Panax quinquefolius (American) & Panax ginseng (Asian)

Ginseng - Panax quinquefolius (American) & Panax ginseng (Asian) (in the Araliaceae or Ginseng family)

Parts used: Root.

Taste/smell: Sweet with a slight bitterness.

Tendencies: American ginseng is cooling and slightly moistening while the Asian ginseng is warming due to the processing of the herb.

Dosage: Infusion: 1 teaspoon per cup of water, infused 25-30 minutes; or 1:1 fresh or 1:4 dry liquid extract: 20-60 drops 1-4 times per day in a little water.

Mental picture and specific indications: Ginseng is indicated for "adrenal burnout" with mental, nervous, emotional and physical exhaustion. The individual cannot adapt to stressful situations. Dry mucous membranes, hypotension and low blood sugar are often part of the symptoms.

Use: (a) Adaptogen, (b) General tonic, (c) Antitumor, (d) Antiviral, (e) Antioxidant, (g) Hepatoprotective, (h) Antispasmodic, (i) Anti-inflammatory, (j) Anti-ulcer, (k) Analgesic, (l) Supports the nervous system, (m) Supports the endocrine system, (n) Antifatigue activity, (o) Enhances endurance, (p) Blood sugar balancing activity, (q) Reduces LDL while raising HDL cholesterol, (r) Enhances metabolic activity in the brain, (s) Stimulates the pituitary secretion of adreno-corticotropic hormone, (t) Enhances production of interferon, (u) Minimizes cell damage from radiation, (v) Enhances the recovery process after radiation exposure.

Ginseng is used to enhance stamina and memory, increase appetite, treat anemia, general weakness, nervous agitation, forgetfulness and impotence. Research shows possible protection from cerebral ischemia as well as treatment benefits for cerebral ischemia. Panax ginseng has been shown to be hypoglycemic by acting on the pancreas to enhance secretion of insulin and increasing cellular sensitivity to insulin. Panax ginseng has been found to be useful in treating the adverse actions of morphine. It has also been shown to bind to progestin, mineralcorticoid and glucocorticoid receptors. This herb and other herbs in the Araliaceae family are used as adaptogens to assist the innate ability to adapt to environmental influences and decrease susceptibility to illness.

Contraindications: Concurrent use with the drug phenelzine has resulted in manic-like symptoms.

Copyright 1999 by Sharol Tilgner, N.D. (ISBN 1-881517-02-0) - all rights reserved.