Medical herbalist Gabriella Clarke introduces some of the health benefits of Siberian ginseng.
Native to China, Russia and Japan, this small woody shrub is actually not related to the better-known Panax ginseng (also known as Korean ginseng). Its botanical name is Eleuthrococcus senticosus – Eleuthrococcus being Greek for ‘free berries’ and senticosus Latin for ‘thorn bush’. Siberian ginseng is used in traditional Chinese Medicine with its root being the main part used for medicinal purposes.
Here are some of the benefits of this fabulous plant:
IT RELIEVES STRESS
Siberian ginseng is what is known as an adaptogen – a substance that helps us to combat fatigue and increase energy levels while reducing the negative effects of stress on our bodies. It is thought that compounds known, as eleuthrosides are responsible for the stress-relieving properties of this plant.[i] Look out for herbal teas containing Siberian ginseng for their relaxing benefits.
IT BOOSTS IMMUNITY
Siberian ginseng helps to increase levels of white blood cells in the blood, in particular T Lymphocytes and NK (natural killer) cells[ii]. These white blood cells engulf harmful pathogens such as bacteria and viruses helping to keep us disease free.
IT CAN HELP DIABETES TREATMENT
Siberian ginseng has the ability to help reduce blood sugar levels[iii], which may help in the management of type 2 diabetes. If you decide to use it for this purpose you should continue with any other medication you are taking and check your blood sugar levels regularly.
IT ENHANCES MENTAL PERFORMANCE
Reports claim that Siberian ginseng is performance enhancing. Some individuals feel that they are able to perform tasks faster and more efficiently.
IT INCREASES QUALITY OF LIFE IN THE ELDERLY
As they age some people are more likely to suffer from loneliness, which can lead to social withdrawal and low levels of energy. One study demonstrated that Siberian ginseng improved both mental health and social functioning after just four weeks[iv].
IT IMPROVES LIBIDO IN WOMEN
There is a lot of anecdotal evidence that Siberian ginseng may act as an aphrodisiac for some women. It is thought this is due to the positive benefits of this plant on female hormones.