Ginseng has been a
part of Chinese medicine for over 2,000 years. The first
reference to the health-enhancing use of Asian ginseng dates
to the first century A.D., in which the writer mentions
ginseng's use as follows: "It is used for repairing the five
viscera, quieting the spirit, curbing the emotion, stopping
agitation, removing noxious influence, brightening the eyes,
enlightening the mind and increasing wisdom. Continuous use leads
one to longevity with light weight."
is the most famous Chinese herb. It is the most widely recognized
plant used in traditional medicine. 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.
panax is derived from the Greek word panacea meaning, "all
healing" and the benefits of ginseng are recognized as such.
Ginseng is commonly used as an adaptogen, meaning it normalizes
physical functioning depending on what the individual needs (for
example, it will lower high blood pressure, but raise low blood
also used to reduce the effects of stress, improve performance,
boost energy levels, enhance memory, and stimulate the immune
system. Oriental medicine has deemed ginseng a necessary element in
all their best prescriptions, and regards it as prevention and a
cure. It is said to remove both mental and bodily fatigue, cure
pulmonary complaints, dissolve tumors and reduce the effects of age.
is native to China, Russia, North Korea, Japan, and some areas of
North America. It was first cultivated in the United States in the
late 1800's. It is difficult to grow and takes 4-6 years to become
mature enough to harvest. The roots are called Jin-chen, meaning
'like a man,' in reference to their resemblance to the shape of the
North Americans considered it one of their most sacred herbs and add
it to many herbal formulas to make them more potent. The roots can
live for over 100 years.
contains vitamins A, B-6 and the mineral Zinc, which aids in the
production of thymic hormones, necessary for the functioning of the
defense system. The main active ingredients of ginseng are the more
than 25 saponin triterpenoid glycosides called "ginsenosides".
These steroid-like ingredients provide the adaptogenic properties
that enable ginseng to balance and counter the effects of stress.
The glycosides appear to act on the adrenal glands, helping to
prevent adrenal hypertrophy and excess corticosteroid production in
response to physical, chemical or biological stress.
done in China showed that ginsenosides also increase protein
synthesis and activity of neurotransmitters in the brain. Ginseng is
used to restore memory, and enhance concentration and cognitive
abilities, which may be impaired by improper blood supply to the
helps to maintain excellent body functions. Siberian ginseng has
been shown to increase energy, stamina, and help the body resist
viral infections and environmental toxins. Research has shown
specific effects that support the central nervous system, liver
function, lung function and circulatory system.
studies have shown that ginseng extracts stimulate the production of
interferons, increase natural killer cell activity, lower
cholesterol and decrease triglyceride levels. Men have used the herb
to improve sexual function and remedy impotence. Ginseng is believed
to increase estrogen levels in women and is used to treat menopausal
also used for diabetes, radiation and chemotherapy protection,
colds, chest problems, to aid in sleep, and to stimulate the