Siberian ginseng, also known eleuthero, has been used in Northern Russia for thousands of years as a traditional counterpart to American or Chinese ginseng. Like true ginseng species, Siberian ginseng is regarded as an adaptogen– a product that enables the body to adapt to stress with fewer fluctuations in sleep, sex drive, mood or appetite.
Although Siberian ginseng is safe when it is used cautiously as recommended by a health care provider, there are some Siberian ginseng contraindications. Do not use this product if you fall into any of the following high-risk categories.
If you are pregnant, you should not take Siberian ginseng. No studies have evaluated its safety during any stage of pregnancy, and it could theoretically increase the risk of miscarriage, preterm labor, stillbirth or birth defects. Tell your obstetrician or midwife if you are interested in using any medicianl herb during pregnancy.
If you are nursing a child, you should not use Siberian ginseng. Compounds in Siberian ginseng may pass into breastmilk, leading to side effects in the breastfed child. In theory, Siberian ginseng may also reduce breast milk supply due to its estrogen-like effects.
People with Heart Conditions
If you have any form of cardiovascular disease, you should not use Siberian ginseng. Eleuthero can cause tachycardia, or a rapid heartbeat, ad it may also contribute to cardiac arrythmia. People who are at risk of heart atack and stroke should avoid Siberian ginseng unless your health care provider explicitly approves of it. Your practitioner should monitor your condition closely if you choose to take Siberian ginseng.
People with Hypertension
Blood pressure above 180/90 is a major Siberian ginseng contraindication. Siberian ginseng can make high blood pressure worse, so hypertension is regarded as a contraindication. Other herbs are also unsafe for people with hypertension; talk to your doctor about other supplements that you should avoid.
The National Institutes of Health has more information about Siberian ginseng contraindications.