Eleutherococcus, or free berry

Pharmacy name: Eleutherococcus root – Eleutherococci radix (formerly: Radix Eleutherococci).

Botanical description. Eleutherococcus grows in the south of the Far East, in Russia – in the Khabarovsk and Primorsky Territories, the Amur Region and on Sakhalin Island. This shrub plant reaches a height of 3-5 m, sometimes 7 m. The stem branches little and is covered with thorns; leaflets of 5-membered compound leaves resemble cherry leaves. Small yellow flowers are collected in a spherical inflorescence; fruits are black, fragrant.

Collection and preparation. At the end of the growing season, the underground part of older plants is dug up, all adhering soil is carefully removed and dried in the air. Pharmaceutical goods are most often materials from natural habitats, however, the demand for eleutherococcus is so great that in recent times cultural plantings of this plant have been made.

Active ingredients: triterpensaponins, eleutherosides, lignans.

Healing action and application.Our medicine mainly uses alcohol extracts from Eleutherococcus root in the form of mixtures with a pleasant taste. Like ginseng, eleutherococcus is gaining more and more fame as a miraculous product, although this is unreasonable. Substances contained in Eleutherococcus act as non-specific irritants. A general tonic effect, an increase in working capacity and an activation of the body’s defenses under their influence cannot be denied, but everything else must be taken with great caution. This is especially true of the recommendation of this plant to combat diabetes and cancer. True, it is increasingly being confirmed that eleutherococcus normalizes blood pressure, and the fact that people, especially the elderly, feel better after taking it is probably not just a fantasy.

Side effects. There is no reason to fear Eleutherococcus poisoning, unpleasant side effects are unknown. It is contraindicated in patients with very high blood pressure, in patients with high fever and who have had a heart attack.

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