Natural Health Products

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General Information

Eleuthero is a small, woody shrub that belongs to the Araliaceae family. Eleuthero is native to northeastern Asia. It is an adaptogen, which is an herb that is used in hopes of improving the body’s resistance to stress.

Common Name(s)
eleuthero, Siberian ginseng, devil’s bush, devil’s shrub
Scientific Name(s)

Eleutherococcus senticosus

How is this product usually used?

The dried root of the eleuthero shrub is used medicinally. It is used orally (by mouth) as a solid extract, fluid extract, infusion, or tincture.

In general, the doses are:

  • infusion: 2 g to 3 g dried root, prepared by pouring 150 mL of boiling water once per day
  • fluid extract: 1 g to 2 g dried root, 1 to 3 times per day (1:1 alcohol ratio, 1 mL to 2 mL)
  • tincture: 2 g to 3 g dried equivalent, once per day (1:5 alcohol ratio, 10 mL to 15 mL)
  • dried root: 1 g to 4 g per day

In general, you should not take eleuthero for longer than 1 month without consulting your health care provider.

Your health care provider may have recommended using this product in other ways. Contact a health care provider if you have questions.

What is this product used for?

Eleuthero is used in herbal medicine as a tonic to help relieve a state of weakness or to help during convalescence. It may be used in herbal medicine to help improve mental and/or physical performance after periods of mental and/or physical activity.

Traditionally, eleuthero has been used as an adaptogen to help increase endurance, to improve memory, to boost the immune system, and for overall well-being. There are few clinical studies to show whether eleuthero is effective for these uses.

There are some clinical studies that show eleuthero may be effective in improving symptoms of the common cold when started within 3 days of the start of cold symptoms. However, in these studies eleuthero was used in combination with another herb called andrographis.

Your health care provider may have recommended this product for other conditions. Contact a health care provider if you have any questions with this product.

What else should I be aware of?

When used for short periods, common side effects of eleuthero include diarrhea, upset stomach, heartburn, headache, nausea, and hives. Other side effects can include:

  • anxiety
  • breast pain
  • headaches
  • increased blood pressure
  • increased heart rate
  • rash

Do not use or give eleuthero to anybody if you:

  • have high blood pressure
  • have a hormone-sensitive condition (e.g., breast cancer, uterine cancer)
  • are experiencing an infection
  • are pregnant or breast-feeding
  • are under the age of 18 years

There is not enough information or studies on whether eleuthero is safe for:

  • people with bleeding disorders
  • people with cardiovascular disease
  • diabetics
  • people with psychiatric conditions (e.g., schizophrenia)

There may be an interaction with eleuthero and any of the following:

  • anticoagulants (e.g., warfarin)
  • antidiabetic medications (e.g., glyburide, insulin, metformin)
  • antiplatelet medications (e.g., clopidogrel)
  • blood pressure medications (e.g., ramipril, hydrochlorothiazide, amlodipine)
  • immunosuppressants (e.g. azathioprine, cyclosporine)
  • lithium
  • medications that are changed or broken down by the liver (e.g., amitriptyline, losartan, phenytoin, celecoxib, olanzapine, clozapine)
  • digoxin

Consult your health care provider if your symptoms persist, worsen, or if you have any type of acute infection.

Before taking any new medications, including natural health products, speak to your physician, pharmacist, or other health care provider. Tell your health care provider about any natural health products you may be taking.

  1. Eleuthero (monograph). Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database.
  2. Health Canada. Licensed Natural Health Products Database. Eleuthero (monograph).

All material copyright MediResource Inc. 1996 – 2020. Terms and conditions of use. The contents herein are for informational purposes only. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.