Reduction in Toxicity facilitated by Eleutherococcus senticosus
- It speeds post operative recovery.
- It is being used in post operative treatment of oncological patients as it
ameliorates the stress response that can aggravate metastasis.
- There was an improved prognosis if Eleutherococcus was used
with the orthodox techniques in the treatment of lip cancer and breast
cancer. The ability of Siberian Ginseng to potentiate antitumor immunity has
been discovered recently. An increase in the membranotoxic and cytostatic
activity of a group of antineoplastic white blood cells, called natural
killers, occurs due to the herbs' effect. The toxicity of cancerous cell does
not increase either. It also induced the synthesis of y-interferon by
leukocytes. Glycosides which seem to be largely responsible for 'natural
killer' activation have been isolated from the herb. It is well known that
stress decreases the activity of the immune system and particularly that of the
'natural killers'. An obvious association exists here on a bio-chemical level
between stress, immune function and the herb.
In these times of pollution & exposure to dangerous
chemicals, this fascinating plant may prove of vital help as it also reduces
the toxic impact of a number of chemical compounds. In lab tests it was shown
to decrease the sensitivity of mice & rats to the toxicity of a range of
Effects on the General Adaptation Syndrome
- reduction in cytotoxicity of anti-neoplastic drugs. When the
unfortunate animals were treated with cytotoxic drugs combined with Siberian
Ginseng, they lost less weight and their white blood count was
higher than in the animals treated with the drugs alone. The
implications for its use as an adjunct in anti-cancer chemotherapy are clear
& exciting. A fundamental problem with the use of cytotoxic drugs in cancer
therapy is that not only do they destroy cancer cells, but healthy ones as
well. In these tests, lethal doses of the drugs resulted in the animals' death,
but when Siberian Ginseng and drugs were combined, the death rate dropped. In a
group of mice given thiophosphamide in a dose of 16 mg\kg, 53% of the animals
died. After administering combined Siberian Ginseng and thiophosphamide only
15% of the animals died. Similar results were obtained in a group of animals
given ethymidin in a dose of 1.5 mg\kg. 30% so treated died, whilst all those
receiving both herb and drug remained alive.
- reduction in the narcotic effects of sedatives. It shortens the
duration of sleep induced by sedatives. The suggestion is that it may prove
useful for prophylactic and therapeutic applications in acute and chronic
poisoning with some insecticides and industrial poisons. This ability of
Siberian Ginseng involves the activation of the body's own system of
metabolically inactivating foreign poisons. This system includes a complex of
specialized enzymes called the mono-oxygenase system, closely linked with the
immune system, playing a pivotal role in the neutralizing toxic compounds.
Russian pharmacologists advise the use of the extract in different drug
formulae to reduce their inherent toxicity.
- possible effect upon poisoning by insecticides & other
- increased life span of irradiated laboratory rats.
Eleutherococcus senticosus prolongs the resistance phase of the G.A.S.
whilst reducing the alarm reaction and exhaustion stage.
- 15 min. after administration to fasting rats, blood sugar increases
with a decrease in liver glycogen.
- at the initial alarm reaction
- activates glycolysis
- promotes peripheral effects of adrenal & adreno-cortico-throphic
- at the height of alarm phase there is an opposite effect: an anti-alarm action
- reduces blood sugar
- prevents liver glycogen loss
- less of an increase in corticosteroids
- following severe stress there was an enhancement of catabolic & anabolic
- in exhaustion phase Eleutherococcus continued to maintain functioning
of hypothalamus/pituitary/adrenal system at near optimal levels.
Metabolic Activity of Eleutherococcus senticosus
It broadly regulates the different body system's response to
- an increase in duration of muscular activity
- this occurs with less loss of glycogen, creatine phosphate & protein
- mobilization of lipids is accelerated
- pretreatment doubles the recovery rate of messenger & ribosomal RNA
synthesis in the rat liver following severe muscle load.
From all of this, Siberian Ginseng starts to look like a very special remedy
indeed. It can increase individual resistance to the whole spectrum of
factors that contribute to stress reactions and exhaustion. Apparently the herb
will help whether the stress is from extremes of weather or psychological
exhaustion. Its' universal properties make this herb one of the most
efficacious and promising medicines for increasing the non-specific resistance
An evolutionary role for adaptogens?
Adaptogenic plants offer such an array of benefits to humanity, it
raises the question of their purpose in evolution. Such a question is as much
about the evolutionary role of the unique glycosides in the herbs themselves.
What is the role of the eleutherosides in Siberian Ginseng? What do panaxosides
do in Ginseng? The Russian investigators have developed an intriguing theory.
It is known that the Araliacaea, the botanical family the ginsengs belong to,
is more than 150 million years old. This makes them amongst the oldest
flowering plants found today. They thrived long before the appearance of man,
even during the time of the giant dinosaurs. Fossilized Aralia plants are found
in the Cretaceous deposits throughout the Far East. During this long existence
the Earth has experienced repeated glaciation. During these ice invasions there
were dramatic changes in climate affecting the regions of the Earth where the
Far East, Korea, the northern part of China and Canada are found now. Some
representatives of the Aralia family lived in the ice age affected zone.
Exposure to such severe climatic conditions and evolutionary selection
distinguishes those Aralia plants which have a definite complex of substances
that increase the plants resistance. These are the unique substances found
today in Ginseng, Siberian Ginseng and other representatives of the Aralia
family. They formed under the action of definite climatic conditions. That is
why the representatives of the Aralia family that were not effected by the ice
age, living far southwards did not acquire such a set of properties and are not
medicinal plants of the same value as the Ginsengs. After the glaciation had
ended and the climate became far milder, the increased resistance gave Ginseng
definite advantages over other plants.
Where did these substances come from? Did they exist before the climatic trials
that were undergone by the Aralia family or was it a consequence of the genetic
changes that occurred at that period leading to the appearance of a new
ecological trait? Difficult questions to answer. It is known that glycosides
are widely spread among plants. In particular, they are found as the
medicinally important saponins, cardiac glycosides, steroidal alkaloids etc.
Eleutheroside B has been discovered in the bark of Lilac, whereas eleutheroside
C was isolated from the seeds of Lupin. These examples illustrate the
prevalence of such substances in the plant kingdom. Selection simply increased
their number favoring an increase in plant resistance.
Russian researchers regard these pharmacologically active substances as a class
of plant hormones. One group of plant hormone, the Gibberellins, belong to the
same class of chemicals as panaxoside and eleutheroside A. Whilst plant
hormones are primarily growth regulators, the Aralia glycosides may be
considered hormones of adaptation. This is a concept new to physiology, but is
an idea inherent within both traditional Chinese medicine and western
Herbalism. The action lies in increasing the resistance and adaptation
abilities of the plants.
Being in the form of glycosides facilitates rapid and easy transport of such
`adaptation' hormones among all parts of the plant. Such a system may be very
roughly compared to the system of hormones involved in the stress reactions in
humanity. By analogy the plants may have a hormonal system of their own that
provides protection under stress. This system was produced as a result of long
term exposure to environmental but factors also plays an anti-stress role in
comparatively short term exposures Thus, according to the suggested hypothesis,
the assemblage of Siberian Ginseng glycosides is a complex of chemical
compounds which ensure the increased resistance of the body to external factors
of the environment.
During the evolution process, this primary defence mechanism was apparently
replaced in man by a complex system of homeostatic regulation. This includes
the whole plethora physiological systems that control, amongst other things,
blood and temperature stabilization, the immune system and the system of
Siberian Ginseng might be regarded in the light of this hypothesis as
humanities appeal to nature for help, the return to the source of biological
life. This is an appeal to the most ancient form of protection in the face of
the aggressiveness and violence of modern civilization towards the human body.
Natural chemicals with a specialized function responsible for the resistance of
the body to environmental factors exist in all living organisms. Substances
that increase bodily resistance have been named resistins by scientists
in Russia. This implies that adaptogenic substances should be found in all
herbal remedies. The fact that they are not known simply shows that they have
not been looked for yet. The herbalist who uses `tonics', `alteratives' and all
the other healing remedies may well be utilizing resistins.
Humanity appears to have created a world of stress, pollution, lack of meaning
and lack of purpose. In the face of such a cultural alienation from nature, the
plethora of diseases assailing the `civilized' world should come as no
surprise. To heal the ills, the causes must be addressed and such causes are
not only within the individual but within our culture as a whole. Where a
health problem is related to lowered resistance due to the increased impact of
a hostile environment, the healer should `heal' the hostile environment. In
other words, whilst we seem to have found a remedy that offers an increased
resistance to toxic drugs, it is always preferable to remove the toxic
chemical. This makes economic sense, is the right stance in Hippocratic terms
and it is right action in spiritual terms.
Adaptogens are yet another example of Gaia supplying the needs of all beings.
It is a humbling and yet enlivening thought that even in the wastes of
Siberia planetary integration is generating miracles.
Daily Mild Stress
If a period of stress is predictably about to occur, it can be prepared for
ahead of time, as herbs, diet and life-style changes will minimize the impact.
Nervine relaxants can be used regularly as gentle soothing remedies. Those
listed below are examples, from which it should be clear that most of the
nervine relaxants can be used in this way. However, bitter tonics may also be
important in some people due to their metabolic toning effects.
Please review these nervines to clarify their secondary actions and specific
properties. They can be drunk as teas, cold drinks, infused in massage oil,
used in relaxing foot baths or full baths.