But just as powerful and often mistaken for being the same adaptogen herb as ginseng is eleuthero -- which is often called “Siberian ginseng”.
Not as well known in the Western world, eleuthero is an incredible herb used for centuries to calm the mind and body, increase energy, improve sports performance, boost the immune system and even support blood sugar management.
But eleuthero is not the same as ginseng.
Even though eleuthero is commonly referred to as Siberian ginseng it’s not a true ginseng as it does not belong to the genus Panax . Unlike Asian (Panax ginseng) and American ginseng (Panax quinquefolius), eleuthero does not contain ginsenoside compounds that imbue the true ginsengs with their healing benefits.
Instead, eleuthero has eleutherosides whose benefits are comparable and very similar to ginsenosides [1, 2].
Eleuthero (Eleutherococcus senticosus) is a woody shrub native to the countries of the Far East, mainly China, Korea, and Eastern Russia, where it was used in traditional medicines as an adaptogen.
People consume eleuthero for its notable rejuvenating physical effects but its uses go far beyond boosting energy levels and improving exercise and sports performance.
Let’s look at the benefits of Eleuthero and how you can use it to enhance your quality of life.
What Does Eleuthero Do for The Body?
1. Eleuthero as an adaptogen
Eleuthero is considered an adaptogen, a group of herbs that stimulate the body’s resistance to physical, environmental and emotional stressors.
As such, eleuthero can be used to help the body recover from both short-term and long-term stress. It works by bringing your body to a balanced state called “homeostasis.” 
For this reason, you can use eleuthero to help you cope through periods of intense or prolonged stress, while improving cognitive function and enhancing your capability for physical and mental work. One particular study concluded eleuthero’s nerve-protective properties could help alleviate anxiety and depression while improving overall mood.
Eleuthero also promotes your body’s resistance to highly toxic chemicals, from acetones to phosphorus to chemotherapy drugs.  While there’s not a lot of research in this area, it’s possible that eleuthero may be able to improve your resistance to pollutants and other chemical stressors.
2. Impact on Physical Performance
As a stimulant, eleuthero lessens the build up of lactic acid in the blood thereby improving athletic performance by increasing endurance capacity and metabolism.
As a result, the herb can decrease exhaustion during exercise, helping you perform better in the gym and recover faster from strenuous exercise. It also has positive effects on energy levels and has been shown to improve blood flow, which are factors that aid athletic performance [1, 3].
3. Immune System Boost
The eleutherosides in Siberian ginseng are active compounds that have a stimulating effect on immune functioning. As such, eleuthero may be used to shorten the length and severity of flus and colds when taken within 72 hours of symptoms starting . What’s more, healthy persons who take eleuthero regularly have been shown to have more T-cells, which may indicate that their immune systems are stronger.
Eleuthero’s strong immunomodulatory effects may also reduce the severity and frequency of outbreaks in persons with herpes simplex virus (HSV) type 2 . It’s advisable to consult with your doctor before using eleuthero to help with herpes outbreaks.
4. Preventing and Repairing Nerve Damage
Eleutherosides have shown great potential in improving nerve regeneration and synapse reformation. This makes eleuthero a good candidate to be used for preventative management of progressive neurological conditions, such as Alzheimer’s disease .
5. Lowering or Stabilizing Blood Sugar Levels
Eleutherosides can reduce insulin resistance and may help in the management of type 2 diabetes. It may be used to improve blood sugar levels and insulin usage in diabetes . It’s recommended to consult your doctor before adding Siberian ginseng to your diabetes management routine.
Is Eleuthero an Anti-Inflammatory?
Siberian ginseng has beneficial antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties that could inhibit swelling and inflammation. Eleutherosides have been shown to reduce edema and improve lymphatic function. They also reduce the excess mass cell activity commonly associated with allergic inflammation .
How to Use Eleuthero
Eleuthero is available for consumption as liquid or solid extracts. You can add the herbal supplement to your daily diet by taking it as a tincture, tea, powder, or in a capsule (which is usually the easiest way).
All in all, eleuthero is a great supplement that has proven physical and mental health benefits. Take eleuthero to improve your quality of life and improve your body’s response to the stresses life throws your way.
Eleuthero is non-toxic, making it safe for consumption for all people.
* Adaptogens are a small category of unique herbs that help you adapt to stress, create balance in your body, and protect your health from the dangers of every type of stress.
- Bleakney TL. Deconstructing an adaptogen: Eleutherococcus senticosus. Holistic nursing practice. 2008 Jul 1;22(4):220-4.
- Huang, Y. H., Li, J. T., Zan, K., Wang, J., & Fu, Q. (2021). The traditional uses, secondary metabolites, and pharmacology of Eleutherococcus species. Phytochemistry Reviews, 1-104.
- Baczek K, Weglarz Z, Przybyl JL. Accumulation of biologically active compounds in the rhizomes and roots of Eleuthero (Eleutherococcus senticosus/Maxim. et Rupr./Maxim.). Adv. Environ. Biol. 2011;5:325-8.
- Lamoreau TW, Schneider C. Can Herbs Improve Endurance? Adaptogens and Athletic Performance. Integrative Medicine Alert. 2018 Oct 1;21(10).
- Yarnell E, Abascal K, Rountree R. Herbs for herpes simplex infections. Alternative and Complementary Therapies. 2009 Apr 1;15(2):69-74.
- Ahn J, Um MY, Lee H, Jung CH, Heo SH, Ha TY. Eleutheroside E, an active component of Eleutherococcus senticosus, ameliorates insulin resistance in type 2 diabetic db/db mice. Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine. 2013 Jan 1;2013.