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Eleutherococcus Senticosus (Eleuthero Root)
Eleutherococcus senticosus is a small woody shrub that belongs to the Araliaceae family. The plant is native to the Northeast Asian countries and is more commonly known as the Siberian Ginseng and Eleuthero Root.
The Eleuthero Root is a woody herb that grows mostly in mixed forests. They form as low under growths, usually in tufts and around thickets and edges. It is a relative of the more popular Asian ginseng. The plant can grow up to 2 meters in length and has hard, woody stems. It thrives in a wide variety of habitats and soil types - from sandy to loamy. It can tolerate shaded to highly lit areas and even can grow in highly polluted environments. Flowers both have male and female sexes, which are termed as hermaphroditic.
History of the Eleuthero Root
As mentioned, the plant is mainly found in Northeastern Asia and has a long history of being used as an effective herbal medicine in Chinese culture. It is a common ingredient mentioned in many old Chinese herbal medicine books. The use of the herb in Chinese records dates back up to 2,000 years ago. The use of the herb was also recorded in ancient Russia, more particularly in the Siberian Taiga region.
Ancient Uses of the Eleuthero Root
Chinese records reveal that the Eleuthero root was used primarily to treat common Colds, Flu and the more serious respiratory tract infections. The Chinese also believe that the herb can bring back vitality and balance to the body. In Russia, the root was used for the same purpose as well. It was ingested to improve the body's immune system and as a source of energy. The plant was generally unknown to Western medicine until recently.
Modern Uses of the Eleuthero Root
Because of the innovation of technology today, more and more health benefits are starting to be discovered from this diverse plant. Clinical studies have provided evidence of Eleuthero root being a good source of Energy. Because of this, they are used by Soviet Union athletes as a dietary supplement to help improve their performance on the field. The compound is also used as a Stress reliever and was one of the more popular treatments used to combat radiation sickness during the Chernobyl accident in Russia.
Also, it is now recognized as an effective treatment for Alzheimer's disease, ADHD, chronic fatigue syndrome, sore throat, common colds, diabetes, and influenza and is used support for chemotherapy. Studies have also revealed that there are active substances in the Eleuthero root which makes it an effective adaptogen - a substance that normalizes extreme conditions in the body. Further research has shown that it has great potential in treating AIDS, one of the top untreated diseases in the world, by increasing the number of cytotoxic T cells and helper cells in the body.
Warnings and Side effects of the Eleuthero Root
Although no definite side effects are associated with the use of the Eleuthero root, there have been incidences that report of mild diarrhea and insomnia after the use of the substance. The substance is also not recommended for patients with high blood pressure and for pregnant women. Medical professionals also discourage the use of the Eleuthero root together with other medicines, which could possibly trigger unknown harmful side effects. It is therefore wise to consult a herbalist beforehand.