Panax ginseng

panax_ginseng

Johal, R. (2012). Ginseng and Ginkgo Biloba Complex shows promise for mental tasks. Retrieved from: http://www.predatornutrition.com/blog/2012/03/08/ginseng-and-ginkgo-biloba-complex-shows-promise-for-mental-tasks/

Botanical Name: Panax ginseng
Common name: Korean Ginseng, Panax, Ren Shen (Mandarine), Ninjin (Japanese) (Bone & Mills, 2013, p. 628)
Family: Araliaceae (Hoffmann, 2003, p. 570)
Parts used: Root (Hoffmann, 2003, p. 570)

Folklore and traditional use: In Chinese, Gin referres to “man” and seng to “essence” (Braun & Cohen, 2005, p. 199). The name panax is said to be derived from the Greek word pancea meaning “cure all” (Bone & Mills, 2013, p. 628). It is considered to be the most potent Qi tonic in Chinese Medicine (Braun & Cohen, 2005, p. 199), and is indicated in collapsed Qi conditions (Bone & Mills, 2013, p. 628). It is proposed to:

  • Generates fluids
  • Tonify lungs and stomach
  • Strengthens the spleen
  • Calms the spirit manifestation of heart Qi.

(Bone & Mills, 2013, p. 628)

 

Traditional TCM indications include:

  • Shallow or labored breathing
  • Lethargy
  • Chest and abdominal distention
  • Palpitations with anxiety
  • Insomnia
  • Restlessness

(Bone & Mills, 2013, p. 628)

In Western herbal medicine the herb is traditionally used as a mild stomachic, tonic, and a stimulant for anorexia and nervous related digestive complaints (Bone & Mills, 2013, p. 628).

Having wide range pharmacological properties, ginseng appears to have whole body effects as well as having a profound influence on the metabolism of an individual cell (Bone & Mills, 2013, p. 628). There is no equivalent concept or treatment in contemporary biomedicine (Bone & Mills, 2013, p. 628). Recent western studies fail to establish the efficiency of ginseng root extract to support traditional indications (Braun & Cohen, 2005, p. 199).

 

Constituents: Ginsenosides (a complex mixture of triterpene dammarane and oleanane saponins); Polysaccarhides; Essential oil; Diacetylenes; Peptides; Trilinolein; and Arginine (Bone & Mills, 2013, p. 629)

 

Actions

  • Adaptogen (Bone & Mills, 2013, p. 628: Hoffmann, 2003, p. 570)
  • Tonic (Bone & Mills, 2013, p. 628; Hoffmann, 2003, p. 570)
  • Stimulant (Hoffmann, 2003, p. 570)
  • Immunomodulator (Bone & Mills, 2013, p. 628; Braun & Cohen, 2005, p. 200)
  • Cardiotonic (Bone & Mills, 2013, p. 628)
  • Hypoglycemic (Hoffmann, 2003, p. 570; Braun & Cohen, 2005, p. 200)
  • Hepatoprotective (Braun & Cohen, 2005, p. 200)
  • Anti-inflammatory (Braun & Cohen, 2005, p. 200)
  • Anti-oxidant (Braun & Cohen, 2005, p. 203)
  • Anxiolytic (Braun & Cohen, 2005, p. 203)

 

Indications

Clinical

  • Improve cerebro-vascular deficit (Bone & Mills, 2013, p. 628)
  • Improve cognitive performance (Bone & Mills, 2013, p. 628)
  • Congestive heart failure (Bone & Mills, 2013, p. 628)
  • Cancer prevention (Bone & Mills, 2013, p. 628)
  • Depressed bone marrow associated with radiation therapy (Bone & Mills, 2013, p. 628)
  • Erectile dysfunction (Bone & Mills, 2013, p. 628; Braun & Cohen, 2005, p. 204)
  • Male fertility problems (Bone & Mills, 2013, p. 628)
  • Type 2 diabeties (Bone & Mills, 2013, p. 628)
  • Acne (Braun & Cohen, 2005, p. 204)
  • Hair growth (Braun & Cohen, 2005, p. 203)
  • Anemia (By promoting haemopoiesis) (Braun & Cohen, 2005, p. 203)

Generally Panax increases vitatily and the body’s ability to withstand stress. It does this by:

  • Acting on the hypothalamus-pituitary-adrenal cortex,
  • Restoring and strengthening the body’s immune system
  • Promotes longevity, growth and metabolism of normal body cells (Bone & Mills, 2013, p. 628)

 

Traditional

  • Heart failure (Bone & Mills, 2013, p. 628)
  • Dyspepsia (Bone & Mills, 2013, p. 628)
  • Asthma (Bone & Mills, 2013, p. 628)
  • Organ prolapse (Bone & Mills, 2013, p. 628)
  • Spontaneous sweating (Bone & Mills, 2013, p. 628)
  • Palpitations (Bone & Mills, 2013, p. 628)
  • Neuralgia (Bone & Mills, 2013, p. 628)
  • Neurosis (Bone & Mills, 2013, p. 628)
  • Anxiety (Bone & Mills, 2013, p. 628)
  • Long term debility (Bone & Mills, 2013, p. 628)
  • Menopausal symptoms (Braun & Cohen, 2005, p. 204)

 

Preparation & Dosage:

  • Decoction: 0.5tsp powdered root/1 cup water. Bring to boil, simmer for 10 mins/tds
  • Tincture: (1:5 in 60%) 1-2mL (Bone & Mills, 2013, p. 644)

 

Cautions

  • Avoid concurrent stimulents such as caffine and amphetamines (Bone & Mills, 2013, p. 644)
  • Acute infections (Bone & Mills, 2013, p. 628)
  • Ginseng abuse syndrome has been reported in individuals, with effects including hypertension, nervousness, insomnia, morning diarrhoea and skin reactions (Braun & Cohen, 2005, p. 206)
  • Pregnancy (Braun & Cohen, 2005, p. 207)

 

Contradictions:

  • Acute asthma (Bone & Mills, 2013, p. 644)
  • Fever (Braun & Cohen, 2005, p. 206)
  • Excessive menstruation (Bone & Mills, 2013, p. 644)
  • Nose bleeds (Bone & Mills, 2013, p. 644)

Interactions

  • Monoamine oxidase inhibitor “phenolzine” (Bone & Mills, 2013, p. 644)
  • Warfarin (Bone & Mills, 2013, p. 644)
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