In ancient Chinese medicine books, ginseng was already a famous medicinal plant.
It "regulated" the 5 viscera, balanced the vital energy, strengthening the spirit, making courageous and generous, resistant to poisons; made your eyes shine and increased intelligence and understanding.
Currently it is said more simply "adaptogen" and anti-asthenic .
Ginseng comes from Korea, but the genus Panax includes other species often pharmacologically assimilated to real ginseng.
In North America P. QUINQUEFOLIUM is cultivated, in southwest China and Vietnam, P. NOTOGINSENG, in Japan and in the Himalayas varieties of P. PSEUDOGINSENG.
Wild ginseng, a small herbaceous plant with palmate-lobed leaves, with an umbel of white flowers and red berries, is totally overexploited and now cultivated especially in North America, Asia and even in Europe.
The medicinal part, the root, is cylindrical, branched more or less curved with sometimes an anthropomorphic or phallic aspect (according to observers).
The white ginseng is only dried, the red ginseng is first heated and parboiled, which gives it the red color, then dried.
The eleutherococcus or Siberian ginseng is a bushy and thorny plant widespread from Eastern Siberia to Korea and Shanxi in China. The part used is also the root.
GINSENG WITH FRUITS
CHEMICAL COMPOSITION AND PROPERTIES
Ginseng has been much studied, many compounds have been described, their metabolism monitored in humans and animals, but it is difficult to link the pharmacological action and the chemical composition of this plant.
To complicate the situation, not all ginseng have the same composition.
The majority of authors believe that saponosides are the active compounds (= GINSENOSIDES between 2 and 10% of the dried root) but there is none in Eleutherococcus (!!).
Other authors, Koreans, think that in fact it is the phenolic compounds which would be active, and they refer to the Chinese tradition which specifies that the root of ginseng must imperatively be prepared without contact with iron (container or knife) .
These authors link all of the plant's adaptogenic properties to the presence of phenolic antioxidant ( anti-free radical ) compounds.
Ginsenosides do not have antioxidant properties.
Experiments on mice confirmed this thesis:
- unpurified extracts of ginseng, therefore containing saponosides and phenols, increase resistance to toxins and physical capacities,
- whereas these same extracts to which a little ferric compounds are added see their pharmacological capacity decrease.
In other medicinal plants, and not least (ex valerian), the isolated chemical components do not explain the pharmacological action observed in animals or humans.
In these cases one can imagine that it is the association of several components or the action of their metabolic derivatives which is pharmacologically effective.
GINSENG and eleutherococcus are considered as "ADAPTOGENIC" plants:
- ANTI-FATIGUE plants, which strengthen the immune defense, (IMMUNOSTIMULANT).
- which improve PHYSICAL, athletic PERFORMANCE,
- which TEMPORARILY INCREASE INTELLECTUAL CAPACITIES: preparation for exams, memorization, job requiring a lot of concentration and attention (even cosmonauts and car racers), reactivity when faced with complicated situations.
- PHYSICAL or PSYCHOLOGICAL STRESS.
The important anti-free radical action of ginseng extracts is associated with other indications:
- protection against ARTERIOSCLEROSIS, action also on the complications of type 2 DIABETES
- protection of the liver against toxics: hepatotoxic drugs and also prevention of "hangovers",
- protection against the effects of ionizing radiation: professions at risk, patients treated by radiotherapy,
- to FIGHT THE EFFECTS OF AGE, senescence; some therapists consider ginseng extract to be a true "elixir of youth".
There are many preparations based on ginseng (plant powder, standardized extracts) generally in the form of powder packaged in capsules of 250-500 mg.
MEDIUM DOSAGE for root powder:
1 g of ginseng powder per day with the possibility of tripling this amount (3 g per day).
Avoid taking ginseng at the end of the day because of the risk of insomnia or difficulty falling asleep.
We will limit the DURATION OF THE CURE to 3 months at most because, in the longer term, we can observe undesirable side effects (slight hormonal desequilibrium).
EXTRACTS OF GINSENG are very often associated with other phytomedicines: anti-fatigue, anti arterisclerosis anti aging and also with vitamins and trace elements.
Comply with the indications of the laboratory-manufacturer for the dosage which depends on the type of extract and its concentration in active ingredients.
PRECAUTIONS AND CONTRINDICATIONS
OVERDOSAGE manifests as nervousness, insomnia, and easy bleeding.
Ginseng is a CONTRINDICATION in pregnant women, breastfeeding or children under 16 and in cases of genital cancer (sensitive to estrogens).
Elderly people with heart failure, hypertension and those on anticoagulant therapy should also be careful.
CULTIVATION OF GINSENG
There are large-scale culivation of different varieties of ginseng (Asian or American).
But individuals can also grow a few plant of ginseng.
The conditions and the development of this amateur cultivation are now well known (lots of information on the internet), you need a cool place out of the sun or a small wooded area.
You can get seedlings or seeds, and you have to be patient, ginseng is a very slow growing shade plant.
It takes 3 to 5 years for the ginseng plant to develop an interesting root by its size and its content in pharmacological substances.
GINSENG to forget fatigue and stay young
Ginseng, originally from Korea and China, has long been part of Chinese medicine.
It is a useful plant against fatigue, stress, the effect of pollutants or dangerous radiation, chronic poisoning.
It also serves to prevent arteriosclerosis and fight against the harmful effects of free radicals.
Copyright 2020 : Dr Jean-Michel Hurtel