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Eleutherococcus

What is it?

Eleutherococcus is an herbal medicine used to improve physical health and to enhance the immune system.

Other names for eleutherococcus include: Devil's Shrub, Eleuthero, Eleutherococcus senticosus, Siberian ginseng, Touch-Me-Not, and Wild Pepper.

Ask your doctor, nurse, or pharmacist if you need more information about this medicine or if any information in this leaflet concerns you.

Before Using:

Tell your doctor if you

  • are taking medicine or are allergic to any medicine (prescription or over-the-counter (OTC) or dietary supplement)
  • are pregnant or plan to become pregnant while using this medicine
  • are breastfeeding
  • have had a heart attack, diabetes, or are using any stimulants, including caffeine
  • have any other health problems, such as high blood pressure or heart or blood vessel disease

Dosage:

Talk with your caregiver about how much eleutherococcus you should take. The amount depends on the strength of the medicine and the reason you are taking eleutherococcus. If you are using this medicine without instructions from your caregiver, follow the directions on the medicine bottle. Do not take more medicine or take it more often than the directions tell you to.

To store this medicine:

Keep all medicine locked up and away from children. Store medicine away from heat and direct light. Do not store your medicine in the bathroom, near the kitchen sink, or in other damp places. Heat or moisture may cause the medicine to break down and not work the way it should work. Throw away medicine that is out of date or that you do not need. Never share your medicine with others.

Warnings:

  • Before taking eleutherococcus, tell your doctor if you are pregnant or breastfeeding.
  • Do not take eleutherococcus for longer than 3 months at a time. After 3 months, stop taking it for 2 to 3 weeks, and then begin again.
  • Do not take eleutherococcus without talking with your doctor first if you have:
  • High blood pressure (hypertension).
  • Diabetes (high blood sugar).
  • Had a heart attack or other heart conditions.

Side Effects:

Stop taking your medicine right away and talk to your doctor if you have any of the following side effects. Your medicine may be causing these symptoms which may mean you are allergic to it.

  • Breathing problems or tightness in your throat or chest
  • Chest pain
  • Skin hives, rash, or itchy or swollen skin

Other Side Effects:

You may have the following side effects, but this medicine may also cause other side effects. Tell your doctor if you have side effects that you think are caused by this medicine.

  • Call your doctor if you notice changes in heart rhythm, increased blood pressure, pain in the chest, skipped heart beats, or fast heart rate
  • You could experience drowsiness (feel tired) or insomnia (difficulty sleeping)

References:

1. Chevallier, A: The Encyclopedia of Medicinal Plants. DK Publishing Company, New York, NY; 1996.

2. Blumenthal, Busse, Goldberg, et al: The Complete German commission E monographs: Therapeutic Guide to Herbal medicines. The American Botanical Council, Austin TX; 1998.

3. Newall CA, Anderson LA, Phillipson JD: Ginseng, Eleutherococcus. In: Herbal Medicines. A Guide for Health-care Professionals. Pharmaceutical Press, London, UK; 1996.

4. Medon PJ, Ferguson PW, Watson CF: Effects of Eleutherococcus senticosus extracts on hexobarbital metabolism in vivo and in vitro. J Ethnopharmacol 1984; 10:235.

5. Dasgupta A, Wu S, Actor J et al: Effect of Asian and Siberian ginseng on serum digoxin measures by five digoxin immunoassays. Am J Clin Pathol 2003; 119(2):298-303.

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Last Updated: 4/4/2014

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