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Red Chinese Ginseng Root

Veterinarian Reviewed on June 8, 2012 by Paulina Nelega, RH
Posted in Uncategorized

Red Chinese Ginseng Root


Red Chinese Ginseng Root is the most familiar of the ginsengs and among the most widely researched herbs. Ginseng or jen shen is called “man root” in China, because of the way its limb-like branches suggest arms and legs of a human.

The scientific name is Panax ginseng (panax means panacea). “Red” refers to an Asian process the herb undergoes before it is exported. (White Panax ginseng is steamed and dried.)
The Chinese value ginseng root because it replenishes qi, or vital energy. Its significance in other cultures includes enhanced mental concentration, increased stamina, heightened endurance and improved sexual performance.

History of Red Chinese Ginseng Root

For over 5000 years, the Chinese have held ginseng root in high esteem. Ancient Chinese and Native American healers considered it the most appreciated of all healing herbs.

It is little known that with the vast increase of popularity in ancient Asia, supply of the Red Chinese Ginseng Root could not meet actual demand. Its native habitat is on mountain slopes, where the plant grows as ivy like ground cover. Because it is slow to mature, the roots usually aren’t harvested until the plant is at least six years old.

Dishonest vendors began substituting other roots for the prized ginseng, a practice, which remains an ongoing problem today.
North American herbalists did not realize the monumental benefits of ginseng root until the latter 1960’s and are still researching its therapeutic elements today.

Ancient Uses of Red Chinese Ginseng Root

In the first Chinese herbal, Pen Tsao Ching (“The Classic of Herbs”) Shen Nung endorsed ginseng for increasing wisdom and enlightenment. Also, that continuous dosage promotes longevity.
Because the root appeared to look like the human form, the ancients believed ginseng a whole-body stimulant, most especially for the elderly population. Among maladies for the aged that ginseng root was widely acclaimed to benefit were: senility, arthritis, impotence and/or dwindling sexual interest.

Modern Uses of Red Chinese Ginseng Root

Contemporary herbalists mirror the ancient Chinese in their recommendations as a whole-body tonic, which promotes longevity, enhanced vitality and treats coughs, Colds, fever, inflammations, respiratory problems and menstrual problems.
Scientific studies show red Chinese ginseng root is beneficial for some disorders and diseases. However, before initiating any herbal treatment, one should always consult their primary care provider.

Other uses for Chinese red ginseng include :

• Immune stimulant – revs up white blood cells that devour disease causing microorganisms

• High Cholesterol – Increases good and reduces overall cholesterol

• Diabetes – reduces blood sugar levels

• Appetite stimulant

• Liver protection – protects liver from harmful effects of drugs and alcohol

Side Effects of Red Chinese Ginseng Root

Chinese red ginseng root, like prescribed medications, has potential side effects. As a precaution after obtaining approval from your physician, consult your pharmacist about possible interaction with medicines and other vitamins and herbs that you take on a regular basis.

Always purchase supplements from a trusted source. The safest method is to look for certified mature ginseng root or find labels, identified by species, which state the product is made from six-year old roots.

The Food and Drug Administration considers it a relatively safe supplement. Medical journals have reported such side effects as: breast soreness, allergy symptoms, insomnia, asthma attacks, increased blood pressure and disturbances in heart rhythms. Anyone with clotting problems should not consume ginseng because it has anti-clotting properties.

Children should not consume this product. Pregnant women should be cautious, although ginseng does not cause birth defects.

Read also: Gan Jiang

Our Expert

Paulina Nelega, RH
Paulina Nelega, RH, has been in private practice as a Clinical Herbalist for over 15 years. She has developed and taught courses in herbal medicine, and her articles on health have appeared in numerous publications. She is very passionate about the healing power of nature. Ask Dr. Jan

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