General Information

Eleutherococcus senticosus is a shrubby member of the ginseng family. Like Astragalus, it is a common Chinese herb and is mentioned in the Shen Nong Ben Cao Jing. A complex taxonomic controversy exists regarding similarities between the Eleutherococcus and Acanthopanax species, however, and it is not certain that the Shen Nong Ben Cao Jing was actually referring to Eleutherococcus senticosus. Some scholars have combined Eleutherococcus and Acanthopanax into the same (Eleutherococcus) genus, while others have recognized Eleutherococcus as a distinct genus. Today, most of the world's scientists refer to the plant as Eleutherococcus senticosus, while Chinese scientists refer to it as Acan-thopanax senticosus. Not until the 1970s, when the plant was imported into the United States as an herbal "adaptogen," was it given the common name Siberian ginseng.3 Extensive clinical research on the plant has been conducted in Russia since the 1950s.56

In Chinese herbal medicine, Eleutherococcus (or Acanthopanax) is used as a qi tonic and as an anti-inflammatory agent in arthritic conditions. The dose is commonly 6 to 15 grams per day of the dried herb in decoction.57 The Russian studies commonly used a 33 percent (1:3) alcohol extract, of which 2 to 16 milliliters were taken 1 to 3 times per day; this dose is roughly equivalent to 1 to 16 grams per day of the dried herb. Treatment was commonly continued for up to 60 days, followed by a rest period of 2 to 3 weeks.56 As noted earlier, some type of treatment-rest schedule may help a The Russian scientist N. V. Lazarev coined the term adaptogen in 1947 to refer to agents that help increase "nonspecific resistance of an organism to adverse influence. "

all compounds we discuss to perform at their best (see Chapter 13). Side effects of Eleutherococcus appear to be minimal at low to moderate doses.

Eleutherococcus may inhibit cancer through several mechanisms. In addition to its affects on the immune system, it may inhibit angiogenesis by reducing histamine availability (see Table 8.3) and may block cancer cell proliferation by inhibiting cyclin-dependent kinases (see Chapter 4). It may also alter the plasma membrane or its components, as suggested by some of the in-vitro studies.

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