When we say controversial we mean in the United States, in Chine and Europe there is no controversy about ginseng. This plant has been used for more than 5000 years 

The plant grows in rich woods throughout eastern and central North America, especially along the mountains from Quebec and Ontario, south to Georgia. It was used by the North American Indians. It is a smooth perennial herb, with a large, fleshy, very slow-growing root, 2 to 3 inches in length (occasionally twice this size) and from ½  to 1 inch in thickness. Its main portion is spindle-shaped and heavily annulated (ringed growth), with a roundish summit, often with a slight terminal, projecting point.

Chinese Ginseng is a larger plant, but presents practically the same appearance and habits of growth. Its culture in the United States has never been attempted, though it would appear to be a promising field for experiment.  Panax is not official in the British Pharmacopoeia, and it was dismissed from the United States Pharmacopceia at a late revision. It is cultivated almost entirely for export to China. 

In China, both varieties are used particularly for dyspepsia, vomiting and nervous disorders. A decoction of 1/2 oz. of the root, boiled in tea or soup and taken every morning, is commonly held a remedy for consumption and other diseases.  In Western medicine, it is considered a mild stomachache tonic and stimulant, useful in loss of appetite and in digestive affections that arise from mental and nervous exhaustion.  A tincture has been prepared from the genuine Chinese or American root, dried and coarsely powdered, covered with five times its weight of alcohol and allowed to stand, well-stoppered, in a dark, cool place, being shaken twice a day. The tincture, poured off and filtered, has a clear, light-lemon colour. The German health authorities allow Asian ginseng products to be labeled as a tonic for invigoration to treat fatigue, reduced work capacity and concentration, and as a tonic during convalescence. Daily dosage is 1 to 2 g of root in appropriate formulations is allowed. 

Most reliable clinical studies on Asian ginseng have been conducted in Europe. These studies have generally involved extracts of Asian ginseng standardized to 4 percent and 7 percent of ginsenosides. Results included a shortening of time to react to visual and auditory stimuli, increased respiratory quotient, increased alertness, power of concentration, grasp of abstract concepts, and increases in visual and motor coordination. These are all measures of adaptogenic response. The vast majority of scientific research, including pharmacological and clinical studies conducted over the past forty years, on ginseng has involved Panax ginseng Chinese ginseng (also called Korean or

Asian ginseng) Research has focused on radioprotective, antitumor, antiviral, and metabolic effects; antioxidant activities; nervous system and reproductive performance; effects on cholesterol and lipid metabolism, and endocrinological activity. Research also suggests that ginseng has non-specific immunostimulatory activity similar to that of Echinacea. The active constituents of ginseng are saponins called. According to recent reports, there are at least 18 saponins found in Asian ginseng. American and Asian ginseng both contain different combinations of ginsenosides which can in part explain there different activities as understood by Asian traditional medicine practitioners. 

CAUTION: Don’t take Ginseng and Ginseng mixtures with Coffee as it will accelerate the caffeine effects on the body and can cause diarrhea. 

We hope you have enjoyed this issue, and that we have shed some light on this subject. Next time we will talk about echinacea, how it helps us and how to take advantage of it. 

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