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Panax Ginseng (Asian)

Plant Part Used

Root

Introduction

The ginsengs are the most frequently purchased herbal supplement in the United States. Historically, it has been used for a variety of health benefits, especially for its ability to help the body cope with stress and fatigue. The ginseng’s nonspecific actions within the body increase the body’s ability to cope with physical and emotional stress as well as stress from external toxins responsible for disease and infection. A standardized extract is derived from the root of the plant source.

Interactions and Depletions

Interactions

Dosage Info

Dosage Range

100-600mg (standardized extract) daily; a regimen of 4 weeks on, 2 weeks off is recommended for maximum benefits.

Most Common Dosage

100-250mg (standardized extract), 2 times a day; a regimen of 4 weeks on, 2 weeks off is recommended for maximum benefits

Standardization

[span class=doc]Standardization represents the complete body of information and controls that serve to enhance the batch to batch consistency of a botanical product, including but not limited to the presence of a marker compound at a defined level or within a defined range.[/span]

The most current available medical and scientific literature indicates that this dietary supplement should be standardized to greater than 5% ginsenosides per dose, containing Rg1 at >0.75% and an optimal ratio of Rg1:Rb1 of >0.5.

Reported Uses

The active ingredients of ginseng (American and Asian) are called "ginsenosides." These ingredients are reported to have an ability to improve stamina and learning capacity, to act as a sedative and to help control low blood sugar. Due to the structure and concentration of the active ingredients, American ginseng may be more suitable for individuals who are coffee drinkers, overweight, or have insomnia (1) and Asian ginseng may be more suitable for individuals who do not have high blood pressure, are athletic, but feel fatigued or have high stress jobs.

Research suggests that Asian ginseng may be involved in a complex interaction of hormonal pathways that regulate the body’s response to stress. (2) Asian ginseng has been recommended for use by people who are athletes, fatigued or have high stress jobs. Compared to placebo, one study has demonstrated improved mental health and social functioning after 4 weeks of therapy. This effect was noted to decrease with continued therapy. (3)

Other studies have looked at Asian ginseng’s potential support for better overall health in diabetics. By affecting the adrenal gland, Asian ginseng may play a role in the regulation of insulin production. (4) An animal study evaluated obese diabetic mice who received panax ginseng berry extract and its major component, ginsenoside Re, for twelve days. On the twelfth day the mice had normal blood sugar levels and had significantly improved glucose or sugar tolerance. Other effects observed were reduced cholesterol as well as weight loss due to less food consumption, increased body temperature and increased energy. (5) Studies also suggest that Asian ginseng may support healthy function of the adrenal gland in people who do not have diabetes.

Depending on the dosage taken, Asian ginseng may also have hyper- or hypotensive properties. At lower doses, it may raise blood pressure while lowering blood pressure at higher doses. (6) Asian ginseng may also support cardiovascular health by lowering total cholesterol levels, raising HDL, or "good," cholesterol levels, and making the blood less thick. (7)

Other benefits ginseng may offer include: estrogen-like activity for support of symptoms of menopause, (8) reduced risk of viral infection, (9) anti-cancer and anti-aging effects on cells, (10) protective effects for chemotherapy and radiation therapy patients (11) , (12) and enhanced recovery from surgery.

Toxicities & Precautions

Introduction

[span class=alert]Be sure to tell your pharmacist, doctor, or other health care providers about any dietary supplements you are taking. There may be a potential for interactions or side effects.[/span]

General

This dietary supplement is considered safe when used in accordance with proper dosing guidelines.

Health Conditions

If you have chronic gastrointestinal diseases such as esophageal reflux or diverticulitis, do not use this dietary supplement. This dietary supplement is not recommended if you have an active infection, inflammatory diseases, bleeding disorders or kidney disorders. These individuals should talk to a doctor before using this dietary supplement.

Side Effects

Side effects are possible with any dietary supplement. This dietary supplement may cause diarrhea, insomnia, restlessness, nausea, vomiting, anxiety and extreme nervousness.(13),(14) This dietary supplement may also cause breast tenderness or menopausal bleeding in some women.(15),(16) Tell your doctor if these side effects become severe or do not go away.

If excitability occurs with this dietary supplement, it may be necessary to reduce the dose.

Ginseng Abuse Syndrome (GAS) may occur in prolonged and high doses. GAS may include diarrhea, hypertension, nervousness, skin eruptions and sleeplessness.(17)

Pregnancy/ Breast Feeding

This dietary supplement should not be used if you are pregnant or breast-feeding an infant. (13)

Age Limitations

To date, the medical literature has not reported any adverse effects specifically related to the use of this dietary supplement in children. Since young children may have undiagnosed allergies or medical conditions, this dietary supplement should not be used in children under 10 years of age unless recommended by a physician.

References

  1. View Abstract: Wang X, Sakuma T, Asafu-Adjave E, et al. Determination of Ginsenosides in Plant Extracts from Panax ginseng and Panax quinquefolius L. by LC/MS/MS. Anal Chem. Apr1999;71(8):1579-84.
  2. View Abstract: Hiai S, et al. Stimulation of Pituitary-Adrenocortical System by Ginseng Saponin. Endocrinol Jpn. 1979;26(6):661-65.
  3. View Abstract: Ellis JM, Reddy P. Effects of Panax ginseng on Quality of Life. Ann Pharmacother. Mar2002;36(3):375–379.
  4. View Abstract: Ng TB, et al. Hypoglycemic Constituents of Panax Ginseng. Gen Pharmacol. 1985;16(6):549-52.
  5. View Abstract: Attele AS, Zhou YP, Xie JT, Wu JA, Zhang L, Dey L, et al. Antidiabetic Effects of Panax ginseng Berry Extract and the Identification of an Effective Component. Diabetes. Jun 2002;51(6):1851-1858.
  6. Siegel RK. Ginseng and High Blood Pressure. JAMA. Jan1980;243(1):32.
  7. View Abstract: Chen X. Cardiovascular Protection by Ginsenosides and Their Nitric Oxide Releasing Action. Clin Exp Pharmacol Physiol. 1996;23(8):728-32.
  8. View Abstract: Lucerno MA, et al. Alternatives to Estrogen for the Treatment of Hot Flashes. Ann Pharmacother. 1997;31(7-8):915-17.
  9. Krylov AV, et al. Effect of Juices from Araliaceae Plants on the Infectivity of Phytopathogenic Viruses. Acta Virol. 1972;16(1):75-76.
  10. Nakagawa S, et al. Cytoprotective Activity of Components of Garlic, Ginseng and Ciuwjia on Hepatocyte Injury Induced by Carbon Tetrachloride in Vitro. Hiroshima J Med Sci. 1985;34:303-09.
  11. View Abstract: Hasegawa H, et al. Reversal of Daunomycin and Vinblastine Resistance in Multidrug-Resistant P388 Leukemia in Vitro through Enhanced Cytotoxicity by Triterpenoids. Planta Med. 1995;61(5):409-13.
  12. View Abstract: Lee TK, Allison RR, O'Brien KF, et al. Ginseng reduces the micronuclei yield in lymphocytes after irradiation. Mutat Res. Jan2004;557(1):75-84.
  13. Newall CA, et al. Herbal Medicines: A Guide for Health Care Professionals. London: The Pharmaceutical Press; 1996:145-49.
  14. Bradley PR, ed. British Herbal Compendium. vol. 1. Bournemouth: British Herbal Medicine Association; 1992:115-17.
  15. Dukes MN. Ginseng and Mastalgia. Br Med J. Jun1978;1(6127):1621.
  16. View Abstract: Hopkins MP, et al. Ginseng Face Cream and Unexplained Vaginal Bleeding. Am J Obstet Gynecol. Nov1988;59(5):1121-22.
  17. Chen KJ. The Effect and Abuse Syndrome of Ginseng. J Tradit Chin Med. Sep1981;1(1):69-72.
  18. View Abstract: Chan LY, et al. An in-vitro study of ginsenoside Rb1-induced teratogenicity using a whole rat embryo culture model. Hum Reprod. Oct 2003;18(10):2166-8.

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