus". Retrieved 2008-03-04. 
  2. ^ "The Plant List: A Working List of All Plant Species". 
  3. ^ a b c Winston, David & Maimes, Steven (2007). Adaptogens: Herbs for Strength, Stamina, and Stress Relief. Healing Arts Press. 
  4. ^ "Eleutherococcus senticosus". Plants for a Future. Retrieved 2013-01-16. 
  5. ^ Ades TB, ed. (2009). Eleuthero. American Cancer Society Complete Guide to Complementary and Alternative Cancer Therapies (2nd ed.) ( 
  6. ^ Halstead B, Hood L (1984). Eleutherococcus senticosis–Siberian Ginseng, OHAI. p.7.
  7. ^ Chen JK, Chen TT. Chinese Medical Herbology and Pharmacology, Art of Medicine Press, City of Industry, CA 2004
  8. ^ David Winston. Native American, Chinese, and Ayurvedic Materia Medica, HTSBM, pp. 1-1
  9. ^ Huang L.-Z., Huang B.-K., Ye Q., Qin L.-P. (2011). "Acanthopanax senticosus"Bioactivity-guided fractionation for anti-fatigue property of .  
  10. ^ Xu Y.J., Han C.J., Xu S.J., Yu X., Jiang G.Z., Nan C.H. "Effects of Acanthopanax senticosus on learning and memory in a mouse model of Alzheimer's disease and protection against free radical injury to brain tissue" Neural Regeneration Research 2008 3:2 (192-195)
  11. ^ Jung S.M., Schumacher H.R., Kim H., Kim M., Lee S.H., Pessler F. "Reduction of urate crystal-induced inflammation by root extracts from traditional oriental medicinal plants: Elevation of prostaglandin D2levels" Arthritis Research and Therapy 2007 9:4 Article Number R64
  12. ^ Chen R., Liu Z., Zhao J., Chen R., Meng F., Zhang M., Ge W. (2011). [sic]"Acanthopanax senticosu"Antioxidant and immunobiological activity of water-soluble polysaccharide fractions purified from . Food Chemistry 127 (2): 434–440. 
  13. ^ Kurkin VA, Dubishchev AV, Ezhkov VN, Titova IN, Avdeeva EV (2006). "Antidepressant activity of some phytopharmaceuticals and phenylpropanoids". Pharmaceutical Chemistry Journal 40 (11): 614–9.  
  14. ^ Deyama T, Nishibe S, Nakazawa Y (December 2001). and Siberian ginseng"Eucommia"Constituents and pharmacological effects of . Acta Pharmacol. Sin. 22 (12): 1057–70.  
  15. ^ McRae, S. (1996). "Elevated serum digoxin levels in a patient taking digoxin and Siberian ginseng". CMAJ : Canadian Medical Association journal = journal de l'Association medicale canadienne 155 (3): 293–295.  

External links

  • Photos ( senticosus
  • Monographs on Selected Medicinal Plants - Volume 2: Radix Eleutherococci (World Health Organization)
  • Donovan JL, DeVane CL, Chavin KD, Taylor RM, Markowitz JS (May 2003). ) effects on CYP2D6 and CYP3A4 activity in normal volunteers"Eleutheroccus senticosus"Siberian ginseng (. Drug Metab. Dispos. 31 (5): 519–22.  
  • University of Maryland Alternative Medicine Reference
  • Kimura Y, Sumiyoshi M (December 2004). cortex on swimming time, natural killer activity and corticosterone level in forced swimming stressed mice"Eleutherococcus senticosus"Effects of various . J Ethnopharmacol 95 (2–3): 447–53.  
  • Jung SM, Schumacher HR, Kim H, Kim M, Lee SH, Pessler F (2007). "Reduction of urate crystal-induced inflammation by root extracts from traditional oriental medicinal plants: elevation of prostaglandin D2 levels". Arthritis Res. Ther. 9 (4): R64.  
  • Brunner, R., Tabachnik, B. (1990). Soviet Training and Recovery Methods, pp. 217–21. Sport Focus Publishing.
  • Bohn B, Nebe CT, Birr C (1987). "Flow Cytometric Studies with Eleutherococcus senticosus extract as an Immunomodulating Agent". Drug Res 37 (10): 1193–6. 
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