Chinese Name : 五加蔘
Latin Name : Radix Acanthopanax Senticosus
This herb is the dried root and rhizome of acanthopanax senticosus of the family araliaceae. It grows in abundance in northeastern China, particularly in the Heilongjiang province, as well as Inner Mongolia, North Korea, and Siberia. The varicties of Siberian ginseng Eleutherococcus henry and E. senticosus, are known to most Westeners. The Chinese variety of Siberian ginseng, or wu jia shen, is not well known; it is a tonic herb for Qi and an effective antifatigue herb. It is also recommended for rheumatism, bone or tendon pain, general debility, and weakened immunity. Siberian ginseng is an adaptogenic and an effective, antiaging medicinal herb.
Use of Siberian Ginseng in TCM
Acrid and slightly bitter in taste, it acts on the spleen, kidney, and heart meridians.
Effects, Medicinal Uses, and Combinations
- Invigorates Qi and nourishes the spleen; it is used for weakness, fatigue, lassitude, anorexia, insomnia, sleep with dreams, forgetfulness, and palpitations as a result of weakness of the spleen and Qi Siberian ginseng can be used alone in a decoction, in a tincture, in an extract such as Wu Jia Shen Gao (R-7), or in combination with schisandra fruit and other tonic herbs.
- Nourishes the kidneys and tranquilizes the Spirit: for male sexual disorders, impotence, spermatorrhea, and aches and pains in the loins and knees due to kidney deficiency, or mental disturbance, Siberian ginseng is prescribed with processed rehmannia root, eucommia bark, dodder seed, and rosa cherokee fruit.
- Expel pathogenic Wind and eliminates Dampness: to treat arthritis, rheumatic arthralgia, and numbness of limbs, Siberian ginseng can be used alone in a decoction or in combination with milletia (ji xue teng), dried (chaenomeles) papaya fruit, and clematis root (wei ling xian).
- Strengthens the immune system and improves resistance: to treat white blood cell loss in cancer patients caused by the side effects of chemotherapy, or intoxication of noxious chemicals (such as pyridoxine or benzeme fumes), Siberian ginseng extract, or Wu Jia Shen Gao (R-7), can be used to strengthen immunity, and boost detoxification.
In a decoction of 9 to 30 g, or 0.5 g powdered extract.
People who are yin deficient or yang hyperactive should use Ci Wu Jia with care.
Side Effects and Toxicity
No undesirable side effects or toxicity were reported at the therapeutic doses in classical Chinese materia medica.
Wu jia shen contains six glycosides, including beta-sitostinal, eluth-erosides A, B, C, D, E, F, secamin, ethyl-beta-d-galactoside, and isofraxidin.
- Adaptogenic effect: Siberian ginseng, or wu jia shen (ci wu jia), has even stronger adaptogenic activity than Panax ginseng. An adaptogen is a subtance that causes “a state of nonspecific incresed resistance” (SNIR) to adverse stresses of various origin. An effective adaptogen must (1) be innocuous and safe, (2) have antistress activity, and (3) posses normalizing and protective properties. According to published results, ginseng, Siberian ginseng, and Chinese schisandra fruits meet all the fundamental requirements necessary to be classified as adaptogens.
- Antifatigue and antistress properties in Siberian ginseng are stronger than in Panax ginseng. Also, a noticeable sedative effort on the central nervous system may occur.
- Regulates endocrine secretions, adrenal cortex, and blood sugar levels.
- Increases the immune activity of the body, and it has a protective effect againts radiation and toxic chemicals that cause loss of white blood cells.
- Stimulates adrenal and sex hormone production, and is gonadotrophic.
- The German Commission E, on the basis of studies conducted concluded that eleutherosides were an effective tonic.
- Analgesic and anti-inflammatory
Wu jia shen is a sedative and is able to help patients suffering from sleep difficulties. The root is used to treat a wide spectrum of ailments in the nervous, cardiovascular, and endocrine systems. It helps adjust blood sugar levels, and is used to treat sexual debility.