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J Ethnopharmacol. 1982 Nov;6(3):339-53.

Medicinal uses of ginseng and related plants in the Soviet Union: recent trends in the Soviet literature.


Soviet scholars were the first to establish the fact that many araliaceous plants are resistogens (adaptogens). In the early 1950's, Soviet researchers pioneered the study of ginseng, which is considered to be the primary resistogen, and some other plants of the "ginseng group". A sizable volume of literature was published as a result of their studies. This article reports the results of Soviet research on the ginseng group for the past three decades, traces the progress of Soviet resistogen studies, and examines their current status. Because of its rarity, ginseng was found to be impractical as a source of raw material for the mass production of medicines. Consequently, Soviet scholars shifted the focus of their research from studying ginseng to other members of the ginseng group in order to find suitable substitutes. Four resistogenic plants were identified, studied and finally introduced into therapeutic practice, between 1955 and 1964. Eleutherococcus or eleuthero ginseng is considered to be the most important of these substitutes.

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