E. senticosus has been marketed in the United States as Siberian Ginseng because it is believed to have similar herbal properties to those of Panaxginseng. However, it belongs to a different genus in the family Araliaceae, and it is currently illegal in the United States to market eleuthero as Siberian Ginseng, since the term "ginseng" is reserved for species in the Panax genus.
The herb grows in mixed and coniferous mountain forests, forming low undergrowth or is found in groups in thickets and edges. E. senticosus is sometimes found in oak groves at the foot of cliffs, very rarely in high forest riparian woodland. Its native habitat is East Asia, China, Japan, and Russia. E. senticosus is broadly tolerant of soils, growing in sandy, loamy, and heavy clay soils with acid, neutral, or alkaline chemistry and including soils of low nutritional value. It can tolerate sun or dappled shade and some degree of pollution. E. senticosus is a deciduous shrub growing to 2m at a slow rate. It is hardy to zone 3. It flowers in July in most habitats. The flowers are hermaphroditic and are pollinated by insects.
Eleutherococcus senticosus leaves
E. senticosus is thought to be an adaptogen and there is a wide range of health benefits attributed to its use in herbal medicine.
This section needs more medical references for verification or relies too heavily on primary sources. Please review the contents of the section and add the appropriate references if you can. Unsourced or poorly sourced material may be removed.(November 2012)
People with medicated high blood pressure should consult their doctor before taking E. senticosus because it may potentiate the medications' side effects.
E. senticosus, when purchased from non-GMP sources, has occasionally been adulterated with Periploca graeca, which can potentiate digoxin or similar drugs; however, this is not an interaction of E. senticosus.
^Xu Y.J., Han C.J., Xu S.J., Yu X., Jiang G.Z., Nan C.H. "Effects of Acanthopanax senticosus on learning and memory in a mouse model of Alzheimer's disease and protection against free radical injury to brain tissue" Neural Regeneration Research 2008 3:2 (192-195)
^Jung S.M., Schumacher H.R., Kim H., Kim M., Lee S.H., Pessler F. "Reduction of urate crystal-induced inflammation by root extracts from traditional oriental medicinal plants: Elevation of prostaglandin D2levels" Arthritis Research and Therapy 2007 9:4 Article Number R64
^Chen R., Liu Z., Zhao J., Chen R., Meng F., Zhang M., Ge W. (2011). "Antioxidant and immunobiological activity of water-soluble polysaccharide fractions purified from Acanthopanax senticosu [sic]". Food Chemistry127 (2): 434–440. doi:10.1016/j.foodchem.2010.12.143. PMID23140683.