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Information about the herb Korean Ginseng

Panax Ginseng, also known as Asiatic Ginseng is part of the Araliaceae plant family.  Korean Ginseng is a perennial plant which grows in the damp woodlands of Manchuria and is cultivated primarily in Korea, but is also native to China.

 

General Information

Various forms of Ginseng have been used in medicine for more than 7000 years. Several species grow around the world, and though some are preferred for specific benefits, all are considered to have similar properties as an effective general rejuvenator.

Both American and Asian Ginsengs belong to the species Panax and are similar in their chemical composition.

Botanical Name:  Panax Ginseng, Panax schinseng

Plant Family: Araliaceae

Common names: Asiatic Ginseng, Chinese Ginseng, Korean Ginseng, Red Korean Ginseng, Ren Shen, Wonder-of-the- World

History: The name panax is derived from the Greek word panakos (panacea) meaning, 'all healing'

Tradition:  Ginseng is carried:

  • to attract love
  • to ensure sexual potency
  • to guard your health

Ginseng is an effective substitute for Mandrake in all spells

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Plant Constituents of Korean Ginseng

Ginseng contains: 

  • More than 25 saponin triterpenoid glycosides called Ginsenosides [which increase protein activity and
  • neurotransmitter activity in the brain]

The glycosides act on the adrenal glands helping to prevent:

  • adrenal hypertrophy

It also contains:

  • flavonoids
  • glycans (panaxans)
  • maltol
  • peptides
  • polysaccharide fraction DPG-3-2
  • vitamins A
  • vitamins B6 and other B vitamins
  • volatile oil
  • Zinc (mineral which aids in the production of thymic hormones necessary for the functioning of the immune system)

Action:

  • adaptogen [a substance that strengthens the body, helping it return to normal when it has been subjected to stress]
  • antidote [counteracting the effects of poison]
  • anti-inflammatory [agent to ease inflammations]
  • anti-tumor agent
  • anti-diabetic (lowers blood sugar levels in type 2 diabetes sufferers)
  • cardio-tonic [tonic to the heart]
  • demulcent [substance that soothes irritated tissues, especially mucous membranes]
  • hypoglycemic [lowers blood sugar levels]
  • immuno-stimulant [agent to stimulate the immune system]
  • panacea [all round remedy]
  • stimulant [an agent that excites or quickens the activity of physiological processes] (Ginseng stimulates the production of interferons)
  • stomachic [an agent that strengthens, stimulates or tones the stomach]
  • thymoleptic [tones or restores the nervous system as well as stimulating and engendering a feeling of well-being]
  • tonic [an agent that strengthens or invigorates organs or the entire organism]

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Usage of Korean Ginseng

Medicinal part used: Whole root. The roots can live for over 100 years.

Ginseng is useful for:

Blood Conditions

  • blood diseases
  • hemorrhages

Brain and Nervous System Conditions

  • alcoholism
  • balances and counters the effects of stress
  • depression
  • drug abuse
  • enhances and restores memory
  • enhances concentration and cognitive abilities (impaired by improper blood supply to the brain)
  • improves one's concentration
  • increases mental and physical efficiency
  • increases physical and mental activity [effects more pronounced in tired and weak people] 
  • insomnia
  • may slow the progression of Alzheimer's Diseasemental disorders
  • mildly stimulates the nervous system
  • promotes mental and physical vigor
  • reduces the effects of stress 
  • regulates the nervous system and exhibits normalizing effects on the body
  • relieves depression
  • stimulates and improves the work of the brain cells
  • stimulates the central nervous system

Cardiovascular Conditions

  • aids in the prevention of heart disease
  • cardiac arrhythmia
  • cold limbs
  • cures pulmonary complaints
  • heart attacks
  • heart failure
  • increases blood circulation
  • long term debility and neurosis
  • lowers blood pressure
  • may decrease endothelial cell dysfunction (which can cause blockage of blood flow leading to heart attack or stroke)
  • may raise HDL (the good cholesterol), while reducing total cholesterol levels
  • normalizes blood pressure
  • palpitations
  • quiets down the blood vessels
  • regulates effects of high or low blood pressure
  • regulates the basal metabolic rate, often raising it when it is too slow, to increase the breakdown and metabolism of foods

Female Conditions

  • eases childbirth
  • increases estrogen levels in women
  • normalizes menstruation

During menopause Ginseng is helpful to:

  • balance hormones
  • improve moods (particularly feelings of depression) and give a sense of well-being
  • regulate hot flushes
  • rejuvenate the system

Gastrointestinal Conditions

  • stimulates appetite

Genitourinary System

  • increases the production of body fluids
  • removes more waste products

Glandular Conditions

  • benefits the endocrine system, especially the pituitary and adrenal glands

Immune System Conditions

  • improves resistance to infection
  • increases natural killer cell activity
  • increases resistance to stress and disease
  • stimulates the immune system

Inflammatory Conditions

  • feverish and inflammatory illnesses
  • inflammatory conditions, combined with Licorice (due to Ginseng's effect on endogenous glucocorticoids)

Male Conditions

  • enhances blood flow which makes it useful as an erection booster
  • improves sexual function and remedies impotence
  • poor sperm function (may increase sperm count as well as motility)
  • stimulates the gonads

Respiratory Tract Conditions

  • asthma
  • colds
  • coughs
  • dyspnea (labored or difficult breathing)
  • improved respiratory function in severe chronic respiratory disease such as:
  • chronic bronchitis
  • emphysema
  • various chest problems

Other Conditions

  • aids recovery from disease or surgery
  • alters the ability of the skeletal muscles to use free fatty acids rather than glucose for energy
  • boosts energy levels
  • may reduce one's chances of getting various types of cancer, in particular:
  • lung
  • liver
  • stomach
  • pancreatic
  • ovarian
  • debilitated and degenerative conditions, especially those associated with old age
  • diabetes (appears to lower blood sugar [glucose] levels in Type 2 diabetes)
  • dissolves tumors
  • enhances sports performance
  • helps in sugar and fat metabolism
  • increases endurance
  • lowers cholesterol and decreases triglyceride levels
  • maintains excellent body functions
  • normalizes physical functioning depending on what the individual needs (e.g. it will lower high blood pressure but raise low blood pressure)
  • organ prolapse
  • overcomes the strain and drain of exercise with quicker recovery time, more efficient use of oxygen and less production of lactic acid
  • prostration
  • minimizes side effects of radiation and chemotherapy protection
  • recovering from illness or surgery, especially for the elderly
  • relieves fatigue
  • replenishes vital energy
  • spontaneous sweating

Ginseng, whether it comes from Asia or America is for people who have: 

  • chronic fever
  • excess craving
  • excess hunger
  • hot flushes
  • thirst

Dosage:

  • Dried root: 500-2000 mg daily (250 mg capsules).
  • Tea/infusion: Pour 1 cup boiling water over 1 tsp finely chopped Ginseng root. Steep for 5-10 minutes (1-3/daily for 3-4 weeks.
  • Tincture (1:5): 1-2 teaspoons daily
  • Liquid extract (1:1): ¼-½ teaspoon daily
  • Standardized solid extract (4% total ginsenosides): 100 mg twice daily
  • Standardized liquid extract (1:2) (4% total ginsenosides) - 7-14mL/week

For help recovering from an illness, the elderly should take 500 mg 2/day for 3 months or 500 mg 2/day for 1 month followed by a break of 2 months. by a two-month break.

For healthy individuals wishing to increase physical or mental performance, prevent illness or to improve resistance to stress, Ginseng should be taken in one of the above dosages for 2-3 weeks followed by a break of 2 weeks.

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Precautions

Caution:

Korean Ginseng is a stimulant. Higher doses can over-stimulate and aggravate

  • hypertension
  • insomnia
  • irritability

and can cause

  • decreased sexual function
  • euphoria
  • headaches
  • menstrual abnormalities
  • morning diarrhea
  • palpitations
  • skin eruptions
  • tremor

It should not be used where the person suffers from

  • acute asthma
  • acute infections
  • hypertension

Korean Ginseng:

  • should be discontinued at least 7 days prior to surgery as Ginseng:
  • can lower blood glucose levels which could create problems for patients fasting prior to surgery
  • may act as a blood thinner increasing the risk of bleeding during or after surgery
  • should not be used during pregnancy or when breast feeding
  • should be taken with food to avoid hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) even in non-diabetics

Drug Interactions

Do not use Ginseng without first talking to your practitioner or healthcare provider if you taking any of the following medications:

Blood Thinning Medications

  • aspirin (Ginseng may inhibit platelet activity)
  • warfarin (Ginseng may decrease effectiveness)

Caffeine or other substances that stimulate the central nervous system

Ginseng may increase their effects possibly causing:

  • irregular heartbeat
  • insomnia
  • nervousness
  • sweating

Haloperidol (anti-psychotic medication)

  • Ginseng may exaggerate the effects so do not take them together

Morphine

  • Ginseng may block the pain killing effects of morphine.

Monoamine Oxidase Inhibitors MAOIs (antidepressant medication) especially:

Phenelzine - Interaction with Ginseng may cause symptoms such as:

  • headaches
  • manic-like episodes
  • tremulousness

Diabetes medications

Heart disease medications

Diuretics

  • Furosemide in particular

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Products

Global Herbal Supplies has Korean Ginseng available in the following forms:


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Information given by our website  is provided for informational purposes and is not meant to substitute for the advice provided by a physician or other medical professionals. You should not use the information given for diagnosing a health problem or disease. If you have or suspect that you have a medical problem, promptly contact your health care provider. The above information is just a guide to general circumstances and in no way should it contradict the advice that you have been given by your naturopath, medical doctor or specialist.

     
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