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Ginseng quick review
Botanical description: a group of adaptogenic herbs from the plant family Araliacae. There are three main types: Chinese or Korean ginseng (Panax ginseng, Asian ginseng), American ginseng (Panax quinquefolius), and Siberian ginseng (Eleutherococcus senticosis).
Active constituents: complex sugars, amino acids and proteins, fatty acids and lipids, minerals, vitamins (folic acid and niacin), alkaloids, phenolic compounds, polyacetylenes, flavonoids, terpenes and triterpenes.
Health benefits : an adaptogen which help the body quickly restore homeostasis, reduce the effects of aging, and have been used in preventing heart disease. enhance physical and mental performance and to increase energy and resistance to the harmful effects of stress and aging.
Dosage: standardized extracts are often taken at a rate of 100 to 200 milligrams daily. As a dried root, 500 to 2000 mg daily should be taben. As an antistress/antifatigue agent, 200-600 mg/day of standardized extract, or 0.5-2 gm/day of powdered root.
Side effects : long-term use of ginseng may cause menstrual abnormalities and breast tenderness in some women. Overdosage can lead to nervousness, insomnia, headache, skin eruptions, stomach upset, and increased menstrual bleeding and breast tenderness.
 
Ginseng Extract Korean
Korean Ginseng (Panax ginseng) has been used for centuries throughout the Orient as an important herb for health. Vitabase's Ginseng Extract is made exclusively from 4-6 year old roots of Panax ginseng C.A. Meyer (Araliaceae Family). The standardized extract ensures the presence of the biologically active ginsenocides. Click here for more information.
 

Ginseng


Ginseng refers to a group of adaptogenic herbs from the plant family Araliacae. There are three main types: Chinese or Korean ginseng (Panax ginseng, Asian ginseng), American ginseng (Panax quinquefolius), and Siberian ginseng (Eleutherococcus senticosis). The word "panax" derives from Greek roots, pan meaning "all," and akos, "cure," referring to the "cure all" or "panacea"
attributes of the root's healthful virtues. "Ginseng," means "essence of the earth in the form of a man". "Seng" is a term employed by Chinese medicinal root gatherers for fleshy roots used as tonics. Seng is preceded by modifiers to denote the source material or medicinal property.

American ginseng grows in shady woodlands with rich soils. It is native to Ohio and is found predominately in the Appalachian region of the state. Its range outside of Ohio includes the eastern half of the United States, from Quebec to Minnesota and south to Georgia and Oklahoma. Panax ginseng grows on moist, shaded mountainsides in China, Korea, and Russia. It is a perennial herb that reaches heights of two or more feet, and is distinguished by its dark green leaves and red clusters of berries. Siberian ginseng, Eleutherococcus senticosus, is also known as eleuthero ginseng or eleuthero. Both American and Asian ginsengs belong to the species Panax and are similar in their chemical composition. Siberian ginseng is not really ginseng and contains different active components, but American, Asian, and Siberian ginsengs all are considered to be an adaptogen, a substance that strengthens the body, helping it return to normal when it has been subjected to stress.

Ginseng is believed to possess amazing healing properties, increase wisdom and longevity, cure neurological disorders. Ginseng is an adaptogen which help the body quickly restore homeostasis, reduce the effects of aging, and have been used in preventing heart disease. Ginseng is used to enhance physical (including sexual) and mental performance and to increase energy and resistance to the harmful effects of stress and aging. Medicinal use of ginseng can be traced back nearly 2,000 years. In Traditional Chinese Medicine, Panax ginseng is a tonic used to increase strength, increase blood volume, promote life and appetite, quiet the spirit, and give wisdom. Ginseng was used in the treatment of conditions such as defective memory, gastrointestinal disorders and disability states.

 

Active constituents and clinical pharmacology of ginseng


The dried roots and rhizomes of ginseng contain a number of active constituents including simple and complex sugars, amino acids and proteins, fatty acids and lipids, minerals, vitamins (particularly folic acid and niacin), alkaloids, phenolic compounds, polyacetylenes, flavonoids, terpenes and triterpenes. However, ginsenosides are usually considered the main constituents to the therapeutic effect of ginseng. Ginsenosides are a class of steroid-like compounds, a family of triterpenoid saponins. The active components in Siberian ginseng are considered to be eleutherosides. The precentage of ginsenoside in ginseng roots determines potency. Ginsenosides are saponin glycosides, made up of 4-ring steroid-like chemical structures with sugar molecules attached. The saponin activity of ginsenosides causes the slight foaming in ginseng tea or when an aqueous solution containing ginseng is shake. Ginsenosides are found in different proportions depending on where and how the ginseng is grown, and the quality of the ginseng in the ginseng products. At least 22 saponins (ginsenosides, or panaxosides) have been isolated and found to be the most active constituents. Two of them, ginsenosides Rg1 and Rb1, have been closely studied. Ginsenoside Rb-1 has CNS-depressant activity, it is anticonvulsant, analgesic, antipyretic, antipsychotic, ulcer-protective, inhibits conditioned avoidance response. Ginsenoside Rb-1 also has weak anti-inflammatory activity, an antihaemolytic action, and increases gastrointestinal motility. Ginsenoside Rg-1 has shown weak CNS-stimulant activity, anti-fatigue action, aggravation of stress ulcer, and a slight increase in motor activity. Although ginsenosides have been the focus of research on ginseng active constituents, other compounds in the root have been discovered to have biological activity. These include acetylenic compounds, peptide glycans, polysaccharides, pyran derivatives, and flavones. Polysaccharides from the root of ginseng have shown considerable dose-dependendent immunological, phagocytic, and anti-complement activities in several studies. A fraction of the polyacetylenes called panaxynol has been shown to have cytotoxic effects on some cancer cells in the laboratory. Other constituents include the panaxans may help lower blood sugar.
 

Medicinal uses and health benefits of ginseng


Ginseng is a popular herb and has been claimed to have many health benefits. Ginseng reputed to lower blood sugar and cholesterol levels, protect against stress, enhance strength and promote relaxation. Ginseng works like a tonic, protecting the body against disease. Along with increasing resistance to diabetes, cancer, heart disease, and various infections, ginseng is believed to enhance the immune system, which could, in theory, help the body fight off infection and disease.

Ginseng has long been valued for its ability to help the body deal with stress. Ginseng is used to enhance physical (including sexual) and mental performance and to increase energy and resistance to the harmful effects of stress and aging. Ginseng is often called an "adaptogen," because it bolsters the body's ability to resist physical and mental stress. Regular intake of ginseng may reduce one's chances of getting various types of cancer, especially lung, liver, stomach, pancreatic and ovarian. American ginseng, in combination with ginkgo, may prove to be of value in helping to treat ADHD.

Panax ginseng is used primarily to improve psychologic function, exercise performance, immune function, and conditions associated with diabetes. Panax ginseng promotes Yang energy, improves circulation, increases blood supply, revitalizes and aids recovery from weakness after illness, stimulates the body. Panax ginseng in particular may decrease endothelial cell dysfunction. Panax ginseng may quiet down the blood vessels and is protective against heart and other forms of cardiovascular disease. Traditional Chinese medicine also prescribes Panax ginseng to treat diabetes, and research has shown that it enhances the release of insulin from the pancreas and lowers blood sugar levels. Panax ginseng has antioxidant effects and increases immune system activity, which makes it a good herbal support for those suffering from cancer and AIDS and other chronic conditions that impair the immune system. American ginseng or Asian ginseng may slow the progression of Alzheimer's and improve memory and behavior.

Siberian ginseng is more useful for maintaining good health rather than treating ill health. Siberian Ginseng is reputed to have a normalising effect, bringing the body back into balance. Siberian ginseng may help to protect the body from the debilitating effects of radiotherapy, chemotherapy and surgery. Siberian ginseng contains remarkable compounds that favorably affect the adrenal glands, the small glands that rest atop the kidneys and secrete stress-fighting hormones. Siberian ginseng can increase a person's resistance to physical stresses. Siberian ginseng is popular for invigorating and fortifying the body. By supporting healthy uterine function, Siberian ginseng may be useful in preventing female infertility. Siberian ginseng may increase mental alertness, particularly in the early stages of this progressive disorder.

Despite of so many suggested uses of ginseng which're based on tradition or on scientific theories, there is limited scientific evidence about the effectiveness. When considering the use of ginseng, consultation with a health care professional is advisable.

 

Dosage and administration of ginseng


Ginseng can be purchased readily as a whole root (dried, peeled), a dried powder or a standardized extract. Standardized Panax ginseng contains 4-5% ginsenosides, and standardized Siberian ginseng contains 0.5-1.0% eleutherosides. Standardized extracts are often taken at a rate of 100 to 200 milligrams daily. As a dried root, 500 to 2000 mg daily should be taben. For recovering from an illness, the elderly should take 500 mg twice daily for three months. As an antistress/antifatigue agent, 200-600 mg/day of standardized extract, preferably in divided doses, or 0.5-2 gm/day of powdered root. Ginseng is commonly taken for long periods. The effectiveness of commercial preparations may vary, so follow the labeling whenever available or the advices for a health professional.
 

Side effects, precautions, interactions of ginseng


Adverse reactions to high-quality standardized ginseng preparations are uncommon and usually minor. Long-term use of ginseng may cause menstrual abnormalities and breast tenderness in some women. Ginseng may have estrogen-like activity resulting in mastalgia and postmenopausal bleeding in women. Ginseng may also have a hypoglycemic effect requiring monitoring in diabetic patients. Overdosage can lead to nervousness, insomnia, headache, skin eruptions, stomach upset, and increased menstrual bleeding and breast tenderness. Ginseng should not be combined with anticoagulant drugs such as Coumadin, or with nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs that tend to cause bleeding, including Aleve, Anaprox, Indocin, Motrin, Naprosyn, and Orudis. To avoid hypoglycemia (low blood sugar), even in non-diabetics, ginseng should be taken with food. Consuming caffeine with ginseng increases the risk of over-stimulation and gastrointestinal upset. Ginseng should not be taken by people who have hypertension. Ginseng should be discontinued at least 7 days prior to surgery.