Eleutherococcus: Herbal Relief from Chronic Stress and More
Like most people, you probably struggle with stress. And it can be hard to manage. After all, you’re likely so used to it that you assume it’s normal. But it’s not. And that’s why I like to find tools to help people manage stress. In fact, it’s one of the primary ways I like to empower people to improve their health. And that’s exactly where eleutherococcus comes into play.
If you haven’t heard of eleutherococcus before, today is your lucky day! Why? Herbal remedies such as this one can be a gentle way to help lower the impact of stress on your body. Eleutherococcus is one of my top go-to herbs to help people recover from chronic stress—which often shows up as adrenal fatigue. This humble herb has been used as a natural remedy for centuries in blends and it also provides other health benefits in addition to adrenal support. Intrigued? Keep reading to learn more about this powerful herb and how it can help your body manage stress and so much more!
What is Eleutherococcus?
Eleutherococcus (Eleutherococcus senticosus) is a shrub that is also known as Siberian ginseng. Native to China, Japan, and Siberia, this herb has been used as a traditional medicine remedy in many cultures around the world for a variety of ailments, particularly to help boost the immune system. It’s also sometimes called devil’s shrub, devil’s bush, eleuthero, ciwujia, touch-me-not, shigoka, wild pepper, or kan jang. 
While it’s sometimes called Siberian ginseng, Eleutherococcus is not a “true” ginseng like American ginseng(Panax quinquefolius) or Asian ginseng (Panax ginseng).
Interestingly, this incredible herb first hit the market here in the U.S. in the last 1970s. Since then, it’s actually become one of the top-selling herbal supplements in the country—and with good reason!
The roots, leaves, and fruits of eleutherococcus all can be consumed for a variety of benefits. In fact, it contains numerous adaptogenic compounds with pharmacological effects that have been found to have several health benefits. 
Fortunately, eleuthoerococcus is pretty readily available, if you’re interested in trying it out. It’s commonly found in supplement form as capsules, tinctures, or teas at your local health food stores.
4 Eleutherococcus Benefits
While eleutherococcus has been used in traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) and other cultures for centuries, researchers continue to gather clinical evidence and data to better understand how it works. Here are four clinically proven ways this herb can help to support your health. [3, 4]
1. Support adrenal glands
Eleutherococcus is an adaptogenic herb. Also known as adaptogens, these herbs help to support adrenal function. Herbs with a similar function include ashwagandha and rhodiola, among others, as well as some medicinal mushrooms such as cordyceps. 
If you’re struggling with feeling exhausted by chronic stress, there’s a good chance you could be dealing with adrenal fatigue. Adaptogenic herbs such as eleutherococcus help the body to relieve stress, manage energy levels, fight insomnia, boost memory, and more—all effects of poor stress response.
2. Improve chronic fatigue
The adaptogenic properties of eleutherococcus also help it to support energy levels in the body. Eleutherococcus contains compounds that not only help to alleviate inflammation and improve immune system support, but also increase oxygen consumption in the body.
The adrenal support provided by these compounds also helps to boost energy and stamina by improving hormone regulation and reducing oxidative stress on the body. 
3. Boost immune system
Eleutherococcus contains compounds that not only help to boost energy levels and lower inflammation in the body, but it also has compounds that help the immune system to protect against pathogens and toxins.
How? Well, an animal study showed that it helped to stop tuberculosis from spreading in the lungs of mice. Another animal study showed that eleutherococcus helped to limit the growth of tumors.  And further studies have revealed that it can not only help protect against herpes simplex type 2 infections but also reduce the risk of flu complications. 
4. Supports respiratory health
Eleutherococcus has also been shown to help support respiratory health. A 2015 clinical trial tested the antitussive (cough relief) effects of an herbal medicine approved in Scandinavia for treatment of respiratory tract infections on 177 patients over a five-day period. The researchers found that the data supported use of the product to treat upper respiratory tract infections. The product is called Kan Jang and it contains a blend of herbs that includes Eleutherococcus senticoccus. 
Are There Side Effects?
While not clinically proven, there are some claims that eleutherococcus may sometimes cause adverse effects, particularly if you have certain health conditions or if you take large doses. If you have any of the following conditions, you should use extra caution and speak with your doctor first if you are considering taking it: 
- High blood pressure
- Immune system issues
- Sleep apnea
- Heart disease
- Mental illness
- Diabetes or other conditions affecting blood sugar levels
- Pregnant or breastfeeding
- Taking blood thinner or anticoagulant medications (warfarin, aspirin, heparin)
- Taking non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as ibuprofen or naproxen
Eleutherococcus may also interact with other drugs, such as antibiotics, anticancer drugs, narcotics, allergy medicines and other medications.
It’s important to note, though, that no side effects have been noted in people who are considered to be healthy. But, as always, speak with your healthcare professional for medical advice before taking this or any herbal supplements, especially if you have any medical conditions. 
- Eleutherococcus is a shrub native to China, Japan, and Siberia. It’s also known as Siberian ginseng.
- It’s been used as a traditional medicine remedy for thousands of years in many cultures around the world.
- As an adaptogenic herb, eleutherococcus can help to relieve stress and boost adrenal health, support the immune system, improve chronic fatigue, and support respiratory health.
- Speak to your doctor or healthcare professional before you take eleutherococcus, especially if you have a medical condition or if you are taking any medications.