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What is Ginseng?

American ginseng is an herb. The root is used to make medicine.
What is Ginseng used for?
American ginseng is used for stress, to boost the immune system, and as a general tonic and stimulant.
American ginseng is often used to fight infections such as colds and flu. There is some evidence that it might help prevent colds and flu and make symptoms milder when infections do occur.
American ginseng is used for other infections including HIV/AIDS, infections of the intestine (dysentery), and particular infections (Pseudomonas infections) that are common in people with cystic fibrosis.
Some people use American ginseng to improve digestion and for loss of appetite, as well as for vomiting, inflammation of the colon (colitis), and inflammation of the lining of the stomach (gastritis).
American ginseng is also used for low iron in the blood (anemia), diabetes, trouble sleeping (insomnia), nerve pain, erectile dysfunction (ED), fever, hangover symptoms, attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), blood and bleeding disorders, cancer, painful joints, dizziness, headaches, convulsions, fibromyalgia, “hardening of the arteries” (atherosclerosis), memory loss, and as an anti-aging aid.
You may also see American ginseng listed as an ingredient in some soft drinks. Oils and extracts made from American ginseng are used in soaps and cosmetics.
Don’t confuse American ginseng with Siberian ginseng (Eleutherococcus senticosus) or Asian ginseng (Panax ginseng). They have different medicinal effects.
Wild American ginseng is becoming rare because it is so popular and has so many uses.
How does it work?
American ginseng contains chemicals called ginsenosides that seem to affect insulin levels in the body and lower blood sugar. Other chemicals, called polysaccharides, might affect the immune system.
Other names
American Ginseng, Anchi Ginseng, Baie Rouge, Canadian Ginseng, Ginseng, Ginseng à Cinq Folioles, Ginseng Américain, Ginseng Americano, Ginseng d'Amérique, Ginseng D’Amérique du Nord, Ginseng Canadien, Ginseng de l’Ontario, Ginseng du Wisconsin, Ginseng Occidental, Ginseng Root, North American Ginseng, Occidental Ginseng, Ontario Ginseng, Panax Quinquefolium, Panax quinquefolius, Racine de Ginseng, Red Berry, Ren Shen, Sang, Shang, Shi Yang Seng, Wisconsin Ginseng, Xi Yang Shen.


Ginseng Health Article


Ginseng is an herbal preparation derived from the aromatic root of a plant of the genus Panax, which is native to East Asia. Ginseng belongs to the Araliaceae family of plants. Siberian ginseng belongs to a different genus, Eleutherococcussenticosus. The English name of the plant is a modification of its Chinese name,ren shen, which means "man" and "herb." The Chinese name comes from the ginseng root's resemblance to the shape of the human body, whence the plant's traditional use as a tonic for male sexual vigor and potency. The Latin name for the species, Panax, is derived from the Greek word panacea, which means "cure-all," or, "all-healer."

There are three species of ginseng in common use in the United States: American ginseng, Korean ginseng, and Siberian ginseng. All are regarded as adaptogensthat normalize immune functions and are preparations that help the body adapt to change, thus lowering the risk of stress-related illness. American ginseng, whose botanical name is Panax quinquefolius, has recently been evaluated as a treatment for high blood sugar in patients with type 2 (adult-onset) diabetes. It is considered to be less stimulating than the Korean or Siberian varieties. Korean ginseng, orPanax ginseng, is the species most often studied in Western as well as Asian trials of botanical preparations. Siberian ginseng, or Eleutherococcus senticosus, has been used in Russian sports medicine to boost athletic performance and strengthen the immune system.

As of 2002, ginseng is one of the most expensive herbs in the world, costing as much as $20 per ounce, or more for red ginseng with the root, which is over 10,000 years old. It is one of the top three herbal products sold in the United States.


In traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), ginseng is regarded as having a "sweet" and "neutral" nature. It is thought to have a particular affinity for the spleen and lungs. It is used as an aphrodisiac, a tonic for the spleen, kidney and adrenal functions, and lungs, and a general restorative for the qi or vital energy in the body. TCM also recommends ginseng for asthma, weak pulse, indigestion, lack of appetite, rectal prolapsehypertensiondiabetesinsomnia, angina, congestive heart failure, and heart palpitations. It is important to note that ginseng is an exception to the rule that Chinese herbal medicine rarely uses a single herb in the manner of Western herbalism. Ginseng is often listed as one ingredient among several in Chinese medicines; it is, however, one of the few herbs in TCM that is sometimes prescribed by itself.

In the West, ginseng is frequently advertised as an energy booster, a memory aid, a sexual stimulant, a treatment for impotence and gastrointestinal disorders, and a promoter of longevity. Many Western researchers consider these claims inflated; some studies have found no difference between ginseng and a placebo in terms of the energy levels or general well-being reported by test subjects. Most studies nevertheless have shown improved energy, memory function and performance especially when fatigued, though most of the studies have been short-term. Ginseng's association with the male reproductive system is sufficiently strong that Western feminist herbalists frequently advise women against taking ginseng for any reason.


The part of the ginseng plant that is used medicinally is the root. Ginseng roots are not harvested until the plant is four to six years old. The active ingredients in ginseng root are saponin triterpenoid glycosides, or chemicals commonly called ginsenosides. Other compounds found in Asian ginseng include glycans (panaxans); polysaccharide fraction DPG-3-2; peptides; maltol; and volatile oil. The active compounds in Siberian ginseng are called eleutherosides. Eleutherosides are somewhat different from the ginsenosides found in the Panax varieties of ginseng. There has been some debate among herbalists whether Siberian ginseng should be considered a true ginseng at all, due to this difference in active ingredients. Ginseng root from any of the three varieties is dried and can then be made into powder, capsules, or a liquid tincture. American ginseng is also available in the United States as whole roots.

Recommended dosages

Dosages of Korean ginseng used in traditional Chinese medicine are given as 2–8 g as a tonic and 15–20 g for acute conditions.

Researchers who studied the potenial effectiveness of ginseng as a treatment fordiabetes found that 1–3 g of American ginseng taken 40 minutes before a meal was effective in reducing blood sugar levels. Because dried ginseng root is hard and brittle, it must be simmered for about 45 minutes to extract the ginsenosides. Two to three teaspoonsful of dried root are used per cup. Powder made from American ginseng can be made into tea or taken with water or juice. One-half to one teaspoon is recommended per serving. American ginseng is usually taken two to three times per day between meals.

For Siberian ginseng, the recommended dosage for the powdered form is 1–2 g daily, taken in capsules or mixed with water or juice. The dose should be dividedand taken two or three times per day between meals. The recommended dosage for liquid extract of Siberian ginseng is 1–2 mL twice daily.


Because ginseng is considered a dietary supplement rather than a drug, it is not regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Studies done between 1999 and 2001 found that many ginseng products for sale in the United States contain little or no ginseng. There have been no recent reports of contaminated products.

It is important for patients with Type 2 diabetes who are taking oral prescription medications to lower blood sugar levels to tell their physician if they are using any products containing ginseng. One Chinese-American physician reported several incidents of patients developing hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) from taking ginseng preparations alongside their regular prescription drugs.

People who use ginseng should discontinue it prior to abdominal or dermatologic surgery, or dental extraction. It has been associated with bleeding problems following surgery.

The American Herbal Products Association (AHPA) states that ginseng should not be taken by people with hypertension (high blood pressure). Data suggests variable effects on blood pressure. Some patients experience hypertension and some experience hypotension.

Ginseng should not be given to children. In addition, pregnant or lactating women should not use ginseng, as it may lower estrogen production.

Ginseng should not be used uninterruptedly for long periods of time. In Asian medicine, it is customary to take ginseng for two months and then stop for a full month before taking it again, but the basis for this is uncertain.

Side effects

Ginseng can have serious side effects. The American Herbal Products Association, or AHPA, classifies ginseng as a Class 2d herb, which means that its use is subject to restrictions.

Contemporary Chinese practitioners recognize a condition known as ginseng abuse syndrome, caused by taking ginseng incorrectly or excessively. In China, ginseng is almost always used for longevity by people over the age of 60; it is not given to younger people unless they are severely debilitated. Chinese medicinealso recommends ginseng for use in winter only; it is not taken year round. The symptoms of ginseng abuse syndrome include include heart palpitations, heaviness in the chest, high blood pressure, dizziness, insomnia, agitation, restlessness, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain and/or bloating, diarrhea, possible upper digestive tract bleeding, edema, and a red skin rash that is most noticeable on the face. Western herbalists recommend that anyone taking ginseng who develops these symptoms should stop taking the herb at once and contact a licensed practitioner of TCM to determine whether ginseng abuse is the cause of the problem.

A number of case studies involving severe side effects from habitual use of ginseng have been reported in American medical journals. These studies include a case of Stevens-Johnson syndrome (a disorder of the skin and mucosa usually caused by reactions to corticosteroids and a few other systemic drugs) in a Chinese student; a case of cerebral arthritis in a 28-year-old woman following a large dose of ginseng extract; a case of metrorrhagia (uterine hemorrhage) following two months of steady use of ginseng; and a case of hemorrhagic bleeding from the vagina following habitual use of ginseng douches.

Ginseng improves quality of life and fatigue in multiple sclerosis patients

(NaturalNews) A recent double-blind, randomized pilot trial has found evidence that regular ginseng supplementation may reduce fatigue caused by Multiple Sclerosis (MS). Researchers at the Isfahan University of Medical Sciences also found that ginseng supplementation may improve patients' reports of quality of life indicators.

Over 50 participants completed the pilot study; subjects were assigned to receive either two placebo pills or two 250 mg tablets of ginseng for a period of three months. During this time period, no adverse events were reported. Both a reduction in fatigue and an improvement in reported quality of life (measured through questionnaires) were significant for individuals taking the ginseng supplement.

Although this small trial is not conclusive, it does indicate that ginseng supplementation may be a viable option for natural treatment of certain MS side effects. Fatigue and depression commonly factor among the long list of related ailments affecting people with MS. Ginseng may interact with some pharmaceuticals, but under consultation with a physician or pharmacist, it can often be safely taken and well tolerated.

Natural relief for MS symptoms

Ginseng is not the only herbal remedy for MS symptoms or the side effects of MS medications. Many natural treatments for MS exist, including vitamins, minerals, herbs, and supplements. Other treatments, such as yoga, speech therapy, bladder control training, and meditation have also received considerable support for their effectiveness at battling certain MS-related problems.

Many individuals with MS experience symptoms such as numbness or tingling in joints, nerve degeneration, mental deterioration, walking or balance problems, bladder infections or bowel dysfunction, vision problems, pain, spasticity, and other conditions related to nerve and muscle health. In some cases, tremors, swallowing problems, seizures, hearing loss, and breathing troubles may also occur.

CoQ-10, DHA, ginger, magnesium, multivitamins, sage, turmeric, and zinc are just a handful of the treatment options that show promise for people with MS. In most cases, additional research is needed but imminent. Such natural remedies often target fatigue, eye degeneration, memory and concentration, sleep problems, nerve pain or degeneration, infections, inflammation, and muscle strength. Because many natural treatments can interact with prescription medications, always ask a health professional about potential problems with any specific drugs currently being used.

Learn more: http://www.naturalnews.com/039623_Ginseng_multiple_sclerosis_clinical_research.html#ixzz2adZgacP5


Herbs Prevent Hair Loss: Lavender, Ginseng, Aloe Vera, Dong Quai

Thursday, May 06, 2010 by: Melanie Grimes
Tags: hair loss, dong quai, health news

(NaturalNews) Many herbs have been shown to prevent hair loss and enable hair to grow. Thinning hair, or alopecia, is a condition that is caused by aging and also genetics. Nutritional deficiencies can also cause hair loss. Herbs have been used for thousands of years to help regrow hair. Taken internally or applied to the scalp, herbs are a gentle and natural way to prevent hair loss and stimulate hair growth.

Polygonum Multiflorum is Used to Recolor and Regrow Hair
Polygonum is known in Chinese medicine as He Shou Wu. For centuries this herb has been used to treat hair loss. Recently, the American Botanical Council reported that this herb may be useful to restore color to graying hair, as well as stimulating hair growth.

Ginseng Stimulates Hair Growth
Ginseng is another herb long used in Chinese medicine. The herb is an adaptogen, helping the body adapt to stress, which is known to be a cause of hair loss. Ginseng is found in shampoos as well as tinctures that can be taken internally.


Ginseng Found Highly Effective for Weight Loss and Diabetes Control

(NaturalNews) Ginseng has long been one of the foundations of healing in Chinese medicine, and is probably the world's best known herb. The botanical name panax means 'all curing' in Greek. This 5000 year old healer has traditionally been used as a restorative tonic to increase energy, stamina, and well being. Western scientists have confirmed the efficacy of ginseng for many of the traditional uses. Now researchers are adding to the traditional list, documenting ginseng as highly effective in weight loss and diabetes control.

New research documents ginseng's effectiveness against obesity and diabetes

Phytotherapy Research Journal reports an investigation of the molecular basis of ginsenoside Rg3, a red ginseng constituent, focusing on its ability to inhibit differentiation in the cells that store energy as fat. The data showed that ginsenoside Rg3 effectively inhibited this differentiation making the cells less able to complete the fat storage process.

Phytotherapy Research Journal also reports an evaluation of the anti-obesity effect of wild ginseng in obese leptin-deficient mice. Wild ginseng was administered orally to the mice at 100mg/kg and 200m/kg for 4 weeks. The mice showed a loss of body weight and a decrease in blood glucose levels when compared to the control mice.

A follow up study by the same research team reported results suggesting that the anti-obesity effect of identified saponins from ginseng may result from inhibiting energy gain, normalizing hypothalamic neuropeptides and serum biochemcials related to the control of weight gain.

A study reported in Phytomedicine was performed to clarify whether the crude saponins from stems and leaves of panax quinquefolium inhibited lipase activity in vitro and prevented obesity induced in mice. For the in vivo experiments, female mice were fed a fattening diet with or without saponins for 8 weeks. The researchers found that the crude saponins inhibited pancreatic lipase activity. Furthermore, crude saponins inhibited the elevations of plasma triacylglycerol in rats administered the oral lipid emulsion tolerance test. With long-term administration of crude saponins, fat tissue weight was decreased in those fed the fattening diet as compared to the controls.

In a randomized clinical study reported in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition, researchers sought to provide evidence of efficacy and safety in the use of ginseng for diabetes. Their research generated a mounting body of evidence to support the claim that American Ginseng is useful in improving diabetes control, reducing associated risk factors such as hyperlipidemia and hypertension, and ameliorating insulin resistance. American ginseng acts in the digestive tract to increase insulin secretion.

The Journal of Ethnopharmacology reports a study acknowledging ginseng's long history as an herbal remedy for diabetes. Researchers investigated the effect and mechanism of Korean red ginseng on stimulation of insulin release in rats. They found that the extract of Korean red ginseng significantly evoked a stimulation of insulin release compared to the controls. Experiments at different glucose concentrations showed that ginseng significantly stimulated on its own, in a glucose-independent manner.

As reported in the Journal of Evidence Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, initiating studies have shown that American ginseng increases insulin production and reduces cell death in pancreatic beta-cells. Studies have also revealed American ginseng's ability to decrease blood glucose in type II diabetes patients as well as in diabetes induced animals. These data suggest that the effects of ginseng in improving hyperglycemia may alter mitochondrial function as well as apoptosis cascades to ensure cell viability in pancreatic islet cells.

Characteristics of ginseng

Ginseng is one of the adaptogens, a group of non-toxic, non-habit forming substances that normalize body chemistry and functioning. Adaptogens increase the body's ability to cope with physical, emotional and environmental stress. They work in a synergistic manner, increasing the body's own ability to fight off disease. The greater the body's need for an adaptogen, the increasingly more active the substance becomes.

Ginseng is a plant with many different components. It is used in its entirety in the preparation of teas, and the root is used in powders and capsules. Ginsenosides are a group of its active compounds that are found in saponins, soap-like materials in the roots of the plant. The various ginsenosides are referred to as Rb1, Rb2, Rb3, Rc, and so on.

The term ginseng is used to refer to panax ginseng and panax quinquefolius, first cousins in the Araliaceae family. Each contains a different balance of the ginsenosides, giving it a unique character. Panax ginseng is the "Yang", providing warming, stimulation and energizing. Panax quinquefolius is the "Yin", providing cooling, relaxing and calming.

Ginseng was first found in Manchuria and was referred to by the ancient Chinese as 'Ren Shen', meaning 'Man root' referring to the human-like shape of the ginseng root. To the Chinese, this shape meant the herb was designated for human use. They believed that regular consumption of ginseng led to a long and happy life. Ginseng became so valuable that it was prized beyond gold. It was so popular that the supply of ginseng from the Chinese mainland could not meet the demand, and imports were brought from Korea. When the wild stock was exhausted, commercial cultivation began. Wild ginseng is believed to contain greater medicinal value than what is cultivated.

Ginseng is used fresh or dried. Sometimes plant leaves are added with the root, but the root is the highly prized part of the plant. Cultivated ginseng is available as Red ginseng and White ginseng. The difference lies in the way the root is processed. The different geographical names before the word 'ginseng' indicate where the plant was grown. Subtle variations exist between the varieties.

Ginseng contains a number of compounds that are unique. Many of these elements have an effect on the adrenal glands, increasing the amount of hormone secretion to ward off both physical and emotional stress. Scientists believe that it is this effect that is responsible for the stress fighting power of ginseng.

Ginseng lives up to its name as a cure-all

Ginseng facilitates metabolic equilibrium. Russian research showed that ginseng stimulated physical and mental activities in tired and weak individuals and aided with balancing. It was found to strengthen and protect under prolonged strain. Ginseng works to stimulate and improve the working of the brain with its ability to promote oxygenation. The Russians also found it to increase energy and physical endurance. It stimulates the functioning of the endocrine glands and promotes vigor of the reproductive organs. Research is underway to determine the effectiveness of ginseng on erectile disfunction.

Asian researchers have documented ginsengs ability to reduce fatigue and increase stamina. They found that ginseng aids in the formation of red blood cells and helps eliminate anemia. Ginseng strengthens the gastrointestinal system, facilitates liver regeneration, and helps detoxify poisons.

Ginseng is one of the few herbs showing promise in the treatment of chronic fatigue syndrome. This puzzling condition has no widely accepted treatment for the numbing fatigue that typifies the condition. However, people suffering from chronic fatigue have reported an improvement in their symptoms after regular use of ginseng.

Learn more: http://www.naturalnews.com/024975_ginseng_diabetes_research.html#ixzz2adaGbN23


New Scientific Focus on Ginseng

Sunday, November 04, 2007 by: Dr Emily A Kane

(NaturalNews) New Research on Ginseng: Pharmacogenomics and the Yin/Yang actions of ginseng: anti-tumor, angiomodulating and steroid-like activities of ginsenosides. Chinese Medicine 2007

Long known as a whole-body tonic (the root plant, precious for centuries in Asian countries, is shaped like a person) new evidence validates and explains some of ginseng’s healing actions.

In Chinese medicine, ginseng (Panax ginseng) has long been used as a general tonic or an adaptogen to promote longevity and enhance bodily functions. It has also been claimed to be effective in combating stress, fatigue, oxidants, cancer and diabetes mellitus.

Most previous studies have claimed that the pharmacological effects of ginseng are attributed to its bioactive constituents such as ginsenosides, saponins, phytosterols, peptides, polysaccharides, fatty acids, polyacetylenes, vitamins and minerals. In this new research, the focus was the recent advances in the studies of ginsenosides on the formation of blood vessels, which is a common denominator of many diseases, such as cancer and some cardiovascular disorders.

Specifically, the root has been shown to inhibit new blood vessel growth in rapidly growing tissue: that is, tumors. The medical term angiogenesis means the creation of new blood vessels, which is a critical aspect of how a tumor will successfully establish in, and invade, healthy tissue.

Paradoxically, other components of ginseng have been found to enhance nitric oxide (a vasodilator) levels by promoting new vessel growth, enhancing wound healing, slowing dementia, slowing hair loss and reducing morbidity from various other diseases caused by poor circulation. The current research suggests that ginseng works as an adaptogen, that is, if new vessel growth is necessary, ginseng will promote that, but if new vessel growth would be harmful (such as in supplying a tumor) then such vascular growth would be inhibited.

Many of the Chinese tonics are adaptogens. So is Vitamin K: mostly know as an antidote to the blood thinner Coumadin, Vitamin K can also normalize thick blood by reducing platelet stickiness. Another action of ginseng explained in this recent article is how it acts as a proto-hormone, like the fat soluble vitamins A, D, E and K.

More than 30 ginsenosides (biological active components of the plant) have been isolated, and all have a steroid-like molecular structure. This means one end of the molecule bonds to water-soluble substances (hydrophilic) and the other end of the molecule bonds to fat-soluble substances (hydrophobic) just like our cell membranes. One reason steroids are so biologically active is that they can penetrate through the outer layer of our cell membranes (fatty cholesterol layer), through the watery center of the cell membrane, and into the center of the cell, where the nucleus and DNA can be affected.

The interaction between ginsenosides and various steroid hormone receptors in all of our many trillion cells, may explain the diverse activities of ginseng, which may eventually lead to further development of ginseng-derived therapeutics for diseases like cancer and dementia.


Ginseng helps cancer patients reduce fatigue, increase energy

Wednesday, April 23, 2008 by: David Gutierrez, staff writer

(NaturalNews) American ginseng may reduce fatigue and increase overall psychological well-being in cancer patients, according to a study conducted by researchers at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, N.Y., and presented at the annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology.

"We hope that Wisconsin ginseng may offer us a much-needed treatment to improve our patients' quality of life, and we look forward to further evaluation," said lead researcher Debra Barton of the North Central Cancer Treatment Group.

Researchers treated 282 cancer patients with a daily dose of either a placebo or of 750, 1,000 or 2,000 milligrams of Wisconsin ginseng. They found that treatment with the placebo or the 750-mg dose caused very little improvement in measures of fatigue or physical or psychological well-being. Treatment with the higher doses, however, led to an improvement in overall energy and vitality levels, a decrease in fatigue and an improvement in overall emotional, mental, physical and spiritual well-being.

Extreme fatigue is a common symptom among cancer patients, one that often cannot be remedied by increased rest or sleep.

Ginseng has a long history of use in Asian and indigenous American cultures. In modern times, it is most often used to increase energy levels and stamina and to reduce stress or fatigue. It also reportedly can aid in the treatment of cancer and diabetes and can reduce obesity risk.

All of these purported benefits have led ginseng to become the second best-selling herbal supplement in the United States, at $62 million annually. It has even been incorporated into mainstream energy drinks, albeit usually in subclinical doses.

Barton shied away from advising cancer patients to take ginseng supplements. The researchers hope to begin clinical trials by 2008 to find safe ways to incorporate ginseng into cancer treatment.

"While results were promising, we have more research to conduct," Barton said, "Besides, it's just not a good idea to grab the nearest bottle on the supermarket shelf -- consumers need to research the company and the product."

There is wide variability in the quality of Ginseng available on the market today. Mike Adams, the Health Ranger, recommends ginseng from Dragon Herbs (www.DragonHerbs.com), which he calls "premium ginseng meticulously sourced by a high-integrity herbal company."

Learn more: http://www.naturalnews.com/023089_ginseng_cancer_fatigue.html#ixzz2adaw96wV

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