Chinese Ginseng (Panax Ginseng) Overview, Health Benefits, Side effects

Chinese Ginseng (Panax Ginseng) Overview, Health Benefits, Side effects

Chinese Ginseng (Panax Ginseng) Overview

Chinese Ginseng (Panax Ginseng) other names: Asian Ginseng, Asiatic Ginseng, Chinese Ginseng, Chinese Red Ginseng, Ginseng, Ginseng Asiatique, Ginseng Blanc, Ginseng Blanc de Corée, Ginseng Chinois, Ginseng Coréen, Ginseng Coréen Rouge, Ginseng de Corée, Ginseng Japonais, Ginseng Oriental, Ginseng Panax, Ginseng Radix Alba, Ginseng Root, Ginseng Rouge, Ginseng Sino-coréen, Ginseng Tibétain, Guigai, Hong Shen, Japanese Ginseng, Jen-Shen, Jinsao, Jintsam, Insam, Korean Ginseng, Korean Ginseng Root, Korean Panax, Korean Panax Ginseng, Korean Red Ginseng, Korean White Ginseng, Mandragore de Chine, Ninjin, Ninzin, Oriental Ginseng, Panax Coréen, Panax Ginseng Blanc, Panax schinseng, Racine de Vie, Radix Ginseng Rubra, Red Chinese Ginseng, Red Ginseng, Red Kirin Ginseng, Red Korean Ginseng, Red Panax Ginseng, Ren Shen, Renshen, Renxian, Sang, Seng, Sheng Shai Shen, Tibetan Ginseng, White Ginseng, White Panax Ginseng.

Chinese Ginseng (Panax Ginseng) Overview, Health Benefits, Side effects
Chinese Ginseng (Panax Ginseng) root

Chinese ginseng is a plant. People use the root to make medicine. Do not confuse Panax ginseng with American ginseng, Siberian ginseng, or Panax pseudoginseng.

Among all the Chinese herbs, the fame of the Chinese ginseng is the greatest and it is the most valued in the herbal lore of China. Indeed, the value place on the Chinese ginseng herb goes back to the very dim beginnings of Chinese history itself, to a time when even wars were fought in ancient China for control of forest where the herb grew wild, this herb has been esteemed from about 7,000 years ago for its therapeutic benefits and has remained at the very pinnacle of herbal remedies in China from very early times.

The western world's acquaintance and knowledge of the herb's ability to boost the stamina and provide the body with increased resistance to stress was recognized pretty late, and the herb gained recognition only in the 18th century in much of the western world, though an Arabian physician brought the ginseng back from China and introduced it to Europe as early as the 9th century.

Almost extinct and extremely rare in the wild due to over collection down the centuries, the ginseng herb is a native of parts of eastern Asia, such as the region of northeastern China, parts of eastern Russia, and the country of North Korea.

Without exception, all commercial ginseng is now cultivated, however the cultivation of the ginseng is a high skill operation and requires great training. The herb requires moist, rich and well drained soils to grow in, and the ginseng is normally propagated using stocked seeds in the spring.

Full maturity takes at least four years by which time the plant is harvested. Autumn is the normal time for harvested the roots when full maturity is reached and all collected roots are first washed, and then subjected to being steamed, they are then dried and stored or sorted for the market.

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Chinese Ginseng (Panax Ginseng) Health Benefits

Ginseng has been used as a medicine for over two thousand years. Chinese ginseng is used for improving thinking, concentration, memory and work efficiency, physical stamina, and athletic endurance. 

Some people use chinese ginseng to help them cope with stress and as a general tonic for improving well-being. They sometimes call chinese ginseng an “adaptogen” when it’s used in this way. 

The qualities of the ginseng herb as an organic adaptogenic agent vary and the herb has many beneficial actions on the human body. Chinese ginseng is known to promote energy and is believed to be very stimulating to the bodies of young people who are endowed with a strong qi - the Chinese equivalent of vital force - the action of the herb changes in those who are affected by illness or age, and in such people the herb assumes a tonic like and restorative effect, it may be even sedative in action in older or weaker individuals - thus the ginseng differs in its actions on different kinds of people.

Chinese Ginseng (Panax Ginseng) Overview, Health Benefits, Side effects
Chinese Ginseng (Panax Ginseng) image

Chinese ginseng is also used for bleeding disorders, loss of appetite, vomiting, intestinal problems, fibromyalgia, sleeping problems (insomnia), nerve pain, joint pain, dizziness, headache, convulsions, disorders of pregnancy and childbirth, hot flashes due to menopause, and to slow the aging process. 

Some men use chinese ginseng on the skin of the penis as part of a multi-ingredient product for treating early orgasm (premature ejaculation). Men also use it for erectile dysfunction (ED). There is some evidence that chinese ginseng is effective for these uses. 

The Chinese system of medication finds many uses for the ginseng herb, one of the roles of ginseng is to act as an aphrodisiac for men, the herb is also highly regarded for its role as a herbal stimulant and is best known and extensively used in this role, the herb is also used as a general herbal tonic for administration to athletes and is also given to those affected by physical stress, to boost their performance. The people inhabiting northern and central China start taking the ginseng remedies during late middle age and keep taking it for the rest of their lives, this is in accordance with the belief that the herb is a general tonic for old age and in this region it is supposed to enable people to endure the long hard winters by stimulating and boosting the performance of the human body.

Chinese ginseng is also used for depression, anxiety, chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS), for boosting the immune system, and for fighting particular infections in a lung disease called cystic fibrosis. These infections are caused by a bacterium named Pseudomonas. 

Some people use chinese ginseng to treat breast cancer and prevent ovarian cancer, liver cancer, lung cancer, and skin cancer

Other uses include treatment of anemia, diabetes, inflammation of the stomach lining (gastritis), fever, hangover, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), and asthma

The ginseng is viewed more as a life enhancing or connectivity herb in much of the Western world, and not an herbal medicine as such. People facing exams and high stress environments benefit the most from taking ginseng remedies and the herb greatly helps the individual coping with stressful events and circumstances. The total dosage period of any ginseng supplementation must not last longer than six weeks, this is often not followed and the ginseng herb is often abused in the West because people attribute all sorts of impossible beneficial effects to the herb.

In Western medicine, chinese ginseng is used as a stimulant to make people more active. But, in contrast, in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), chinese ginseng is used to make people feel calmer. Chinese ginseng is also widely used in China for the heart and blood vessels. Higher doses are generally used in TCM than in Western medicine. 

In manufacturing, chinese ginseng is used to make soaps, cosmetics, and as a flavoring in beverages. 

Chinese Ginseng (Panax Ginseng) Side effects

The chinese ginseng is one of the safest herbs for supplemental use, and when taken at the recommended dosages, safety is almost guaranteed. There are a few exceptions and in some individuals, over stimulation of the body can result in rare instances, insomnia is another possible side effect in those using the herbal extract at extremely high doses. The risk of disturbing the gastrointestinal system and over stimulation of the body substantially increases when people consume caffeine with supplemental ginseng - this practice is not recommended. 

Chinese ginseng is possibly safe when taken by mouth and when applied to the skin as part of a multi-ingredient product (SS Cream), in the short-term. Chinese ginseng is possibly unsafe when taken by mouth, long-term (more than 6 months). Researchers think chinese ginseng may have some hormone-like effects that could be harmful with prolonged use.

The most common side effect is trouble sleeping (insomnia). Less commonly, people experience menstrual problems, breast pain, increased heart rate, high or low blood pressure, headache, loss of appetite, diarrhea, itching, rash, dizziness, mood changes, vaginal bleeding, and other side effects.

Uncommon side effects that have been reported include severe rash called Stevens-Johnson syndrome, liver damage, and severe allergic reactions.

Pregnancy and breast-feeding: Chinese ginseng is possibly unsafe when taking by mouth during pregnancy. One of the chemicals in chinese ginseng has been found to cause birth defects in animals. Do not use chinese ginseng if you are pregnant. Not enough is known about the safety of chinese ginseng during breast-feeding. Stay on the safe side and don’t use it.

Infants and children: Chinese ginseng is likely unsafe in infants and children. Using chinese ginseng in babies has been linked to poisoning that can be fatal. The safety of chinese ginseng in older children is not known. Until more is known, do not use chinese ginseng even in older children.

Chinese Ginseng (Panax Ginseng) Overview, Health Benefits, Side effects
Chinese Ginseng (Panax Ginseng) plant

“Auto-immune diseases” such as multiple sclerosis (MS), lupus (systemic lupus erythematosus, SLE), rheumatoid arthritis (RA), or other conditions: Chinese ginseng seems to increase the activity of the immune system. Chinese ginseng might make auto-immune diseases worse. Don’t use chinese ginseng if you have any auto-immune condition.

Bleeding conditions: Chinese ginseng seems to interfere with blood clotting. Don’t use chinese ginseng if you have a bleeding condition.

Heart conditions: Chinese ginseng can affect heart rhythm and blood pressure slightly on the first day it is used. However, there are usually no changes with continued use. Nevertheless, chinese ginseng has not been studied in people with cardiovascular disease. Use chinese ginseng with caution if you have heart disease.

Diabetes: Chinese ginseng might lower blood sugar. In people with diabetes who are taking medications to lower blood sugar, adding chinese ginseng might lower blood sugar too much. Monitor your blood sugar closely if you have diabetes and use chinese ginseng.

Hormone-sensitive conditions such as breast cancer, uterine cancer, ovarian cancer, endometriosis, or uterine fibroids: Chinese ginseng contains chemicals (ginsenosides) that can act like estrogen. If you have any condition that might be made worse by exposure to estrogen, don’t use chinese ginseng.

Trouble sleeping (insomnia): High doses of chinese ginseng have been linked with insomnia. If you have trouble sleeping, use chinese ginseng with caution.

Schizophrenia (a mental disorder): High doses of chinese ginseng have been linked with sleep problems and agitation in people with schizophrenia. Be careful when using chinese ginseng if you have schizophrenia.

Organ transplant: Chinese ginseng might make the immune system more active. This could interfere with the effectiveness of medications that are given after an organ transplant to reduce the chance that the organ will be rejected. If you have received an organ transplant, don’t use chinese ginseng.