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What is Asian ginseng? What is it used for?
Asian ginseng is considered the "king of all herbs"
in many countries. The scientific name of the herb (panax
ginseng) is derived from the Greek words pan (all) and akos
(cure), meaning that the root is a sort of panacea.
Asian ginseng is very similar in appearance to its American
and Siberian counterparts. Mature plants consist of stems
thatgrow from a main root; each stem contains palm-shaped
leaves with greenish-white flowers and red berries. The root
of the plant is used medicinally.
Ginseng has been classified as an antioxidant, helping to
destroy free radicals and reduce their negative effects. The
root contains substances called ginsenosides, which stimulate
the immune system and fight fatigue and stress. Several dozen
studies have shown that ginseng enhances physical and mental
performance and improves mood and metabolic function. Other
studies suggest ginseng can provide a wealth of benefits,
including: improved blood cholesterol; lowered liver toxicity;
lowered blood sugar levels; improved blood oxygen flow; control
of asthma and other respiratory diseases; and enhanced stamina.
How much Asian ginseng should I take?
The recommended dose of Asian ginseng is 1-2 grams fresh
root; 0.6-2 grams dried root; or 200-600ml of a liquid extract
daily. Patients using ginseng to improve mental or physical
performance should take doses in cycles of 15-20 days, followed
by a two-week break.
What forms of Asian ginseng are available?
Raw, unpeeled ginseng can be found at many Asian markets
and grocery stores. Dried and peeled ginseng is available
in powder, capsule or extract form. When taking ginseng, make
sure to use standardized products that contain at least 1.5%
What can happen if I take too much Asian ginseng? Are there
any interactions I should be aware of? What precautions should I take?
When used at the recommended daily dose, Asian ginseng is
considered safe. The American Herbal Products Association
has given Asian ginseng a class 2D rating, indicating a possible
risk for patients with hypertension. Red (unpeeled, steamed
before drying) ginseng may increase the effects of caffeine,
antipsychotics, blood pressure drugs or steroidal medications.
Other Resources :
More You Know About Nutrition
Aphale AA, Chhibba AD, Kumbhakarna NR,
et al. Subacute toxicity study of the combination of ginseng
(panax ginseng) and ashwagandha (withania somnifera)
in rats: a safety assessment. Indian J Physiol Pharmacol
D'Angelo L, et al. A double-blind,
placebo-controlled clinical study on the effect of a standardized
ginseng extract on psychomotor performance in healthy volunteer.
J Ethnopharmacol 1986;16:1522.
Gross D, Krieger D, Efrat R, Dayan M. Ginseng extract G115
for the treatment of chronic respiratory diseases. Schweizerische
Zeitschrift fur Ganzheits Medizin 1995;1(95):2933.
Nitta H, Matsumoto K, Shimizu M, et al. Panax ginseng extract
improves the scopolamine-induced disruption of 8-arm radial
maze performance in rats. Biol Pharm Bull 1995;18(10):14391442.
Oh KW, Kim HS, Wagner GC. Ginseng total saponin inhibits
the dopaminergic depletions induced by methamphetamine. Planta