Herbs & Botanicals
Siberian Ginseng (wu jia shen)
What is Siberian ginseng? What is it used
Siberian ginseng is somewhat different in appearance than its Asian
or American counterparts. The Siberian ginseng bush grows between
3-10 feet high, with a main stem and long branches covered by thorns.
Yellow or violet flowers grow in clusters on the plant, which turn
into round, black berries. As with the American and Asian varieties,
the root of Siberian ginseng is used medicinally.
Siberian ginseng root contains a vibrant mixture of chemicals called
eleutherosides. These substances have been shown to boost the immune
system and lower blood sugar levels in animal studies.
Perhaps Siberian ginsengs best-known function is that it
helps the body fight stress. Several studies have shown it to improve
capillary function, ameliorate resistance to disease and fatigue,
and increase stamina and concentration.
How much Siberian ginseng should I take?
The recommended dose of Siberian ginseng is 2-3 grams of dried
root daily, which can be taken in tea or capsule form. Patients
may also take tinctures (5ml three times daily) or extracts (2-4ml
one to three times daily).
What forms of Siberian ginseng are available?
Both fresh and dried Siberian ginseng root can be found in Asian
markets and some health food stores. It can also be found in liquid
and solid extracts, capsules, and tinctures. Make sure to purchase
standardized products that contain at least one percent eleutheroside
What can happen if I take too much Siberian
ginseng? Are there any interactions I should be aware of? What precautions
should I take?
The American Herbal Products has given Siberian ginseng a class
I rating, meaning it is safe when taken as directed. However, it
should be avoided by patients who are pregnant or have high blood
pressure. In addition, Siberian ginseng may increase the effects
of caffeine or other stimulants, which may cause sweating, insomnia,
or an irregular heartbeat. It should not be used in conjunction
with antipsychotic medications, steroids or hormones. As with all
dietary supplements, consult with a health care provider before
taking ginseng products.
- Asano K, et al. Effect of eleutherococcus
senticosus extract on human physical working capacity. Planta
- Chubarev VN, Rubtsova ER, Filatova IV, et al.
Immunotropic effect of a tincture of the tissue culture biomass
of ginseng cells and of an eleutherococcus extract in mice
[in Russian]. Farmakol Toksikol 1989;52(2):5559.
- Foster S. Siberian Ginseng (eleutherococcus
senticosus). Austin, TX: American Botanical Council, 1990.
- Kaloeva ZD. Effect of glycosides from eleutherococcus
senticosus on the parameters of hemodynamics in patients with
hypotension. Farmakol Toksikol 1986;49:73.
- Xiao PG, et al. Immunological aspects of Chinese
medicinal plants as antiaging drugs. J Ethnopharmacol 1993;38:167175.