Ginseng – Herbs For Alternative Medicine

GINSENG (PANAX GINSENG)

Ginseng is one of the most popular healing herbs used today throughout the world. 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 and tonic. Ginseng means “the essence of the earth in the form of a man,” and in fact the root’s shape suggests the human form.

Ginseng contains vitamins A, B-6 and the mineral zinc, which aids in the production of thymic hormones, necessary for the functioning of the immune system. Its active constituents are ginsenosides, substances that increase the body’s ability to deal with fatigue and stress. Today herbalists prescribe Asian ginseng root for minor ailments including fever, colds, coughs, and menstrual irregularities.

Claims and Common Uses:

  • Helps the body adjust to stressful situations
  • Believed to increase estrogen levels in women and is used to treat menopausal symptoms
  • Used in the treatment of diabetes, exerts blood sugar lowering activity
  • Offers some protection against harmful radiation and increases recovery time from radiation damage
  • Appetite stimulant
  • Possesses anticancer properties (ginseng powder or ginseng extract were shown to be very effective)
  • Aids in sleep
  • Enhances endurance, stamina and performance
  • Boosts immune function
  • Used to ease withdrawal from cocaine
  • Beneficial in normalizing blood pressure and increasing blood circulation
  • Reduces risk of heart disease
  • Improves memory, concentration and cognitive abilities

Part Used: Root

Preparations

Ginseng is available as fresh or dried root, root powder, capsules, tablets, prepared tea, freeze-dried root, cured rock candy

Buying a concentrated extract of ginseng is a reliable assurance that the active compounds are present at precise levels as stated on the labels.

As a tea:

  1. Boil 1-oz fresh root with 1 cup water for 15 to 20 minutes. Drink up to 2 cups a day.
  2. Boil fresh roots in water for 3 to 7 minutes. Prick roots with needles. Dry roots in the sun and then soak in thick sugar 10 to 12 hours.

Side Effects and Warnings of Ginseng

  • Do not exceed 5-10 grams daily.
  • Vitamin C can interfere with the absorption of ginseng. If you take a vitamin C supplement, wait two hours before or taking ginseng to do so.
  • Headaches, insomnia, anxiety, breast soreness or tenderness, or skin rashes may develop as well as asthma attacks, increased blood pressure, diarrhea, euphoria, nervousness, skin eruptions, heart palpitations, or post-menopausal uterine bleeding. Stop using ginseng and consult your doctor.
  • Use ginseng only under the direction of an herbalist or a licensed healthcare professional if you have any of the following conditions: pregnancy, lactation, insomnia, hay fever, fibrocystic breasts, asthma, emphysema, high blood pressure, blood-clotting problems, heart disorders such as cardiac arrhythmia, hypoglycemia or diabetes.
  • Some people may find panax ginseng too stimulating, therefore use early in the day instead of before bedtime.
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