Siberian ginseng is an herbal supplement that is popular for increasing mental and physical ability. The herbal extract is made from the root of the plant species Eleutherococcus senticosus, commonly known as Siberian ginseng; this type of ginseng root contains compounds called eleutherosides from which the ginseng benefits are said to come. The benefits of Siberian ginseng are thought to include improved immune response, improved memory, and greater overall health.
The benefits of Siberian ginseng come from active chemical compounds known as eleutherosides. Eleutherosides are thought to strengthen the body's immune response; a weakened immune system cannot hold up when attacked by viral or bacterial infections. Many alternative medicine practitioners claim that taking Siberian ginseng will improve overall health, but these statements have not been scientifically established.
Traditionally, Siberian ginseng has been used to fight colds and flus while increasing overall physical health. Though some studies have been done on the effectiveness of Siberian ginseng for these uses, conclusive evidence will require further scientific investigation. Another treatment area that is being studied is herpes, and there is some indication that taking this herb may lessen the severity and length of herpes outbreaks. Another one of the benefits of Siberian ginseng is improved memory and mental function, and many people consume it to sharpen their minds, improve focus, and increase memory retention.
As a tonic and adaptogen, some of the benefits of Siberian ginseng include improved physical health and the ability to fight infection. Adaptogens are chemical compounds found in herbs and foods that help the body to adapt to and deal with stress. Many people take Siberian ginseng as a daily tonic to help improve overall physical ability, muscle strength, and endurance.
Siberian ginseng supplements are available as liquid extracts; tinctures; or powdered root, either loose or in capsules. As with any herbal supplement, quality is important and not always consistent. Herbs should always be purchased by reputable distributors. It also is important to note that "herbal" and "natural" does not always mean safe. Before taking a Siberian ginseng supplement, possible contraindications with other medications or health conditions should be discussed with a medical professional.
Native to Russia, the Siberian ginseng plants grow 6 to 10 feet (about 1.8 to 3 m) tall. They are harvested specifically for the unique eleutheroside compounds in their roots. Siberian ginseng is not related to two other popular ginseng supplements with similar names: American ginseng, often called Panax quinquefolius, and Asian ginseng, also known as Panax ginseng.