Thursday, October 24, 2013

Siberian (Russian Ginseng, Eleuthero) and Menopause


Siberian Ginseng is not actually called Ginseng at all in the modern scientific literature to avoid confusion and mix-up with real Ginseng (Panax Ginseng and American Ginseng). Eleutherococcus senticosus is only distantly related to the true ginseng species and possesses entirely different, unrelated chemical constituents. However, it is still called Russian or Siberian ginseng in the popular literature and public websites. The origin of this misnomer lies in the work of a Soviet scientist, Israel Brekhman, who believed that eleutherococcus has the same properties as ginseng, and popularized it as a less-expensive alternative herb.

According to Brekhman, eleutherococcus and ginseng are both adaptogens . This term refers to a hypothetical treatment defined as follows: An adaptogen should help the body adapt to stresses of various kinds, whether heat, cold, exertion, trauma, sleep deprivation, toxic exposure, radiation, infection, or psychological stress. Furthermore, an adaptogen should cause no side effects, be effective in treating a wide variety of illnesses, and help return an organism toward balance no matter what may have gone wrong.

Perhaps the only indisputable example of an adaptogen is a healthful lifestyle. By eating right, exercising regularly, and generally living a life of balance and moderation, you will increase your physical fitness and ability to resist illnesses of all types. Brekhman felt certain that both eleutherococcus and ginseng produced similarly universal benefits.

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Eleuthero and Menopause Symptoms

Siberian Ginseng is known remedy to relieve menstrual disorders and menopausal symptoms. It may positively affect Hormone levels works to stabilize hormone levels and tone the large uterine muscle. Also eleuthero is used in much the same way to stimulate the endocrine gland and also assimilate vitamins and minerals.

As with other natural remedies, the effects of Siberian Ginseng can vary between individuals.  Diet, exercise, lifestyle and other medication all play a role in determining the effects of ginseng on an individual. However, Vanderbilt University has published results from years of research indicating the potential of Siberia Ginseng for women going through menopause.  Here are some of the ways ginseng is helping women.

* Relief from Hot Flashes. Between 60% and 85% of menopausal women experience hot flashes, some as often as 20 times a day!  These hot flashes are often accompanied by heart palpitations, anxiety, and vertigo. Scientific research shows that Siberian Ginseng offers relief to women suffering from hot flashes.  Physiologically, this happens because ginseng stimulates production of a hormone that can lower body temperature.
* Relief from insomnia. Although often used as a stimulant to battle fatigue, Siberian Ginseng can also serve the opposite role of fighting insomnia. Many menopausal women suffer from insomnia or interrupted sleep, often caused by nighttime hot flashes.  This lack of sleep can cause numerous other problems including irritability, lack of mental focus, poor memory, and general fatigue.
* Effects on Hormone Levels. Many symptoms of menopause are instigated by a sharp reduction in estrogen levels, leading many women to seek estrogen replacement therapy.  Reports indicate that Siberian ginseng might actually have many of the same properties as estrogen. 
* Mood Elevation. Numerous animal studies show that ginseng’s effects on the body result in an enhanced mood.  Studies on mid-aged women 40-60 years old also showed significant improvement in concentration, feelings of vitality, productivity, and mood.

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Other Health Benefits

Siberian ginseng contains remarkable compounds that favorably affect the adrenal glands, the small glands that rest atop the kidneys and secrete stress-fighting hormones. Taking the herb is believed to boost the body's capacity to handle physical stresses ranging from heat exposure to extreme exertion. Resistance to disease increases as well. So does one's overall energy level.

Specifically, Siberian ginseng may help to:

* Prevent stress-related illnesses. Several studies have shown that Siberian ginseng can increase a person's resistance to physical stresses. In a series of landmark Russian studies in the 1960s, 2,100 healthy adults (19 to 72 years old) given Siberian ginseng were shown to better handle stressful conditions. Specifically, they experienced an increased ability to perform physical labor, withstand motion sickness, and work with speed and precision despite being surrounded by noise. They could also proofread documents more accurately and more readily adapt to such physical stresses such as heat, high altitudes, and low-oxygen environments. Siberian ginseng may also help boost people’s immunity if their immune systems are already compromised. A study on women undergoing chemotherapy for ovarian cancer found that in the 4 weeks after chemo treatment various measures of cellular immunity were improved.
* Relieve chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) and fibromyalgia. Because Siberian ginseng bolsters the adrenal glands, it's worth trying to relieve the exhaustion and muscle pain associated with these energy-depleting conditions. A study of 96 chronic fatigue sufferers found that Siberian ginseng may be efficacious for people suffering from moderate CFS.
* Combat fatigue and restore energy. Siberian ginseng is popular for invigorating and fortifying the body. It appears to boost energy levels in people suffering from acute or constant exhaustion. Those recovering from an illness or weary from a heavy work schedule may also benefit from its energy-boosting and immune-enhancing powers.
* Increase male and female fertility and reduce male impotence. By supporting healthy uterine function, Siberian ginseng may be useful in preventing female infertility. Males may experience an increased sperm count (rotate it with Panax ginseng for this purpose). Animal studies indicate that the herb can even boost testosterone levels and thus help reverse certain cases of male impotence.
* Treat Alzheimer's disease. Siberian ginseng may increase mental alertness, particularly in the early stages of this progressive disorder. The herb's ability to boost the transmission of nerve impulses may also enhance memory. A recent small randomized controlled study found that some aspects of mental and social functioning in the elderly improved after treatment with ginseng after only four weeks.
* Combat free-radical damage and some forms of cancer. Scientists have been able to show that Siberian ginseng has a cytotoxic (cell killing) effect on some cancer cell lines in laboratory studies. These preliminary results still need to be investigated in animal and human models, so the chances of seeing Siberian ginseng be touted as a effective cancer treatment is still years away.
* Increase resistance to colds and flu. Historically, the Chinese have found Siberian ginseng to be effective in suppressing colds and flu. The herb's immune-enhancing powers may play a role. Recent studies have found that Siberian ginseng is a helpful to ease upper respiratory tract infections and sinusitis.

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Dosage  

Buy Siberian ginseng extracts from a company with a reputation for quality. Products should be standardized to contain at least 0.8% eleutherosides (the active ingredients).

* For stress: Take 100 to 200 mg three times a day. Special "adrenal gland" formulas now on the market commonly contain Siberian ginseng in combination with licorice, pantothenic acid, and other stress-fighting ingredients.
* For fatigue (and chronic fatigue syndrome), female infertility, Alzheimer's disease, fibromyalgia, and the majority of other conditions mentioned: Take 100 to 300 mg twice a day for 60 to 90 days, and then take a seven-day break before resuming treatment.
* For male infertility and impotence: Take l00 to 300 mg twice a day. For infertility, rotate every three weeks with 100 to 250 mg Panax ginseng standardized to contain 7% ginsenosides (the active ingredient). For impotence, rotate every two weeks.
* For colds and flu: Take 300 mg twice a day for seven to 10 days.

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Safety Issues  

According to studies performed primarily in the former Soviet Union, Eleutherococcus appears to present a low order of toxicity in both the short- and long-term. Human trials have not resulted in any significant side effects. Safety in pregnant or nursing women, young children, or people with severe liver or kidney disease is not known.

One report suggests that Eleutherococcus may alter the results of a test for the medication digoxin.

Siberian Ginseng should not be taken if you have:
* high blood pressure.
* narcolepsy (frequent day time sleeping).
* obstructive sleep apnea (repeated, prolonged periods when breathing stops while sleeping.


Sources and Additional Information:


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