AMERICAN GINSENG - Botanical name is Panax quinquefolium. Generic name is Panax. Family: N.O. Araliaceae.
Herb name including Botanical and other names:
Herb Overview: Ginseng was mainly thought to only be found in Manchuria and Chinese Tartary but has also been harvested in Korea and Japan, parts of North America including Ontario and Quebec, and in parts of France. Ginseng was mostly used by the North American Indians in their love potions and charms and it is currently considered useful today for all types of ailments. American Ginseng packaging is commonly that of the American flag: red, white, and blue. Ginseng was first cultivated in the United States in the late 1800’s and due to its popularity the herb is now rare in most parts of the United States. Research on American Ginseng and its uses although limited have been said to have similar characteristics of Oriental Ginseng and have therefore been applied in various ways:
Mental Performance: Ginseng has been said to modestly improve thinking or learning.
Type 2 Diabetes: Ginseng has been said to reduce blood sugar levels.
Cancer Prevention: If taken in powder or capsule form, it is said that Ginseng can help lower the risk of contracting some cancers.
Exercise Performance: Some athletes that have tried Ginseng have reported an increase in strength and endurance however the research isn’t clear on whether an oral intake of Ginseng significantly improves upon these.
Sexual Performance: Ginseng is believed to have a capability of increasing sexual performance. Some studies have shown an increase in male sperm count however information is limited in this area.
Immune System: Ginseng is believed to assist the immune system so that it can help the body combat infection and disease.
Gastrointestinal: Ginseng is believed to increase the appetite.
Female Conditions: Ginseng is said to increase estrogen levels in women, improve their sexual function, and assist with menopausal symptoms.
Other Conditions: Ginseng is believed to protect individuals from damage caused by radiation and chemotherapy, reduce the effects of aging, and helps to maintain good bodily functions.
Normally Ginseng has been used to increase mental efficiency and stamina and to reduce stress and fatigue. In China, it is used to assist in the treatment of coughs and coughs coupled with blood. Whether it comes from China or America, Ginseng is believed to help people who have hot flashes, chronic Fever, excess hunger and cravings, as well as thirst issues.
Ginseng grows in wild and shady forests. It is a smooth herb that lives for more then two years, the root of which grows very slowly and can reach up to 3 inches in length and up to 1 inch in thickness and can live for more then 100 years. The color of the herb ranges from a pale yellow to a brownish color. The root is light tan. Ginseng is said to have a liquorice type of sweetness. Although liquorice is known to have a distinctive and potent smell, American Ginseng is said to have little or no smell. The fruit of the herb is a group of bright red berries.
The root and root hairs are used to make Ginseng products. Ginsenosides and Polysaccharide glycans are what gives Ginseng its properties. Polysaccharide glycans are the complex carbohydrates. They are normally insoluble in water and by themselves don’t possess a sweet taste. Some examples of polysaccharides are cellulose and starch. Also contains Vitamin A, B6, and Zinc.
Ginseng is available in powder and capsule form and also in various liquid forms. The liquid forms can be in extracts, in water, in water and alcohol, or in alcohol.
Method of Intake:
Ginseng is not recommended for children. Adults can take ginseng in capsule form or as a liquid. The liquid form can be as a tea, liquid or standard extract, or a Tincture. The Tincture is usually a combination of the herb with a small amount of alcohol or alcohol and water. Ginseng can also be taken with or without food. It is recommended that if Ginseng is taken for two to three weeks then a break of about two weeks should follow. Some herbalists recommend 3-5 mil of Tincture taken about 3 to 5 times per day. Recommendation for the dried version is 1-3 grams per day in capsule or tablet form. The capsules can be found in 100mg and 250mg.
As with most medications, ginseng should be taken under the supervision of a medical professional. People with allergies to Ivy type plants, trees, or shrubs should not take Ginseng. People with hypertension should not take Ginseng. Long term use of Ginseng can be toxic. Some side effects of Ginseng use are depression, insomnia, nausea, skin rashes, loss of appetite, chest pain, Diarrhea, headaches, Fever, dizziness, and Vomiting just to name a few. Ginseng has been associated with difficulty in developing or maintaining an erection, breast enlargement in men, and also increased sexual responses. If you are pregnant or trying to get pregnant it is recommended that you consult with your physician before taking Ginseng. Consultation with a doctor is also recommended if you are breastfeeding. If you are expecting to have to undergo a surgical procedure then the use of Ginseng should be discontinued at least 7 days before surgery.
Ginseng use may increase the effect of products that contain caffeine. It may also block the effect of morphine which is a pain killing drug. Ginseng and anti-psychotic medication such as haloperidol should not be taken together. Certain antidepressant medication such as phenelzine should not be taken in conjunction with the herb. Ginseng has also been known to decrease the effect of certain blood thinning medicine. Ginseng should also not be used with aspirin.
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