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Ginseng (Panax Ginseng)
Ginsing is a broad term and classification of over eleven unique species of slow growing perennials with large meaty tuberous roots. These plants are in the Panax genus hailing from the Araliaceae family.
Panax Ginseng originates from Asia. It was first discovered 5000 ago in Manchuria, China. It is found growing mainly in the Northern Hemisphere, mostly in the regional provinces of China, Korea and the eastern Siberia. It first time used as food but later on it became a symbol of power and energy-giving.
In the traditional Chinese medicine ginseng was used as a rejuvenating tonic, and was believed that helped the body recover several illnesses and improved blood circulation. It was also used as an aphrodisiac.
Nowadays Panax ginseng is used in Western medicine frequently. Many people use this plant to cope with stress and fight everyday stressful life. It is also used consumed by people with mental illnesses, usually depression, as it significally elevates mood. Recent studies showed that this natural plant was full of phytochemicals referred to as ginsenosides. These also called adaptogens have the role to increase immunity and the body’s resistance to stress, anxiety and fatigue. Many therapists in the West promote ginseng as a product to people that live an active life or exercise often. It can be used freely by anyone of any age. It is a very safe plant. Several men are using ginseng to enhance libido as it increases the blood flow and improve function.
Forms of Ginseng
Panax Ginseng is sold in four distinct forms and allow for different means for consuming it.
• Fresh Ginseng: This is the raw root of Ginseng, consumed by steeping it or chewing the root.
• White ginseng: This is the term used for Ginseng, made from root stock that is four to six years old, that has been dried in the sun after being skinned. This process turns the color of the Ginseng to a pale yellow with white tones, hence the name.
• Red Ginseng: Root stock harvested over six years is steamed at one hundred degree Celsius. This seals the active ingredients into the Ginseng root and is believed to stop the degradation of the beneficial biochemical properties. This process turns the root to a warm brownish red and is the most commonly found Ginseng ingredient available.
• Sun Ginseng: This is created by super steaming White Ginseng to over one hundred and twenty degrees Celsius. This process has been found to increase the beneficial ginsenoside properties and has increased levels of nitric oxide, hydroxyl radicals, superoxide and peroxynitrite.
The herb is consumed daily by millions of people and it is found in different packages, all of them having the same source, usually the root of the plant. It can be bought as a fresh product, meaning straight raw root. The root can be then cooked with food or even used by steeping it hot water to make a hot beverage such as tea. It can also be used as a dietary supplement via capsules or as a liquid for easier digestion. Ginseng has become a very popular product, and has become widely available in food stores, pharmacies and in some supermarkets.
It is a safe product to use, but when using it in high doses or when using Ginseng in root form, it is recommended to consult a specialist. Special precautions should be taken by people with heart conditions or other pulmonary disorders, patients that take other supplements or medications should visit with their therapists first to see if there could be a risk of medication interaction. One example is that diabetics should be careful if they are using insulin to control blood sugar levels. Due to the use of their insulin intake, they should not take ginseng together as it can affect the blood sugar levels. Side effects are rare and are considered mild. Ginseng in extremely high dosages can cause nausea, insomnia and headaches and sometimes low blood pressure. Also some other mild symptoms include dry mouth and lips, irritability and dizziness.