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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 orallyorallyto be taken by mouth (swallowed) (by mouth) as a solid extractextractto get, separate, or isolate a desired active ingredient, fluid extract, infusioninfusionthe process of steeping or soaking plant material in hot or cold water to isolate its active ingredient, or tincturetincturea desired active ingredient that is extracted from alcoholic solution.

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 tonictonican agent that strengthens and invigorates to help relieve a state of weakness or to help during convalescenceconvalescencehealing phase after sickness or injury. 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?

Side effects of eleuthero may include:

  • increased blood pressure
  • rash
  • altered hormone levels
  • nausea
  • diarrhea
  • breast tenderness
  • possible increased blood thinning activity (you may bleed more easily)
  • muscle spasms
  • headache
  • nervousness
  • drowsiness
  • contact dermatitisdermatitisinflamed skin or skin rash
  • altered blood sugar levels
  • urticaria

Do not use or give eleuthero to anybody if you:

  • have high blood pressure
  • are a woman with a hormone-sensitive condition (e.g., breast cancer, uterine cancer)
  • are pregnant or breast-feeding
  • are a small child

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:

  • alcohol
  • 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
  • NSAIDs (e.g. ibuprofen, naproxen, ASA)
  • sedating medications (e.g., amitriptyline, antihistamines)
  • sedativesedativean agent that induces sleep, relaxes, and reduces tensions (e.g., diazepam, alprazolam)

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. (Accessed online May 25, 2016)
  2. Eleuthero (monograph). Natural Standard Database. (Accessed online May 25, 2016)
  3. Health Canada. Licensed Natural Health Products Database. Eleuthero (monograph).  (Accessed online May 25, 2016)
  4. American Cancer Society: Eleuthero (formerly Siberian Ginseng). Available at: (Accessed online 29 April 2014)

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