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Ginseng

December 10th, 2014

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Ginseng

Ginseng (Panax speicies) has been known for its medicinal properties for centuries.  Various parts of this plant, such as the leaf, root and stalk all have different medicinal benefits.  Furthermore, different types of ginseng produce different medicinal benefits.

Generally, three major types of ginseng are consumed – Korean ginseng (Panax ginseng), Siberian ginseng (Eleutherococcus senticosus– this type is not a true ginseng) and American ginseng (Panax quinquefolius – which is on the verge of extinction).  All gingseng come in red and white, depending on the process used to store it.

The important chemical in ginseng is ginsenocide.  However, just like any other herbal plant, there are many other bio-chemical compounds present in the plant.  For this reason, it has yet to be determined if the current extraction process used to repackage the herb as a supplement yields the desired potency for healing.

 

Ginseng can prevent and heal many illnesses such as diabetes, the common cold, and amnesia, while also boosting immunity, sexual health, emotion, and energy.  Modern science has yet to find sufficient evidence to support the miracles of ginseng.  Studies observing the effect of ginseng on animals have shown positive benefits.  However, the studies could not determine which type of ginseng, and which method of extraction works best.

Later, other studies also could not gather sufficient evidence to support claim that ginseng can boost energy or stamina in athletes.  Four years ago, a study in Canada found that American ginseng could help relieve symptoms of the common cold.  However, there are side effects as well, such as nausea, upset stomach, insomnia, and headaches.  When taken with certain medications, such as Warfarin (medication for diabetes),the combination can produce a negative reaction.

In conclusion, no conclusion has been reached regarding the benefits of ginseng.  If you decide to take ginseng, especially if you are already on other forms of medication, it is best to consult your physician to avoid any undesirable side effects.

There are many forms of ginseng extract, at many prices in the market.  To this date, the difference between cheap and expensive ginseng extracts hasn’t been determined, and the potency still varies.

For those who cannot afford expensive ginseng extracts, or simply do not want to, there are other methods to prevent and manage diabetes, high blood pressure, colds, and to maintain optimal health.  Plus it’s free!  This miraculous medicine is exercise, or to be more precise, regular exercise (a brisk walk is exercise). All that is needed is 30 minutes each session, three to four times a week.  There is no need for any herbal extract, unless it cures the laziness that stands in the way of regular exercise.  It is always best to invest time and commitment into living a lifestyle that keeps you well.

Prof Nithi Mahanonda is consultant cardiologist and interventionist, Perfect Heart Institute.

 

 

 

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