Panax Ginseng vs. Eleuthero
Answered by: Conrad Richter
Question from: Carl Ortolani
Posted on: May 24, 1998

I would like to know what the herbs Panax ginseng roots and eleuthero are, and what they are used for.

Panax ginseng is the botanical name for the famous oriental herb commonly known as ‘asiatic ginseng’, ‘chinese ginseng’, or ‘korean ginseng’. Eleuthero is another common name for ‘siberian ginseng’ and its botanical name is Eleutherococcus senticosus or Acanthopanax senticosus.

These, along with the american ginseng, Panax quinquefolius, are generally regarded as ‘adaptogens’. This word refers to their ability to boost energy and strength and to assist the body to withstand the effects of stress. The mode of action of the three ginsengs is different, so they are used in different ways. Herbalists will tell you, for instance, that american ginseng is "cooling," while the asiatic is "warming." The latter is often given to older people while the former is often given to the young.

Probably the best book to help understand the uses and differences of the ginsengs is Stephen Fulder’s "The Book of Ginseng" which is available from Richters.

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