Eleutherococcus senticosus (Rupr. & Maxim.) Maxim.

Last updated: 7 April 2016

Scientific Name

Eleutherococcus senticosus (Rupr. & Maxim.) Maxim.


Acanthopanax asperatus Franch. & Sav. Acanthopanax senticosus (Rupr. & Maxim.) Harms Eleutherococcus asperatus (Franch. & Sav.) Koidz. Hedera senticosa Rupr. & Maxim. [1]

Vernacular Name

English Devil’s shrub, prickly eleutherococcus, siberian ginseng, touch me not [2], eleuthero, eleuthero ginseng, ussurian thorny pepperbush [3]
China Ci wu jia [2][3].

Geographical Distributions

Eleutherococus senticocus are native in china, north America, rusia, japan and korea. [3]

Botanical Description

E. senticocus is a member of Araliaceae. E. senticocus is a shrub that grows from 3 to 15 feet in height. [3]

The stems are covered with slender, bristle prickles, sharp pointed and usually backward-curved. [3]

The leaves are divided into five or three elliptical-ovate to obovate leaflets. [3]

The leaflets are double-sharp serrate and narrowed at the base about 3-5 inches long. [3]


E. senticocus prefer cool climate and can grow in full sun or partial shade. The plant is suitable to be planted in moderately rich and well-drained soil [2]. The bark is harvested in late summer or autumn. The roots are dug when the plant is dormant. Lateral rootlets are cut away and the roots are cleaned. The cortex of the root is retained, and the wood is discarded. However, on the American market most of the root material sold includes the whole cut or ground root of the shrub, rather than just the desirable cortex. [3]

Chemical Constituent

No documentation

Plant Part Used

Root, root bark [4]

Traditional Use

It is believe to treating rheumatoid arthritis, kidney pain and lower back pain. [3] The use of E. senticocus root dates back 2,000 years in the records of Chinese medicine. It was used for respiratory tract infections, as well as colds and influenza. [3] The Chinese also believed that E. senticocus provided energy and vitality. In Russia, E. senticocus was originally used by the Siberian people to increase physical performance and to increase the quality of life and decrease infections. E. senticocus has been studied extensively since the 1940s. The root has been found to have many adaptogenic benefits. [5][6]. E. senticocus has been reported to increase stamina and endurance and protect the body systems against stress-induced illness. [7][8]. It is thought that Soviet Olympic athletes used E. senticocus successfully to enhance sports performance and concentration.

E. senticocus root is frequently prescribed in Europe and Russia as an herbal "tonic," improving immune function and general well-being. It has been classified as an "adaptogen," meaning a substance that increases nonspecific resistance of the body to a wide range of chemical, physical, psychological and biological factors (stressors). Adaptogens have the unique ability to switch from stimulating to sedating effects based on the body's needs. According to tradition and the literature, E. senticocus possesses this kind of balancing, tonic, antistress action on the body. The chief component in eleuthero that has the adaptogenic ability has been found to be the E. senticocus content, and high quality preparations are standardized or guaranteed to have a certain amount of this compound. [9] Also, polysaccharides in eleuthero play a role in its support of immune function. [10]

Preclinical Data

No documentation

Clinical Data

Clinical findings

E. senticocus extract has been administered in Russia to more than 4300 human subjects in studies involving either healthy or unhealthy individuals. E. senticocus has been reported to increases physical endurance under stress [10], increases mental alertness [11][12], increases work output and quality of work, decreases sick days. [11], increases athletic performance [10], protects against reduced cellular oxygen [11], as cardioprotective [13], and neuroprotection [14], protects against excessive heat and cold conditions [15], protects against radiation exposure and other toxins such as chemotherapeutic agents and alcohol [16][17], protects against viral and microbial infections, enhances immunity [18][19], aids general health of patients with chronic illnesses such as atherosclerosis [11], acute pyelonephritis [20], diabetes mellitus [21], hypertension and hypotension [22], acute craniocerebral trauma, neuroses [11] rheumatic heart disease [11] and chronic fatigue syndrome [23], promotes normal endocrine function [11][24], improves visual acuity, colour perception, and hearing acuity. [25]

Side effects

E. senticocus has been reported in clinical studies with only minor side effects, but there are reports of hypertension, insomnia, irritability, anxiety and tachycardia in rare instances. [11]

Pregnancy/Breast Feeding

Use is contraindicated in pregnancy and lactation. [13]


Dosage Range

0.5-6 mL (standardized extract), 2-3 times daily. A regimen of 4 weeks on, 2 weeks off is recommended for maximum benefits. [3]

Poisonous Management

No documentation

Line drawing

No documentation


  1. The Plant List. Ver1.1. Aeginetia indica L. [homepage on the Internet]. c2013 [updated 2012 Mar 23; cited 2015 May 29]. Available from: http://www.theplantlist.org/tpl1.1/record/kew-66477
  2. Quattrocchi U. CRC world dictionary of medicinal and poisonous plants: Common names, scientific names, eponyms, synonyms, and etymology. Volume IV E-L. Boca Raton, Florida: CRC Press, 2012; p. 39.
  3. Foster S, Chongxi Y. Herbal emissaries: Bringing Chinese herbs to the west. Rochester, Vermont: Healing Arts Press, 1992; p. 73-79.
  4. Michael M. Botanical safety handbook. Boca Raton: CRC Press, 1997; p. 45.
  5. Brekhman II, Maianskiĭ GM. Eleutherococcus-A means of increasing the nonspecific resistance of the organism. Izv Akad Nauk SSSR Biol. 1965;5:762-765. Russian.
  6. Brekhman II, Kirillov OI. Effect of Eleutherococcus on alarm-phase of stress. Life Sci. 1969;8(3):113-121.
  7. Fulder SJ. Ginseng and the hypothalamic-pituitary control of stress. Am J Chin Med. 1981;9(2):112-118.
  8. Asano K, Takahashi T, Miyashita M, et al. Effect of Eleutherococcus senticosus extract on human physical working capacity. Planta Med; 1986;3:175-177.
  9. Collisson RJ. Siberian ginseng (Eleutherococcus senticosus). Br J Phytotherapy. 1991;2:61-71.
  10. Hikino H, Takahashi M, Otake K, Konno C. Isolation and hypoglycemic activity of eleutherans A, B, C, D, E, F and G: Glycans of Eleutherococcus senticosus Roots. J Nat Prod. 1986;49(2):293-297.
  11. Farnsworth NR, Kinghorn AD, Soejarto DD, Waller DP. Siberian ginseng (Eleutherococcus senticosus): Current status as an adaptogen. In: Economics and medicinal plant research. Volume 1. London: Academic Press; 1985; p. 155-209.
  12. Panossian A, Wikman G. Evidence-based efficacy of adaptogens in fatigue, and molecular mechanisms related to their stress-protective activity. Curr Clin Pharmacol. 2009;4(3):198-219.
  13. Chan LY, Chiu PY, Lau TK. An in-vitro study of ginsenoside Rb1-induced teratogenicity using a whole rat embryo culture model. Hum Reprod. 2003;18(10):2166-2168.
  14. Bocharov EV, Kucherianu VG, Bocharova OA, Karpova RV. Neuroprotective features of phytoadaptogens. Vestn Ross Akad Med Nauk. 2008;(4):47-50. Russian.
  15. Novozhilov GN, Sil'chenko KK. Mechanism of adaptogenic effect of Eleutherococcus on the human body during thermal stress. Fiziol Checloveka. 1985;11(2):303-306. Russian.
  16. Minkova M, Pantev T. Effect of Eleutherococcus extract on the radioprotective action of adeturone. Acta Physiol Pharmacol Bulg. 1987;13(4):66-70.
  17. Tenchova VB, Pantev TP. Changes in hemopoiesis in the rat as a result of combined exposure to acceleration, irradiation and radiation-modifying agents. Kosm Biol Aviakosm Med. 1987;21(2):85-86.
  18. Bohn B, Nebe CT, Birr C. Flow-cytometric studies with Eleutherococcus senticosus extract as an immunomodulatory agent. Arzneimittelforschung. 1987;37(10):1193-1196.
  19. Kupin VI, Polevaia EB. Stimulation of the immunological reactivity of cancer patients by Eleutherococcus extract. Vopr Onkol. 1986;32(7):21-26.
  20. Boino-Iasenetskii AM. Eleutherococcus extract in the treatment of acute pyelonephritis. Urol Nefrol. (Mosk). 1996;31(6):21-23.
  21. Molokovskii DS, Davydov VV, Tiulenev VV. The action of adaptogenic plant preparations in experimental alloxan diabetes. Probl Endokrinol (Mosk). 1989;35(6):82-87.
  22. Kaloeva ZD. Effect of the glycosides of Eleutherococcus senticosus on the hemodynamic indices of children with hypotensive states. Farmakol Toksikol. 1986;49(5):73. Russian.
  23. Hartz AJ. Randomized controlled trial of Siberian ginseng for chronic fatigue. Psychol Med. 2004;34(1):51-61.
  24. Filaretov AA, Bogdanova TS, Mitiushov MI, Podvigina TT, Srailova GT. Effect of adaptogens on the activity of the pituitary-adrenocortical system in rats. Biull Eksp Biol Med. 1986;101(5):573-574.
  25. Sosnova TL. The effect of Eleutherococcus spinosus on the color discrimination function of the visual analyzer in persons with normal trichromatic vision. Vestn Oftalmol. 1969;82(5):59-61.