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.
uses 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
containing 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
ginseng is cultivated in the US state of Wisconsin, , Canadian provinces
of Ontario and British Columbia, China and France. The root is gathered
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
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.
specific 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.
effects may include diarrhea, headache, heart palpitations, irritability,
insomnia, restlessness, nausea, euphoria, hypertension, hypotension,
mastalgia, vaginal bleeding, blood pressure abnormalities and heavier
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.
various 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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