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Ginseng

Siberian Ginseng - Eleutherococcus Senticosus!

Not to be confused with stimulant Panax ginsengs. Eleuthero ginseng is an adaptogen - it helps body adjust to stressful changes, especially cold climate situations and sudden increases in physical activity. Minimizes damage and reduces recovery time from anger/fear/frustration stress. Increases energy and stamina. Supports body defenses against viruses, toxins and radiation. Improvements in thinking speed, memory and concentration. Reduces fatigue and depression while increasing ambition. Increases oxygen delivery. 0.3% Eleutheroside B and 0.5% Eleutheroside E. Siberian Ginseng, ci wu jia (incorrectly called, in America, Siberian Ginseng.)

The root, the rhizomes (underground stem) and the leaves are being used. "Siberian ginseng" products that are sold in America have nothing in similar with any kind of ginseng. The Siberian ginseng plant is a shrub of 1 to 3 meters tall, while the ginseng plant is herbaceous. It does not have any similarity in looks to Chinese ginseng, Korean ginseng or American ginseng. It is called Siberian ginseng in America for advertising purposes. It was first introduced into the American herb market in the late 1970s as "Wuchaseng" and "Wujiaseng." (wu jia sen). There appears to be no historical precedent in Chinese traditions to applying the qualifier "seng (short for ginseng )" to E. senticosus (Shiu Ying Hu, 1979). The correct Chinese name is CI wu jia.

The United States Congressional amendment to the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act - signed into law in May 2002 - eliminates any confusion regarding what is true ginseng. Now only the genus Panax can be called ginseng on labeling or in advertising. Siberian Ginseng is known to be useful for Alzheimer's disease, Athletic performance, Attention deficit disorder, Chemotherapy support, Chronic fatigue syndrome, Common cold/sore throat, Diabetes, Fibromyalgia, Influenza (flu), Stress and fatigue. Siberian ginseng is highly valued as an adaptogen, a substance that normalizes adverse conditions of the body. It is also used as a stimulant.

Russians prescribe it for patients undergoing chemotherapy and radiation therapy due to its anti-radiation effect. Modern studies conducted by Russian scientists show that Siberian ginseng relieves stress, lowers toxicity of some common drugs that tend to produce side effects in humans, increase mental alertness, improve resistance to colds and mild infections, and be beneficial in cases where a person is continuously in contact with environmental stresses. Siberian ginseng extract was shown to stimulate cellular immunity. It was found to stimulate T-cell production, especially helper cells.

Thus Siberian ginseng is touted for numerous immune-related disorders. German scientists have found that this herb may be useful for treatment in the early stages of AIDS. It is found to retard the spread of the virus by a synergistic action of the elevated numbers of both helper and cytotoxic T cells. Eleuthero is a distant relative of Asian ginseng (Panax ginseng). Also known commonly as touch-me-not and devil's shrub, eleuthero has been most frequently nicknamed Siberian ginseng in this country. Eleuthero is native to the Taiga region of the Far East (southeastern part of Russia, northern China, Korea, and Japan). The root and the rhizomes (underground stem) are used.


Ginseng is an adaptogen. Adaptogens help the body fight the effects of just about any kind of stress, be it viral, bacterial, emotional, or physical. The effects of stress may be as simple as headaches or colds, but they can also be more serious, such as accelerated aging, memory loss, heart disease, cancer, and arthritis. Asians consider ginseng the king of all herbs. American ginseng is similar enough to Asian ginseng to chemically have the same effects. American ginseng root is light tan and looks a bit like a human body. Herbalists hundreds of years ago took this likeness to mean that ginseng could cure all human ills. It has been used as a cure-all by many different cultures.

American ginseng contains ginsenosides, which are thought to fight fatigue and stress by supporting the adrenal glands and the use of oxygen by exercising muscles. The type and ratio of ginsnosides are somewhat different in American and Asian ginseng. The extent to which this affects their medicinal properties is unclear. A recent preliminary trial with healthy volunteers found no benefit in exercise performance after one week of taking American ginseng. Standardized extracts of American ginseng, unlike Asian ginseng, are not available. However, dried root powder, 1-3 grams per day in capsule or tablet form, can be used. Some herbalists also recommend 3-5 ml of tincture three times per day.

American Ginseng has been used by many for:

Cerebral and Nervous System Conditions

  • influences neurological reactions
  • stimulates the central nervous system
  • boosts energy levels
  • enhances and restores memory
  • enhances concentration and cognitive abilities which may be impaired by improper blood supply to the brain
  • increases protein synthesis and activity of neurotransmitters in the brain
  • insomnia
  • reduces the effects of stress
  • removes both mental and bodily fatigue

Cardiovascular Conditions

  • improves overall cardiovascular activity
  • decreases triglyceride levels
  • dissolves tumors
  • improves performance
  • relieves pulmonary complaints

Female Conditions

  • improves sexual function
  • increases estrogen levels in women
  • menopausal symptoms

Gastrointestinal Conditions

  • stimulates the appetite

Glandular Conditions

  • benefits the endocrine system, especially the pituitary and adrenals
  • increases natural killer cell activity
  • prevents adrenal hypertrophy

Immune System Conditions

  • aids in the production of thymic hormones, necessary for correct functioning of the immune system
  • stimulates the immune system

Liver Conditions

  • reduces total cholesterol level
  • relieves nausea and vomiting

Male Conditions

  • improves sexual function
  • reduces impotence
  • stimulates the gonads
  • Respiratory Tract Conditions
  • colds
  • chest problems

Other

  • diabetes
  • insulin-like activity
  • maintains excellent body functions
  • prevents excess corticosteroid production in response to physical, chemical or biological stress
  • radiation and chemotherapy protection
  • reduces the effects of aging
  • stimulates the production of interferons

American Ginseng is for people who have:

  • chronic fever
  • excess craving
  • excess hunger
  • hot flushes
  • thirst

Habitat: Panax Ginseng is native to China and cultivated extensively in China, Korea, Japan and Russia. Panax quinquefolia is native to North America.

Part Used: Root.

Constituents:

  • Saponin glycosides. These are referred to as the ginsenosides by Japanese & panaxosides by Russian workers. At least l3 ginsenosides have been isolated; these are designated ginsenosides Ra, Rb, Rg-l, Rg-2 etc.
  • Glycans; the panaxans A-E, isolated only so far from P. ginseng.
  • Volatile oil, containing b-elemene, a diene panaxynol, and two acetylenic compounds, panaxydol and panaxytriol, falcarinol and falcarintriol.

Actions: Adaptogen, Tonic, Stimulant, Hypoglycaemic.

Indications: Ginseng has an ancient history and as such has accumulated much folklore about its actions and uses. The genus name Panax derives from the Latin panacea meaning cure all. Many of the claims that surround it are, unfortunately, exaggerated but it is clear that this is an important remedy. A powerful adaptogen, it has a wide range of possible therapeutic uses. For a more detailed discussion of adaptogens please refer to pages 3 - 113 to 3 - 118. The best therapeutic application is with weak or elderly people, where the adaptogenic and stimulating properties are can be profoundly useful.

It should not be used indiscriminately as the stimulating properties can be contraindicated in some pathologies, for example Chinese herbalism warns about Ginseng being used in acute inflammatory disease and bronchitis. Ellingwood describes the eclectic use of Panax thus ~ It is a mild sedative and tonic to the nerve centers, improving their tone, if persisted in, and increasing the capillary circulation of the brain. It is given in cerebral anemia, and if combined with other tonics is capable of doing some good. It is also prescribed in the failure of digestion incident to nervous prostration and general nerve irritation.

Preparations & Dosage: The root is often chewed or a decoction may be made. Put l/2 teaspoonful of the powdered root in a cup of water, bring to the boil and simmer gently for l0 minutes. This should be drunk three times a day.

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