Also known as Siberian ginseng, this adaptogen stimulates the immune system and increases energy levels. It has a long tradition of use in China as a general tonic with a protective effect against toxins. According to a Korean study, the polysaccharides in the stems of eleuthero enhance liver function and reduce levels of enzymes and other factors linked to liver disease. In animal studies, eleuthero tempered the effects of a number of toxins, including ethanol and tetanus. And research in Russia indicates that the herb may help the body withstand the effects of chemotherapy.
Eleuthero can be taken for detoxification following the use of liver-stressing medications like statins or when liver enzymes are high. The typical dose is up to 3 grams of dry root per day for up to a month or up to 16 milliliters of extract one to three times daily for up to two months. Side effects, while uncommon, may include drowsiness, anxiety, irritability, headache, and depression. Those who are pregnant, nursing, feverish, or hypertensive should avoid eleuthero.