Siberian Ginseng-Ci wu jia-Eleutherococcus senticosus

Common Name: Siberian Ginseng, Eleuthro

Pinyin Name: Ci Wu Jia

Botanical Name: Eleutherococcus senticosus, Acanthopanacis senticosus

Part Used: Root, Root Bark, Stems

Properties: Warm, Slightly Bitter, Acrid

Constituents: eleutherosides (glycosides and other compounds), essential oil, resin, starch Vitamin A, polysaccharides

Channels entered: Heart, Kidney, Spleen

Primary Actions

Western view: antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and immune-modulating, anti-stress, anti-ulcer, anticancer, neuro-protective, hepato-protective

Growing & Harvesting

Growing eleuthro is a difficult and slow process as it takes two years to germinate. It originates from the frigid mountains of northern regions of Russia an Asia and will only grow as a perennial in zones 5-7. After three years growth it can be harvested and can then be used medicinally.

Culinary Uses

Eleuthro does not taste bad and can easily be implemented in food and drink. A muslin pouch filled with eleuthro is often added to savory bone broths to strengthen the immune system, improve physical stamina, resolve wasting syndromes in the elderly, and reverse the failure to thrive in children. I is also often infused in wine and taken as a tonic or decocted in to a tea.-dosage: 1 T. 3 x daily.

Medicinal Uses

Emotional Disorders

As what is referred to as an adaptogenic herb, eleuthro helps to smooth out the nervous system so that individuals do not over-react to stress. Studies suggest that the stress–modulating effect is related to the regulation of key mediators of the stress response and support of neurotransmitters in the brain.

Many scientific studies have demonstrated the profound affect the eleuthro has on the brain as it normalizes synaptic interfacing with neurotransmitters. It is specifically used for nervous and mood disorders such as depression, mental fatigue, and poor concentration. The many neuro-protective and antidepressant abilities of eleuthro are due to the fact that it protects neurons from corticosterone-induced cytotoxicity and protects against lowering of natural killer cell. Additionally, eleuthero mitigates the decline of serotonin and other neurotransmitters and support the recovery following physical, emotional, and mental stress. It also modulates neurotransmitters in the brain such as noradrenaline and dopamine and their related metabolites.

Insomnia and Sleeping Disruptions

In traditional Chinese medicine, eleuthro “Calms the Shen” and promote restful dreamless sleep in individuals who are often woken in the night with disturbing dreams. This use is further supported and explained by recent scientific studies.

Immune Support

Eleuthro is also prized for its ability to fortify the immune system. This effect is largely due to carbohydrates called polysaccharides which are also responsible for the anti-cancer proliferation qualities of the herb. Additionally, a chemical constituent specific to eleuthro named ciwujianoside is a mast cell stabilizers that reduces histamine release provoked by immunoglobulins thus reducing inflammation related to immune system imbalances.

Eleuthero’s stimulatory activities protect our bodies from environmental toxins as demonstrated by granulocyte and carbon clearance tests and have been shown to protect against pathogens and toxins. . Eleuthero has also been shown to significantly increase the number of immune-competent cells, particularly T helper lymphocytes, as well as cytotoxic and natural killer cells. It is thought that Eleuthero further impacts the immune system by helping to protect the body from immunosuppressive and toxic compounds.

Stamina & Energy

Eleuthro has long been used by athletes to increase stamina and decrease recovery time and is suggested that its anti-oxidant qualities contribute to anti-fatigue effects. Studies show that eleuthero improves stamina by enabling skeletal muscle to better use lipids and spare glycogen, thereby reducing lactic acid buildup and increasing oxygen saturation and blood glucose and free fatty acid availability in situations of heavy exertion, improving lipid utilization and boosting cardiovascular metabolism. Further insight shows that eleuthro supports the lowering of lactatic acid and blood urea nitrogen thus protecting the muscles from damage following intense physical exertion; this allows for speedy recovery times from intense exercise for athletes. Eleutherococcus are based on its antioxidant mechanisms, providing protection from numerous cytokines and inflammatory mediators

Pain Syndromes

In traditional Chinese medicine Wu Jia Pi is considered a warm herb that treats Kidney and Spleen Yang deficiencies resulting in fatigue, sore back and knees, or heavy aching muscles.

Liver Health

Recent studies have shown that eleuthro protects against hypertension, and hepatitis, both related to Liver health in Chinese medicine.

Aging

Because eleuthro has demonstrated numerous neuroprotective properties via anti-inflammatory effects while preventing neuritic plaque deposits, atrophy, and synaptic loss in the brain; therefore, it is valued for protecting memory during aging and preventing dementia.

Contra-indications: None known

References:

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Chen, J. K. and Chen, T. T. (2003) Chinese Medical Herbology and Pharmacology. Art of Medicine Press. Pages 930-934.

Bensky, D., Gamble, A. (1986) Chinese herbal medicine: Materia medica. Seattle, WA: Eastland Press. Pages 331-332

Wang, Y., Sheir,W., OnoM. Ancient Wisdom, Modern Kitchen: Recipes from the East for Health, Healing. (2010) Da Capo Press 

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