Siberian Ginseng: Health Benefits, Uses, and Side Effects

Siberian Ginseng, also known as eleuthero, has been used for centuries in China and Russia. Siberian Ginseng is entirely different from American and Asian Ginseng and has various chemical compounds. The chemical compounds present within Siberian Ginseng are known as eleutherosides. These compounds play an essential role in stimulating the immune system. Let’s explore Siberian Ginseng: Health Benefits!

Siberian Ginseng is traditionally used to increase energy and treat various infections like colds and coughs. It is mainly used in Russia as an “adaptogen,” a substance that is supposed to help the body in fighting against mental or physical stress.

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Siberian Ginseng Plant

Siberian Ginseng, or Eleuthero, is a deciduous woody shrub that originated in China, Japan, and Russia. Some familiar names for this plant are eleuthero, Ciwujia, and Siberian Ginseng. This plant belongs to the Araliaceae family, which also contains the Panax genus of the ginseng plant.

Siberian Ginseng mainly grows in mountainous forests, especially ones that have coniferous trees. It may also develop in riparian woodlands but only on rare occasions. It can grow in soils like heavy clay, sand, and loam. Siberian Ginseng also can tolerate acidic and alkaline soils.

The growth of the Siberian ginseng plant is very slow, but it can reach a height of six feet. The flowers of this plant are self-fertile and can also be pollinated by insects. Siberian Ginseng usually flowers in July, but it depends on the climate.

The active components of Siberian Ginseng contain eleutherosides, especially B and E. it also has acanthoside D, ciwujianosides, friedelin, and isofraxidin. These all components make Siberian Ginseng beneficial for supporting various biological functions.

dried siberian ginseng

Health Benefits of Siberian Ginseng

Siberian Ginseng has been used for thousands of years in Chinese traditional medicine to treat conditions like poor appetite, improper sleep, and headache. It can also provide benefits in improving the immune system and reducing stress.

1. Can Help in Treating Cold and Flu:

Siberian Ginseng can be very helpful in relieving the symptoms of cold and flu. According to studies (Kulichenko LL, 2003), a product containing Siberian Ginseng and Andrographis can reduce the severity of the cold and flu when taken within 72 hours. Some symptoms start to improve within two days, but it generally takes 4-5 days for the treatment to show its benefits.

Another research (Spasov AA, 2004) found that a combination of Siberian Ginseng and Andrographis helps treat the cold and flu in children better than echinacea. Moreover, this study also found that taking a specific product with Siberian Ginseng, Malabar nut, and echinacea for 6-7 days can improve the cough and congestion more effectively than bromhexine.

2. Improve Mental Performance:

Siberian Ginseng can play an important role in improving mental performance. According to a test conducted in the 1960s, people who took Siberian Ginseng were more accurate and faster in their activities. Moreover, their quality of work didn’t change even when they were under stress or pressure.

Stress reduces mental performance. Because when a person is stressed, the nerve cells in the brain of that person are usually shriveled, making it difficult for the branches to facilitate communication. Conversely, the nerve cells of a healthy person are thickly branched.

Moreover, the Siberian Ginseng can also increase the production of two proteins, which help protect the brain cells under stress. Siberian Ginseng can also increase reaction time; for example, it improves learning, strengthens hearing, and sharpens the vision.

3. Can Reduce Severity of Viral Infections:

Siberian Ginseng can be very helpful in reducing the symptoms of viral infections, specifically herpes simplex two infections. A study of 93 people suffering from herpes simplex type II  (M, 1995) found that taking Siberian Ginseng can reduce the number of outbreaks of that disease. Moreover, the outbreaks that did happen were less severe and did not last long as before. This is due to the presence of a specific ingredient in Siberian Ginseng, called eleutheroside 0.3%, which reduces the severity and duration of infection.

4. Can Increase Energy:

Siberian Ginseng also can increase energy. Although ATP molecules are required for cellular energy, primary glands also secrete the energizing hormones and adrenals. Siberian Ginseng helps stimulate these enzymes so that low energy and fatigue disappear.

Due to its ability to increase energy, Siberian Ginseng is used by athletes and professionals to improve their performance. Moreover, research (Goulet ED, 2005) has also shown that taking powdered Siberian Ginseng can increase performance as it contains two chemicals that can enhance breathing and endurance.

5. Support Immune System:

Siberian ginseng can help in supporting the immune system, especially when combined with Andrographis. These products take 4-5 days to show maximum benefits. Moreover, Siberian Ginseng can increase the number of white blood cells, especially T lymphocytes and killer cells. These cells kill the bacteria and viruses present in the body and protect the body against bacterial and viral infections.

 A study (Dasgupta A, 2003) found that people who take Siberian Ginseng for a month had more T-cells, which means their immune system is stronger than those who didn’t take Siberian Ginseng.

How to Add Siberian Ginseng to Your Diet

Siberian Ginseng can be consumed in many different ways. It can be eaten raw or can be lightly steamed to soften it. There are the following ways through which you can easily add Siberian Ginseng into your diet.

  • Siberian Ginseng can be added to many recipes like stir-fries and soups.
  • Extract of Siberian Ginseng is used in capsules and oil form.
  • The root of this plant is stewed in water to make tea.
  • Sliced Ginseng can also be added to the hot water to make ginseng tea.

The amount of Ginseng used depends upon the condition you want to improve through it. The recommended daily dose of Siberian Ginseng is 1-2 grams of ginseng root and 300-400 mg of Siberian ginseng extract. But it is always better to start with a low amount and increase the amount over time.

Interaction of Siberian Ginseng with other Medication

Siberian Ginseng contains many nutrients that can provide many health benefits like boosting immunity, improving sleep, and fighting against various diseases. But if you are already taking any medication, you should not use Siberian Ginseng without consulting your doctor because it can interact with medication and cause further complications.

  • Anticoagulants: Siberian Ginseng can increase the risk of bleeding if taken with blood thinners like aspirin, Plavix, or warfarin.
  • Lithium: Siberian Ginseng should not be taken with lithium because it eliminates lithium from the body. Which results in a dangerously high level of lithium.
  • Digoxin: Intake of Siberian Ginseng can increase digoxin’s blood level, a medication used to treat the heart condition. And result in a risk of side effects.
  • Sedatives: Siberian Ginseng is used as a sedative, and it can also increase the effect of other sedatives, especially barbiturates, a medication used to treat seizures or insomnia.
  • Diabetes Medication: Siberian Ginseng can lower blood sugar levels, so if taken with diabetes medication, it can raise the risk of hypoglycemia.
  • Drugs for Autoimmune Disorder: Siberian Ginseng can boost the immune system and interact with the medication for autoimmune diseases or taken after an organ transplant.

Safety and Potential Side Effects of Siberian Ginseng

According to research, the normal dose of Siberian Ginseng is safe and should not produce any side effects. But, patients with diabetes who are already taking medication to keep their blood sugar level low should monitor their blood sugar levels when using Siberian Ginseng to ensure that the levels don’t go too low.

Moreover, Siberian Ginseng can also enhance the effect of anticoagulant drugs that make the blood thinner. That’s why consult your doctor before adding Siberian Ginseng into your diet, especially when you are on other medication.

Siberian Ginseng is also not recommended for children and pregnant and breastfeeding women. And a normal person should take Siberian Ginseng in a 2-3 week cycle with one week break, as recommended.

Siberian Ginseng Supplements

Siberian Ginseng is not only used in recipes, but it is also widely available in the form of capsules and tablets. Moreover, the pure root of this plant is also available in the form of tea bags. But the best way to take the therapeutic effect of this Siberian Ginseng is through tablets rather than tea or tinctures. Because the recommended amount of this is 2-3 grams per day, but with tea, one would use this amount multiple times a day.

Some of the Siberian ginseng supplements contain the roots of this plant in powdered form, while some of these supplements are made up of the Siberian ginseng extract. These supplements work within a few days, especially when the major concern is fatigue. The recommended amount for using the Siberian ginseng supplement is to take one supplement for almost three months with a break of a couple of weeks before restarting it again so that the adrenals are not over-stimulated.

How to Use Siberian Ginseng Supplements:

Almost all of the supplements have the direction and dosage given on the package. The dosage mainly depends upon the condition for which the product is used and also what type of Ginseng it is. Since Siberian Ginseng works as a sedative, the best time to take it is during bedtime to get proper sleep.

Siberian ginseng supplements should not be used for a long period, not more than two months at a time. Take a break of 2-3 weeks before using the supplements again because continuous use of Siberian Ginseng and its supplements can cause side effects like over-stimulation of adrenals. Ask a pharmacist or doctor for more information and guidance about the supplements and how to use them.

Side Effects of Siberian Ginseng Supplements:

Siberian Ginseng supplements don’t show side effects for everyone, but here are some side effects that can occur if you overdose on them.

  • Headache
  • Upset Stomach
  • Menstrual Problems
  • Agitation
  • Breast Pain
  • Dizziness
  • High or Low Blood Sugar Levels

Siberian ginseng supplements can also cause mood changes, nervousness, and drowsiness. In case of any of these symptoms, contact your doctor immediately to avoid some serious medical condition.

There are rare cases of people getting allergic to Siberian ginseng supplements. But if a person is allergic to one kind of Ginseng, he would also be allergic to all other kinds of Ginseng, including Siberian Ginseng. So, in case of itching, swelling, trouble breathing, and severe dizziness, after taking the supplements, consult the doctor immediately.


Before taking any ginseng supplements, make sure you are not allergic to anything. Because there could be an ingredient in these supplements that can cause an allergic reaction. Siberian Ginseng supplements contain many other inactive ingredients as well. These ingredients can cause an allergic reaction or other medical conditions.

Suppose you have other health problems like high or low blood pressure, abnormal heartbeat, mood disorder, arthritis, multiple sclerosis, and other conditions affected by estrogen. Siberian Ginseng can lower or increase blood sugar levels. Therefore, people suffering from diabetes should not take these supplements with other diabetes medication.

The liquid form of this product may contain sugar or alcohol, which can be very harmful to the person suffering from liver disease, alcohol dependence, or diabetes. These supplements can also make you dizzy and drowsy. So, avoid driving, using machinery, or anything which needs attentiveness. These supplements are also unsafe for pregnant or breastfeeding women, so consult your doctor before using these.

Bottom Line

Siberian Ginseng is a popular type of Ginseng known as eleuthero. This type of Ginseng originated from China and Russia. But now it is used in various countries of the world. The chemical compounds present within Siberian Ginseng play an important role in stimulating the immune system and fighting against various diseases.

Siberian Ginseng can be used in many different ways. It can be added to recipes or brewed into hot water to make tea. But the right amount to get all the benefits of this plant is to use it regularly for 2-3 weeks but then give a break of one week before using it again.

Supplements of Siberian Ginseng are also available in the market. But these supplements also contain other ingredients, which can cause side effects. So consult your doctor before using these supplements or Siberian Ginseng itself.

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