A Brief Overview
What is Ginseng?
Ginseng is a common name for the roots several different plants. Used
medicinally for centuries by both the Chinese and North American Natives,
it is a very diverse plant. Ginseng is often referred to as an adaptogen,
a product that does no harm, but increases the body's resistance to
stress. This property is unfortunately extremely difficult to prove
scientifically, so at this time there is still much debate on the matter.
of the various ginsengs are extremely diverse. Used as both an energy
booster, health maintainer, mental booster, and more, itís use goes
back centuries in China and North America, as well as Russia.
Types of Ginseng:
Asian ginseng (panax ginseng)
Asian Ginseng is also called Panax or Korean Ginseng. The active ingredients
of Panax are ginsenosides, which have been shown to have several beneficial
effects. Included among them are anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and
anticancer effects. There has also been some clinical research that
has demonstrated that Panax ginseng may improve the immune function,
conditions associated with diabetes and psychological function. It is
native to China, Korea, and Russia, and has been used in traditional
Chinese medicine for thousands of years, primarily as a treatment of
weakness and fatigue. It is also combined with other herbs in many TCM
plant from both the Asian and American ginsengs, Siberian ginseng contains
no ginsenosides, instead eleutherosides
are present. It is not considered a true ginseng due to these
differences. Siberian ginseng is usually used in a tonic, and is reported
to be most useful in maintaining health, rather than treating illness.
It has been shown to stimulate resistance to stress, and delay the exhaustive
phase. It works by strengthening the bodies natural immune system. It
is grown primarily in China, eastern Russia, Korea, and Japan's northern
island, Hokkaido, with most of the worlds supply coming from Siberia
ginsenosides, American ginseng is reported to be a boon to those recovering
from illness or surgery. Research and studies indicate that is may be
of use in treating ADHD, speed up the metabolization or slow down the
absorption of alcohol, slow the progression of Alzheimerís, as well
so help improve cardiovascular health and raise HDL levels. However,
users of Warfarin (used to prevent blood clots from forming or growing
larger) take note: American Ginseng appears to reduce itís effects.
ginseng is cultivated in the US state of Wisconsin, , Canadian provinces
of Ontario and British Columbia, China and France. The root is gathered
All of these
species are in the Araliaceae plant family, but each has its own specific
effects on the body. Due to its growing popularity, growth is now done
with extreme care, with many countries having strict harvesting regulations.
Side Effects and Cautions
Before beginning any herbal treatment, it is highly recommended
that one consult with a competent herbalist and pharmacist, so as to
avoid any negative interactions with existing medications.
concern, if you are taking anticoagulants, vasodilators, or are pregnant
consult with your physician. Certain treatments for AIDS, cancer, connective
tissue disease, heart, kidney and liver disease, and tuberculosis may
also have bad interactions with ginseng.
may include diarrhea, headache, heart palpitations, irritability, insomnia,
restlessness, nausea, euphoria, hypertension, hypotension, mastalgia,
vaginal bleeding, blood pressure abnormalities and heavier menstrual
are commonly taken for several weeks, and common practice suggests a
week or 2 break after every 3-5 week period. Prolonged usage can increase
your chances of side effects.
forms of Ginseng have been used for centuries as a treatment for numerous
ailments. Research into the real effectiveness of ginseng to treat illness
and other health problems continues, with some showing positive results.
Used intelligently, with the advice of a competent and up to date physician,
ginseng may be of some benefit to you.
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