Eleuthero Root Extract
Eleuthero is sold in the United States as "Siberian Ginseng" (E. senticosus (Rupr. et Maxim.) Maxim., family Araliaceae). It is known in China as ci wu jia. The plant is a spiny-stemmed shrub found in northeast Asia and Japan, and is presently prescribed for medicinal use in France, Germany, Russia, and China. The part used consists of the dried roots and root bark. Eleuthero has been used in China as a folk remedy for bronchitis, heart ailments, and rheumatism, and as a tonic to restore vigor, improve general health, restore memory, promote healthy appetite, and increase stamina (Foster, 1996). The term "adaptogen" was coined by a Soviet researcher to describe eleuthero's ability to increase "non-specific" resistance in an organism and to help modulate stress and improve performance under stressful conditions. Much of the scientific literature published in China still employs the former Latin binomial Acanthopanax senticosus. There is a relatively small number of controlled clinical trials performed with eleuthero. A single-blind, placebo-controlled, crossover trial lasting eight days investigated the effect of eleuthero extract (2 ml, twice daily) on working capacity and fatigue of six male athletes, ages 21â€“22. Oxygen uptake, heart rate, total work, and exhaustion time were measured. Significant results were observed in all parameters, particularly the 23.3% increase in total work noted in the eleuthero test group compared with 7.5% of the placebo group (Asano et al., 1986). An eight-week double-blind, placebo-controlled study evaluated the efficacy of eleuthero extract (3.4 ml daily) on submaximal and maximal exercise performance of 20 highly trained distance runners. No significant difference was observed between test and control groups in heart rate, oxygen consumption, expired minute volume, respiratory exchange ratio, perceived exertion, and serum lactate levels (Dowling et al., 1996).