Eleutherococcus spinosa – Eleutherococcus spinosa

Name: Eleutherococcus prickly – Eleutherococcus prickly

Eleutherococcus senticosus (Eleutherococcus senticosus); prickly wild berry, devil’s bush; Arali family (Agaliaceae); Eleutherococcus spinosa


In the Far East, local residents call this plant the devil’s bush. It is very beautiful, especially in the season of fruiting, but the trunk and branches, on which there are black globular fruits, are densely covered with numerous thin, very sharp thorns, which, moreover, are easily broken off. Spiny plant!

Eleutherococcus usually reaches a height of 2-2.5 m, but sometimes, under favorable conditions, it grows up to 5 m. The plant has well-developed horizontal underground shoots that depart from the mother bush to the side for a distance of up to 5 m and give above-ground, the same prickly sprouts. Eleutherococcus roots extend underground up to 30 m. The leaves are five-fingered, long-petioled. The leaves are large, elliptical or obovate, with a wedge-shaped base, toothed, pointed at the end. Flowers are small, unisexual or bisexual; collected in a spherical umbrella inflorescence. Stamen (male) and bisexual flowers – with pale purple petals, and pistillate (female) – with yellowish ones. The flowers have a strong peculiar smell. They bloom in July-August (in their homeland), and in the conditions of culture (in the middle zone of Russia) – in June-July. Fruits are black berry-like drupes of spherical or oval shape.

In its wild state, Eleutherococcus grows on the territory of the Primorsky Krai and the southern part of the Khabarovsk Krai, it is found in the Amur Oblast and on Southern Sakhalin. It grows in Korea, Japan and Northeast China. In the Far Eastern taiga, it occurs in mixed forests – under the forest cover, on forest edges, clearings, old burns, scree, but prefers open places – well lit and with optimal humidity. The plant has been introduced into culture, it is grown in botanical gardens, as well as in private plots (including in Ukraine).

Rhizomes with roots harvested in autumn are used to prepare medicinal products. After digging, they are shaken off the ground, quickly washed in cold running water and laid out for preliminary drying in the open air. After that, the rotten parts are removed, cut into pieces, split lengthwise and dried in attics under an iron roof or in dryers at a temperature of 70-80 °C until the raw material becomes brittle. The plant is used in scientific and folk medicine.

Eleutherococcus roots and rhizomes have a complex chemical composition. They contain 8 glycosides, so-called eleuterosides, coumarin derivatives, flavonoids, essential oil (up to 0.8%), vegetable wax, resins, starch, gums and lipids.

Eleutherococcus is one of the strongest stimulants of the central nervous system. Plant preparations increase mental and physical performance, the body’s resistance to adverse environmental conditions, their use increases visual acuity, improves metabolism and appetite. The use of Eleutherococcus extracts and tablets gives positive results for physical and mental fatigue, exhaustion of the nervous system, which are accompanied by a decrease in work capacity, irritability and insomnia. Plant products are recommended for vegetative neuroses, arrhythmia and functional hypotension, initial forms of atherosclerosis and hypertension. Useful use of Eleutherococcus products after major operations, diabetes, menstrual cycle disorders and sexual infantilism, infertility due to underdevelopment of genitals,

Plant products are categorically contraindicated in myocardial infarction, hypertensive crises, febrile conditions and acute infectious diseases.

Pharmacies sell tablets with dry extract of Eleutherococcus and liquid extract, which can also be prepared at home.

Eleutherococcus liquid extract. Crushed rhizomes with roots insist on 40% alcohol (vodka) in a ratio of 1:1. Take 25-30 drops half an hour before meals.

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