Ginseng is one of the most popular herbal supplements in the world. It is a plant widely used in folk and traditional medicines for cardiovascular, immune, nervous and endocrine systems, and according to the researchers, it has the ability to increase the non-specific resistance state, which characterizes it as an adaptogenic substance. There are different species of ginseng, such as the American, Chinese, Korean and Japanese ginseng; the Korean species (Panax ginseng) is being used for thousands of years as a tonic, prophylactic and “restorative” agent, with powerful antioxidant properties. For a long time, its use was empirical, because people used to believe that it was a panacea that promoted longevity, with beneficial effects for the treatment of physical fatigues. Nowadays, the active components of Eleutherococcus senticosus are well described, however, there are no data on the quantity of a certain class of these secondary compounds produced in each species. Although the Eleutherococcus senticosus extract may contain several substances, including vitamins, minerals, cellulose, and ethanol, the substances responsible for inducing various physiological responses are the eleutherosides (in the root) and ciwujianosides (in the leaf). As Eleutherococcus senticosus receives great attention by showing that its active components can provide protection against oxidative stress, among other benefits, contributing to health and the prevention and treatment of diseases, such as diabetes, cancer, cardiovascular disease and inflammation. The purpose of this article is to describe the main, adverse and toxicological effects of Eleutherococcus senticosus recently related in the literature.
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