Siberian Ginseng Shows Promise for Immune Support and Stress Recovery

Siberian Ginseng Shows Promise for Immune Support and Stress Recovery

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  1. For more than 2,000 years, Siberian ginseng (Eluetherococcus senticosus) has been a popular medicinal plant in China and Russia. Traditional healers value Siberian ginseng as an adaptogen, or a remedy which helps the body recover from physical and mental stress. Researchers believe that the root, which contains eleutherosides and polysaccharides, may provide effective antiviral, memory-enhancing, and immune-boosting properties. Russian scientists have been in the forefront of research on this herb.

    Immune Support

    Siberian ginseng has been used traditionally for immune system support. Russian studies show that this herb may stimulate the production of a type of white blood cell known as T helper cells. In one study, T-cell production improved after 4 weeks of Siberian ginseng supplementation. Siberian ginseng may also prevent replication of human RNA viruses.

    German researchers believe that Siberian ginseng’s immune-stimulating properties may be helpful for patients in the early Research shows that Siberian ginseng reduces the frequency, length, and severity of genital herpes outbreaks.

    Colds and Flu

    According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, scientific research shows that Siberian ginseng may improve resistance to cold and flu viruses, and shorten the duration of infection. One study found that influenza patients who took Siberian ginseng recovered faster than those who took the antiviral drug amantadine.  Double-blind studies suggest that a combination of Siberian ginseng and andrographis (another herb) may shorten the duration of a cold when taken during the first 72 hours of symptoms. More research is needed to discover which herb or combination of herbs was responsible for the improvement.

    Memory

    Scientifics are studying Siberian ginseng’s traditional reputation as a memory-enhancing herb. Preliminary research suggests that Siberian ginseng improves memory in middle-aged people. Another study showed that elderly people who took the herb briefly improved mentally and socially, but began to decline again after 8 weeks. More research is needed to ascertain the herb’s effect on mental alertness and memory.

    Stress

    According to an article in NutritionalReviews.org, Siberian ginseng’s reputation as an aid during times of stress may derive from its immune-boosting properties. Physical and mental stresses cause the body to produce more cortisol, which leads to a decrease in immune function. An accompanying decrease in norepinephrine and dopamine causes symptoms of exhaustion and fatigue. Animal studies suggest that Siberian ginseng increases endurance, and human studies have shown that the herb improves immune function. Researchers believe that these properties combine to improve the body’s recovery from stress. However, more conclusive research is needed to confirm Siberian ginseng’s anti-stress properties.  

    Caution

    Before you try any herbal remedy, ask your doctor. Do not use Siberian ginseng if you have uncontrolled high blood pressure, are pregnant, or nursing. Children should not take Siberian ginseng. This herb can interact with some drugs, including sedatives, heart medications and blood thinners. Possible side effects include diarrhea and insomnia.

    Siberian ginseng is available in capsule, tea, or tincture forms. The recommended daily dosage is 2 to 3 grams in capsules, or 8 to 10 ml of tincture, in 2 or 3 divided dosages. Experts recommend a 3-week break after 3 months of continued use.

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