American Ginseng

American Ginseng

American Ginseng Plant

American Ginseng Benefits

American ginseng is considered to be a stress reducer, energizer and a normalizer. The name panax comes from the Greek word panacea meaning, “all healing”.

It has been traditionally used to negate the effects of fatigue and stress. It’s often used as a general health tonic to enhance a person’s mental and physical performance.

It’s a powerful “adaptogen”. An adaptogen is a substance that reduces the effects of any kind of stress, be it physical or mental. Roots must be at least four years old to be beneficial. The older the root, the more potent it is.

Though wild ginseng is best, it’s been over harvested and very rare. Commercially sold American ginseng is grown under artificial shade, such as canvas tents.

American ginseng contains zinc, vitamins A, B6 and C and polysaccharide glycans. It’s considered a “cooling” ginseng and is best taken in the hot summer months. The “warm” Korean ginseng is best taken in the cold, winter season.

This type of ginseng is well known for it’s ability to fight physical and mental fatigue. Many athletes take it while training for a boost in strength and stamina. Students often take it while studying for tests as it helps maintain a high level of mental alertness and improves memory.

A study done in 2005 by the Canadian Medical Association Journal states that American ginseng may help prevent and treat the common cold. Participants in the study who were given American ginseng got fewer colds than the people not taking it. The people who were taking it did get a cold, their symptoms were less and didn’t last as long as the people in the control group.

Since this type of ginseng helps to regulate blood sugar levels, it may be helpful to people with diabetes. People taking American ginseng before meals kept post-meal blood sugar levels in the normal range.

It has a very beneficial effect on the adrenal glands and other organs of the body such as the kidneys. The adrenal glands secrete hormones important to the reduction of physical and emotional stress. It is beneficial to those suffering from depression and anxiety.

American ginseng contains potent antioxidants, helping to boost the action of the immune system. It is thought that people taking it may experience less illness.

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American Ginseng Uses

  • Stimulate the appetite
  • Slow the progression of Alzheimer’s Disease
  • Treat depression
  • Combat stress and fatigue
  • Stimulate the central nervous system
  • Treat insomnia
  • Improve cardiovascular activity
  • Improve memory and concentration
  • Dissolve tumors
  • Raise good cholesterol (HDL)
  • Lower bad cholesterol
  • Increases estrogen levels in women and relieve the symptoms of menopause
  • Benefits the endocrine system, such as the adrenals and pituitary gland
  • Regulate blood sugar levels
  • Control type 2 diabetes



Scientific name

Panax quinquefolius

Common names

American ginseng, Redberry, Five-fingers, Five-leafed Ginseng

Where It Grows

This plant is native to North America, especially Wisconsin.

Which Part Of The Plant Is Used

The root

American Ginseng Root

Dried American Ginseng Root

How It Works

American ginseng contains many ginsenosides. Ginsenosides are a class of triterpene saponins and steroidal glycosides and are found exclusively in ginseng. These ginsenosides are believed to be what gives this herb it’s healing properties.

How It’s Used

American ginseng may be used by grinding the root and making into tea or by boiling the root in water (called a decoction). It may also be extracted in alcohol (called a tincture) or put into capsules that contain the pulverized root. It can also be used as a liquid extract.

Precautions and Side Effects:

American ginseng should not be taken if pregnant or nursing without consulting your doctor. People having high or low blood pressure or low blood sugar should consult their doctor before using. American ginseng should not be given to children without talking to their doctor first. It should not be taken by people taking blood thinners or if you are taking anticoagulant drugs.

Description and History Of American Ginseng

American ginseng is a slow growing perennial herb. It’s native to areas of North America. It does best in moist, deep soil. It has a spindle shaped, off white colored root that’s around 4 inches long. American ginseng was originally cultivated in the later part of the 1800′s. It was used by Native Americans as a sacred healing herb.

Trappers and fur traders such as Daniel Boon often collected it as a means of making extra money, as the going rate was very high for the day. The very best and most potent American ginseng comes from Wisconsin. It is highly regarded in the east as a cooling herb. It is often called “The king of herbs”.

Editor’s Comments

I often take American ginseng in the summer time. Korean ginseng is too warming and causes me to get overheated too easily. American ginseng is a cooling herb and provides all the benefits of Korean ginseng without the body heat. I mostly take it for it’s stress relieving properties. It makes me feel better in general and I’m able to handle problems better when I take it.

You really can notice a difference if you take it every morning. This ginseng isn’t as fast acting as Korean ginseng. It’s much more subtle and it’s effects build up over time.

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References


Sloan-Kettering Panax quinquefolius
American ginseng medical reference
Institute for traditional medicine

 

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