Ci Wu Jia
English Name: acanthopanax root, eleuthero root, Siberian ginseng,
Pharmaceutical Name: Radix et Caulis Acanthopanacis Senticosi
Medica Category: Qi-Tonifying Herbs
Properties: Ci Wu Jia enters the Spleen, Kidney, and Heart channels; it is acrid and slightly bitter in nature and warm in temperature.
What is Ci Wu Jia?:
The Chinese Herb Ci Wu Jia is the dried roots of a woody, flowering shrub in the Araliaceae family endemic to the mountainous forests of Northeastern China commonly known as Siberian ginseng, eluthero, or devil’s bush (Acanthopanax senticosus (Rupr. et Maxim.) Harm.).
Although it is not a true ginseng, Siberian ginseng roots contain many of the same chemical agents (called saponins) that are found in other tonic herbs (like true the ginsengs and Jiao Gu Lan) which impart it with marked adaptenogenic and energizing qualities. As an adaptogen, it regulates body functions (such as adrenal production, immune function, and respiratory function) depending on the state of the person taking it to help them achieve optimum physiological balance. It is popularly used in this regard by people involved in high stress activities to help them maintain equilibrium. As an energizer, Siberian ginseng helps by providing a gentle boost to the body’s overall qi levels to promote healing and well-being.
Generally speaking, only the root and caulis of this plant is known as Ci wu jia. Sometimes, however, the leaves of various eleuthero species are used in herbal teas as well. These leaves are thought to be similar to in their energetics and actions as the roots & caulis (although less potent).
The actions of Ci Wu Jia as it is used in the practice of TCM are discussed in the section below.
Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) Therapeutic Actions of Ci Wu Jia:
Ci Wu Jia tonifies qi and strengthens the Spleen and Kidney when they are deficient/cold. This presents clinically with fatigue, poor appetite, and soreness of the lumbar and knees.
Ci Wu Jia nourishes the Heart to calm the shen and relieve insomnia with dream-disturbed sleep.
Taking this herb with digoxin may increase one’s serum digoxin level.
This herb increases the effect of Phenobarbital.
This herb increases the effects of antibiotics.
This herb stimulates the production of adrenalin.