Information on Ginseng
In central and eastern Canada and the US, American ginseng can be found in cool and rich woods, with a large crop cultivated commercially in Wisconsin. China and Korea are where Asian ginseng is being grown. This short plant can grow 3 to 7 compound leaves that drop during fall. This also bears a cluster of yellowish or red-coloured fruits from the month of June through July.
The shape of ginseng’s root can vary from one species to the next and this part is used for distinguishing the different kinds of ginseng. Ginseng root has the highest quantities of active ginsenosides. The ginsenoside content can differ depending on the root’s age, preservation method, and harvest season. While there is a minimum of 4 ginsenosides that can be detected in most young ginseng roots, this content can more than double after growth of 6 years. In general, high-quality ginseng can be collected during the fall after growth of 5 to 6 years.
General Uses of Ginseng
Ginseng is commonly used for its anticancer, anti-stress, cardiovascular, immune system, hormonal, and CNS effects, as well as for enhancement of athletic performance. However, no clinical trials have confirmed these uses yet.
Ethnobotanical or Traditional Uses of Ginseng
Ginseng is possibly the most extensively recognized plant being used in traditional medicine. This also plays a big role when it comes to herbal health care. Through many centuries, different types of ginseng have been utilized in medicine.
Panax is a name derived from the Greek term that means “all healing.” The man-shaped figure of ginseng root led proponents of the ancient philosophical doctrine of signatures to believe that this root can strengthen any body part. For many years, the root has also been used for treating hardened arteries, strength loss, bleeding and blood disorders, colitis, and for relief of symptoms of senility, ageing, and cancer.
Recommended Dosage for Ginseng
Based on studies, it is safe to take crude preparations of 1 to 2 grams of dried root powder for a maximum of 3 months. In several clinical trials, the amount of crude root ranged from 0.5 g to 3 g a day, with the dosage of extracts generally ranging from 100 mg to 400 mg.
Contraindications of Ginseng
Apart from the known hypersensitivity, there are no established contraindications for ginseng.
Lactation or Pregnancy
There is insufficient information on the efficacy and safety of ginseng in lactation and pregnancy.
There is limited evidence for established interactions of ginseng, with the majority of data derived from healthy volunteers and laboratory studies. There are only a few case reports that exist. But, it is important to use ginseng with caution with different medicines such as antidiabetic drugs or insulin, caffeine and other similar stimulants, antipsychotic drugs, monoamine oxidase inhibitors, nifedipine, imatinib, and furosemide. There are also conflicting reports of interactions with antiviral and warfarin drugs.
It has been estimated that over 6 million people in the United States ingest ginseng on a regular basis. There are a few reports that claim of severe reactions. There are extremely low cases of adverse events reported during clinical trials. There have been reports of allergic reactions as well. Ginseng abuse syndrome or improper use of Panax ginseng include symptoms like diarrhoea, high blood pressure, breast pain, confusion, depression, skin rash, and sleeplessness.