The healing power of American ginseng

Ginseng is a Chinese and Korean plant. A species from the same family grows in the US and Canada. and it was used there by the Indians as a medicinal herb. American ginseng is a small plant; it grows to barely 50 centimeters high and produces a distinctive red fruit. The Indians have made a lot of money from this slow-growing plant by selling the herb to Chinese in the US. American ginseng has been widely harvested from the wild, making it an endangered species. Today it is grown in both the US and China. One of the reasons why ginseng is so expensive is that the root must be at least 10 years old before it can be used in medicine. NB! This article is written from the personal view of the author and may contain information that is not scientifically substantiated and/or in line with the general view.

Botanical drawing American ginseng / Source: Jacob Bigelow (1786 1879), Wikimedia Commons (Public domain)

Contents:

  • Improve memory performance
  • Naming
  • Active substances
  • American ginseng, good for body and mind
  • Other medicinal work
  • Dose and safety
  • Contraindications American ginseng

Improve memory performance

Science says that American ginseng promotes memory. American ginseng has shown in a clinical study that people who take it have a better memory. All professions and diseases where it is important to have sharp cognitive skills can be performed better or treated by using American ginseng.

Naming

In Latin, American ginseng is called Panax quinquefolius . In Dutch the plant is called American ginseng, in German Amerikanischer ginseng and in English American ginseng. Quinquefolius is a combination of quinque, which means ‘five’ and folius, the Latin name for ‘leaf’. The plant is indeed characterized by having five leaves on each branch.

Active substances

Only the root of American ginseng is used for phytotherapeutic purposes. This should be three to nine years old under farmed conditions. The root contains a wide range of phytonutrients. A large number is mentioned here. Some substance names may not mean anything to you. Then you can read about it and see it as an indication of the wide variety of nutrients and medicinal substances that reside in the ginseng root. First, ginseng contains triterpene saponins including the ginsenosides Ro, Rb, Rb1, Rb2, Rc, Rd, Re, Rf, Rg1 and Rg2. This powerful root also contains the phytosterols campesterol, betasitosterol and stigmasterol. Other ingredients are: panaxadiol, panaxatriol, panaxoside AF, arasaponin A and B, essential oil with sesquiterpenes, bicyclogermacrene, caryophyllene, alpha- and betahumulene, oleanolic acid, polyacetylenes, kaempferol, alpha- and beta-aminobutyric acid, the carbohydrates starch, complex polysaccharides, maltose, sucrose, fructose and glucose, the fatty acids oleic acid, linoleic acid and alpha-linolenic acid, amino acids, vitamins and minerals.

American ginseng, good for body and mind

American ginseng is an adaptogen; a substance that makes it easier to adapt to changing circumstances. You can better withstand heat, cold, infections… These are physical changes in your situation. American ginseng also ensures that you can better cope with mental changes such as stress, work pressure and negative emotions. It is a general tonic, a tonic for people of all ages. The mental and physical performance of the body is improved by American ginseng. The muscles increase in strength, the body’s oxygen capacity increases, reaction time improves and psychomotor skills are performed more adequately.

Other medicinal work

Ginseng root / Source: Drginseng, Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-SA-3.0)

American ginseng:

  • Normalizes the hormonal balance in both men and women.
  • Improves glucose tolerance, which is good news especially for diabetes patients.
  • Increases resistance,
  • Can reduce respiratory diseases, colds and coughs,
  • Combats aging symptoms,
  • Prevents arteriosclerosis.

American ginseng makes the mind sharper and the body stronger.

Dose and safety

There are two ways to use this medicinal plant.

  • 1 to 4 grams of root per day.
  • 1 to 4 ml tincture (1:1).

At therapeutic doses, American ginseng is a very safe product. A number of side effects should be taken into account when too much is taken. Too high a dose has possible side effects:

  • Hypertension or high blood pressure,
  • Insomnia or insomnia,
  • Nervousness,
  • Diarrhea.

Contraindications American ginseng

American ginseng is a healthy plant, but there are contraindications. These are circumstances in which this natural product should not be used.

The circumstances to avoid American ginseng are:

  • People with high blood pressure should avoid this medicinal plant altogether.
  • Fruit Panax quinquefolius / Source: Drginseng, Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-SA-3.0)

Pregnant women should not take American ginseng.

  • Because the effect of blood sugar lowering agents is increased, blood sugar levels must be closely monitored because it is possible that fewer blood sugar lowering agents need to be used.
  • People taking warfarin should keep in mind that American ginseng may decrease the effect of warfarin. A dose adjustment can be made in consultation with a doctor.
  • The action of MAOIs can be changed. MAOIs are mainly taken by people who suffer from depression. They should only use American ginseng in consultation with a doctor.