Aralia Mandshurica, which is also named Manchurian thorn tree or Aralia Elata, is a member of the Araliaceae family. It is native to the eastern regions of Russia, northern China, and Korea. It is an upright deciduous small tree or shrub growing up to 6 m in height. The bark, roots, and flowers of Manchurian thorn have been used traditionally to treat a wide range of conditions.
Teas made from different parts of the tree were historically used in Russia to treat fatigue, weakness, headaches, depression, high blood glucose level, immune weakness, and stress. The Nanai, a Tungusic people of the Russian Far East, have used the roots of Aralia Elata for toothache and stomatitis, as a tonic, and for treatment of liver diseases. The Ainu, aboriginal peoples who once dominated Hokkaido in Japan, have used the roots of Aralia Elata as a stomachic. In Russian codified medicine, Aralia belongs to the group of so-called “classical adaptogens”.
Since 1975 tablets containing a mixture of ammonium salts of aralosides A, B, and C (0.05g) under trademark “Saparal” have been on the market in the USSR/Russia. Aralosides stimulate immune system and central nervous system, possess anti-stress properties, regulate blood glucose level, and protect against unfavorable environmental conditions, such as lack of oxygen or viral infections.
Aralia is a source of very active triterpenoid saponins named aralosides. 16 saponins isolated from aralia were determined. The highest amount of aralosides are found in roots. Araloside complex influences almost all types of metabolism and all systems in human body.
In contrast to the other adaptogen herbs, Aralia Mandshurica is not so well studied and molecular mechanisms of its beneficial effects on human health are still to be investigated. Up to date 16 active saponins from Aralia were determined, and all of them exert their own unique activity on human body.
Despite some lack of knowledge in understanding of mechanism of action, some clinical trials and experimental studies proved that Aralia possesses some beneficial effects for human health including:
- Reduction of fatigue and general weakness, stimulation of physical activity and working capacity;
- Accelerated glucose utilization and reduction of blood glucose level;
- Accelerated fat degradation, particularly, in persons with obesity;
- Stimulation of immune system and enhanced resistance to infectious diseases;
- Positive influence on the central nervous system such as improvement of the cognitive functions, learning, memory, and reduction of neurotic reactions;
- Normalization of the blood pressure in patients with hypertension with no influence on persons with normal blood circulation.
Aralia Mandshurica works as a classic adaptogen fixing impaired body functions with no influence on the healthy organs and systems.
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