The medicinal herb Ginseng (Asian) as an alternative herbal remedy - Asian ginseng is native to China and Korea and has been used in various systems of medicine for many centuries. Asian ginseng is one of several types of true ginseng (another is American ginseng, Panax quinquefolius). An herb called Siberian ginseng or eleuthero (Eleutherococcus senticosCommon Names--Asian ginseng, ginseng, Chinese ginseng, Korean ginseng, Asiatic ginseng
Latin Name--Panax ginseng Picture of Ginseng (asian)
- Asian ginseng (Panax ginseng) has been used medicinally in Asia for more than 5,000 years. Ginseng is said to promote Yang energy and is characterized by the presence of ginsenosides. Ginsenosides have been studied for their numerous health-supporting abilities. In recent times, Panax ginseng has been shown to support general well-being, as well as support the cardiovascular system and help sustain hormonal balance. (Forgo I, Kayasseh L, Staub JJ. "Effect of a standardized ginseng extract on general well-being, reaction capacity, pulmonary function and gonadal hormones" [German]. Medizinische Welt 1981; 32(19): 751-756 (English translation of German paper, with additional French summary). Further animal studies have investigated the long-term benefits of Panaxginseng with regards to life span. (Bittles AH, Fulder SJ, Grant EC, et al. "The effect of ginseng on the lifespan and stress responses in mice". Gerontology. 1979;25:125-131).
- Red ginseng (Also known as Panax ginseng and Korean ginseng) is one of the most prized and expensive Chinese herbs.
What Ginseng Is Used For
- Treatment claims for Asian ginseng are numerous and include the use of the herb to support overall health and boost the immune system. Traditional and modern uses of ginseng include:
- Improving the health of people recovering from illness
- Increasing a sense of well-being and stamina, and improving both mental and physical performance
- Treating erectile dysfunction, hepatitis C, and symptoms related to menopause
- Lowering blood glucose and controlling blood pressure.
Herbal Remedy Products with Ginseng as part of the ingredients
- Herbal remedy supports balance and promotes resistance to physical, chemical & biological stressors
- Supports the body’s ability to withstand change and maintain balance
- Supports balance in the cardiovascular system
- Supports balanced pH and alkalinity in the stomach
- Supports harmony throughout the digestive system
- Supports balance in the thyroid and endocrine system
- Supports balance in the respiratory system
- Supports adrenal balance
- Supports health in the brain and nervous system
- Supports equilibrium, health and vitality as the body deals with the natural process of aging
- Supports healthy physiological functioning of the body
- Herbal remedy proven to relieve symptoms of adult attention deficit disorder
- Improves adult concentration
- Boosts memory functioning
- Improves attention span
- Increases motivation and energy
- Reduces distractibility
How Ginseng Is Used
The root of Asian ginseng contains active chemical components called ginsenosides (or panaxosides) that are thought to be responsible for the herb's medicinal properties. The root is dried and used to make tablets or capsules, extracts, and teas, as well as creams or other preparations for external use.
Herbal Remedy Products with Ginseng as part of the ingredients
What the Science Says about Ginseng
- Some studies have shown that Asian ginseng may lower blood glucose. Other studies indicate possible beneficial effects on immune function.
- To date, research results on Asian ginseng are not conclusive enough to prove health claims associated with the herb. Only a handful of large clinical trials on Asian ginseng have been conducted. Most studies have been small or have had flaws in design and reporting. Some claims for health benefits have been based only on studies conducted in animals.
- NCCAM is supporting research studies to better understand the use of Asian ginseng. NCCAM is studying how Asian ginseng interacts with other herbs and drugs and exploring its potential to treat chronic lung infection, impaired glucose tolerance, and Alzheimer's disease.
Side Effects and Cautions of Ginseng
- When taken by mouth, ginseng is usually well tolerated. Some sources suggest that its use be limited to 3 months because of concerns about the development of side effects.
- The most common side effects are headaches and sleep and gastrointestinal problems.
- Ginseng can cause allergic reactions.
- There have been reports of breast tenderness, menstrual irregularities, and high blood pressure associated with ginseng products, but these products' components were not analyzed, so effects may have been due to another herb or drug in the product.
- Ginseng may lower levels of blood sugar; this effect may be seen more in people with diabetes. Therefore, people with diabetes should use extra caution with Asian ginseng, especially if they are using medicines to lower blood sugar or taking other herbs, such as bitter melon and fenugreek, that are also thought to lower blood sugar.
- It is important to inform your health care providers about any herb or dietary supplement you are using, including Asian ginseng. This helps to ensure safe and coordinated care.
News About Ginseng
Health benefits of ginseng
- By Ritche T. Salgado, PTRP (The Philippine Star)
CEBU, Philippines - Ginseng, both Asian ginseng (Panax ginseng) and American ginseng (Panax quinquefolius), has always been touted for its medicinal properties. This lowly herb is believed to be an adaptogenic herb, meaning it helps the body adapt to stress, both physical and psychological.
This property of the herb also gave rise to the claims that it helps retard ageing, and perhaps there is truth to this claim since the most potent compound exclusively present in ginseng roots called ginsenosides have been found to address a variety of conditions.
In an article on ginseng, MedlinePlus, the web service of the US National Institutes of Health, honed in on four apparent benefits of the herb, namely thinking and memory, diabetes, male impotence or erectile dysfunction, and premature ejaculation.
It said that in these four instances, there were evidences that supported the claim. To improve memory, however, NIH recommends that it be taken together with extracts from gingko biloba leaves.
For the following conditions, studies have been made to prove its efficacy, however, the evidence were insufficient, as such, further studies are recommended: Breast cancer; infection of the airways in the lung; common cold; influenza; cancers affecting the stomach, lung, liver, ovaries, and skin; depression; anemia; fluid retention; stomach inflammation and other digestive problems; chronic fatigue syndrome; fibromyalgia; fever; and other conditions aside from those four mentioned above.
NIH also said that there are more evidence disproving the efficacy of ginseng in improving athletic performance, mood and sense of well-being, and hot flashes associated with menopause.
- Ginseng preparations
Ginseng can be bought in several forms, most common of which would be in capsule form as health supplements. Ginseng can also be bought as a ready-to-drink beverage or as a balm.
Dried ginseng roots can be bought in Asian specialty and grocery stores, while ginseng plants can also be bought from herbalists. My favorite Asian grocer is located at the corner of Legaspi and D. Jakosalem Sts., just two blocks away from The FREEMAN office.
Recently, I was able to buy a mature ginseng plant from a naturopath in Valencia, Negros Oriental. Although the roots are ready for harvesting, I found it wise to instead propagate it.
Propagating ginseng may not be hard. It grows easily, but it needs patience since it would take almost 10 years before a viable root can be harvested.
- How to use
There are plenty of ways to use ginseng as a health supplement.
In Korean cooking, Samgyetang (Chicken Ginseng Soup) is believed to cure and prevent summer illness and as such is eaten mostly during the summer season. Koreans believe that samgyetang has the ability to replenish energy and nutrients lost due to excessive sweating. Samgyetang is whole chicken stuffed with glutinous rice and boiled in ginseng broth laced with jujube fruits, garlic, ginger, and other herbs.
Another very popular preparation would be ginseng tincture, or ginseng extracted through the use of alcohol. Finely chopped ginseng roots are covered in alcohol and left to age for six to eight weeks. This is then strained and bottled. Ten to 30 drops of ginseng tincture per day either mixed in tea or your choice of drink or taken straight is the standard dosage.
Perhaps, the simplest preparation would be ginseng tea, made by boiling ginseng roots in water, served either hot or cold, and with honey as sweetener.
And as mentioned earlier, ginseng capsules can also be bought in health shops. Labels would carry instructions on how these supplements are to be taken.
As much as ginseng is loaded with health benefits, caution must also be exercised in its use, especially when one is taking chemical-based medicines or other herbs.
The NIH recommends that special precautions should be taken when taking ginseng during pregnancy, while breastfeeding, and for infants and children mainly because some studies have shown that ginseng cause birth defects in animal subjects and poisoning in babies. It said that until further studies prove otherwise, choosing the safest choice, which is not to use it at all, would be wise.
Patients suffering from an auto-immune disease like lupus, multiple sclerosis, and rheumatoid arthritis should also avoid ginseng because it increases the activity of the immune system. An auto-immune disease would mean that one’s immune system is in hyperdrive, so in essence, ginseng would worsen the problem.
That would also be true for other illnesses like bleeding conditions, heart conditions, and diabetes. For the latter, ginseng lowers blood sugar levels too much and so if a patient is already taking medications for diabetes, using ginseng would further lower the blood sugar levels to below normal.
Patients with insomnia and schizophrenia should also avoid ginseng because of the root’s hyper-excitability effect, even making it hard for the patient to sleep and to be agitated more easily.
Ginseng’s ability to enhance the function of the immune system could blunt the effect of medications taken by patients who undergoes organ transplants, while the estrogen-like effect of ginsenosides could worsen hormone-sensitive conditions like breast cancer.
Experts, however argue that the benefits of ginseng far outweigh its purported side effects. Still, despite its tag as a miracle herb, as with all herbs and medicines, precautions must be taken especially if the herb is to be ingested. For this, it is best for a patient to consult a naturopath, an herbalist, or an open-minded medical doctor who has sufficient knowledge on herbology.
Ginseng Benefits to Improve Your Sex Life
- (Share Care)
Do you want to improve your sex life? If you're like many people, the answer is “yes.” If the stresses, demands, or monotony of everyday life have cooled your desire, what can you do to bring back the fire?
For centuries, the root of the ginseng plant has been revered for its rejuvenating powers that are said to enhance vitality and sex drive in both men and women. Indeed, this ancient Asian herbal lore has helped to fuel the growth of the ginseng-supplement industry – making it one of the best-selling herbal remedies in the United States.
- Uncovering Ginseng Benefits
So, can ginseng really improve your sex life? Is its status as an aphrodisiac merely the stuff of ancient folklore, or does scientific research back up the claim?
Over the past 2 decades, numerous controlled clinical studies have been conducted to assess whether ginseng can arouse or increase sexual response. Although some animal studies have suggested that Asian ginseng may help treat male erectile dysfunction (ED), there is little compelling evidence to date that suggests ginseng has the same effect on humans.
Because human sexuality is more complex than the physiological mating urges of animals, the results from animal studies do not necessarily translate to humans. What do studies with people reveal? Let's take a look.
- In Men
A review of seven studies investigating the effect of Korean red ginseng on erectile dysfunction concluded that, while there seemed to be some suggestion that ginseng may have a beneficial effect on ED, the studies were ultimately too small and not methodologically robust enough to support the use of ginseng for ED.
- In Women
Studies involving women are rare, due in part to the difficulty of establishing a standard means of measuring female sexual response. One study reported that a dietary supplement containing extracts of Korean ginseng as well as ginkgo and other ingredients improved the sex drives of female participants. But it is not clear how the supplement worked to enhance function, and further research is necessary to determine the role, if any, of ginseng. Clinical studies using consistent doses of pure ginseng are needed in order to assess the effect of ginseng on female sexual response.
- Consistency and Claims
Variations in the potency of ginseng supplements pose another problem for consumers. The extracts in ginseng that are thought to be relevant to sexual function are called ginsenosides. However, because independent laboratory analysis reveals considerable variation in ginsenoside content among supplements, consumers can't be sure what they're getting when they buy ginseng supplements. Products could contain very little of the active ingredient or could be contaminated with other substances.
In addition, the makers of herbal products are not required to submit their health claims to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) prior to marketing their products, so claims of ginseng benefits made by the manufacturer may not be evaluated or assessed before the products hit store shelves. Consumers may be seduced by product claims that don't stand up to scrutiny.
- Ginseng: Not for Everyone
Diabetics who are being treated with insulin or similar medications could experience a hypoglycemic reaction from American ginseng. Ginseng has also been associated with episodes of hypertension and rapid heart beat, so it should not be taken if you have uncontrolled high systolic blood pressure above 180 mm Hg. And because ginseng also was found to inhibit a blood-thinning drug used during surgery, you should stop use at least 7 days prior to surgery.
Ginseng may not be the quick fix you were hoping for, but there are several other ways to improve your sex life, including eating healthfully, exercising, improving communication, doing exciting activities together, and avoiding substances that may put a damper on your efforts, such as alcohol and tobacco. These habits may help not only your relationship but also your overall health and happiness.
Growing Ginseng: Start a Ginseng Farm
- By W. Scott Persons
You can earn money by growing ginseng in your very own ginseng farm.
Dried ginseng roots are a valuable crop you can grow yourself with a little patience and care.
While it's not exactly a get-rich-quick scheme like those touted on matchbook covers, growing ginseng promises financial rewards that do sound almost too good to be true. But the fact is that, if you live where the climate is right, in five years (and with little capital investment) you can grow as much as $30,000 worth of the prized botanical on only half an acre of woodland!
But where, you may ask, do you have to reside in order to be a prime candidate for growing this green gold? Well, the hardwood forests of the eastern United States and Canada are ginseng's natural habitat, but it can be cultivated almost anywhere north of central Alabama . . . if the area receives between 20 and 40 inches of rainfall annually. No sophisticated techniques are needed to raise the precious crop, either . . . only a goodly portion of patience and a willingness to get your hands dirty. I grow ginseng quite successfully, though I've had only a few years' previous experience in vegetable gardening.
- Pick a Planting Site for your Ginseng Farm
Wild 'sang, as old-timers call the plant, flourishes best beneath a stand of mature hardwoods on a gentle northeast-facing slope that has thick, moist leaf litter and little undergrowth. Such a place is naturally ideal for cultivating ginseng, but the botanical should thrive in almost any well-tended, well drained but moist-location that doesn't receive too much direct afternoon sunlight. (Some growers even construct their own lattices—6 to 7 feet above the plants—to provide the necessary 75 to 80% shading.)
When prospecting for a suitable spot, I look for a few wildlings that are similar to ginseng, such as trilliums, jack-in-the-pulpits (Arisae matriphyllum), May apples (Podophyllum peltatum), rattlesnake ferns (Botrychium virginianum), or wild ginger (Asarum canadense). The type of soil isn't critical to growing success, although a sandy loam with a pH level of 5.0 to 6.0 is preferable. During dry weather, however, you should check to see whether or not the soil under the leaves remains moist, without being overly damp . . . and water, if needed.
- Prepare Your Ginseng Bed
Once you've located—or created—a promising area for cultivating your crop, you can go ahead and prepare the bed for it by first removing all undergrowth. (If there is a thick over story surrounding the plot, thin that somewhat to allow air to circulate over the bed.) Next, stake out an area 4-1/2 to 6 feet wide and as long as you like for the growing area, adding 1 foot along each side for an access trench/walkway. Keep in mind that running the bed down a gentle slope will encourage the shedding of surface water.
When you're satisfied with the situation of your plot, break up the soil 6 to 8 inches deep, removing as many tree roots as possible. To facilitate drainage, mound the dirt taken from the bordering trenches along the centerline of the bed, but don't otherwise raise its level. And, if your "ginseng garden" lies on a slope, join the border trenches at its top to form an inverted "V" (to divert rain runoff).
- Start Small and Plan Ahead when Growing Ginseng
Now, it's time to make another decision: How will you obtain the plants for the new bed? It's possible to get started in the ginseng business by digging up and transplanting wild roots, and then collecting, stratifying (preserving the seeds by arranging them between layers of a moisture-retaining material), and later planting the wildlings. Unfortunately, though, there's not much wild 'sang left . . . so you'd have to spend a great deal of time searching it out to collect it.
A more practical approach is to buy an initial batch of seedling roots or seeds from a successful grower (see below in "Estimating Costs and Profits", for a discussion of these two methods of stocking). Many regional farming publications carry classified ads for ginseng, and national magazines such as MOTHER EARTH NEWS, Progressive Farmer, and Fur-Fish-Game have several of these notices in each issue.
Before sending off your order, you'll have to decide whether you want to stick a tentative toe into ginseng farming or to take the full plunge. If you've had no experience, it may be a good idea to order a few dozen seedlings or the smallest quantity of seeds available (or a combination of both) for your first venture into the business. Plant the 'sang in your prepared bed, see how it performs throughout one summer, evaluate your prospects . . . and then proceed from there.
Even if you're already familiar with the botanical's cultivation and are eager to establish your homegrown income, it's probably wise to start at less than full production. I'd advise you to aim initially at growing enough plants to produce all your own seeds. Specifically, I'd recommend that, for the first year, you plant a fortieth of an acre—about 750 square feet of actual bedding space—as a permanent, seed-producing plot. (This is about the smallest area that's worth a businesslike effort to prepare and monitor conscientiously.) For this, you'll need to order either 2,000 seedling roots or 4,000 seeds.
Then, during your second season, plant another 750 square feet to give yourself a total of 1,500 square feet of seed-producing beds (all you're ever likely to need), which should yield about 15 pounds of seed yearly. You'll find that this amount—roughly 120,000 seeds—is enough to sow 7,500 square feet of beds on a quarter of an acre.
By starting with permanent seedbeds like those I've described, you can begin on a small scale, with a minimal capital outlay. Then, by the time you start harvesting your own seeds in quantity, you'll have several years of growing experience under your belt.
- Storing Ginseng Seeds and Setting Out
As soon as you receive an order of seeds or rootlets, inspect them. If any are mushy or soft, return them for replacements. The stock should be planted promptly, but you can store the seeds or seedling roots temporarily in your refrigerator . . . or in another place where the temperature remains between 36° and 50°F. Do not freeze the stock, though. To store it safely, open the bags, add just a few drops of water, stir or shake the contents gently, and reseal the containers. Repeat this process every few days, since seeds are especially subject to mold or dehydration. Then-just before planting them soak the seeds or seedlings for 10 minutes in a solution of 1 part chlorine bleach to 9 parts water to reduce the possibility of fungal contamination.
Stock should be set out in either the fall or the early spring. Plant seeds about I/2 inch deep and seedlings 1 to 2 inches deep. The spacing between the stock will significantly affect both root growth and seed production when the plants become older and larger. As a rule of thumb, rows should be set 6 inches apart . . . and it's best to run them across not down-the length of the bed. However, you have two options (depending on how you want to handle your future crop) regarding the spacing of plants within the rows.
If you intend to dig up your roots and sell them at the end of only four or five years, either set the seedlings 3 inches apart within the rows, or plant seeds 1-1/2 inches apart . . . thinning and transplanting as needed to achieve 3-inch spacing at the end of two years.
On the other hand, if you want to grow the glossy perennials for a longer period, harvesting several additional batches of seeds before you dig the roots, then either set the seedling roots 9 inches apart or place seeds 4-1/2 inches apart . . . thinning them to a 9inch spacing after two years.
When I plant, I start at the top of a bed, dig a shallow trench to the desired depth across the width of the bed, and set out my seedling roots or seeds. Then I dig another trench 6 inches down from—and parallel to—the first one, moving the dirt from the second trench over to cover the first. I repeat this procedure all the way down the bed, using a 6-inch-wide board as a movable guide. A seedling can be set in at any angle—or even flat—as long as the bud neither faces down nor is exposed on the surface. Be sure not to crimp the root.
Once you get to the point at which you're planting tens of thousands of seeds, the process outlined above will become too time consuming and back straining to be practical. Instead, after the soil is broken up, the seeds can be cast by hand as closely as possible to the desired spacing (sowing about 16 kernels per square foot) and covered with a thin layer of dirt as the bordering trench/walkways are being dug. Finally, you should take extra care to mulch the area thoroughly and evenly. Fertilizer and Mulch for Growing Ginseng
Decaying leaf litter is, of course, the natural organic fertilizer of wild ginseng. Heavy doses of soil supplements—either barnyard or chemical—though, seem to force growth, thereby increasing ginseng's susceptibility to disease. So, unless you're certain that your soil requires a nutrient boost, such additives should be avoided, or at least used sparingly.
Mulch, on the other hand, is essential to helping the woodland crop retain moisture during hot, dry weather. With adequate shade and good mulching, your plants shouldn't require watering (assuming, of course, that you're raising them in an area with the appropriate amount of annual rainfall). This blanketing will also aid in weed control and reduction of erosion. In western North Carolina, where I live, about 2 inches of leaf litter or 1 inch of sawdust can be kept on the beds year round. Farther north, up to 4 inches of mulch is needed over the winter, both to minimize frost heaves and to keep the roots from undergoing repeated—and potentially fatal—freezing/thawing cycles. Such a thick layer must be partially removed in the spring to allow the young plants to emerge.
Leaf litter is an excellent mulch, but-in my experience-a bark/sawdust mixture from oak or poplar will promote healthy growth better than any other medium. Then too, many growers use hay or straw (probably because those materials are readily available). Whatever you cover your own plants with, check the beds regularly during the cold months to make sure the wind hasn't created bare spots . . . particularly if you haven't laid down a protective layer of mulch-holding brush.
- Caring for a Growing Ginseng Plant
Maintaining a ginseng patch requires less ongoing care than does a vegetable garden of comparable size . . . but, of course, it does place some demands on the grower. First-year plants are especially vulnerable to stress, so they'll need to be watched closely and weeded scrupulously. Mature, well-established specimens that were planted thinly require little attention beyond a weekly inspection. If a problem does occur, the worst that usually happens is that a few tops are killed, so that the afflicted plants' root growth and seed production stop for the summer. Never fear: Next spring, new tops will appear.
If, however, your crop is thickly sown, you'd be wise to check even mature plants every other day, quickly removing the tops of diseased stock before trouble can spread. Of the several maladies that sometimes attack ginseng, the most dire is Alternaria (stem and leaf) blight. Many large commercial growers carry out a weekly preventive spraying program against it, beginning as soon as the leaves unfurl in spring . . . using a manebtype fungicide.
To avoid blights without having to employ a fungicide, you must plant sparsely, making sure that there's good air circulation over your beds, and-after the tops die down in autumn - removing all the litter and mulch. (If normal leaf fall is insufficient to re-cover the patch, you'll have to mulch again with material from another area.)
Should a disease problem arise that's not familiar to you, consult your county agricultural extension agent immediately.
- Pest Control
I've never had my own crop threatened by a severe infestation of insects or rodents, but I know of at least one grower who's had a serious problem with an unidentified species of burrowing animal . . . so be forewarned that you could have "critter trouble". In addition, slugs and snails may eat the leaves during damp weather if they aren't controlled.
Actually, all manner of furry creatures will roam through your ginseng beds . . . without doing much damage. One summer, a zoology student asked to live trap my patch, and he caught moles, voles, shrews, gray and red squirrels, flying squirrels, chipmunks, rabbits, and a lone possum. None of these trespassers seems to rate the pungent root very high on its list of preferred foods, although I suspect that animals consider the berries to be a bit of a forest delicacy. (Hence, I always pick the seed filled fruit as soon as it ripens.)
To defend against possible animal intrusions, some commercial growers fence off their growing beds. One fellow I know keeps stable of slightly underfed cats. Personally, I've enjoyed the unsolicited assistance of screech owls and a family of Cooper's hawks that nest near my beds. But, as I said, four legged raiders aren't likely to pose much of a problem.
To tell the truth, the human pests are probably the worst predators. Poaching ginseng is a punishable felony in a few states, but that doesn't keep some light-fingered types from being irresistibly tempted by a large patch of mature ginseng. After all, once roots are dug up, they can't be traced and can easily be sold for full value. Consequently, some growers keep large, loud dogs to ward off two legged thieves . . . but most people are just careful to keep their own counsel about the fact that they're cultivating a crop of green gold.
- Harvesting and Stratifying Ginseng Seeds
Seeds are picked in the fall as the berries ripen on third-year and older plants. A healthy fifth-year plant produces at least 15 berries, each containing two seeds. You should store your harvested red nuggets in a cool, moist place out of the sun, where they're protected from rodents. I put mine in tubs in a shed, alternating one-inch layers of fine sand with half-inch layers of berries, and place a damp towel on top of the whole shebang. In six weeks or less, the berries decay, exposing their seeds. Until then, the berry pulp keeps the seeds moist, but when the pulp has completely deteriorated, the seeds begin to dry out and lose their viability.
To keep my rounds usable, I spread the six week-old sand-and-seed mixture on a window screen, and hose the sand away through the mesh. Afterwards, I can either plant the 'sang starters immediately or stratify them.
In the beginning, you'll probably elect to plant all of your seeds right away and wait the 18 months (!) it takes for them to germinate. But when you start producing more seeds than you have time (or space) to grow, you'll almost certainly have to stratify them in order to sell them: Folks simply don't want to buy any seeds that'll take over a year to sprout!
To "age" the seeds so that they will germinate in the spring following a fall planting, I mix them with sand or fine dirt, and place this blend in a box that's screened on the top and bottom to admit rain and allow drainage. Then I bury the box in the woods—just below the surface of the soil—and cover it over with an inch or two of earth and two inches of mulch. The next fall (or as early as August), I dig up the one-year-old stratified seeds to plant or sell.
- Digging and Drying Roots
Various conditions determine growth rates, but it's rarely economical to harvest roots before their fourth year. (After the fourth year, root weight generally increases about 20 percent yearly.) When you do dig up your crop, wield your shovel carefully, so as not to mutilate the roots . . . or you'll lessen their value.
When you've dug up your treasure, wash off the dirt. But don't scrub the gnarled roots too thoroughly, as the soil in the ridges highlights the wrinkled quality of the tubers. If you dig them in the late fall, after growth has ceased and the leaflets have turned yellow, you can immediately replant any undersized roots without risk of damaging them.
Dry your ginseng in a well-ventilated room at a temperature of at least 60°F, not exceeding 90°F for any prolonged period. Spread the roots only one layer thick on a screen or lattice-to promote air circulation and turn them once a day. Small roots take just a day to dry, but large ones may take as long as six weeks. Keep an eagle eye on your crop, as mold may strike during damp weather. If that happens, rush the ginseng into direct sunlight for a few hours.
You'll know your harvest is properly dry when the roots break with a snap when bent. The yield should then be stored in a dry, well ventilated, rodent proof container until you're ready to market it.
- Cashing in the Green Ginseng Gold
In most communities near where wild 'sang grows, there's at least one shrewd old-timer who buys both wild and cultivated roots. My experience has been that local dealers offer prices that are the same as, or very close to, the prevailing rate throughout the country. However, they may not pay a premium for particularly fine specimens. Should you have a large quantity of quality roots—or if you don't live within ginseng's native territory—you can sell your dried roots by mail to any of several export companies. Before shipping your entire crop, reach an agreement on a price, using a sample as the basis.
Like any other commodity, the value of ginseng fluctuates according to supply and demand . . . but there's also considerable price variation relative to the quality of the roots. (Experienced buyers evaluate the age, size, shape, wrinkles, texture, interior and exterior color, evidence of damage or disease, and other factors before setting their prices.) So you'd be wise to obtain at least two quotes before making a large sale.
In the past few years, the price of cultivated, woods-grown ginseng has ranged between $40 and $65 per pound, and the more highly prized wild roots have sold for around $140 a pound! Most American ginseng is sold through the trading port of Hong Kong, intended for ultimate sale to people of Chinese extraction . . . who use the root for medicinal purposes. Indeed, while this article has focused on the cultivating of the woodland perennial, let me assure you that volumes have been written about the tangy root's health applications and significance in Oriental cultures. Trading wars have erupted and international pacts have been signed because of the rare botanical!
As the market now stands, the future for ginseng cultivators appears to be rosy. In 1981, the U.S. exported $40 million worth of ginseng . . . and, with the opening of diplomatic relations with the People's Republic of China, the demand is expected to increase steadily. So it looks as if today is the time to take a speculative walk around your property. Who knows, maybe within five years you can have a booming and lucrative ginseng export business . . . operating from a few half-acre chunks of otherwise marginal wood land!
- The Life Cycle of Ginseng
American ginseng, Panax quinquefolium, is a rather ordinary-looking little plant about 20 inches high-which grows inconspicuously on the forest floor. It is a deciduous perennial that produces a new top each year and has a slow growing tuberous rootstock.
Ginseng seeds sprout in April or early May, approximately 18 months after they drop from the plant—within bright red berries—during early autumn. Throughout its first summer of growth, the plant develops a small, skinny root and atop that consists of three leaflets. It stands only a few inches high and greatly resembles the wild strawberry. After the first fall frost, the top turns a rich ocher yellow and soon dies . . . but below ground level, the root survives the winter, freezing as the ground freezes.
The second-year plant is either a single palmate cluster of five leaflets, or two prongs with three to five leaflets radiating from each prong. In succeeding years, the top has two, three, and—in time—four prongs, with three to five leaflets on each fork. From the center of this whorl of prongs and leaflets, a small cluster of yellow green blossoms arises in May or dune, followed by a clump of kidney shaped crimson berries in early autumn. At the three-pronged stage, a plant will produce 15 to 40 berries annually, each of which usually contains two hard, flat seeds.
The root may triple in size during each of the first few growing seasons, but the growth rate soon tapers off until only about a 20 percent increase in root weight is achieved during each succeeding year after the fourth season. The raw root looks something like a small, off white, distorted carrot that has had a long and bitter life . . . and it tastes pretty nearly as unappetizing, as it looks. (A root occasionally branches in such a way that it imitates the form of a man. Such a specimen is said to be worth many thousands of dollars in China. In fact, the name "ginseng" is derived from the Chinese term for "man shaped" .)
When the top dies off each fall, it leaves a scar on the neck of the root. The next year's bud forms on the opposite side of the neck, and this habit leaves the root neck bearing a series of alternating, ascending scars, which tell the age of the ginseng. Twenty-year-old plants are common in the wild, and `geriatrics" more than 90 years old have been documented. Estimating Costs and Profits
Raising ginseng is occasionally advertised as a get-rich-quick scheme. Be assured that this is not the case! Rather, cultivating the plant is an undertaking that a prudent, patient person who likes to grow things can find interesting and profitable.
(As of printing - July 1983)
Starting up a ginseng business entails a modest or moderate initial capital investment, few operating expenses, and a goodly amount of time and labor (which in themselves have considerable value). Each person will choose to do things differently, and thus expenses will vary. Yet you should be able to project your costs fairly accurately . . . if you consider the factors I'm about to mention.
Assuming that you plan to (eventually) plant seeds you grow yourself, your biggest capital outlay will be for an initial order of seedling roots and/or stratified seeds. Naturally, the greater the quantity you buy, the less you'll have to pay for each seedling or seed.
One-year-old seedling roots are generally priced from 10c to 17c apiece, two-year-old roots range from 21c to 30c each, and three year-old specimens cost 30c to 45c per item. To qualify for the lower ends of these price ranges, you'll have to buy at least 1,000 roots. The price of stratified seed varies from just over 1 to a bit over 2Q per seed. Ads generally offer seeds for $4 per ounce, $18 per thousand, and $110 for a pound (about 8, 000 seeds).
The advantages of using the more expensive seedling roots include their higher probability of sprouting and surviving . . . and the savings of one to three years of time and labor. (Within three years, the value of the seeds you've harvested should at least equal the initial cost of the seedlings.) The primary advantage of stocking with seeds is their lower unit price.
As I stated in the body of this article, I think it's a good idea to plant 750 square feet of permanent seedbeds for two years running. This will require about a half pound of seed or 2,000 seedling roots each year . . . at an annual cost of approximately $60 (for seed) or $600 (for 2,000 third year seedling roots). In succeeding years, you'll be planting your own seed.
Besides stocking your ginseng nursery, you may need to buy mulch, pest-control aids, and—perhaps—a little fertilizer. My total cost for such items last year was about $40. If you've decided to fence your plots, calculate that expense, as well.
You'll also need a few tools, such as a shovel . . . an axe for clearing saplings and cutting tree roots . . . a sturdy garden rake . . . and a tiller (unless you favor really hard work). You can rent or borrow the tiller, since you'll need it only when you prepare the beds for planting.
As far as labor goes, during the growing season you should be able to manage as much as an acre of ginseng on a part-time, after work, every other-day basis. (There's little to do for the plants in the winter.) The work required won't break your back, but it will bend it.
Your yield will depend, of course, on your cultivation methods, the soil's condition, and your horticultural expertise. From my own experience and that of other growers I know, I'd say that one tenth of an acre (about 3,000 square feet of actual bed space) of cultivated ginseng raised in forest shade should yield a dried root weight of about 120 pounds at the end of five years. Now this is a fairly conservative figure . . . nevertheless, only growers with some experience behind them are likely to do this well. Yet a person who achieves considerably less success will still net a tidy sum!
So what's the bottom line? Simply this: The 120 pounds of dried roots you should be able to raise on one-tenth of an acre—at an average price of $50 per pound—would have a gross value of $6,000 . . . to say nothing of the seeds you'd harvest to use or sell along the way. On half an acre, then, you could expect to gross $30, 000.
Now do you see why ginseng is called green gold?
Getting to the root of ginseng benefits
- (Your Tailored News)
Ginseng is a short, slow-growing, perennial plant that has fleshy roots. It is believed to help enhance your overall well-being and has become one of the most popular herbal remedies in the world. The herb can be identified by a light-colored, forked-shaped root, and a relatively long stalk with green leaves that are an oval shape.
Ginseng has been taken for many years to help with a number of medical conditions. However, there is still very little scientific research that backs up how effective ginseng truly is.
Both American Ginseng (Panax quinquefolius L) and Asian Ginseng (P. Ginseng) are believed to provide an energy boost, lower blood sugar and cholesterol levels, reduce stress, promote relaxation, treat diabetes and treat sexual dysfunction disorders in men.
It is worth noting that Siberian ginseng (Eleutherococcus senticosis) is not a true form of ginseng and does not belong in the same genus “Panax”. It doesn’t belong to the Araliaceae family of plants either. So consumers should be aware that it is not the same as Asian or American Ginseng.
- How Ginseng Can Improve Your Health
In traditional medicine, Ginseng has been used to treat a variety of different ailments. While it’s therapeutic properties are often questioned by Western scientists, the following ginseng health benefits have been suggested.
- Ginseng can boost your Energy Levels
Ginseng may be able to help improve your physical and mental activity if you often feel weak or tired. A recent Mayo Clinic study revealed that ginseng showed good results in helping cancer patients with fatigue.
- It Can Help with Cognitive Function
Ginseng has been known to help improve thinking abilities and cognition. Research that was published in The Cochrane Library examined whether this claim is true or not. The lead author of the study, JinSong Geng M.D. said that given the results of the study, “ginseng appears to have some beneficial effects on cognition, behavior and quality of life.” However, the authors of the review cautioned that despite some positive findings, studies included in the systematic review did not add up to a convincing case for ginseng’s effectiveness as a cognitive enhancer.
Richard Brown M.D., an associate professor of clinical psychiatry at Columbia University commented on the study saying that “It was a very careful review, but as with many Chinese herbs and treatments, while ginseng has been used by millions of people, there aren’t a lot of rigorous modern studies.”
Another study that was published in the Journal of Dairy Science, focused on whether it would be possible to incorporate American ginseng into foods. The researchers developed ginseng fortified milk with sufficient levels of the herb to improve cognitive function.
- It Has Anti-Inflammatory Effects
Ginseng has seven constituents, ginsenosides, which may have immune-suppressive effects based on the results of experiments that were published in the Journal of Translational Medicine. The results of that study showed that the anti-inflammatory role of ginseng could be due to the combined effects of the ginsenosides, targeting different levels of immunological activity and therefore contributing to the diverse actions of ginseng in humans.
- It Could Be Used in Cancer Prevention
There might be substances inside of ginseng that have anticancer properties. A few population studies in Asia have linked the herb’s consumption to a lower risk of cancer. Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center researchers found that Ginseng may help to improve survival rates as well as the quality of life for patients after the diagnosis of breast cancer.
The American Cancer Society has said that “clinical trials are still needed to determine whether it is effective in people.”
- Ginseng May Help with Erectile Dysfunction
Men have tried taking ginseng to help treat erectile dysfunction. In 2002 a Korean study showed that 60 percent of men who took ginseng noticed an improvement in their symptoms. In addition, research that was published in the British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology provided “evidence for the effectiveness of red ginseng in the treatment of erectile dysfunction.”
- Ginseng Can Help with the Flu or RSV Symptoms
Research that has been published in the International Journal of Molecular Medicine has suggested a possible link between ginseng and the treatment or prevention of influenza and respiratory syncytial virus or RSV. The study was conducted in mice and found that red ginseng extract improved the survival of human lung epithelial cells infected with the influenza virus. Are There Any Possible Side Effects to Taking Ginseng?
Even though Ginseng is generally considered to be safe to consume, the following side effects have been reported during trial studies,
- • Headaches
- • Elevated heart rate
- • Nausea
- • Restlessness
- • Difficulty Sleeping
Women may also experience swollen breasts and vaginal bleeding.
Getting to the root of ginseng benefits
- By Zhang Qian
With winter approaching, it’s time again for seasonal reinforcing therapies. Ginseng has long been consumed in China as a restorative winter root, one that can bolster vitality and virility. Some have even claimed that it can be used to bring people back from the brink of death.
Called renshen in Chinese, ginseng is said to be discovered by accident by two brothers hunting in the snowy mountains. Trapped on the mountain by heavy snow, they took refuge in a cave, and dug nearby for wild vegetation until they discovered a human-torso-shaped root. They ate it as fruit and found themselves energized by it.
When spring arrived and the snow melted, the brothers went home with the miraculous “fruit” which saved their lives.
Ginseng in China mainly grows in eastern portions of Liaoning, Jilin and Heilongjiang provinces featuring cool moist climates as well as rich soil. There is also a prosperous ginseng farming industry in South Korea.
The first Sino-Korean Ginseng Forum was recently held in Shanghai, where experts from both countries shared their knowledge and research.
Ginseng is known as the “king of all herbs” and is believed to possess “warm” properties, according to traditional Chinese medicine. It is often used to reinforce essential qi (the innate energy one is said to be born with), and is said to benefit the lungs and spleen, relieve fatigue, promote formation of body fluids, benefit the brain and soothe the nerves. It is used to treat persistent coughing, breathing problems, anxiety, insomnia and diarrhea, among other conditions.
Older ginseng are believed to be more effective. Wild, aged roots can sell for thousands of yuan at market.
- Different varieties
Ginseng pulled directly from the earth is called shuishen, or water ginseng, because of its 70-80 percent water content. To preserve roots and reinforce particular properties, most fresh ginseng will be processed before use.
There are three major types of ginseng on the market: dried ginseng, red ginseng and American ginseng.
Each of this trio differs in terms of its medicinal properties, and can benefit people with different health conditions, says Du Guangli, professor at Shanghai University of Traditional Chinese Medicine.
Simple dried ginseng is called sheng shai shen, or raw dried ginseng. It is a “neutral,” or mild “warm” energy herb that is effective in reinforcing essential qi, promoting fluid secretion and soothing nerves. It is suitable for most people suffering qi deficiencies.
Hong shen, or red ginseng, refers to ginseng which is steamed before drying. These roots usually bear some red or brown color after preparation, which explains the name. Apart from color, some elements are also altered in the preparation, which can lead to medical property changes as well.
As believed in traditional Chinese medicine, red ginseng is a “warm” herb that is strong in reinforcing qi and yang energy, and thus relieving symptoms like fatigue, frequent sweating, cold limbs and weakened immunity. It is often recommended as a health reinforcement in winter.
Recent research by the South Korean Ginseng Research Institute shows that RGAP extracted from red ginseng can help reduce blood fat and adjust immunity.
Red ginseng’s other benefits — such as enhancing immunity, relieving fatigue, accelerating blood circulation, improving memory, anti-oxidation and relieving menopause symptoms — have long been acknowledged by the Korean Food and Drug Administration (KFDA).
American ginseng that originally grows in the United States and Canada is a different type, though sharing similar name. It is a “cold” herb which nourishes yin energy while reinforcing qi. It is recommended for people with yin-deficiency symptoms, like excessive thirst, face flushing and fatigue.
But one man’s meat can be another man’s poison. Though generally beneficial, it may not be a good choice to eat ginseng without first doing some research or consulting an expert, according to Xu Hongxi, a professor of Shanghai University of Traditional Chinese Medicine.
Some people can suffer ulcers, sore throat or constipation as a side-effect of taking too much ginseng, especially red ginseng. These can be avoided with proper dosage or preparation with other herbs.
Professor Du suggests that people start with small doses like 3 grams, and gradually increase the dose if no side-effects occur.
If side-effects do occur, it is better to reduce the dose further, or add some “cold” herbs like chrysanthemum or mai dong (lilyturf root).
Ginseng is often used as an ingredient in tea, wine, congee and other foods. There are also prepared ginseng powder products on the market.
- Ginseng tea
- Ingredients: thin simple dried ginseng or red ginseng slices
1. Put 1-2g ginseng slices in a cup, pour in boiling water and cover the cup for five minutes.
2. Drink as tea until losing its taste. Chew the ginseng slices.
- Ginseng wine
- Ingredients: a complete simple dried ginseng or red ginseng
1. Soak the ginseng in 500g white spirit, seal it and preserve in cool place.
2. Shake gently every day, and unseal after two weeks for consumption.
3. Drink 30-50ml every day.
- Ginseng, black sticky rice and millet congee
- Ingredients: black sticky rice (350g), millet (50g) and red ginseng powder (6g)
1. Wash the black sticky rice and millet.
2. Put all ingredients in an electric cooker with water.
3. Turn on the power until the congee is done.
Ginseng – the Fountain of Youth?
- By Joe Barton
For over 5,000 years the Chinese have esteemed ginseng for its ability to increase one’s energy, cognitive ability, mood, and sexual drive. One elderly Chinese man urged, “Don’t waste ginseng on the young. Give it to the elderly to make them feel young again.”
Ginseng is a plant that grows in the Northern hemisphere: China, Korea, Japan, Siberia, Canada, and the US. Wild ginseng was first discovered in North America in 1716 by a Jesuit priest who had heard it was sought after by the Chinese. He found the plant growing in the forests near what is now Montreal, Quebec.[ii] For untold centuries, many Native American tribes harvested ginseng for medicinal purposes.
Today, harvesting wild ginseng is regulated by the US Fish and Wildlife Service, so you’ll want to check with them before running out into the forest with your herb basket![iv] Nowadays, ginseng is commercially cultivated and is one of the most common herbal remedies in the world. About 95 percent of American Ginseng is grown in Wisconsin.[v] Most of it is exported to China.
In the US we lack significant research around the benefits of ginseng. Perhaps the primary reason for this is that most pharmaceutical research is funded by drug companies who stand to profit from the research. In the case of herbal remedies, a drug company can’t patent them, so they have little to gain financially.
However, a number of studies have been conducted in China and Korea and it’s hard to dismiss the claimed benefits of countless individuals over 5,000 years of use. Also, the German Commission E that oversees the regulation of herbal remedies in Germany endorses ginseng as a preventative and restorative agent for enhancement of mental and physical capacities.
Ginseng supplements are formulated primarily from its bulbous root, but the leaves can be used to brew tea and the berries are sometimes processed as well. When buying ginseng, always purchase it from a reputable source to ensure purity and potency of the herb. You can purchase ginseng in tea or capsule form.
5 benefits of Ginseng
The benefits of ginseng are wide and varied. In fact, the scientific name Panax comes from the Greek word panacea, which means “all-healing.” Here are just a few of the claimed benefits of ginseng:
1. Boosts energy and stamina. The applications of this benefit are broad, including a Mayo Clinic study that found ginseng helped cancer patients overcome fatigue brought on by cancer treatments.[viii] Athletes find that ginseng increased their energy levels and reduced recovery time. 2. Increases cognitive function. Ginseng is touted as helping improve concentration, the ability to think, learn, and remember things. 3. Lowers blood sugar in type 2 diabetes. Studies have demonstrated that ginseng can significantly improve blood sugar levels in type 2 diabetics. 4. Promotes anti-aging. The restorative power of ginseng is especially enticing to those of us in the second half of life. This has to do with the herb’s hefty supply of antioxidants, its ability to increase blood circulation, and support the immune system.
5. Increase libido and help with erectile dysfunction. One of the primary benefits ginseng has been known for through the centuries is its ability to improve sexual drive and performance in men and women. In one Korean study, 60 percent of the men who had experienced erectile dysfunction found improvement with ginseng.
While ginseng is considered a safe herb, there are some known side effects that occur with some people. It’s interesting that one of the side effects listed is that ginseng is a stimulant and I’ve noticed that I cannot take it before I go to bed at night!
In some people, ginseng may cause headaches, dizziness, or upset stomach. If you are on other medications, please speak with your doctor before taking ginseng to ensure there are no interactions with another drug.
As with many herbal remedies, you may need to take ginseng for a number of weeks or months before you experience its full benefits. I’ve been taking Korean ginseng for about six months now and have definitely experienced some of the benefits described above.
How about you? Have you tried ginseng for any length of time? If so, what was your experience? How did it benefit you? We’d love to hear about it!
If you haven’t tried ginseng tea or capsules, but wonder if it might benefit you in one or more of the ways listed above, why not give it a try?
Ginseng tea is the key to good health
- By Neeti Jaychander
Native to North America and East Asian countries like China, North and South Korea and Japan, ginseng is a magical plant, best known for its roots that have potent medicinal properties. Packaged and sold extensively in India as teas and tea blends, just one cup of ginseng tea a day, has multiple health benefits. Here are some of them.
- Improved brain function
Ginseng is great for the nervous system, and for all neuro-related wellness issues. It achieves the fine balance of relaxing and stimulating the mind all at once. It improves memory and can prevent the onset of Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s.
Reduced fatigue and stress Ginseng is good to keep mental, physical and environmental stress at bay. This is because they reduce the stress hormone cortisol and strengthen the adrenal gland. Ginseng also boosts your metabolism, and reduces chances of obesity and obesity-related ailments.
- Lowered sugar levels and blood pressure
American ginseng is good for people who suffer from diabetes or blood pressure, as they help bring down levels naturally and holistically. The Asian version is not as effective, so it’s best to seek your doctor’s advice before you decide which ginseng to take, and in what dosage.
- Decreased menstrual problems
Menstrual pain is greatly reduced, and menstrual cramps can be kept at bay with ginseng tea. It also makes menopausal symptoms easier to deal with. Korean ginseng is particularly good for this, and is a natural mood enhancer, keeping depression at arm’s length.
- Increased immunity
Studies show that a cup of ginseng tea a day boosts immunity and reduces the risk of both viral and bacterial ailments. So, if you’re prone to colds and flus, this is your magic potion!
Ginseng Benefits: How It Heals
- (Reader's Digest Editors from the book Doctors' Favorite Natural Remedies)
Wars were fought over this ginseng, which has the power to boost immunity and enhance physical and mental performance.
Few herbs are as highly prized as ginseng. Wars were fought over it in China, where it has been used for 8,000 years. Today, a single root of wild Panax ginseng can command as much as $50,000. Of many ginseng variants, three are in common use. Asian/Korean ginseng (P. ginseng) and American ginseng (P. quinquefolius) are considered “true” ginseng, while Siberian/Russian ginseng is a more distant relative. The two Panax varieties may be white (the dried, unprocessed root) or red (the steamed, heat-dried root, thought to be pharmacologically more active). The uses of all three are primarily based on ginseng’s reputation as an “adaptogen” that boosts immunity and enhances physical and mental performance.
- How Ginseng Works
Now widely cultivated, ginseng has been the subject of thousands of studies. The active constituents in the two Panax types are called ginsenosides, which act on the central nervous system. Research suggests that American and Asian ginseng boost the production of protective antibodies that help the body resist infections such as flu, the common cold, and other respiratory illnesses; Asian ginseng may also offer some protection against cancer and speed recovery after treatment. Siberian ginseng, which can help combat flu and herpes viral infections, contains substances known as eleuthorosides that stimulate the immune system, encouraging the body to produce protective T-cells.
Various studies show that ginseng may boost memory and concentration and combat fatigue. Two specific ginsenosides—Rb1 and Rg1—are thought to be responsible for improving cognitive function. Ginsenosides may also combat male impotence by reducing blood levels of the protein prolactin, which can cause erectile dysfunction. Asian ginseng appears to increase sperm levels and motility, as well as boosting sex drive; Korean red ginseng may also boost sexual arousal in women.
- How to Use Ginseng
Many different types of ginseng are available in whole root, extract, powder, tablet and capsule form. You can also buy ginseng tea. Check to ensure you have the desired herb and follow label instructions or take as professionally prescribed.
- Safety First
Though considered generally safe, Panax ginseng may interact with diabetes medications, antidepressants and the blood thinner warfarin, and may enhance the effects of flu vaccines. Ginseng has not been widely tested during pregnancy or breastfeeding so it is best avoided or used only under medical supervision during these periods.
- Where to Find Ginseng
Varieties of ginseng are available in health food stores, some pharmacies or from a qualified herbalist.
What Is the Daily Recommended Intake of Korean Red Ginseng?
- By Sandi Busch
Advocates of Korean red ginseng recommend it for everything from improving your general well-being to preventing cancer. While it helps some conditions, determining a dose isn’t always easy. Labels on supplements may not show the percentage of active ingredients, and some supplements have more than the recommended dose in a tablet. Because ginseng contains active ingredients that affect your body, talk to your health care provider if you’re uncertain about the amount in your supplements.
- Know Your Ginseng
When you buy ginseng, be careful about the type you choose. Korean, Asian and American ginseng belong to the same family -- Panax -- and contain similar active ingredients. Siberian ginseng, however, is not from the same family and has different chemical constituents. The ginseng plant must grow for five years before it’s mature enough to harvest. As a result, pure ginseng tends to be expensive. Unprocessed ginseng root is called white ginseng. When it’s steamed and heat-dried, it’s red ginseng, according to New York University Langone Medical Center.
- Reasons to Take Ginseng
Korean red ginseng shows promise for preventing colds and the flu, according to NYU Langone Medical Center. It's rated as possibly effective for improving thinking and memory, lowering blood sugar in people with diabetes and treating symptoms of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, reports MedlinePlus. Ginseng is purported to boost the immune system, improve mental function, prevent cancer and relieve hot flashes during menopause, but research to date has produced mixed results. Some studies conclude it helps, while others fail to find the same positive effect.
- Recommended Daily Dose
The typical dose for Korean red ginseng is 200 milligrams daily of an extract containing 4 percent to 7 percent of ginsenosides, which are the active ingredients, according to NYU Langone Medical Center. The Tang Center for Herbal Medicine Research, however, reports that doses of 600 milligrams taken three times daily have been advocated. Determining the best dose is difficult because at least 20 different ginsenosides have been identified, and they exert different effects. Because the mix of ginsenosides varies from one product to the next, different supplements that contain the same amount of ginseng may not provide the same level of effectiveness.
- Who Should Avoid Ginseng
Do not take Korean red ginseng if you’re pregnant because one of its chemicals may cause birth defects, according to MedlinePlus. Consult your physician before taking ginseng if you take any medications or have diabetes, problems with blood clotting, hormone sensitive conditions such as breast cancer and endometriosis or an auto-immune disease. When taken in high doses, ginseng can make it hard to sleep. This insomnia can cause agitation in people with schizophrenia. Like caffeine, ginseng stimulates your nervous system, so consuming both at the same time may increase your blood pressure or heart rate.
Siberian Ginseng Plants
- (San Francisco Gate)
Siberian ginseng (Eleutherococcus senticosus) is not a member of the ginseng family, although it shares some of the same properties. Siberian ginseng is most useful as a border or hedge plant. This small, slow-growing deciduous shrub grows in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 3 through 8.
Siberian ginseng is also known by as devil’s shrub, ci wujia, eleuthero root and touch-me-not. It's an erect shrub with prickly stems, and grows to a height of 8 to 15 feet. The dark green leaves contrast with the purple male and yellow female flowers that bloom in early summer and are cross-pollinated mainly by bees. The pollinated flowers then develop into oval, bluish black berrylike fruits about 1/2 inch in diameter.
In its native habitat of China and Russia, Siberian ginseng grows in thickets, small groups or clumps at the edges of forests. Siberian ginseng shrubs work well for the sunny edges of woodland gardens or in areas of dappled shade. Siberian ginseng plants tolerate pollution well, making them useful in urban environments. Parts of the plant, such as the leaves and buds, can be used in cooking and as tea leaves.
Siberian ginseng plants are often propagated from seed, although they can be slow to germinate and require six months of warm stratification followed by three months of cold. Seedlings can be planted 6 inches apart in late spring or early summer in almost any soil, including sand, loam, clay, acid, alkaline and poor soils. Siberian ginseng will grow in part shade to full sun and needs just enough water to keep soil moist. A balanced granular fertilizer, applied approximately 1/2 pound per shrub in early spring, will enhance growth and flowering.
In general, Siberian ginseng is bothered by few diseases or pests. Alternaria leaf spot and fungal root rot may occur if soil becomes too saturated. Rarely, leaf miners may attack ginseng plants. At the first signs of infestations, which can include lesions, leaf spots and blight, remove and destroy foliage of any suspicious plants.
Identifying a Ginseng Plant
- (San Francisco Gate)
Ginseng (Panax quinquefolius), grown for the large root it produces, grows in the wild and in gardens. Identification of ginseng is the same for most species, once you know the habitat and characteristics of the plant. Take all factors into account when identifying the plant because some plants with similar growth characteristics can easily lead to mistaken identity.
Ginseng is a shade-loving perennial native to woodlands where the environment is cool with well-draining soil. Wild and cultivated ginseng prefer the same habitat for healthy plant and root growth. Wild ginseng grows in wooded areas where it doesn't get much sun, generally in mountainous regions. Cultivated ginseng is grown under shaded coverings to mimic the native environment and keep the plants cool.
- Plant Characteristics
Newly sprouted ginseng plants have three leaves and look similar to a strawberry plant. A second-year shoot has five leaves. Each year after, the plant will have two to four branches with three to five leaves on each. Ginseng flowers appear in early summer and turn into shiny red berries, once the plant reaches a mature size after three to four years of growth. The berries drop from the wild ginseng to reseed themselves and produce new plants. Berries are collected from cultivated ginseng and used the following season to seed new plants. Ginseng plants reach a height of 8 to 27 inches tall, depending on the current stage of growth.
- Root Characteristics
Ginseng is harvested for the root which is used for medicinal and cooking purposes. The root of a mature ginseng plant is fleshy and has the appearance of a human leg or shape of a man, depending on the age. Other names for ginseng include man root, five fingers, redberry and root of life. The root develops a forked shape as it ages past three years. Roots are often harvested after five to seven years and can be more than 12 inches long.
- Mistaken Identity
The leaves of ginseng is similar to a strawberry plant, which may be mistaken growing in the wild. Other plants that have a similar leaf and plant structure are false sarsparilla (Aralia nudicaulis), black snakeroot (Sanicula odorata), Virginia creeper (Parthenocissus quinquefolia) and Jack-in-the-pulpit (Arisaema triphyllum). The best time to identify the ginseng plant is during the fall or period of drought when the leaves turn a bright yellow color and begin to die back.
How to Use Dried Ginseng Root
- By Chris Daniels
Ginseng is a tan, gnarled root that often resembles the shape of a person. Used in traditional medicine for thousand of years, ginseng contain compounds known as adaptogens, which increase your body's ability to adapt to physical or mental stress. However, scientific evidence concerning adaptogens is controversial. Nevertheless, ginseng has been shown to have the potential to boost immune function, lower cholesterol, increase antioxidant capacity and mental acuity, and improve reproductive and hormonal disturbances. Ginseng root is typically chewed or stewed in water to make a tea or soup.
1. Measure two to three grams of chopped ginseng root per cup of tea. This equals about five to eight slices of ginseng root or about one teaspoon of ginseng powder.
2. Add the ginseng and any other ingredients to a cup. You may wish to add other teas or herbs for flavor.
3. Pour hot, but not boiling, water over the ginseng and allow it to steep for five minutes. You may allow it to steep for longer if you want a bolder flavor.
4. Add any sweeteners you wish and drink.
5. Add additional hot water for a total of two to three cups, if desired. The ginseng root will get soft and may be eaten if desired.
- Ginseng is rare and expensive, so buy only from reputable suppliers.
- Seek Korean, red or panax ginseng if you want Asian ginseng. American ginseng is a different species but has similar health effects. Siberian ginseng differs in chemical makeup and has different benefits than American or Asian ginseng.
- Chopped ginseng root may be added to soup, stir fry or many other dishes, although it is not known how other nutrients might alter the bioavailability of compounds in ginseng.
- Do not use ginseng for complementary or alternative medicine without first checking with your doctor. Ginseng may interfere with medications, elevate blood pressure, cause mood or sleep disturbances and alter hormone levels.
Top 10 Health Benefits Of Ginseng
- (Hezy, eHealthzine)
Ginseng, or often regarded as a “king of herb”, is a slow-growing perennial plants that belongs to genus Panax in the family of Araliaceae. The genus name ‘Panax’ is derived from the Greek word ‘Panakos’ meaning “All cure” and the species Ginseng is said to mean “wonder of the world”. The valuable plant is found only in the North America and East Asia (mostly northern China (Manchuria), Japan and Korea), typically in cool climate regions.
There are two main types of ginseng: American Ginseng (Panax quinquefolium) and Asian Ginseng or Chinese ginseng (Panax ginseng). The American ginseng is supposed to contains cooling properties (‘ying’ energy), while the Asian ginseng has warming properties (‘yang’ energy). Therefore, people with “cooling” body should only take Asian ginseng which has “warming” effect, and vice versa. Otherwise, contradictions exist, particularly for people with high blood pressure and weakness. Despite their variations, all ginseng plant contains ginsenosides, which are an active ingredient of the herb.
There is another variety called Siberian ginseng, but it is not a true ginseng – it is another plant (Eleutherococcus senticosus) with almost similar medicinal properties. Because Siberian ginseng contains chemicals called eleutherosides, instead of ginsenosides.
The ginseng, either Asian or American ginseng, has a long history of use as a remedy to treat a variety of health problems, ranging from common cold to cancer. The healing power of ginseng is attributed to the fact that it is an adaptogen, a substance that increases the body’s resistance to stress and improves overall health – both physical and mental.
The adaptogenic effects of ginseng make the herb especially useful for conditions, such as chronic fatigue, lack of energy, lack of vitality, loss of concentration, loss of stamina, poor memory, as well as during recovery from illness. Now, let us take a look at the some top health benefits of ginseng.
- 1. Reduces Mental Stress
The ginsenosides found in ginseng can increase alertness and mental clarity, while relieving mood swings. It is also an excellent anti-depressant and anti-anxiety herb. Simply take one capsule of Ginseng or a cup of Ginseng tea three times a week if you are feeling down or doing strenuous work.
- 2. Treats Type 2 Diabetes
Several studies have shown that ginseng may lowers blood sugar levels in people with type 2 diabetes. For example, in a study published in 2000, researchers gave capsules of American ginseng to people with diabetes who were also receiving conventional treatment in the form of diet or prescription drugs. The study showed that subjects who received a 3 gram dose of ginseng had a blood sugar level that was 59.1% less than subjects who had received the placebo. However, because the long-term effects of ginseng are still unknown. Also, it’s not known how ginseng interacts with prescription diabetes medication. So people with diabetes should not take ginseng or combine it with their prescription drugs unless supervised by a health care professional.
- 3. Stimulates Immune System
The adaptogenic properties in ginseng helps stimulates the immune system by increasing the number of white blood cells and antibodies in the blood. These help you fight colds and other infections. In a study, 227 participants received either ginseng or placebo for 12 weeks, with a flu vaccine given after 4 weeks. The number of colds and flu were two-thirds lower in the group that took ginseng.
- 4. Prevent Cancer
Ginseng contains ginsenosides, which are believed to have anti-cancer properties. Ginsenosides inhibits the cell cycle progression, thereby slowing the growth of cancer cells. In one observational study, researchers followed 4,634 people for 5 years and found that those who took ginseng had lower risk of lung, liver, ovarian, pancreatic, and stomach cancer. If you have been diagnosed with cancer, it is important to consult your doctor before you start consuming ginseng regularly.
- 5. Lowers Cholesterol
In some studies, Ginseng was found to lower LDL (bad cholesterol) levels. Researchers believe that the present of ginsenosides in Ginseng are responsible for this ability, but the actual process is not clear.
- 6.Relieves Fatigue
Ginseng is known as an adaptogen which can combat fatigue and strengthen the nervous system. In one British study done in nurses who do shift-work, ginseng reduced fatigue and improved their moods. The nurses also did better on coordination and speed tests.
Drink one cup of ginseng tea daily to help fight off possible fatigue. Capsules and tincture formulations may be used as well. Experts suggest going one week without ginseng for every five weeks that you are taking it. This break helps to prevent some of the reported side effects (such as insomnia, low blood pressure and restlessness) from long-term use of ginseng.
- 7. Boosts Stamina
Apart from relieving fatigue, the adaptogen also improves both energy and stamina levels. Therefore, ginseng is a popular stimulant tonic herb for athletes.
- 8. Stimulates male sexual function
Ginseng has long been used for impotency due to its adaptogenic effect. It enhances vitality and helps bring the body back towards normal. Some clinical studies have shown that ginseng may facilitate penile erection, and increase sperm production as well as the sperm quality. However, be sure to consult with your doctor before taking ginseng along with prescription drugs as it may interfere with some medications.
- 9.Promotes Digestive Health
Asian or korean ginseng is a great remedy to treat stomach disorders such diarrhea, poor appetite, nausea, vomiting and indigestion.
- 10Improves cardiovascular health
Another health benefit of regular consumption of Asian ginseng is its ability to improve cardiovascular health by inhibiting platelet aggregation and maintaining cholesterol levels. However, some clinical studies suggested that ginseng may worsen the condition of hypertension. So, people with hypertension should consult with a physician before start taking any ginseng.
For best results, take ginseng in cycles. For example, take one capsule of Ginseng at least five days a week for 2-3 weeks, then stop for 3 weeks, then start back again.
Difference Between Korean & Siberian Ginseng
- By Lana Billings-Smith
Korean ginseng and Siberian ginseng, despite both being called ginseng, are not from the same family. Siberian ginseng does not belong to the Panax family, so it is not considered a “true” ginseng. Both types of ginseng are considered adaptogens, meaning they help your body defend itself from stressors, providing a boost to your immune system.
- Korean Ginseng
Also known as Asian ginseng or Panax ginseng, Korean ginseng is native to East Asia and Russia. The root of the plant is what is used and, as an adaptogen, it has been used medicinally as an immune system booster. Requiring a fairly long maturity time, Korean ginseng needs six years of healthy growth before it can be harvested for use. Korean ginseng contains panaxoside, sometimes called ginsenoside, which is the medically valuable component in the root.
- Siberian Ginseng
Siberian ginseng, despite being native to the same region as Korean ginseng, belongs to the Eleutherococcus family rather than the Panax family. As with Korean ginseng, only the root of Siberian ginseng is used medicinally, and it is also considered an adaptogen as it provides a boost to your overall health. Siberian ginseng contains polysaccharides which are associated with lower blood sugar levels, and eleutherosides are its active ingredient. To avoid confusion, Siberian ginseng is now sometimes called eleuthro as it is not considered a “true” ginseng.
- Uses for Korean and Siberian Ginseng
Korean and Siberian ginseng have similar medicinal uses. Both ginsengs provide support to your immune system, help reduce stress, improve overall mood and promote a sense of well-being. They are also both associated with increased mental ability and concentration, greater alertness and higher stamina levels. Both are also associated with potentially helping lower triglyceride and blood pressure levels, and may be helpful in treating and avoiding cardiovascular complications. Only Korean ginseng however, has been associated with potentially lowering blood sugar levels, treating erectile dysfunctions and premature ejaculation, and possibly reducing the risk of certain cancers.
- Possible Complications and Side Effects
Both kinds of ginseng can interact adversely with certain medications, including heart medications, immune system suppressants, blood thinners and any sedatives or stimulants. If you are taking any drugs that fall into these categories, consult a doctor before taking ginseng. Side effects from taking ginseng include a faster heart beat, trouble sleeping, nervousness, mood swings, sudden changes in blood pressure and feeling dizzy. Pregnant and breast-feeding women, as well as those suffering from breast cancer, should not take ginseng as it can have an estrogen-like effect on your body.
When Does the Ginseng Plant Flower?
- By Sarah Moore
American ginseng (Panax quinquefolius) is a cousin to the famous Korean ginseng, which grows in China, Russia, Korea and Japan. American ginseng is similar, and is grown in America as an herb as well as a shade garden plant. It is not a difficult plant to grow and rewards the gardener with showy red berries in fall.
Native to eastern North America, American ginseng thrives in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 4 through 8. Due to overharvesting in the 1970s, it is considered an endangered species and cannot be picked in the wild. The plant grows 10 to 15 inches tall, has an erect habit and produces three leaves on each stalk. Leaves are compound with three- to five-toothed, pinnate leaflets.
American ginseng produces a single flower stalk on which grow a cluster of small greenish-yellow or greenish-white flowers. Each stalk can have as many as 50 flowers on it; and because ginseng plants are self-fertile, both the female stigma and male stamen are apparent on each flower. Flowers require insects for pollination, and develop small, bright red berries the size of peas once fertilized. Bloom Time
The ginseng plant blooms in midsummer, usually in June or July, and produces berries that ripen to a deep red by August or September. Each berry contains two small seeds. Ginseng does not flower and fruit every year, however. Generally plants do not produce flowers until somewhere between their second and fourth years, and often do not produce mature fruit until their fifth year.
Ginseng prefers moist growing conditions in partial or full shade. It enjoys fertile and organically rich soil, and does not appreciate when its roots get dry. Its adaptation to low light makes it the perfect plant for a shade garden, as well as woodland gardens or native plant areas. You can also grow it in an herb garden for its herbal properties. Its rather plain appearance makes it a poor choice for an ornamental.
Korean Ginseng: How Much Do You Need Daily?
- (San Francisco Gate)
Korean ginseng, also known as Asian or Panax ginseng, is most well-known for its role in nixing that fatigue feeling. Taking a Korean ginseng supplement, or drinking tea made with the herb, can boost your mental clarity, help you ward off stress and even give you more energy overall. Before adding the supplement to your diet, though, you need to know the proper dosage and be aware of certain medications it can interact with. your body continually relied on it.
- Why It’s Beneficial
Aside from helping you feel energized and focused, taking Korean ginseng has other possible benefits. The herb contains powerful chemicals known as ginsenosides that can ward off seasonal colds and flus by boosting your immune system function. You might still get sick, although you probably won’t be ill for as long or have too harsh of side effects, the University of Maryland Medical Center reports. Ginsenosides also act as antioxidants, battling away free radicals that are otherwise able to damage your heart, increase your risk of diabetes and cause cancer. A regular dose of Korean ginseng can even minimize symptoms associated with menopause and possibly improve sexual performance in men, although more studies are needed. your body continually relied on it.
- Proper Dosage
The exact amount of Korean ginseng you should take depends on what ailment you’re trying to treat. But generally, 1 to 2 grams of the raw herb is recommended each day, according to the New York University Langone Medical Center. If you’re taking an extract form of the herb, you should take 200 milligrams a day of Korean ginseng that has 4 percent to 7 percent ginsenosides. Taking the Supplement
For maximum benefits from Korean ginseng, don't take it every day for the rest of your life. Rather, take your supplement or raw herb daily for a two- to three-week period. Then don't take it for one to three weeks. After your resting phase, start back up again and add your regular dosage back into your routine. This cycling method allows your system to benefit from the herb, so it doesn’t lose its efficacy as it could if your body continually relied on it.
- Drug Interactions
As with all dietary supplements, check with your health care provider before taking a new kind. Korean ginseng can interact negatively with some of your medications. Blood pressure-lowering prescriptions, blood thinners, immune-suppressing drugs, diabetes medications, water pills and antidepressants can all have diminished or sometimes unsafe enhanced functions when combined with Korean ginseng, the University of Maryland Medical Center explains. Or if you take a stimulant or regularly consume caffeine, Korean ginseng could intensify the effects, making you jittery, nervous and anxious.
Natural remedies for jet lag
- (Editorial Team, The Health Site)
Air travel can be stressful. It really isn't a natural way of being and can cause annoying physical and emotional disruptions, often lasting for days. This is called jet lag, also known as desynchrono
Air travel can be stressful. It really isn’t a natural way of being and can cause annoying physical and emotional disruptions, often lasting for days. This is called jet lag, also known as desynchronosis. This is a normal condition, nothing unusual. When jet lagged, you find it difficult to adjust to external environments like doing work, routine sleeping and loss of appetite. It causes various complications like dehydration, fatigue, discomfort in the legs and feet, irritability, fuzziness and broken sleep.
- Herbal remedies for jet lag
Ginseng is the used to increase mental function and physical vigour. Ginseng ensures increased oxygen utilisation, which is important in oxygen-deprived environments, such as airports and airplanes. To keep the mind sharp and senses alert, take 500 milligrams a day. (Read: Health benefits of aswagandha or Indian ginseng)
Rhodiola rosea is a powerful herb that enhances your internal mechanisms to fight the signs of jet lag. It increases your stamina and mental performance. It is highly advisable to start taking a prescribed dose before one week of the travel and continue with this routine till the one week after of the same. It has been reported to be very effective in the stress management as well.
Schisandra has a greater role play in the mental alertness than any other herb in this category. Mental well being is essential while you face a condition of jet lag so this herb is best for you to make up what you lost during a long travel. 200 mg per day is highly recommended during the days of your travel. Generally it can be taken to improve memory and mental energy.
Diet can be a major game changer if you are facing a severe condition of jet lag. There are some highly recommended advices which are in general given to people, who generally cover long distances and that too very frequently.
•Consume ample water
Drink water to avoid any situation that leads you towards dehydration. Whether it is the consumption of alcohol or eating any food that cause a scarcity of water in your body, avoid all. Here are 7 smart tips to tolerate a jet lag.
•Take light meals
Meals should be well regulated and light as many jet lag affected people have a tendency of nausea and headache. The situation is amplified when you are already on a heavy diet, so keep it light.
Sharing with you here, one eminent research that has explored the best diet plan for the jet lag affected persons. Dr. Charles F. Ehret, a scientist at the Argonne National Laboratory in Illinois, has designed a ‘Jet Lag Diet’ program that is followed and recommended to people travelling to Eastern and Western sides of the world. (Read: A magic pill for night-shift workers!)
The diet is an alteration between the feast and fasting, which changes with passage of time. Begin this diet 3 days prior to the travel date.
•• Day 1: Feast day
On the feast day, a very rich protein diet is recommended as it the base of the preparation for long hours of travel. Protein actually produces a substance called ‘catecholamine’, which is responsible for alertness and mental energy. Protein sources may include animal sources such as meat, eggs and fish, etc. Here are 6 protein sources for vegetarians. Avoid any such foods which may also cause drowsiness, also avoid coffee, which is normally understood as a refreshing drink. Avoid alcohol, as it may disturb your whole system due to intoxication.
Dinner should be totally based on a diet rich in carbohydrates with almost no rich protein diet. Research has shown that carbohydrate-rich foods such as cereals, grains, whole grains, pasta, anything that is a preparation of grains, induce the formation of ‘melatonin’, which is again very helpful in tuning your system to the condition of jet lag. (Read: Coming soon — a cure for jet lag!)
Beverages such as tea and coffee are advisable during times when they don’t affect the circadian rhythms, between 3 to 5 pm.
•• Day 2: Fast day
On a very different note, the second day of your diet regime should be thoroughly based on some light meals such as soups & salads, which will ensure a proper preparation for the coming long hours of travel.
•• Day 3: Feast day
Follow the same routine as day one.
•• Day 4 (departure day): Fast day
Fasting in the same very way as it was done on the second day is advisable, but this should be modified in two aspects; first take full hours of sleep and second the beverages should be regulated properly. If you are travelling east, they are permitted in the evening; while if your destination is on the western side of the world, you need to take it in the morning hours only.
- What to do when you are in-flight
Walk as frequently as you can because it will keep your circulation proper. Drink an optimum quantity of water and make sure that you are continually flexing your body and muscles. A brief session of meditation is also highly recommended when you are on a long travel.
Benefits of Korean Ginseng Tea
Brewing yourself a piping hot cup of Korean ginseng tea does more for you than you may realize. The herbal remedy can keep you healthy, minimizing your risk of seasonal illnesses; help you stay focused on your work; and protect your heart. While Korean ginseng tea offers numerous benefits, you shouldn’t use it to treat any particular ailment without the advice of your physician. Cold and Flu Prevention
Beneficial components in Korean ginseng tea can help boost the fighting power of leukocytes, the white blood cells that destroy bacteria and viruses that enter your body. The tea can also aid in creating more of the combative cells. You could still catch a bug if you’re regularly drinking Korean ginseng tea, although your symptoms probably won’t be too severe and you probably won’t be sick for as long as you would be without it, reports the University of Maryland Medical Center. Energy and Clarity
If you’re under extreme stress or regularly feel fatigued, drinking Korean ginseng tea could boost your energy levels. It can relieve anxiety, improve your mood and help you clear your brain fog and focus better. Sipping on a cup of Korean ginseng tea could even give you more endurance, speed up reaction time and make you more agile during sporting or athletic events. Healthy Heart
Drinking Korean ginseng tea has the potential to protect your heart by stabilizing your blood cholesterol levels. It can lower your low-density lipoprotein -- LDL -- which is that harmful cholesterol that clogs up your arteries. Your steamy beverage can even go a step further by raising your high-density lipoprotein, or HDL. This is the beneficial cholesterol that carries LDL particles off to your liver to be broken down. Plus Korean ginseng tea has antioxidants that get rid of free radicals that damage heart tissues and arteries, further keeping your heart healthy, notes the American Cancer Society.
- Other Benefits
While more research is needed, Korean ginseng tea potentially has other benefits for your body. For men, this herbal tea can improve sexual function, minimizing instances of erectile dysfunction. If you're a woman going through menopause, drinking Korean ginseng tea could lessen the amount or severity of your hot flashes. Due to its antioxidant roles, Korean ginseng tea could get rid of free radicals that lead to cancer, possibly lessening your risk of developing certain cancers.
- How to Take It
Boil Korean ginseng root in hot water for about a minute or two, or until you get the flavor you want. If you drink Korean ginseng tea every day for a long period, your system can start relying on it, making it less effective with time. For maximum benefits, drink your tea daily for about two to three weeks, stop drinking it for several weeks, and then start back up. Because different forms of tea -- dried versus fresh root, for example -- can have various amounts of Korean ginseng concentrate, follow the instructions on the label carefully. Some varieties are safe to take daily for several weeks or months at a time. You’ll also want to discuss your concoction with your physician to ensure it won’t affect any of your medications.
HIV patient survives solely on ginseng for 30 years
Korean red ginseng, a medicinal plant known here as "hongsam," has been found to be effective in fighting human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infections, a South Korean research team said Thursday, citing a local patient surviving solely on red ginseng for about 30 years.
The patient was diagnosed as HIV positive in 1987. Since then, the patient has taken a dozen red ginseng capsules daily and has not used any other medication, according to a team led by Cho Young-gul, a professor at the University of Ulsan's Asan Medical Center.
Each capsule contains 500mg of the root that was steamed for three hours and left to dry at 50-80 C, with no additives, according to the team.
It said the South Korean patient has shown no symptoms of AIDS for 31 years, noting the person insists the infection actually occurred in 1985.
This latest research has drawn attention, as few cases of HIV patients on medication surviving for more than 30 years have been reported worldwide.
Cho said that the patient's immunity recently dropped remarkably, as the person started failing to take red ginseng regularly for personal reasons.
Usually, the duration of life without treatment for HIV-infected persons is 11 years. Previously, a case of an Australian staying alive for 29 years without taking AIDS medication was reported.
Cho said Korean red ginseng seems to cause defects in the genetic code related to the AIDS virus, thus curbing the progression of the disease.
Such a hongsam treatment "might induce genetic defects in the negative factor gene," which is associated with the human immunodeficiency virus, he said in a report published in the Journal of Ginseng Research.
A number of studies have shown that the long-term intake of Korean red ginseng helps promote the human immune system.
Ginseng: The Root Of Improving Athletic Performance?
- By Shawn Talbott, PhD
Learn how this supplement can benefit you as an endurance athlete.
Ginseng refers to a group of adaptogenic herbs from the plant family Araliacae. Commonly, ginseng refers to “true” ginseng (Panax ginseng C.A. Meyer), as well as a related plant called Siberian ginseng (Eleutherococcus senticosus), or Eleuthero for short.
Panax ginseng root extracts have been used in traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) for thousands of years as a tonic indicated for its beneficial effects on the central nervous system, protection from stress, anti-fatigue action, enhancement of sexual function, and acceleration of metabolism.
Siberian ginseng did not really come into the picture as a botanical remedy until the 20th century. Found in the northern regions of the former Soviet Union, the roots of Eleutherococcus senticosus were sought out as a cheaper substitute for the expensive Oriental ginsengs. Soviet researchers found Siberian ginseng to be an excellent tonic to enhance athletic performance as well as to strengthen the body during times of stress.
Several other “ginsengs” are used as adaptogenic tonics throughout the world; among them are Panax quinquefolium (also known as American ginseng and with a rich history of use by Native Americans) and Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera), sometimes called “Indian ginseng” (although not a true ginseng, but with a long history of medicinal use by Ayurvedic healers in India). American ginseng is the most similar to “true” (Panax) ginseng and is highly prized in the Orient, where it is thought to provide a “cooler” invigoration than the native Panax ginseng (considered “warming” by traditional Chinese healers).
In general, the various ginseng supplements available in the U.S. market are claimed to increase energy levels, relieve stress, enhance athletic performance, enhance immune system function, control blood sugar, improve mental function, and promote general well-being. In most of these functions, ginseng, whether Siberian, Panax, or one of the other varieties, is often termed an “adaptogen.”
An adaptogen is defined as a therapeutic and restorative tonic generally considered to produce a “balancing” effect on the body. The properties generally attributed to adaptogens are a non-specific increase in resistance to a wide range of stressors, including physical, chemical, and biological factors, as well as a “normalizing” action irrespective of the direction of the pathological changes. In general, an adaptogen can be thought of as a substance that helps the body deal with stress.
Some studies of ginseng extracts have shown benefits in increasing energy levels in fatigued subjects, while the majority of studies on ginseng as an athletic performance aid have shown no effect. The differences between study results may have been due, in part, to the fact that many commercially available ginseng supplements actually contain little or no ginseng at all — and many researchers often take it for granted that a given product selected off the shelf for study will actually contain what it claims. That’s not always a good assumption.
The clearest indication that a supplement contains something other than real ginseng is the price — ginseng root is a very expensive ingredient and “bargain” ginseng products may either not contain real or enough ginseng, or the active saponin compounds that are thought to deliver ginseng’s anti-fatigue and adaptogenic effects.
Siberian ginseng (Eleuthero), is not truly ginseng (it’s a shrub rather than a root) but it’s a close enough cousin to deliver some of the same energetic benefits. Eleuthero is also known as Ciwujia in popular sports products. The Siberian form of ginseng is generally a less expensive alternative to “true” Asian or Panax ginseng, though it may have more of a stimulatory effect rather than an adaptogenic effect (not necessarily a bad thing if you just need a boost). Often promoted as an athletic performance enhancer, eleuthero may also possess mild to moderate benefits in promoting recovery following intense exercise — perhaps due in part to an enhanced delivery of oxygen to recovering muscles.
Ashwagandha is an herb from India that is sometimes called “Indian ginseng” — not because it is part of the ginseng family, but to suggest similar energy-promoting and anti-stress benefits that are attributed to the more well-known Asian and Siberian ginsengs. Although there has been very little human research done on ashwagandha, herbalists and natural medicine practitioners often recommend the herb to combat stress and fatigue — and it does appear to be particularly suited to relaxation uses following stressful events.
- Scientific Support
The active components in Panax and American ginseng are thought to be a family of triterpenoid saponins that are collectively referred to as “ginsenosides.” In general, most of the top-quality ginseng products, whether whole root or extract, are standardized for ginsenoside content. The active components in Siberian ginseng are considered to be a group of related compounds called “eleutherosides.”
It has been theorized that ginseng’s action in the body is due to its interaction within the hypothalamic-pituitary axis to balance secretion of adrenal corticotropic hormone (ACTH). ACTH has the ability to bind directly to brain cells and can affect a variety of stress-related processes in the body. These behaviors might include motivation, vitality, performance, and arousal.
In a widely cited study of student nurses on night duty, 1200mg of Panax ginseng appeared to improve general indices of stress and mood disturbances. Levels of free fatty acids, testosterone, and blood sugar, which were all elevated by night work, were significantly reduced to those levels observed under day work. In another study, 2,700mg/day of Panax ginseng was able to reduce blood sugar levels and insulin requirements in a group of diabetic subjects following three months of supplementation.
One study on the effects of 200mg/day of Panax ginseng extract for 12 weeks showed improvements over baseline values of mental performance — attention, mental processing, logical deduction, motor function, and reaction time.
Over a period of several decades, German and Soviet researchers have studied the effects of Panax ginseng extract, typically standardized to 4 percent ginsenosides, on the performance of athletes. One study compared 200mg/day of Panax ginseng extract in 14 highly trained male athletes versus a placebo. The ginseng group showed an increase in its maximum oxygen uptake when compared to the placebo group, as well as a statistically significant improvement in recovery time and lower serum lactate values.
Other studies in various groups of young athletes have shown Panax ginseng extract to provide statistically significant improvements in performance measures such as forced vital capacity and maximum breathing capacity as compared to the placebo groups.
Unfortunately, the scientific evidence for ginseng is far from proven. For every study showing a positive benefit in terms of energy levels and/or physical or mental performance, there is at least one other study showing no benefits. Part of the discrepancy in results from well-controlled studies may have to do with differences between the ginseng extracts used in various studies (non-standardized extracts with unknown quantities of active components).
- Safety And Dosage
Generally, plants in the ginseng family are considered to be quite safe. There are no known drug interactions, contraindications, common allergic reactions, or toxicity to Siberian ginseng, Panax ginseng, or American ginseng. A word of caution is recommended, however, for individuals with hypertension, as the stimulatory nature of some ginseng preparations have been reported to increase blood pressure. Additionally, those individuals prone to hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) should use ginseng with caution due to the reported effects of ginseng to reduce blood sugar levels.
Ginseng is one of the many herbal supplements that can be purchased readily as a whole root, a dried powder or a standardized extract. The most precise approach would be to use a standardized extract to ensure that you are getting an effective product. Products should be standardized to contain 4-5 percent ginsenosides for Panax and American ginseng, and 0.5-1.0 percent eleutherosides for Siberian ginseng. A daily intake of 100-300mg for 3-6 weeks is recommended to produce adaptogenic and energetic benefits.
What Does Korean Red Ginseng Do for Your Body?
- By Pamela Gentry
Considered the most effective form of ginseng on the market, Korean red ginseng has health-promoting effects on the human body that range from enhancing the mind to stimulating the libido. As Korean soil is considered to be the ideal location for growing red ginseng, Korean red ginseng offers a rich variety of minerals and nutrients that are beneficial to the body.
- About Korean Red Ginseng
Grown 100 percent organically, Korean red ginseng takes six years to mature in soil that requires a 10-year rest between planting seasons. For this reason, Korean red ginseng contains a high amount of active elements and is sold at a much higher price than ginseng that is grown elsewhere. However, since it contains three times the amount of ginsenosides and is grown without the use of dangerous pesticides, the health benefits that it offers may make it well worth the cost.
Containing vitamins, amino acids, essential oils and natural enzymes, Korean red ginseng also boasts an unparalleled mineral content. Containing 42 natural minerals, Korean red ginseng offers a wide variety of beneficial nutrients to the body.
- Relieves Stress and Fatigue
Korean red ginseng may be taken to combat weakness and add extra energy to an athletic performance. Ginsenosides, which are found in Korean red ginseng, are also valued for their ability to boost mental efficiency and relieve mental fatigue. Ginsenosides are believed to work as natural adaptogens in the body, meaning that they allow the body to adapt to stress in a natural manner. Korean red ginseng is said to work on the nervous system as a natural tranquilizer and is believed to boost metabolism function as well.
- For the Sex Organs
Increasing natural testosterone levels as well as blood flow to the penis, perhaps the most widely recognized effect of Korean red ginseng is its libido-enhancing effects on the male sex glands. As ginseng has also been found to stimulate estrogen production in women, those who are in the early stages of menopause may benefit from supplementing their diet with Korean red ginseng.
- Additional Benefits
It is believed to strengthen immunity due to its natural vitamin and mineral content and may be used as a natural detoxifier. Korean red ginseng reduces cortisol levels in the bloodstream, which is useful to diabetics, as cortisol interferes with insulin production.
As a high dosage of ginseng reduces blood pressure, Korean red ginseng may be especially beneficial for individuals with hypertension. Anti-inflammatory properties found in Korean red ginseng may be helpful for treating rheumatoid arthritis without the use of steroids.
- Dosage Recommendation
As recommended by the book, “Prescription for Nutritional Healing,” Korean red ginseng should be taken for 15 to 20 days, followed by a rest period of two weeks. Taking 250 to 500 milligrams per day is recommended during the dosage period. Long-term, high-dose use of any ginseng product should be avoided.
5 reasons your skin loves ginseng
- By Zoe Meunier (mybodyandsoul.com.au)
While it’s hard to find a naturally growing substance less visually appealing than the gnarly-looking ginseng, you’d also be hard-pressed to find anything with as many health giving benefits – little wonder, then, that it’s been an essential of herbal medicine across East Asia for millennia.
Ginseng’s incredible balancing and rejuvenating qualities make it as important in skin care as it is in health and wellness, something that is no news to the women of Asia. Korean women, in particular, have long been fans – with ginseng bathhouses a mainstay of their beauty rituals for hundreds of years. Going back even further in Korean history, young ladies in noble families would bathe in ginseng water before their wedding to ensure their skin was refined and pure for their big day.
- 1. Collagen booster, and then some
When you look at the properties ginseng holds it's no surprise that it's been a popular beauty treatment for so long. High on the list would be ginseng’s anti-ageing benefits. It’s packed to the gills with phytonutrients, known to stimulate the skin’s metabolism and rid it of the free radicals that build up after regular exposure to sunlight and environmental pollution and toxins. Even more impressively, several studies have found that ginseng is effective in increasing the production of collagen in the skin’s dermis, firming, toning and plumping skin and diminishing wrinkles and fine lines. The herb also acts as a skin whitener, aiding in the fight against photoaging and pigmentation and making the complexion look brighter, lighter and more youthful. Studies have found it can also inhibit the production of melanin, protecting the skin from the type of pigmentation caused by UV radiation, or sun damage.
- 2. Complex complexion helper
Ginseng is also a brilliant overall complexion booster. Its roots and leaves are rich in vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, allowing them to metabolise skin cells and help get rid of dead skin cells to produce healthy new skin. Ginseng tea is particularly great for refining and rehydrating your skin, regenerates skin cells by increasing oxygenation, improving blood circulation and detoxifying the blood, all of which contribute to healthy, glowing skin.
- 3. The skincare all-rounder
Ginseng’s mastery at the art of skin regenerationas also make it helpful in treating everything from wounds to burns and other skin irritations such as razor rash.
Ginseng’s anti-inflammatory properties and ability to naturally balance oil production within the skin mean it’s also effective in reducing acne outbreaks, as well as assisting in conditions such as rosacea and psoriasis.
- 4. Dark circles? Try some ginger
Another area where ginseng shines is in treatment for under-eye dark circles and puffiness. Those same properties that fight against pigmentation make it highly effective in lightening dark under-eye circles, so look out for products with ginseng in the ingredients.
- 5. Fight hair fall
Lank locks can also turn lustrous with the helping hand of ginseng, with the root known to improve the proliferation of dermal papilla cells – basically that means it encourages hair growth by stimulating blood flow to the scalp and improving the health of hair follicles and cells, minimising hair fall.
Ginseng and Chinese herbal medicines could be the key to curing dementia
- By Geoff Maynard
Ginseng and other herbal medicines used in China at least 1,650 years ago could hold the key to finding a cure for dementia.
A study of classical medical texts has identified references to age-related memory impairment similar to Alzheimer’s.
And several plant-based ingredients – still in use today – were treating forgetfulness centuries ago.
Dr Charlie Xue, of RMIT University in Australia, said: “Alzheimer’s is a significant and increasing health issue in contemporary China and other Asian countries.
“Traditional medicines are commonly used in China for prevention and/or treatment of dementia, and research into them for dementia is a growing field.” Experimental studies of five of these medicines suggest they are relevant to Alzheimer’s.
Researchers performed a search of the Encyclopedia Of Traditional Chinese Medicine – a database of more than 1,000 Chinese medical books dating back to the fourth century.
They describe specific mentions of signs and symptoms of memory impairment associated with ageing, and the formulas and ingredients most commonly used to treat these disorders. The study identified 1,498 citations of dementia and memory impairment derived from 277 different books written from around 363AD to 1945.
Dr Xue said: “In 91 of these citations memory impairment was associated with ageing and was broadly consistent with Alzheimer’s.”
One of the five which consistently appeared in the context of ageing was panax ginseng.
He said ginseng has boosted memory in rats and destroyed beta amyloid plaques – rogue proteins that clump together in the brains of patients with dementia.
Dr Rosa Sancho, of Alzheimer’s Research UK, called for more research into ancient Chinese medicines.
She said: “We can all become more forgetful as we grow older, but the memory loss associated with dementia is much more severe and we can’t tell from this study whether the people being treated with these therapies had dementia or not.”
The research is published in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine.
What could ginseng do for you?
- By DR JOHN BRIFFA (Daily Mail)
From work-related pressure and relationship difficulties, to cash concerns and child-rearing issues, life can sometimes seem like a never-ending stream of problems and pitfalls.
The challenges so inherent in our culture can have profound effects on our physical and emotional well-being.
Stress increases the risk of conditions as diverse as colds and flu, heart disease, depression and insomnia, and statistics show a five-fold increase in stress-related illness in the past 40 years.
One way to mitigate against the effects of stress is to build up the body's internal reserves, enabling it to cope better with the demands life brings. In this respect, natural medicine has much to offer.
For thousands of years, plant extracts have been used as 'tonics' to enhance the function of the body and mind in times of stress.
One of the most popular agents, Siberian ginseng, has a history of traditional use dating back more than 2,000 years.
More recently, Siberian ginseng has been the focus of several scientific studies designed to elucidate the precise action of this herb on the body.
Evidence suggests it can do much to enhance our vitality and protect us from the effects of stress.
The chief organs in the body responsible for dealing with stress are the adrenal glands, which secrete a variety of hormones, such as adrenaline and cortisol, which have important roles to play in the body's response to stress.
However, the adrenal glands have only a certain capacity to respond to stress, and prolonged demands can cause them to weaken.
Common symptoms of weakened adrenal glands include fatigue (which is often worse just after the stress of physical exertion), dizziness on standing, anxiety and/or depression.
Siberian ginseng (Eleutherococcus senticosus) has been shown to have a number of beneficial effects on the physiology of both animals and humans. One of these appears to be an ability to protect the adrenal glands, increasing their capacity to withstand prolonged stress.
In animals, Siberian ginseng has been shown to protect against the effects of a wide range of potential stresses, including heat, cold, surgery, blood loss and infection.
Studies on humans have shown that Siberian ginseng can be of benefit in a diverse array of work settings: explorers, sailors, deep-sea divers, rescue workers, truck drivers, pilots and factory workers have all been shown to respond positively to it.
In one study, published in 1997, proof-readers were found to work more quickly and make fewer mistakes when taking Siberian ginseng.
Another of Siberian ginseng's specific effects is that it appears to enhance the action of the immune system.
This, coupled with its general strengthening effects, may explain why long-term use of this herb has been shown to reduce the rate of infection and absenteeism in workers.
A study of 1,000 Siberian factory workers found that taking Siberian ginseng for just 30 days reduced days lost due to absenteeism by 40 pc over the next year, and general illness rates for the same period were cut by half.
In the Fifties, Russian scientists became interested in Siberian ginseng's potential to enhance athletic performance.
Siberian ginseng was consistently used by Soviet athletes in the late Seventies and early Eighties, and some believe that their success was, in part, due to the supportive effects of this herb.
It seems that in addition to helping combat the effects of long-term stress, Siberian ginseng also has the capacity to enhance performance and vitality in healthy individuals.
Siberian ginseng is widely available in health food stores. The normal dose is 1-4g of dried herb a day, or 2-8ml per day of a liquid extract.
Sometimes, Siberian ginseng products will be stan-dardised to the content of one of its active ingredients, a compound known as eleutheroside E. Then, 1.25g tablets containing 0.7mg of eleutheroside E should be taken 1-3 times a day.
Traditionally, it is recommended that Siberian ginseng be taken for periods of six weeks, interspersed with breaks of two weeks. Siberian ginseng appears to be safe to take in the long term.
5 Beauty Benefits Of Ginseng
- (Bindu, BoldSky)
Ginseng is a herb which is blessed with a plethora of beauty and health benefits. It is used in the Chinese medicinal preperations for its medicinal properties. Homeopathy makes use of this herb to cure various diseases too. The roots of this plant increases the blood count and improves the blood flow, reduces mental stress, treats diabetes, reduces fatigue and lowers cholesterol.
Now, you can reap numerous health and beauty benefits just by consuming ginseng tea. Ginseng roots and leaves contain antioxidants and vitamins which are good for skin. Ginseng metabolises skin cells and eliminates dead skin. Ginseng is also used in beauty products. In today's article, we at Boldsky have listed out a few beauty benefits of ginseng. Read on to know more about it.
Improves Complexion: The vitamins, minerals and antioxidant property of ginseng root promotes healthy skin and eliminates dead skin. It improves blood circulation and improves skin complexion.
Anti Ageing: The photo nutrients in ginseng improves skin elasticity, makes the skin firm and diminishes wrinkles and fine lines.
Acts As A Toner: Ginseng also works as a great toner. Ginseng oil can be mixed with honey and applied on the skin for best results. Remedy For
Dark Circles: Ginseng lightens the dark circles and reduces puffiness under the eyes.
Clear And Glowing Skin: Ginseng improves the skin metabolism and provides relief from acne and eczema. It quickly gets absorbed into the skin, improves blood circulation and makes the skin glow.
10 Benefits Of Ginseng That You Need To Know
- By Nick Eberle
Most everyone has heard at some point or another that Ginseng is good for you, but what are the benefits of Ginseng? This is one of the most renowned tonic herbs in history and at times has traded for more than it’s weight in gold.There two different types of Panax Ginseng, and even more with regional names or other tonic herbs that get called “ginseng”. I want to share with you some of the benefits of Red Ginseng, the type of ginseng you may have seen in a Bruce Lee movie. When people say ginseng, that is typically what they are referring to.
The benefits I am going to share with you are from a more eastern perspective. There is a lot of support for some of these benefits in western studies, but the following should not be considered medical advice.
1. Ginseng is a powerful adaptogen.
Whether it is stress from work, cold, heat, problems at home, or any other form of stress, ginseng greatly helps improve the body’s ability to adapt to change in your environment both mentally and physically. It aids your body while it adjusts to stress, balancing and stabilizing any areas that need correction. It also has replenishing properties, and is held in the highest place when it comes to increasing natural Qi energy. This makes it the perfect herbal tonic for those who have lack of energy or are feeling a little run down by life. It rejuvenates Qi energy at the root, thereby giving energy that will last throughout the day.
2. Ginseng is known as a natural aphrodisiac.
Another benefit of ginseng is that it is said to increase libido and overall sex drive in both men and women. It is one of the go-to tonic herbs in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) when it comes to treating men with erectile dysfunction. It stimulates male sexual function and improves sperm production.
3. Ginseng helps balance metabolism.
Ginseng is great for people suffering from obesity. Along with exercise and proper diet, drinking ginseng tea can give an energy boost making a person more active and vital. It is good for weight loss, because it speeds up digestion and metabolism while helping sustain vital energy when on a diet.
4. Ginseng is a natural analgesic.
This herb is said to relax and soothe muscle tissues. It has anti-inflammatory property which is great for alleviating minor aches and pains.
5. Ginseng is a Nootropic.
Cognitive abilities are brain-based skills needed for us to carry out simple to complex tasks. Ginseng is an excellent brain food that naturally stimulates your brain cells. Preliminary studies have shown some incredible brain benefits. It appears that ginseng may help to prevent early onset Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s disease by improving memory and concentration, boosting the function of the brain cells, and stimulating the cerebral cortex (which is the most important part of the brain). It appears that ginseng directly influences brain cells, activating and enhancing cognitive strength and endurance.
6. Ginseng acts as an anti-aging agent.
Ginseng has many anti aging effects. It promotes skin cell regeneration and is a source of antioxidants, which counteracts the damaging and harmful effects of free radicals in the body. Drinking ginseng tea also helps slow down the signs of aging with its detoxifying property. It is also effective for refining and re-hydrating the skin, as well as improving blood circulation. All of these benefits have been linked to extended life.
7. Ginseng helps regulate female hormones.
Many women today have challenges with their menstrual cycle. Ginseng is a excellent herb when it comes to challenges such as irregular cycles, cramps, and heaving bleeding. One of the many benefits of ginseng is that it regulates female hormones, maintains secretion balance, and ensures smooth and healthy flow during that time of the month.
8. Ginseng is good for hair growth.
Androgenetic alopecia is a common form of hair loss for men and women. Studies found out that ginseng prevents this process, and, by extension, hair loss, stimulating the scalp and promoting hair growth.
9. Ginseng helps control blood sugar and lower cholesterol.
Studies found that ginseng also aids in improving blood sugar levels. It has been used in the treatment for diabetes, as it creates sugar-lowering effects in fasting and after-meal blood sugar levels. This makes it a wonderful herbal remedy for people with high cholesterol levels to help get them under control before you need medical intervention.
10. Ginseng benefits your major organs.
Ginseng is a herb that benefits almost the whole body and helps promote health and vitality. It invigorates the heart, lungs, kidneys, spleen with its relaxing and calming effect. It also protects the liver, and aids in stimulating the regeneration of liver cells and reducing the chances of liver necrosis (liver cell death from toxicity). Not only that, ginseng improves kidney functions by helping a person urinate with ease. It also contains vitamins and active components like amino acids, Vitamin A, C, B1, B2 proteins, enzymes, and many more.
Ginseng is an herb of legend, but after reading those benefits it should come as no surprise. Supporting your health on almost every level, it is a tonic herb that can help you to live a longer and healthier life without adverse side effects. So why not make a change and try ginseng tea this fall?
Ginseng 'reduces cancer fatigue'
- (BBC News)
The Chinese herb ginseng could give exhausted cancer patients a physical and emotional boost, research suggests.
A US team at Rochester's Mayo Clinic found daily doses improved energy levels and emotional well-being, in a study of 282 patients.
They say that as studies show over half of cancer patients experience crippling fatigue, adding ginseng to cancer therapies is worth exploring.
Cancer experts urged caution until more work was carried out.
The work was presented to the American Society of Clinical Oncology.
- Stress effects
Cancer fatigue is the most common side effect of cancer treatment and, according to Cancer Research UK, affects up to 90% of cancer patients.
Many people with cancer say it is the most disruptive side-effect of all, rendering them so tired they are unable to perform everyday tasks.
Ginseng has already been hailed as a remedy against colds and diabetes.
Scientists believe it works by acting as an "adaptogen" - a substance that helps the body overcome stress effects.
Since cancer patients can face high levels of stress, both physical and psychological, the Mayo team decided to test whether ginseng would be of benefit.
They enrolled 282 cancer patients and divided them at random into four groups - a control group, who received their normal cancer treatment and a dummy drug, plus three treatment groups who received one of three daily doses of ginseng (750mg, 1,000mg or 2,000mg) alongside their usual therapy.
After eight weeks, they surveyed the patients.
- Marked improvements
The group given the dummy drug reported no improvement, but the patients who had been taking the ginseng reported improvements in overall energy levels and experienced less fatigue-affected activity.
The ginseng groups said they felt better mentally, physically, spiritually and emotionally.
The improvements appeared to be dose related, with those on the highest dose reporting the greatest gains.
But the scientists stressed it would be premature to recommend ginseng supplements to cancer patients.
Lead researcher Dr Debra Barton explained: "Whilst the results were promising, we have more research to conduct."
Her team now plans to look at what dose is most appropriate.
Dr Barton said there were many different formulations of ginseng available on the market and that all might not work identically.
Josephine Querido, of Cancer Research UK, said: "It's too early to say whether using ginseng will help reduce tiredness in people with cancer. Further work may shed more light on this.
"Of the evidence currently available, exercise and support seem to be most effective at tackling tiredness in cancer patients."
She added: "If you're considering using complementary therapies, such as herbal supplements, you should always discuss this with your GP."
The Healing Benefits of Panax Ginseng
- By Cathy Wong, ND (Reviewed by a board-certified physician)
Can this ancient root boost your energy and well-being?
Panax ginseng is one of the several types of ginseng commonly used in herbal medicine. According to traditional Chinese medicine, each type of ginseng is thought to have unique healing properties. For example, some types of Panax ginseng have "warming" properties thought to aid circulation.
The active compounds in Panax ginseng are believed to be steroid-like components called ginsenosides. What Are the Health Benefits of Panax Ginseng?
Going back to ancient times, Panax ginseng was used to increase energy and stamina and to give the immune system a boost.
Today, although research on Panax ginseng is fairly limited, there's some evidence that the herb may offer certain health benefits. Here's a look at several key study findings:
Panax ginseng may aid in diabetes management. In a research review published in PLoS One in 2014, for instance, scientists analyzed sixteen previously published randomized controlled trials focusing on ginseng's effects on blood glucose levels in people with and without diabetes. Most of the trials were less than 12 weeks in duration and included people with relatively good glycemic control.
In their conclusion, the review's authors state that ginseng modestly yet significantly improved fasting blood glucose in people with and without diabetes but due to the small size and short duration, longer and larger randomized controlled trials (using standardized ginseng preparations) are warranted.
Panax ginseng may improve cognitive performance during prolonged periods of mental activity, according to a 2005 study from the Journal of Psychopharmacology. In a clinical trial involving 30 healthy young adults, researchers found that those given Panax ginseng were less likely to experience mental fatigue while taking a test (compared to those given a placebo).
In addition, a 2000 study in Psychopharmacology showed that a combination of Panax ginseng and ginkgo biloba may help enhance memory in healthy, middle-aged adults.
The increase in cognition is thought to be due to lower blood glucose levels and a temporary reduction in fatigue.
3) Erectile Dysfunction
Panax ginseng may help in the treatment of erectile dysfunction, suggests a 2002 study from the Journal of Urology. In tests on 45 men with erectile dysfunction, those who took Panax ginseng for eight weeks showed greater improvements than those given a placebo for the same time period.
In an earlier study of 90 men with erectile dysfunction, 60 percent of the participants reported improvement in their symptoms compared with 30 percent of those using the placebo. The study was published in the International Journal of Impotence Research.
Unlike prescription drugs for erectile dysfunction (which are usually taken when needed), ginseng only appears to be useful for erectile dysfunction if taken on a continuous basis.
4) Other Conditions
Although it's sometimes touted as a cure-all, Panax ginseng may not be helpful for certain conditions. For instance, studies have found Panax ginseng ineffective at alleviating hot flashes and boosting sports performance.
In addition, the National Institutes of Health noted that there is not enough research to rate Panax ginseng's effectiveness in the treatment of a number of conditions (including depression, chronic fatigue syndrome, cancer, colds, the flu, bronchitis, fever, digestive problems, fibromyalgia, and anemia).
- What to Know Before Trying It
1) Characteristics Due to Processing Method
In traditional Chinese medicine, the way that ginseng has been prepared is thought to influence its action. Red ginseng, for instance, is unpeeled ginseng (Panax ginseng C.A. Meyer) that is steamed before drying. White ginseng, on the other hand, is unpeeled Panax ginseng that is dried and peeled (but not steam-treated). A newer type, black ginseng is made from a repeated steaming/drying process.
Red ginseng is thought to promote "yang" energy (which is stimulating and heating), to a greater degree than white ginseng. As a result, red ginseng may be overstimulating for people who tend to feel hot or those who have conditions such as tumors, kidney stones, gallstones, inflammatory conditions, or certain psychological conditions.
White and red ginseng are available in tinctures, liquid extracts, powders, and capsules.
2) Side Effects
Ginseng is commonly used and is even found in beverages, which may lead you to believe that it's completely safe. But like any herbal supplement or medication, it can have unwanted effects. Some of the more commonly reported side effects include headaches, lower blood sugar levels, nervousness, and insomnia.
Ginseng may affect your hormone levels, so if you have a hormone-related condition such as endometriosis, uterine fibroids, or cancers of the breast, ovaries, uterus, or prostate, you should avoid Panax ginseng.
Panax ginseng may decrease the rate and force of heartbeats, so it shouldn't be used if you have heart disease (unless you're under the supervision of a healthcare provider). There has been some concern that ginseng may raise blood pressure.
Children and pregnant or nursing women should avoid Panax ginseng.
Panax ginseng may lower blood glucose levels and it may interact with diabetes medication, so if you have diabetes and are considering using it, be sure to speak with your healthcare provider.
3) Interactions With Other Supplements and Drugs
Panax ginseng can increase the effect of blood-thinners (anticoagulant and antiplatelet medication such as warfarin, clopidogrel, ticlopidine, heparin, and aspirin), which may increase the risk of adverse effects such as bleeding.
Certain herbs (such as danshen, devil's claw, eleuthero, garlic, ginger, horse chestnut, papain, red clover, and saw palmetto) can also increase the risk of bleeding if combined with ginseng.
Panax ginseng may affect heart rhythm and can increase potential side effects from theophylline (and similar asthma drugs), albuterol, clonidine, and sildenafil citrate (Viagra).
Panax ginseng may interfere with the metabolism of monoamine oxidase (MAO) inhibitors, such as phenelzine sulfate, tranylcypromine sulfate, and isocabaxazid. It's also believed to affect levels of neurotransmitters (chemicals that carry messages from nerve cells to other cells) and may interact with antipsychotic drugs such as chlorpromazine and fluphenazine.
Panax ginseng stimulates the central nervous system, so it may increase the effects of prescription drugs that do the same (such as medications for attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, narcolepsy, and obesity). The combination may raise heart rate and blood pressure.
Panax ginseng has been found to interfere with the metabolism of drugs processed by an enzyme called CYP3A4. Ask your doctor to check if you are taking medications of this type.
- How Is Panax Ginseng Different From Other Types of Ginseng?
In traditional Chinese medicine, American ginseng (Panax quinquefolius) is said to have "cooling" properties. This type of ginseng is often touted as a natural remedy for diabetes. American ginseng is also said to stimulate the immune system, improve strength and stamina, and treat and prevent some forms of cancer.
Also used to boost strength, stamina, and immunity, Siberian ginseng (Eleutherococcus senticosus) is sometimes taken to ease the side effects of chemotherapy. In addition, Siberian ginseng is thought to act as an adaptogen and protect against atherosclerosis, Alzheimer's disease, rheumatoid arthritis, and attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder.
- The Takeaway
While Panax ginseng may boost your energy and help in the management of certain health conditions, if you're considering taking it, it's important to consult your healthcare provider first.
Is Drinking Ginseng & Green Tea Good for the Body?
- By Amy Myszko (Demand Media)
Green tea and ginseng are two of the oldest medicinal beverages, and both have numerous health benefits. You can take them together as a tea for a potent boost in energy and mental clarity. Both have health-promoting antioxidants that help prevent free-radical damage in the body, making ginseng and green tea a delicious and powerful concoction.
- Antioxidant Power
Green tea is widely recognized as an excellent source of powerful antioxidants called catechins, according to Harvard Health Publications. A number of studies show that green tea may reduce the risk of several cancers, including skin, lung, breast, colon, esophageal and bladder. According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, ginseng tea may help lower the risk of developing lung, liver, pancreatic, ovarian and stomach cancers and may slow the growth of tumors. An article published in “Food and Chemical Toxicology” in September 2011 revealed that ginseng increased the levels of key antioxidants such as glutathione.
- Cardiovascular Support
Both ginseng and green tea support cardiovascular health as well. According to Harvard Health Publications, regularly drinking green tea prevents the oxidation of low-density lipoprotein -- or “bad” cholesterol -- raises beneficial high-density lipoprotein levels, improves artery function and reduces hypertension. Add ginseng to the mix and you get LDL-lowering effects, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center. Ginseng is controversial for high blood pressure, however, because studies have shown ginseng to both lower and raise blood pressure, depending on the dose and other factors.
- Other Benefits
Ginseng has been found to improve mental and physical performance, increase stamina, promote sexual health and support healthy aging, according to research published in the August 2000 “Fitoterapia.” Ginseng also seems to support the immune system by improving the number of immune cells in the blood, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center. Thus, ginseng may reduce your risk for getting a cold and lessen the severity of a cold or the flu if you do get sick. Green tea has been shown to strengthen bones and improve bone mass, according to research published in “Nutrition Research” in July 2009. Green tea may also support oral health and protect the brain, along with it numerous other health benefits, according to a review published in the “Journal of the American College of Nutrition.”
- Health Warnings
The combination of ginseng and green tea may improve health; however, there are known side effects of both substances. Green tea in excess can cause anxiety, insomnia and irritability due to its caffeine content, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center. Green tea should be avoided in pregnancy and lactation, and if you have heart problems, high blood pressure, kidney or liver problems, stomach ulcers or psychological disturbances. Ginseng should also be avoided in pregnancy and lactation, as well by those who have bipolar disorder, insomnia and autoimmune disorders. Check with your doctor before taking Asian ginseng if you are taking pharmaceutical medications. High doses of ginseng have been known to cause side effects that may include anxiety, restlessness, diarrhea, vomiting, headache, vaginal bleeding, high blood pressure and nosebleeds.
Korean White Ginseng Health Benefits
- By Diana Herrington
Korean White Ginseng is a powerful herb that stimulates the body’s systems and helps to reduce stress. Used in a variety of tonics for its overall effects, it contains a volatile oil, Panax oxide, glycosides and glucose.
- Botanical Name: Eleutherococcus Senticosus
- Health Benefits of Korean Ginseng
- • Antioxidant properties
- • Cholesterol reduction
- • Anticancer effects and immune system stimulation
- • Physical and mental improvement in the elderly
- • Impotence: scientists believe the link between ginseng and sex drive is due to ginseng’s effect of strengthening overall health and balancing the hormonal system.
- • Physical improvement and performance enhancement for athletes
- • Mental performance improvement and mood enhancement
- • Antifatigue and antistress actions
- • Lowering blood sugar
”Korean Ginseng nourishes the muscles, benefits the nervous system and helps to balance the function of the hormone secretion especially related to the reproductive organs. The Korean Ginseng seems to have more of a cooling effect on the body, and is good for hot climates, as well as for hot flashes. The Chinese eat Ginseng all the time for energy, strength, and endurance. It is commonly eaten by athletes who want to increase their endurance and performance.” Sharon Farnsworth
- Ginseng Cautions:
“Consumers should be aware of the different kinds of ginseng, and which type is best suited for them. Red Korean ginseng is considered stronger and more stimulating than white, wild ginseng is stronger than cultivated, and Korean ginseng is generally believed to be slightly stronger than Chinese. Furthermore, American and Siberian ginseng have slightly different properties than Korean ginseng, and consumers should make an informed choice as to which herb is best suited for them. Chinese herbalists do not recommend Korean ginseng for those people who have “heat” disorders in their bodies, such as ulcers, high blood pressure, tension headaches, and symptoms associated with high stress levels. Korean ginseng is generally not recommended for those with symptoms of nervousness, mental imbalance, inflammation, or fever. Korean ginseng is not recommended for pregnant or lactating women, and women of childbearing age should use ginseng sparingly, as some studies imply that it can influence estrogen levels.” From Medical Dictionary
Copyright © Diana Herrington You are welcome to share this article with anyone who you think may benefit from this information as long as you give credit to Real Food for Life by including the link to the home page www.RealFoodforLife.com or the direct link to the post.
Getting to the Root of Ginseng
- By Harold Mandel (Syracuse Natural Health Examiner) (MandelNews.com)
Questions about the herb's health benefits haven't cooled the red-hot market in wild American ginseng
Medline Plus writes that the root of the panax ginseng plant is used to make medicine. Panax ginseng is reported to be used to improve thinking, concentration, memory and work efficiency, physical stamina, and athletic endurance. Panax ginseng is also used by some people to help them cope with stress and as a general tonic for improving well-being. Panax ginseng is sometimes called an adaptogen when it’s used in this way. There are also a myriad of other illnesses Panax ginseng is used for including depression, anxiety, chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS), for boosting the immune system, and for fighting particular infections in a lung disease called cystic fibrosis and various types of cancer.
Dr. Victor Marchione has reported for Doctors Health Press: "The Secret Ingredients That Fight Cancer." Ginseng has a very long history as a well respected potent herbal medicine. As an adaptogenic herb ginseng is considered a special regulator that increases the ability of an organism to adapt to environmental factors. As an adaptogen ginseng has a normalizing effect. Unique ingredients in ginseng, called ginsenosides, appear likely to give ginseng its adaptogenic properties.
Researchers have examined the potential activation and synergism between three common ginsenosides present in ginseng: ginsenoside Rb1 (Rb1); ginsenoside Rg1 (Rg1); and ginsenoside 20(S)- protopanaxytriol (20S). It has been discovered that Rb1 and Rg1 are relatively non-toxic to cells, while 20S significantly inhibits cell proliferation. Rb1, Rg1 or 20S were also found to induce what the researchers have called total antioxidant activity. A combination of 20S with either Rb1 or Rg1 induced total antioxidant activity synergistically. This, the researchers have said, is likely the reason for ginseng’s beneficial health effects such as cancer chemoprevention. HMEnterprises.org offers high quality Korean Ginseng for sale online.
Ginseng could be an effective way to prevent the flu
- (The Conversation)
Ginseng, the root of the plant Panax ginseng, is one of the most commonly used herbal medicines and is often sold as an over-the-counter remedy for fatigue. Although it has been used by humans for thousands of years, more recent research has begun to investigate therapeutic and pharmacological uses including anti-allergy and anti-inflammatory properties. It is also known to act on the immune system and to affect viral replication. And it may also be a very effective way of preventing the flu.
The findings of a recent study we carried out suggest that normal consumption of Korean red ginseng extract by healthy individuals could prevent infections by different flu virus strains. And studies in mice suggest that long-term ginseng intake could confer and prepare immune systems with better resistance to fight future pathogens.
The effect that ginseng has on flu virus infections regardless of strain makes it different from the strain-specific protection from annual vaccinations (often given to those most at risk such as the elderly and pregnant women, and determined by the strains in most circulation in a given year) and prescribed antiviral drugs such as Tamiflu – which recently came under fire over its effectiveness as a treatment against severe flu. Rooting around
Korean red ginseng extracts are produced by steaming and drying the fresh roots of six-year-old Panax ginseng plants. These are then boiled in water and the supernatants – or liquids above the settled material – are concentrated. It is this preparation that can be designated as “red ginseng extract.” Because of its prominent biological effects, extracts from this particular plant have been used in animal studies. Despite known beneficial effects on human health and its action on viral infection, the mechanism for how it does this remains largely unknown.
In previous studies, we investigated the effects of ginseng given orally in mice – the most common way that healthy people take ginseng as a supplement. We found that this gave the mice a moderate but significant resistance to infection with the 2009 pandemic flu virus strain – on the whole it didn’t prevent illness, which was shown by them losing weight, but it did result in better survival.
Protection from ginseng given before infection wasn’t strong because the mice still became ill but we also found that treating them with ginseng after infection gave even less protection. Cross-protection
However most human adults who consume ginseng already have some immunity to the flu, either through previous contact with the virus or vaccination. So we tried giving ginseng instead to vaccinated mice instead through oral doses and found that it significantly improved how well the mice were able to fight different strains of flu viruses through cross-protection.
Infection of mice with a mixture of influenza virus and ginseng extract resulted in better clearance of lung viral levels and lower levels of inflammatory cytokines, the small proteins that are important in helping cells to send signals. But it also led to higher levels of antiviral cytokines. From these lab tests we know that Korean red ginseng extract may inhibit the flu virus growing. The extract appears to have multiple mechanisms against fighting infectious diseases, which might be beneficial if taken in healthy mice with previous exposure and prior to infections.
Our more recent study, published in Nutrients found that ginseng improved the survival of human lung epithelial cells (tissue cells that line cavities in the lung) when someone is infected with the flu virus. Also, ginseng treatment reduced the expression of pro-inflammatory genes, probably in part by interfering with chemically reactive molecules that contain oxygen and which are formed by the flu virus.
Taking ginseng for a longer term (around 60 days) showed multiple effects on the immune system of mice such as stimulating anti-viral protein production after flu virus infection. Ginseng also inhibited the infiltration of inflammatory cells into the lungs in mice. So ginseng might have potential beneficial effects in preventing flu virus infections by acting on the immune system in multiple ways.
Small doses of ginseng has been taken in humans for many years with no major side effects. But while ginseng looks like a promising way to help prevent flu, results only relate to healthy individuals taking normal doses. Based on animal studies it also has shown no or only minimal protective beneficial effects if treated after the onset of symptoms.
S. Korea to serve 8,000 tourists ginseng-chicken soup
- By Wu Jin (China.org.cn)
South Korea plans to welcome a tourist group of 8,000 staff members from a Chinese healthcare product company.
The Chinese tourists are scheduled to arrive in Seoul, in two groups of 4,000, and will be served ginseng-chicken soup, a popular local specialty, on May 5 and May 9 at Banpo Hangang Park.
The banquet will start at 6:00 p.m., and singers from "Descendants of the Sun," a popular South Korean TV drama, will take the stage at 7:00 p.m.
Considering the enormous size of the visiting delegations, the local police advised people to keep away from the routes around Jamsu Bridge from 4:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. on those two particular days, saying there may be traffic jams as the buses of the delegations pass.
The meal, following a party of fried chicken and beer held on South Korea's Wolmido Island in March this year, is a commercial campaign to help stimulate exports of ginseng-chicken soup to China, China News Service reported.
The 8,000 employees will stay in Seoul for five days before returning home and the group tourism will contribute roughly 49.5 billion South Korean Won (US$43.4 million) to South Korea's economy.
Feeling stressed? A cup of ginseng may help you
- By Yuliasri Perdani
Take a sip of ginseng beverage. The bitter taste may annoy you at first, but you'll be glad to know the drink may help you to reduce stress.
Two South Korean scientists recently came to Jakarta to reveal how Korean ginseng (Panax ginseng) known as the King of Herbs may help you in handling stress, improving your memory and possibly preventing cancer.
Prof. Dr. Dong-Kwon Rhee from Sungkyunkwan University conveyed the results of research that indicate ginseng's anti-stress effect. One of them is a 2013 research project partly funded by the Korean Society of Ginseng, in which mice were orally administered ginseng and exposed to immobilization stress.
The immobilization stress can induce inflammatory responses in the brain, leading to tissue damage. The research shows that the ginseng administration protects the mice's brains from such damage.
The result shows that ginseng suppresses cell death by decreasing production of oxidative compounds and subsequently protecting brains from oxidative damage, he said in a recent seminar held by the aT Korean Agro-Fisheries & Food Trade Corporation in Jakarta.
At the event, several Korean ginseng companies provided samples of their products to be savored by the seminar participants. From ginseng tea and ginseng coffee to ginseng candy and ginseng jelly.
It tastes quite bitter, like jamu [Indonesian herbal medicine], a woman said upon chewing ginseng honey jelly.
Back at the seminar, Rhee went on to explain the cancer preventive effect of ginseng based on research on animals. It indicates that the ginseng consumers in the population have less than 0.5 percent risk of cancer, while the cancer risk of those consuming placebos stands at 1 percent.
It is still a stretch to say that ginseng extracts can prevent human from getting cancer. So far, there is evidence that ginseng can help to combat cancer-related fatigue, one of common side effects of chemotherapy.
In 2010, the US Mayo Clinic conducted a randomized double-blind study with 290 cancer patients. Among those who took 1,000 or 2,000 milligrams of ginseng a day reported less fatigue and more energy after eight weeks. A study by the American Society of Clinical Oncology also shows similar result.
Whether you want to test the anti-stress or anti-cancer effects of ginseng, or simply want to have a boost of energy, Dong-Kwon suggested Korean red ginseng, 6-year-old Korean ginseng that has been peeled, heated and dried. Red ginseng has the highest anti-cancer agents and active components called ginsenoside.
Ginsenoside shows the potential to treat declining memory functions in aging or Alzheimer's disease, Prof. Sei-Kwan Oh from Ewha Women's University quoted several studies.
Remarkable Ginseng Research Backs Herb's Reputation
- By Kathleen Jade, ND
Ginseng is one of the best known and most frequently studied medicinal plants worldwide. This is for good reason—ginseng benefits just about every system in the body in one way or another.There are a number of different types of ginseng. The species of ginseng that is most commonly used around the world is Panax ginseng, also known as Korean or Asian ginseng. Its official botanical name is Panax ginseng C.A. Meyer. American ginseng (Panax quinquefolius) is another commonly used and well-studied species. The word “Panax” is derived from the Latin "Pan," meaning “all,” and "Akos," meaning “cure.” If any herbal medicine is truly a cure-all, ginseng is it. Its broad range of therapeutic effects includes everything from fighting fatigue to preventing cancer.
- Ginseng’s Two Most Beneficial ConstituentsBig Piece Of Ginseng Root
Most ginseng benefits are thought to be the result of two important groups of compounds: ginsenosides and polysaccharides. The ginsenosides are the most-studied ginseng constituents and have been found to have regulatory effects on the central nervous system, cardiovascular system, immune system, reproductive system, and more. While both Asian and American ginseng contain ginsenosides, there are some key differences in types and amounts of these compounds which create some of the variation in terms of their therapeutic effects. The older the plant, the more ginsenosides generally contained in the root. Roots must typically be at least 4 years old before harvest in order to have adequate ginsenosides for medicinal effects. Ginseng’s polysaccharides, meanwhile, are antioxidants with immune-regulating effects and are thought to be partly responsible for its anti-cancer benefits.
Research-backed ginseng benefits include the following:
- Ginseng Combats Stress and Reduces Fatigue
Ginseng is best known for its ability to boost energy and relieve stress. Both American and Asian ginseng can be perfectly classified as “tonic” and “adaptogen” herbs. Both ginsengs have nutritive, restorative, and normalizing effects which enhance homeostasis and counteract negative effects brought about by stressors. They do this mainly by helping to restore normal functioning of the body’s main stress response system, the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis (HPA axis).
The results of one of the largest studies to-date demonstrating ginseng’s anti-fatigue effects were recently published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute. This double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled trial by Mayo researchers evaluated a daily dose of 2000 mg American ginseng extractor placebo for 8 weeks in 364 fatigued cancer patients or survivors from 40 different clinics. After 8 weeks, those taking the ginseng showed a statistically and clinically significant difference in their levels of fatigue compared to those taking the placebo. The results for the patients who received ginseng and were undergoing chemotherapy or radiation during the study were especially surprising to the researchers. Those patients had significant improvements starting at 4 weeks rather than 8 weeks.
Like American ginseng, Panax ginseng has also been shown to improve fatigue associated with various conditions in double blind studies. One recent study in adults with chronic fatigue syndrome found that 2000 mg per day of Panax ginseng extract significantly decreased fatigue compared to placebo.
- Ginseng Improves Cognitive Function
Both Asian and American ginseng have been shown to improve cognitive function and memory. A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial in healthy young adults found significant improvements in working memory 1-6 hours after administration of an American ginseng extract standardized to 10.65% ginsenosides. Other studies also found that standardized extracts of American ginseng significantly improve aspects ofmemory.
Like American ginseng, Panax ginseng also improves cognitive function. In one study, a 200 mg capsule of Panax ginseng enhanced performance of a mental arithmetic task and ameliorated feelings of mental fatigue during the later stages of a sustained, cognitively demanding test. A series of studies by researchers in South Korea found that high doses of Panax ginseng (4.5 to 9 grams a day of Korean Red ginseng) lead to significant and long-term improvements in cognitive function in patients with Alzheimer’s disease.
- Ginseng Improves Blood Sugar Regulation
Ginseng has traditionally been used to treat high blood sugar and diabetes, and some recent studies support its ability to help regulate blood sugar while other studies do not. At this point in time, researchers believe that certain compounds in both Asian and American ginseng may be beneficial for blood sugar regulation. Among the two, American ginseng seems to work better. Studies indicate American ginseng may help improve blood sugar control in both healthy people and people with type 2 diabetes. Most of the studies with American ginseng have used a dose of 1-3 grams of dried powdered root.
- Ginseng Prevents Colds and Flu
In addition to ginsenosides, ginseng contains certain polysaccharides that have been shown to have immune stimulating effects. In one study, 200 mg capsules twice a day of a proprietary American ginseng extract called Cold-fX for 4 months during the cold and flu season reduced the risk of respiratory symptoms by 48% and the duration of symptoms by 55%. Another study using 400 or 800 mg per day of the same extract for six months found that both doses significantly reduced the incidence of upper respiratory infections compared to placebo, with the higher dose working best.
- Additional ginseng benefits
In addition to the benefits listed above, ginseng has been shown to improve erectile function, decrease blood pressure and arterial stiffness, improve antioxidant functioning and glutathione levels, help prevent cancer recurrence, and decrease menopausal symptoms. With more studies currently underway, the possibilities for ginseng seem endless. For overall health and vitality, this herb is it!
Ginseng 'could improve memory'
- (BBC News)
The herbal remedy ginseng can help improve memory in stroke patients suffering from dementia, researchers have found.
Stroke patients can experience a form of memory loss called moderate vascular dementia, which is caused by damage to the blood vessels leading to the brain.
Chinese researchers found taking a ginseng compound meant people who had experienced a stroke scored more highly on memory tests than those who did not take the herb.
But UK experts said the findings had to be treated with caution.
Forty patients, with an average age of 67, who had mild or moderate vascular dementia took part in the study.
Twenty-five were given a tablet of ginseng extracted from Chinese ginseng roots, leaves and an herb known as panax notoginseng three times daily.
The rest were given a Duxil, (almitrine + raubasine), a drug which increases oxygen use in brain tissue. It has previously been shown to improve the memory of elderly patients with dementia.
All 40 were given memory tests which focused on how well they could recall stories, words and other verbal and visual memory tests before and after the 12-week study.
Those given the ginseng significantly improved their average memory function after 12 weeks.
It was found ginseng increased the activities of the brain chemicals acetylcholine and choline acetyltransferase in elderly mice.
- 'Used for centuries'
Professor Jinzhou Tian, from the Department of Care of the Elderly at Beijing University of Chinese Medicine, Dongzhimen Hospital in China, led the research.
Professor Tian said the Chinese ginseng extract was a cheap natural treatment.
"Chinese ginseng has been used for centuries in China to treat disease and aging."
"However, the effects of Chinese ginseng compound on mild or moderate dementia after stroke in humans have not been reported until now."
The researchers say larger studies are needed to confirm their findings.
- Further research
Dr Robert Adams, a spokesperson for the American Stroke Association, said: "There is currently great interest in studying herbs used in traditional forms of medicines, and the problem of dementia after stroke is a significant one.
"As the authors point out, this work showing that ginseng may improve memory after stroke needs to be further studied, with larger sample sizes.
"At this time, a recommendation to use this herb for memory enhancement would be premature."
Dr Richard Harvey, head of research for the UK's Alzheimer's Society warned the design of the study meant its findings could not be relied on.
"It's not at all valid to say ginseng improves memory because they compared people given that to people given a completely different drug."
He said it would have been possible to say ginseng conferred benefits if they had compared people taking to ginseng to a group taking nothing, or given both groups Duxil with one also receiving ginseng.
Dr Harvey added: "This study has to be treated with enormous caution.
"This is dangerous science that's not easily interpreted."
Eoin Redahan, of the Stroke Association, said: "We would suggest that anyone thinking of taking ginseng should first discuss this with their doctor as it may inter-react with medicines already being taken."
The research was presented to the American Stroke Association's conference in Phoenix, Arizona.
Knocking Out Colds with Ginseng
- By Cathy Wong, ND (Alternative Medicine Expert)
In herbal medicine, several species of ginseng are used to fight colds. These species include American ginseng and Panax ginseng. Although it not a "true" ginseng, an herb known as Siberian ginseng is also widely used to treat or prevent colds. Why Do People Sometimes Use Ginseng for Colds?
Ginseng is one of the most popular natural remedies for colds. Widely available for purchase online, dietary supplements containing ginseng are sold in many natural-foods stores and other stores specializing in natural products.
Proponents suggest that American ginseng, Panax ginseng, and Siberian ginseng can help stimulate the immune system and shore up the body's defense against the common cold.
Related: 5 Ways to Boost Your Immune System Naturally
Additionally, Siberian ginseng is considered an adaptogen (a class of herbs said to boost the body's resistance to everyday stress).
Since chronic stress is thought to weaken the immune system, it's said that Siberian ginseng can also fight colds by shielding the body from the negative effects of stress.
- Research on Ginseng for Colds
While few studies have focused on the effectiveness of using ginseng for cold relief, some research shows that certain species of ginseng may aid in the prevention and/or treatment of colds. Here's a look at several key findings from this research:
1) Siberian Ginseng
Several studies suggest that Siberian ginseng may help alleviate symptoms of the common cold. Many of these studies have involved the use of an herbal formula containing a combination of Siberian ginseng and andrographis.
In a 2002 study published in Phytomedicine, for instance, 95 cold sufferers were treated with a combination of Siberian ginseng and andrographis for five days.
Compared to 90 patients given a placebo for the same time period, those who took the herbal formula showed a significantly greater improvement in nasal symptoms, throat symptoms, and headache. However, improvement in cough and eye symptoms did not differ between the two groups.
2) American Ginseng
For a report published in Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine in 2011, researchers reviewed five clinical trials (with a total of 747 participants) examining the use of American ginseng for the prevention of colds.
Results revealed that American ginseng may help shorten the duration of colds when taken preventatively for eight to 16 weeks. However, there wasn't enough evidence to support the claim that American ginseng can lessen the severity of colds or reduce cold incidence.
3) Panax Ginseng
Panax ginseng may help protect against colds, according to a study published in Drugs Under Experimental and Clinical Research in 1996. In a 12-week-long trial involving 227 volunteers, researchers observed that participants given a supplement containing Panax ginseng had a significantly lower incidence of colds (compared to those given a placebo).
In traditional Chinese medicine, Panax ginseng (and Korean ginseng) are said to have a hot nature and are not usually taken during a cold, but may be used for prevention.
- Safety Concerns
Although short-term use of ginseng may be safe when used in appropriate amounts by healthy people, each type of ginseng is associated with a number of side effects. For example, side effects linked with use of Panax ginseng and American ginseng include insomnia, headache, diarrhea, increased blood pressure, and nervousness.
Siberian ginseng, meanwhile, may trigger side effects like anxiety and muscle spasms. Since use of Siberian ginseng may also increase blood pressure and lead to changes in heart rhythm, people with heart disease are advised to avoid use of this herb.
People with bleeding disorders, hormone-sensitive conditions (such as breast cancer), autoimmune disease, heart disease, and high blood pressure, schizophrenia, and organ transplant recipients and pregnant or nursing women should avoid ginseng.
Many types of ginseng may interact with a number of commonly used medications (for instance, it can't be taken with warfarin), so it's crucial to consult your physician prior to taking ginseng.
- Alternatives to Ginseng
When using ginseng as a treatment for colds, taking the herb as soon as cold symptoms start is sometimes suggested to achieve maximum benefit.
Echinacea and astragalus are two of the herbs with the most support for their effectiveness in reducing cold duration and severity. Increasing your intake of garlic and ginger may also help fend off colds.
Furthermore, there's some evidence that getting your fill of vitamin C and zinc and maintaining optimal levels of vitamin D may lower your odds of coming down with a cold.
For more help in staying cold-free, make sure to wash your hands frequently. A number of lifestyle practices (such as getting sufficient sleep, exercising regularly, and managing your stress) can help rev up your immune system as well.
Enamored with Ginseng
- By Bony Bengwayan
Ginseng, or InSam in Korean, is a plant to reckon with, its reputation as life elixir that Cordillerans seek the elusive herb grown south of the Korean Peninsula.
Farmers in Paracelis and Natonin, in Mountain Province try to grow it, like their counterparts in Benguet, apparently with little success.
But intrepid highland farmers they are, cultivators believe they will lick this problem in due time.
But one they do: whenever given a ginseng root, they immerse it in the bottles of their favorite wines, savoring the drink and the benefits the ginseng provides.
Not only Filipinos, but others in Asia, Africa, Middle East, Europe, US and Latin America have tasted Korean ginseng and found it truly distinct. To most, it is a wonderful plant.
No exact figures are present on how much Korean ginseng generates sales from lump purchase to retail in northern Luzon, particularly CAR and Region 1, but traders generally agree it is a multi-million industry.
While grown in other nations, it is widely planted in nine provinces in Korea where its soil, climate and indigenous farming methods produce the world’s best. Other countries are hard pressed matching ginseng produced in Korea.
Korean grown ginseng is specifically termed “Koryo Insam,” named after an ancient kingdom of Koryo from which Korea derived its name. In the olden days, Korean InSam utilized a different Chinese character for “sam,” meaning ginseng.
InSam’s reputation started with sansam. Insam, growing in the wilds, deep in the mountains, is known as sansam (mountain InSam).
In ancient days, search for it was a spiritual endeavor for those in Korea’s mountainous regions. Today, there are those who wander around deep valleys and uncharted mountain areas for the mystical plant. They are known as shimmemani or shimmani (both mean gatherer of wild InSam).
Insam growing in the wilds is considered the best but found rarely. Today, commercial cultivation tries to meet world demand.
South Korea students, entrepreneurs and visitors are delighted no end that part of their culture is becoming embedded in the Philippines, two countries known for record of friendship since WWII, cooperation and economic ties today.
In Baguio City alone, the Bureau of Immigration (BOM) counted 22,003 Koreans last year.
Earlier, the government agreed on a number of trade accords with South Korean businesses, one is establishing a national ginseng center. Agriculture Secretary Prospero Alcala thanked his South Korean counterpart Agriculture Minister Lee Dong-phil for this cooperation.
Ginseng is sensitive to soil, climate, and difficult to propagate, a challenge for agricultural extension workers in CAR, particularly thinkers from Benguet State University and CAR- Department of Agriculture.
Science has opened ginseng’s contribution to mankind’s search for better health. No wonder millions are enamored by an innocent-looking plant capable of imparting stamina and vitality.
The health benefits of ginseng
- By Jennifer Nelson
The herb known as the 'divine root' comes in several forms that can be used to speed recovery and improve concentration.
The English word "ginseng" is derived from the Chinese term rénshen. Rén, which means man, and shen, meaning root, refers to the root's forked shape, which resembles the legs of a man. Other names were also given to ginseng such as magical herb, divine root and root of life.
The relationship between ginseng and man dates back some 5,000 years when it was first discovered in the mountains of Manchuria, China. The root quickly became revered for its health- and life-giving properties. Its human shape became a powerful symbol of divine harmony on Earth. From this, the idea that it treats human conditions sprung forth.
There are many types of ginseng: Korean, Chinese, American and Siberian, according to Tony Burris, a licensed acupuncturist and traditional Chinese sports medicine practitioner at Eagle Acupuncture in Eagle, Idaho. "Actually, Siberian ginseng is not a true ginseng at all," he says. "The type I prescribe most is the Chinese ginseng (Radix ginseng)."
For athletes, this herb helps promotes respiratory function and it also fosters fluid production in the body, which keeps the body hydrated and reduces thirst. It also improves cognitive function and reduces fatigue.
"This can be a very helpful herb in cases of overtraining," Burris says. "I prefer to prescribe this in a tincture form, with a standardized amount of the active components, ginsenosides at 25 milligrams daily."
American ginseng is different. Radix panacis quinquefolii has a sedative effect of the central nervous system and is milder than Chinese ginseng. Burris uses this as part of a recovery regimen at the conclusion of a sports season, meet or league schedule. He prefers to prescribe it in tincture form.
- Ginseng in Chinese medicine
From a Chinese medicine perspective, ginseng is slightly bitter, warm and goes to the "lung and spleen channels." It was used more often for very weak patients as it is considered one of the strongest qi (life force) tonics in the pharmacopeia, says Dr. Phranque Wright, doctor of acupuncture and Oriental medicine and official acupuncturist for the Chicago Outfit Roller Derby League.
It tonifies base qi — meaning it helps strengthen a body in very weak condition. It especially strengthens the lung and spleen. It also helps the body generate needed fluids.
Ginseng can help a variety of general weakness conditions, which is why people think of it as an energy enhancer, but it should not be taken as an energy enhancer if someone is already in good shape without also being sure to get adequate nutrition and proper rest.
Ginseng should not be taken long term but rather only for a few weeks to three months to curb the chance of side effects.
It is prescribed as a general health tonic, because it's thought to improve immunity or build people back up after a long illness or surgery, and in certain cases for asthma, erectile dysfunction and/or fertility challenges. "Dosage varies with the condition of the patient; I recommend from 1 to 9 g, but the most common dose is somewhere in the middle," says Martha Lucas, Ph.D. L.Ac of Lucas Acupuncture in Colorado.
"Ginseng may also be effective for decreasing anxiety in perimenopausal and postmenopausal women. Herbal formulas that contain ginseng may relieve menopausal symptoms like hot flashes, sleep disturbances, anxiety and depression," says Trudy Scott, author of "The Antianxiety Food Solution: How the Foods You Eat Can Help you Calm Your Anxious Mind, Improve Your Mood and End Cravings."
Several studies have also shown that ginseng may lower blood sugar levels, and there is some early evidence that ginseng might moderately improve concentration and cognitive function, especially combined with gingko biloba, another herb used in improving memory.
Ginseng comes in a variety of forms, including capsules, soft gels, powder, extracts, tinctures and creams. When choosing a ginseng supplement, look for one that has at least 7 percent ginsenosides and is made by a reputable company. There is no standard dose for each condition, so it's recommended you work with a practitioner familiar with herbal treatments, and specifically ginseng, to find the right dose and delivery method for your needs.
- Side effects
Side effects are generally mild but can include insomnia, headaches, dizziness and upset stomach. Ginseng is not recommended for children, pregnant and breast-feeding women as well as people who have high blood pressure, take diabetes medications, blood-thinning drugs or antidepressants. Talk to your doctor before taking ginseng for any health problem or enhancement.
Top 7 health benefits of ginseng
- By Philaso G. Kaping
The gnarly root of the ginseng plant has been used as a medicine in China for over 5,000 years. It is known as an `adaptogen`i.e, it increases the body`s ability to adapt to stress and changing situations.
The root is usually chewed or brewed as tea. It is also available as tablet, capsule and liquid extract.
Ginseng is found only in the Northern Hemisphere. Two of the most common species are the American ginseng and the Asian ginseng or red ginseng, Panax ginseng, Korean ginseng.
Here are some of the benefits of ginseng:
Stress reliever: Ginseng is known to reduce the levels of stress and acts as a stimulant. It also regulates metabolism and increases energy levels.
Anti-aging benefit: Ginseng helps slow the signs of aging as it is a significant source of antioxidants which halt the formation of free radicals and another anti-aging substance called maltol.
Mental stimulant: Ginseng tea helps stimulate brain cells thereby improving concentration, thinking ability and memory.
Aids in erectile dysfunction: Ginseng acts as a potent aphrodisiac and is believe to help those men with erectile dysfunction.
Helps control weight: Ginseng tea is a natural appetite suppressant and helps in fighting obesity.
Blood sugar control: Studies show that ginseng may help diabetics to control blood sugar levels as it creates sugar-lowering effects in fasting and after-meal blood sugar levels.
Menstrual problems: American ginseng tea helps reduce the pain of menstrual cramps.
Precaution: However, like all health supplements, it must be used under medical supervision as it can cause allergy, headaches, gastrointestinal and sleep problems. Pregnant and breastfeeding women and those who are under medication should avoid using ginseng.