Ginseng
    
Panax schinseng, Asiatic, American or Korean 

Ginseng, Adaptogen because of tonic stimulating effect on pituitary, adrenals, immune system. Speeds nervous reflexes, increases mental performance diminishes fatigue. Male aphrodisiac anti-aging properties,Ginseng is a genus of 11 species of slow-growing perennial with fleshy roots, in the family Araliaceae.   They grow in the Northern Hemisphere in eastern Asia (mostly northern China, Korea, and Eastern Siberia, typically in cooler climates.

If you have ever done any hiking in eastern Canada or America you may have walked right by ginseng growing at your feet and not realized it, because ginseng looks like common ground cover.  Ginseng prefers the temperate north or northwestern slopes of hardwood forest areas of China and America, which says something about continental drift as plants from both areas have a common ancestor.

Ginseng is Chinese for man plant, in reference to the shape of the root.  The herbalists of China considered this a sign that Ginseng could enhance the whole of human health.  This is the Doctrine of Signatures found in many other cultures that says that a herb's appearance contains clues to its medicinal benefits.  Legend holds that a superior root has the shape of a man walking at a comfortable gait.

Ginseng as a herb has been recommended for at least 2,000 years so it has stood the test of time.  Ginseng has remained because of its ability to modify favorably the course of disease or difficulty, specifically tuberculosis, coughs, nausea, diabetes, indigestion, diarrhea, kidney degeneration, gout, rheumatism, suppurating sores, insomnia, leprosy and radiation poisoning, weakness of the spleen, longevity, sexual indifference and impotence.

The bodily influences of Ginseng are:
Adaptogen   An agent that increases resistance to stress.
Aphrodisiac   Stimulates sexual desire.
Cardiotonic   Heart restorative.
Immuno-stimulant   Enhances and increases the body's immune mechanism.
Hepatic   Supports and stimulates the liver, gall bladder and spleen.
Restorative   Effective in regaining of health and strength.

The adaptogen effect is because of Ginseng's tonic effect on the pituitary gland (located in the brain it is the master gland of the hormone system) and a stimulating effect on the adrenals.  This speeds up the nervous reflexes and increases analytical and overall mental performance, while diminishing fatigue.

Ginseng stimulates immune function by increasing natural killer cell activity.  It also increases the rate at which liver cells generate.  Part of its anti-aging properties may be due to the fact that Ginseng makes oxygen absorption and usage more efficient.

The panax variety of Ginseng is said to increase male hormone production.  This is the reason its long term use is not suggested for the females.  This has not been proven scientifically.  The tale of Ginseng's origins are that a childless woman dreamed about an old man in the mountains with a herbal remedy.  She found him, used the remedy and bore a child.  She returned to the woods and thanked him so profusely that he (who was a deity in disguise) filled the woods with this miraculous plant (Ginseng).  Also you will find both male and female herbal combinations that include Ginseng in them.

Panax ginseng should not be confused with Siberian ginseng ( Eleutherococcus senticosus ). In Russia, Siberian ginseng was promoted as a cheaper alternative to ginseng and was believed to have identical benefits.   Siberian ginseng (Eleutherococcus senticosus) is not a ginseng at all. It is another adaptogen, but a different species named "Siberian ginseng" as a marketing ploy; instead of a fleshy root, it has a woody root; instead of ginsenosides, eleutherosides are present.  

Until recently, most scientific research on Siberian ginseng was conducted in Russia. This research has largely supported its use to maintain health and strengthen the system rather than to treat particular disorders. Siberian ginseng may help the body deal with physically and mentally stressful exposures, such as heat, cold, physical exhaustion, viruses, bacteria, chemicals, extreme working conditions, noise, and pollution. By strengthening the system, it may also help prevent illness.

Sources:
Little Herb Encyclopedia, by Jack Ritchason; N.D., Woodland Publishing Incorporated, 1995
Nutritional Herbology, by Mark Pedersen, Wendell W. Whitman Company, 1998
Rodale's Illustrated Encyclopedia of Herbs, Rodale Press, Emmaus, Pennsylvania 1987
The Complete Medicinal Herbal, by Penelope Ody, Published by Dorling Kindersley
 

 

 

 

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Important Note:
The information presented herein by The Natural Path Botanicals is intended for educational purposes only. These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA and are not intended to diagnose, cure, treat or prevent disease. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplements, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.

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