Siberian ginseng, also called eleuthero, is a different plant from American or Asian ginseng and has a different active ingredient and potential health benefits. It may help give your immune system a boost or increase your energy levels, but it does have some potential side effects, and the evidence for any benefit is still limited, so don't take Siberian ginseng without first consulting your doctor.
Stop the Sniffles
Taking Siberian ginseng within three days of the start of cold symptoms may help make your cold shorter and less severe, especially if you take it with another herb called andrographis, which is used in Asian traditional medicine. You need to take the herb for four or five days to get the maximum effect, but symptoms may start to lessen within two days. This herbal medicine may also help make the flu go away faster, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center.
Siberian ginseng may also help limit fatigue in people with chronic fatigue syndrome. A study published in "Psychological Medicine" in January 2004 found that although this herb wasn't effective in treating all people with chronic fatigue, it appeared to have a beneficial effect for people with less severe fatigue after two months of use.
Taking Siberian ginseng may limit the number and severity of outbreaks you have if you suffer from genital herpes. This herb may also help you to be more mentally alert, although the evidence for this is limited, since research is still in the preliminary stages. Although some people think the herb improves physical stamina, the evidence for this is inconclusive, as studies have had mixed results, with most of the research showing no benefit, according to the American Cancer Society.
As with many herbal medicines, potential side effects are possible with the use of Siberian ginseng, including drowsiness, diarrhea, nervousness, insomnia, high blood pressure, nosebleeds, headache, vomiting, confusion and an irregular heartbeat. If you have high blood pressure, a heart problem, a hormone-sensitive condition like breast cancer, a mental problem or if you are pregnant, you shouldn't take this herbal medicine. Siberian ginseng can also interact with medications including blood thinners, sedatives, diabetes medications, lithium, digoxin and corticosteroids, causing adverse effects. Andographis can cause rash, diarrhea, nausea, fatigue, headache, sore lymph nodes and allergic reactions and also may interact with anti-clotting, blood pressure and chemotherapy medications.
Based in Massachusetts, Jessica Bruso has been writing since 2008. She holds a master of science degree in food policy and applied nutrition and a bachelor of arts degree in international relations, both from Tufts University.