A generally energizing herb that encourages resilience in times of pressure and stress, Eleuthero is supportive of our endocrine systems, promotes healthy circulation and increases stamina. Read on for more about the incredible qualities of this potent herb.
Common Name: Eleuthero, Siberian Ginseng
Latin Name: Eleutherococcus senticosus
Precautions: Should only be taken by adults. Limit usage to 1-3 months at a time. Avoid if you have hypertension. Can be too warming or stimulating for some people, especially during warmer months of the year.
General Characteristics: Hardy and deciduous shrub. Can grow up to 10 feet tall. Has 3-7 toothed leaflets on each stem.
Eleuthero’s Medicinal Powers
One of the primary ways to interact with Eleuthero is through their adaptogenic function. An adaptogen is an herb that encourages an increase in bodily resistance and vitality to help the body adapt to the effects of longterm and environmental stress.
This is a powerful tonic herb, particularly for our adrenal glands. When taken over time, this herb can improve our mental resilience to deal with pressure and hardship. Eleuthero is great for safely increasing stamina in response to undue demands and stress. This stamina-increasing function makes Eleuthero a good ally for athletes and all people working to increase their physical endurance, strength and performance.
In addition to supporting the adrenals, Eleuthero also acts on the hypothalamus and has a mildly normalizing effect on the endocrine system. It also appears that this herb can help regulate the thyroid, balancing both high and low thyroid issues. Eleuthero can also improve sexual function and is described as helping people to be more receptive, relaxed and gentle.
Eleuthero has a generally stimulating function, but they can have a more relaxing effect and work as a sedative for some people. This punctuates the fact that each body is unique and it's important to pay attention to how herbs impact you personally. This herb can be overstimulating if too much is taken by someone who doesn’t need it and it is generally recommended to not take this herb for longer than 1-3 months at a time.
They are a gently warming herb and can stimulate circulation to the peripheries while reducing excess internal heat. However, this herb can be too warming in the summertime so just listen to your body. Eleuthero is also known to help people who are sensitive to temperature changes, especially people who get very cold in the winter.
This herb is a great ally for brain fog by increasing our energy and focus. Eleuthero is also a good helper for debility, nervous exhaustion and depression and can help alleviate low vitality and a lack of endurance. They are also a great help for recovering for convalescence after a period of being sick. Eleuthero is also immune enhancing, further boosting our ability to recover. Increasing our cortisone secretion, Eleuthero also helps with adrenal fatigue and can even alleviate dark circles under the eyes.
Eleuthero increases our body’s ability to resist harm and is a great herb for helping the body handle and respond to overwork, extreme temperatures, infection, and other physical stresses, including exposure to toxic chemicals and radiation. They are also known to help support vitality and healthy function for individuals undertaking chemotherapy. For some people, Eleuthero can help lessen the side effects of chemotherapy and facilitate overall comfort. However, please always consult a qualified healthcare provider before mixing herbal remedies with medical treatments, as there can be dangerous side effects. Eleuthero is a strong herb that can have an overstimulating impact on the body if not taken properly.
A superb aid for circulatory issues of many kinds, they can improve blood circulation and cardiovascular health. Eleuthero also helps to normalize and balance blood pressure and blood sugar. They can help to reduce swelling and are helpful for edema and cold, damp buildup in the legs. This herb can also help alleviate difficult urination, angina, shortness of breath, heart palpitations, headaches and dizziness. Wow!
Medicine Making with Eleuthero
Not all teas are created equal - when using water to extract medicine from herbs, it is important to know the most effective method depending on the part(s) of the plant you're using.
For roots, seeds, berries and bark, decoctions are the preferred method. This involves boiling the herb over heat for an extended period of time, which allows more medicine to be extracted from the tougher parts of a plant. The boiling breaks down the cell wall and exposes more nutrients to your medicine.
Standard decoction instructions:
Add 1 teaspoon to 1 tablespoon of dried herbs to 1 cup boiling water (for a quart - 2 tbsps herb per 1/4c water)
Simmer on low, covered, for 10-20 minutes
Turn off heat and steep covered for an additional 10 minutes
Herbal Apprentice Program
If you're interested in learning how to work with herbs to be a healed healer, Artemisia Academy has an incredible Herbal Apprentice Program. I recently completed it and had my mind blown open learning about Eleuthero and many other herbs. You also get to learn how to make medicine, work with clients, develop your plant identification skills and form intuitive and reciprocal relationships with the plants we work with.
The information I shared in this post comes from my own relationship with Eleuthero, Artemisia Academy’s classes, David Hoffman's Complete Illustrated Holistic Herbal and Medical Herbalism, Michael Tierra's Planetary Herbology, Matthew Wood's Earthwise Herbal, Richo Cech's Making Plant Medicine, Gazmend Sender's Herbal Vade Mecum, and Andrew Chevallier’s Encyclopedia of Herbal Medicine.
About the Author
Alicia Cielle Heiser is an Astrologer, Herbalist and student at Artemisia Academy. Her work centers on facilitating a greater understanding of the cyclical nature of the world and the ways that we as humans fit within the greater whole. She is writing a series of materia medica blog posts for Artemisia to make the wisdom and knowledge of herbal medicine more available to more people. Alicia also offers herbal astrology readings and you can find her at www.aliciacielle.com.
Disclaimer: Information presented on this webpage is for educational purposes only, and does not include the diagnosis and treatment of disease nor replace the advice of a licensed physician. Please refer to a licensed health professional for any illness or persistent symptoms before using herbal remedies.
Herbs can sometimes cause discomfort or side effects, and may interact adversely with pharmaceutical medications. Do not use herbs internally without the approval of a doctor or medical professional if you are currently on medications or have a history of medical conditions.