Eleuthero vs. Ginseng: Key Differences Explained

Eleuthero and ginseng are two herbs that are often confused with each other because of their similar adaptogenic benefits. In this article, we compare eleuthero vs. ginseng. There are, however, …

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Written by: Daniel Powers, MSc
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Eleuthero and ginseng are two herbs that are often confused with each other because of their similar adaptogenic benefits. In this article, we compare eleuthero vs. ginseng.

There are, however, key differences between these plants that you should be familiar with before making a selection.

In this article, we’ll compare the differences and similarities between eleuthero and ginseng.

eleuthero vs. ginseng

Eleuthero Overview & Uses:

Eleuthero is a plant that’s native to northern Asia. This herb has a few different names, depending on what part of the world you’re from. Its various names include Siberian ginseng, ciwujia (Chinese), and eleutherococcus.

In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), eleuthero was used to promote vitality, strengthen the spleen, boost the kidney, and relax the mind.

According to recent studies, it may help to enhance energy and physical endurance while also aiding the immune system.

1. Stress Management

Eleuthero helps the body build up resilience to stress, this is why it is categorized as an adaptogen.

That said, stress resilience is a difficult thing to test for in a lab setting. That is until the mouse forced swim test was created.

Research shows that eleuthero extract helped mice with a forced swim test recover faster. The group that received eleuthero also demonstrated increased fatty acid β-oxidation activity, according to the researchers.

Other animal studies have found that Siberian ginseng may help to increase resilience to stressors such as temperature extremes (hot or cold), immobilization, trauma, blood loss, and more.

2. May Increase Energy & Stamina

Eleuthero root, also known as eleutherococcus, has been commonly used to increase energy and physical endurance.

According to research, eleuthero may boost physical work capacity. This study included 6 healthy male athletes and revealed that eleuthero improved their physical work capacity by 23%. Although the study was small, the findings are encouraging.

Another study showed that Eleutherococcus 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.

3. Immune System Support

Eleuthero may have immunostimulant effects, according to a new study.

A small study of 10 healthy people revealed that Siberian ginseng root influenced cytokine activity. Cytokines are protein molecules that signal the immune system and can be measured as cytokines.

In another study, eleuthero root was observed to enhance immune function in cancer patients. Furthermore, this study discovered that the healthy control group also obtained immunostimulating effects.

Learn more about the health benefits of eleuthero in our in-depth article.

Ginseng Overview & Uses:

Ginseng is a traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) adaptogen that has been used for millennia.

Ginseng is regarded to be an essential herb in TCM for increasing longevity and energy.

It should be stated that there are two types of ginseng, Asian Ginseng (Panax ginseng) and American Ginseng (panax quinquefolius). You can read our in-depth article about the differences between these two different types of ginseng here.

These two types of ginseng, although distinct, provide similar health advantages, so we will combine their benefits in this article. However, we’ll primarily focus on the benefits of American Ginseng since it’s more readily available.

Research shows that ginseng may provide a variety of benefits, including blood sugar regulation, cognitive function, and heart health.

1. May Support Cognitive Function

Ginseng has long been recognized for its neuroprotective effects.

In a clinical trial, individuals who took American ginseng extract had improved working memory, reaction time, and sense of calm.

2. Antimicrobial Properties

Many of the phytochemicals found in ginseng are antibacterial and antifungal, according to researchers.

According to researchers, ginseng contains a class of phytochemicals known as Ginsenosides that have anti-staphylococcal activity. Ginseng leaves, roots, and hairy root cultures were found to contain antibacterial phytochemicals as well.

3. May Support Blood Sugar Regulation

Ginseng has been shown in several studies to aid in blood sugar regulation.

American ginseng has been found to promote glucose and insulin sensitivity in an in vitro study, according to experts. It’s thought that this mechanism might be beneficial for lowering blood sugar levels.

A clinical examination of American ginseng taken with a meal revealed that it reduced blood sugar spikes by 20% in non-diabetic and diabetic individuals.

Eleuthero vs. Ginseng: Similarities & Differences

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

First off, 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 daily stress.

It should be noted that ginseng, especially American ginseng, is a strong adaptogen that works to build resilience in the body by regulating the HPA axis (your stress command center). It’s great for individuals who are going through deep stressful periods in life.

Ginseng also energizes the brain and supports heart health and blood sugar regulation. It’s more of a “jack of all trades” type of herb.

American ginseng also has anti-aging effects, it’s been noted that it’s useful for people aged forty to sixty who are starting to notice a decrease in endurance, energy, and overall strength.

Eleuthero on the other hand is mild as an adaptogen, and not particularly nourishing. It can be used in both men and women and is most appropriate for younger people (fifteen to forty years old) who are experiencing greater-than-normal stress.

It is unlikely to cause overstimulation and can be taken over long periods of time.

Eleuthero, or Siberian ginseng as it’s called, is great for athletes looking to increase performance, or for individuals with labor-intensive jobs that are looking for a boost.

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

Can You Take Eleuthero and Ginseng Together?

Yes, you can take eleuthero and ginseng 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. They also have synergy in that they both can help to improve cognitive function and build resilience to stress.

Ginseng vs. Eleutherococcus: Which is right for you?

Ginseng is an energizing herb that helps to correct a variety of other health complaints (blood sugar, heart health, anti-aging, etc…).

Ginseng is great for individuals with deep levels of stress that need adaptogen support. It’s also great for re-building strength and energy for healthy aging.

Whereas eleuthero root is more of a mild herb with an energizing effect on the body and brain. It also has immune-boosting properties.

If you need multi-faceted stress support, then ginseng may be right for you.

If you primarily need help with increasing your physical energy, then eleuthero is a great option.

Ginseng Might Be Right For You If:

•You work a physical job and need all-day energy

•You need help with stabilizing your blood sugar

•You are looking to regain energy as you age

Eleuthero Might Be Right For You If:

•You need an energy boost

•Your immune system is feeling run down

•You are looking to increase athletic performance

Potential Side Effects & Interactions:

Ginseng is typically well-tolerated, especially at low-to-moderate doses.

However, it’s been noted by researchers that high doses of American ginseng can interfere with how your body utilizes the medication warfarin. If you take blood-thinning drugs, like Coumadin®, it’s best to avoid taking ginseng.

You can find a full safety profile review of Ginseng here.

Eleuthero is also a relatively safe herb to take.

A clinical trial (with over 4,000 patients) reported no significant adverse effects of taking eleuthero root. This shows that eleuthero is generally well tolerated.

It’s important to talk with your personal health practitioner about these supplements before using them since they have the potential to interfere with certain medications.

Conclusion:

Both of these herbs are generally well tolerated and safe to consume.

You might find that one works better than the other or vice versa! Or, try them together and see if you get 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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