The Chinese discovered ginseng over 5,000 years ago and refer to it as the "King of Herbs" due to its energizing and revitalizing effects on the human body. History shows that early Chinese emperors placed great value in ginseng and was used primarily as a tonic or stimulant for both physical and mental disorders . In addition, it was used for increasing fertility and sexuality, and most importantly for strengthening the body. Ginseng is widely used in the United States to improve overall energy and vitality, particularly during times of fatigue or stress. While there is not much clinical evidence to support an energy boosting effect, there are studies showing its potential value in normalizing glucose levels after meals in diabetics, stimulating immune function, treating male impotence and, when used with Ginkgo biloba, improving memory and symptoms of attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in children. Plant chemicals called ginsenosides are believed to play a role in ginseng's activity. They are considered "marker" compounds for ginseng - that is, their presence (or absence) and their chemical profiles can indicate the type and quality of ginseng in a product.
Ginseng is an adaptogen that can help improve the body's overall ability to adapt to and cope with the negative effects of physical and environmental stress. Clinical studies confirm that ginseng can help enhance endurance, reduce fatigue, and improve coordination and reaction time. There is also some evidence that ginseng can boost immune function, helping the body fight off infection during times of stress. In laboratory studies, ginseng has shown potential in protecting liver and heart health, regulating the function of reproductive hormones, normalizing cholesterol and blood sugar levels, and improving memory and learning.
is commonly used as a natural preventive and restorative and is valued highly for its adaptogenic properties. Ginseng contains ginsenosides, these are classified into two groups, the Rb1 group and the Rg1 group, American Ginseng contains higher amounts of Rb1 Ginsenosides which have more sedative and metabolic effects on the central nervous system, whereas Rg1 Ginsenosides, more prominent in Korean Ginseng, are more arousing and stimulating. Rb1 Ginsenosides have Central Nervous System depressing activity, can increase digestive tract peristalsis and have been shown to increase stamina and learning abilities. Other studies have shown Rb1 Ginsenosides to have anti-fatigue, anti-convulsant, analgesic and ulcer protective properties. American Ginseng is more sedative and relaxing than Korean Ginseng and increases "yin" energy while Korean Ginseng is more stimulating and increases the "yang" energy. Often used for stress, fatigue, weakness, convalescence, low resistance, poor immunity or debility due to chronic disease and metabolic disturbances, American Ginseng is a wonderful restorative for a nervous, agitated condition.
In traditional Chinese medicine, ginseng is used for many purposes, including normalizing blood pressure and blood sugar, as a sexual tonic for both men and women, and to strengthen overall health when the body is debilitated.
has a high content of the Rg1 group of Ginsenosides which are arousing, stimulating and cause an increase in motor activity. This root has also been of benefit in conditions of tiredness, weakness, debility, convalescence, low resistance and aging. It acts on the adrenal and pituitary glands to help them respond to stress more rapidly and is also used to increase mental and physical work capacity, increase concentration and mental activity, enhance mental acuity and intellectual and physical performance and benefit the immune system among other things.
After nearly a thousand studies, Siberian Ginseng has been shown to increase energy and stamina and to help the body resist viral infections, environmental toxins, radiation and chemotherapy. In Chinese Medicine it has been used to prevent bronchial, respiratory and viral infections, provide energy and vitality, increase resistance to stress, treat rheumatic and heart ailments, improve cardiovascular and neurovascular conditions and help restore memory, concentration and cognitive abilities which may be impaired from poor blood supply to the brain. Additionally Siberian Ginseng is a popular remedy for debility, depression, fatigue and nervous breakdowns. It has a growing reputation for increasing all kinds of body resistance. Also used to regulate low blood pressure and increase circulation. Excellent as a general tonic.
Traditionally, Ginseng was taken as a general tonic for the whole body, and may help improve energy and endurance,reduce fatigue and stress, enhance sexual performance, etc. Ginseng is also an adaptogens, that may assist the body to restore to its healthy state.
(1) Improves resistance to the damaging effects of stress
(2) Increases stamina and endurance
(3) Improves mental performance in times of stress
(4) Enhances overall health and vitality
Ginseng may help regulate the basal metabolic rate and increase the breakdown and metabolism of foods. Improved metabolism can increase energy level and remove more waste products in the body. Studies have shown that the athletes were using oxygen much more efficiently after taking ginseng. They also help athletes in recovery time. In addition, ginseng can help reduce stress and has a positive effect on the cardiovascular and central nervous systems.
Ginseng improve psychomotor performance during exercise without affecting exercise capacity. In a double blind clinical trial, seven soccer players (age 19.07 +/- 0.62 yrs) receiving 350 mg of ginseng and 8 soccer players receiving a placebo daily for 6 weeks. Before and after the treatment all the subjects performed an incremental bicycle ergometer exercise with intensity increasing 50 W every 3 min until exhaustion. Ginseng treatment was found to shorten recovery time at rest and during exercise, shifting the exercise load associated with the shortest recovery time toward higher exercise loads. Neither ginseng nor placebo influenced Maximal oxygen uptake and lactate threshold. Ziemba AW, Chmura J, Kaciuba-Uscilko H, Nazar K, Wisnik P, Gawronski W. Int J Sport Nutr. 1999 Dec;9(4):371-7.
In Asia, ginseng is commonly included in herbals used for the treatment of sexual dysfunction. Recent studies in laboratory animals have shown that both Asian and American forms of ginseng enhance libido and copulatory performance. These effects of ginseng may not be due to changes in hormone secretion, but to direct effects of ginseng, or its ginsenoside components, on the central nervous system and gonadal tissues. Indeed, there is good evidence that ginsenosides can facilitate penile erection by directly inducing the vasodilatation and relaxation of penile corpus cavernosum. Moreover, the effects of ginseng on the corpus cavernosum appear to be mediated by the release and/or modification of release of nitric oxide from endothelial cells and perivascular nerves. Treatment with American ginseng also affects the central nervous system and has been shown to significantly alter the activity of hypothalamic catecholamines involved in the facilitation of copulatory behavior and hormone secretion. Recent findings that ginseng treatment decreased prolactin secretion also suggested a direct nitric oxide-mediated effect of ginseng at the level of the anterior pituitary. Thus, animal studies lend growing support for the use of ginseng in the treatment of sexual dysfunction and provide increasing evidence for a role of nitric oxide in the mechanism of ginsenoside action. Murphy LL, Lee TJ. Ann N Y Acad Sci 2002 May;962:372-7
Ginsenosides, the active ingredients extracted from Panax ginseng, have been shown to promote nitric oxide (NO) release and enhance NO release. The nerves in penile tissue contain NO synthase and an NO-like substance that causes relaxation of the corpus cavernosum. Ginsenosides (250, 500 and 750 micrograms ml-1) relaxed corpus cavernosum. acetylcholine (ACh)-induced relaxations were increased in the presence of ginsenosides (250 micrograms ml-1). Ginsenosides at 100 micrograms ml-1 significantly enhanced relaxation of corpus cavernosum elicited by transmural nerve stimulation. The relaxations were associated with increase and decrease in tissue cyclic GMP levels. These endothelial and neurogenic effects of ginsenosides in inducing relaxation of the corpus cavernosum may account for the aphrodisiac effect of Panax ginseng. Chen X, Lee TJ. Br J Pharmacol 1995 May;115(1):15-8
In a double blind, placebo controlled, 14 week, parallel group, repeated assessment, multi-centre trial of two dosing regimens 160 mg (60mg Ginkgo & 100mg Ginseng) and 320 mg (120mg Gingko & 200mg Ginseng) involving 246 healthy middle-aged voluunteers was conducted. On various study days (weeks 0, 4, 8, 12 and 14) The volunteers performed various tests of attention and memory from the Cognitive Drug Research, completed questionnaires about mood states, quality of life and sleep quality. The Ginkgo/ginseng combination was found significantly to improve an Index of Memory Quality by 7.5% and reflected improvements to a number of different aspects of memory, including working and long-term memory. This enhancement to memory was seen throughout the 12-week dosing period and also after a 2-week washout, demonstrating substantial improvements to the memory of healthy middle-aged volunteers. Wesnes KA, Ward T, McGinty A, Petrini O.
Psychopharmacology (Berl). 2000 Nov;152(4):353-61.