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What is Eleutherococcus? Why is it called «Siberian Ginseng» or Siberian Eleuthero?

Eleutherococcus is a plant widespread in South East Asia, from Siberia to Vietnam, China, and Japan and it has received the greatest practical application. Eleutherococcus produces small black fruits similar to berries, but its main strength is not in the fruits, but the roots. Phytochemical compounds responsible for beneficial effects on the human body can be found in them.

In this article, we will look at where the name "Eleutherococcus" came from and why this plant is often called "Siberian ginseng".

What are the health benefits of «Siberian Ginseng»?

Eleutherococcus has a multidirectional beneficial effect on the human body: it helps to get rid of muscle fatigue, activates the immune system, and increases concentration during training and work.

All the beneficial properties of Eleutherococcus are based on the influence of eleutherosides, which consist of chemicals of various natures (tannins, triterpenes, lignans). Polysaccharides and polyphenols contained in Siberian Eleuthero extract can activate the endocrine glands, stimulate organs and biological processes at several levels.

Here are the main benefits of Eleutherococcus:

  • Positive effect on the muscles. Some studies conducted on athletes have shown an improvement in athletic performance due to taking Eleutherococcus for a certain time. The improvement was due to increased physical endurance.
  • Influence on memory and anxiety. The effectiveness of many types of brain activity, such as memory, is associated with the synergistic effect of several factors, one of them is cortisol, the production of which increases as a result of taking Eleutherococcus. Through this mechanism of action of cortisol, Eleutherococcus helps to achieve calm in anxious situations.
  • Metabolic activity. Eleutherococcus, by itself, will not help to lose weight, but its active components can stimulate the consumption of lipids from adipose tissue and increase the secretion of insulin, which facilitates the use of glucose by tissues.
  • Immunostimulating effect. Already in ancient times, the indigenous inhabitants of Siberia fed deer with Eleutherococcus roots so that they could survive the winter better. In both animals and humans, this root can prevent diseases from hypothermia and protect against seasonal flu, as well as other types of viruses.

Origin of the name.

Eleutherococcus is from the Greek "eleutheros" - "free" and "kokkos" - "nut". Another species name "senticosus" means "covered with thorns". It has many different names, the most common of which is the prickly free spring berry (another Siberian variant). It is also popularly called prickly or wild pepper, devil's bush, or ginseng brother.

The indigenous inhabitants of Siberia and Altai highly appreciated "Siberian ginseng", which, according to legend, "worked wonders" with any person. The name "Siberian ginseng" clung to Eleutherococcus quite recently and there is an objective reason for this.

In the late 40s, Soviet scientists in one of the regions of Siberia actively studied the beneficial effects of this taiga herb on athletes, and later on astronauts. This "mild stimulant" increases the production of serotonin - the "hormone of joy", which, according to Russian scientists, can prolong life for at least half a century. Professor of the Russian Academy of Medical Sciences Valentin Ivanovich Pokrovsky made a similar sensational discovery back in 1997.

"Siberian ginseng" became the second (unofficial) name of Eleutherococcus precisely since this herb was underestimated by the medicine of other countries, and only in the middle of the last century did scientists from Siberia discover its unique healing properties to the world.

The latest research results from the USA.

Some time ago, scientific studies of Soviet scientists were confirmed by researchers from the United States. So, a group of Californian scientists led by Professor Mahtab Jafari became interested in the "Siberian grass" that grows in the Altai mountains. It was about the free-flowing prickly, which at that time was known in the territory of the former USSR countries as "Siberian ginseng".

Americans were amazed when they found that the life expectancy when making tinctures from miracle herbs increased by 24%. However, the experiments were carried out only on fruit flies.

Professor Jafari noted that "nothing like this has been observed before." He stressed that no evidence has yet been obtained that Eleutherococcus is capable of prolonging human life, but this herb is one of the most promising candidates for future anti-aging research. Various Chinese herbs tried to compete with the "Siberian ginseng", however, they "went off the track", in no way prolonging the life of the arthropod participants in the experiment.

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