Eleuthero vs. Ashwagandha: Differences Explained

Ashwagandha and eleuthero are two herbs that are often confused with each other because of their similar adaptogenic properties. However, there are certain distinctions between these plants that you should …

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Written by: Daniel Powers, MSc
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Ashwagandha and eleuthero are two herbs that are often confused with each other because of their similar adaptogenic properties.

However, there are certain distinctions between these plants that you should be aware of before choosing one or the other.

In this article, we’ll compare the differences between eleuthero and ashwagandha, as well as their similarities.

eleuthero compared with ashwagandha

Ashwagandha Overview & Uses:

Ashwagandha is a well-known Ayurvedic herb with adaptogenic qualities. It’s been used in traditional Ayurvedic medicine (in India) for thousands of years.

This herb was used in traditional medicine for its anti-stress and anti-aging effects.

Additionally, ashwagandha has been proven in a number of scientific studies to aid with anxiety, sleep quality, and stress resilience.

1. Improved Sleep Quality

According to clinical trials, ashwagandha may help to improve overall sleep quality and reduce insomnia.

In individuals with poor sleep quality, researchers have found that ashwagandha significantly enhanced sleep quality.

Another study found that ashwagandha helps to improve sleep quality in healthy individuals as well as individuals with insomnia.

2. May Help With Mild Anxiety

According to clinical trials, ashwagandha appears to help with anxiety and overall mental health.

A clinical trial found that 300mg (daily) of ashwagandha helped to lower self-reported stress levels in individuals with a high degree of stress.

Another clinical trial found that ashwagandha reduced anxiety in the study participants, as measured by a number of anxiety measures.

3. May Have Anti-Stress Benefits

As an adaptogen, ashwagandha has anti-stress qualities, which means it may be able to assist with stress reduction.

In a clinical study, ashwagandha was tested for its ability to reduce stress in individuals with minor stress disorders. Ashwagandha was shown to help people cope with stress and anxiety.

This study, as well as other studies, suggests that ashwagandha may be a great natural way to fight the negative effects of stress.

You can learn more about ashwagandha in our in-depth article here.

Eleuthero Overview & Uses:

Eleuthero is a shrub that’s native to northeast Asia. This herb has a variety of different common names, including Siberian ginseng, eleutherococcus, and ciwujia (Chinese).

Eleuthero was utilized in traditional Chinese medicine to nourish qi, strengthen the spleen, tonify the kidney, and relax the mind.

Modern research indicates that it may help to improve energy and physical stamina, as well as support the immune system.

1. Energy & Stamina

Eleuthero root, also known as Siberian ginseng, has been commonly used to boost energy and physical endurance.

Research shows that eleuthero may be able to help increase physical work capacity. This study involved 6 healthy male athletes and showed that eleuthero helped to increase physical work capacity by 23%. Although this study was modest, the results are encouraging.

Another study showed that eleuthero supplementation helped to increase VO2 max (12%), endurance (23%), and max highest heart rate reached (4%). This study also found that Eleutherococcus helps to impact metabolism by sparing glycogen.

2. Stress Adaptation

It makes sense that eleuthero helps the body build up resilience to stress since it is an adaptogen.

A recent study showed that eleuthero extract worked to increase the recovery time of mice put through a forced swim test. The researchers also found that the group given eleuthero had increased fatty acid β-oxidation activity.

Other animal studies have found that Siberian ginseng may help to increase resilience to stressors such as cold, heat, immobilization, trauma, blood loss, and more.

3. May Support Immune System Function

According to new research, eleuthero may have immune-boosting effects.

A small study with 10 healthy individuals showed that eleutherococcus root influenced cytokine activity. Cytokines are small protein molecules that work to signal the immune system.

Another study found that eleuthero produced an immune-boosting effect in cancer patients. In addition, this study also found that the healthy control group received immune-boosting effects as well.

Learn more about the benefits of eleuthero.

Eleuthero vs. Ashwagandha: Similarities & Differences

When it comes to comparing ashwagandha and eleutherococcus, there are many similarities between these two herbs.

First of all, both herbs are adaptogens, which means they help the body adapt to stress. This makes either herb a great choice for helping to manage the effects of stress.

It should be noted that ashwagandha has more of a calming, anxiolytic effect on the body. This herb is great for people who have sleep issues because it can also increase sleep quality.

Eleuthero has more known for its stimulating, energizing impact on the body. It’s great for athletes looking to increase performance or for individuals with labor-intensive jobs that are looking for a boost.

Eleuthero can also help to increase your immune system function, which makes it a great herb to take during the winter.

Can You Take Ashwagandha and Eleuthero Together?

Yes, you can take eleuthero and ashwagandha together.

These herbs do not have any known negative interactions when taken together.

In fact, these herbs may be a good combination to help the body adapt to stress.

Ashwagandha vs. Eleuthero: Which is right for you?

Ashwagandha can be thought of as a stress-reducing herb that can help you get more restful sleep. The sleep effect is more of a secondary benefit.

Whereas Siberian ginseng is more known for its ability to increase physical energy, it also has an immune-boosting benefit, but this is more of a secondary function.

If you need calming stress support, then ashwagandha may be the right choice for you. Its sleep-supporting effect is also a great side bonus.

If you primarily need help with increasing your physical energy, then eleuthero is a great option. It can also help to modulate your stress response and increase immune system function.

Aswagandha Might Be Right For You If:

•You need deep, relaxed focus

•You occasionally have anxious thoughts

•You struggle with getting quality sleep at night

Eleuthero Might Be Right For You If:

•You need an energy boost

•Your immune system is feeling run down

•You are an athlete looking to increase your recovery

Potential Side Effects & Interactions:

As with all things, herbs have the potential to interact negatively with your body.

Ashwagandha is also generally a well-tolerated herb and is safe to consume.

A safety review study showed that moderate doses (~300mg daily) of ashwagandha do not appear to be associated with any major side effects or adverse reactions.

You can find our full safety profile on ashwagandha here.

Eleuthero is also a relatively safe herb to take.

A clinical trial (with over 4,000 patients) showed that eleuthero was well tolerated with no significant adverse effects.

As with all supplements, it’s best to run them by your personal doctor for feedback prior to ingesting.

Conclusion:

As you can see, both herbs are generally well tolerated and safe to consume.

If you’re trying to decide between the two, consider taking a few weeks to experiment with each herb for yourself before making your final decision.

You might find that one works better than the other or vice versa! Or, try them together and see if your body gets a synergistic effect.

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About Daniel Powers, MSc

Daniel has a master's degree in herbal science from the Maryland University of Integrative Health. He has a passion for herbal medicine and how it can be used to support everyday health & wellness.

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