American Ginseng

Plant Part Used

Root.

Introduction

Native Americans have traditionally used American ginseng as a general tonic to help restore the health of the weak and wounded, as well as to help the mind. Today, along with the other forms of ginseng, American ginseng has become very popular as a natural preventative and restorative remedy. Scientists refer to American ginseng as an adaptogen, meaning it has the ability to boost nonspecific resistance of the body to a wide range of chemical, physical, psychological, and biological stressors. What’s more, adaptogens such as American ginseng have the unique ability to switch from stimulating to sedating effects based on the body’s needs.

There are several types of ginsengs, with the two most commonly used being Asian or Panax ginseng (Panax ginseng) and American ginseng (Panax quinquifolius). Another adaptogenic plant, Siberian ginseng (Eleutherococcus senticosus), is also usually grouped with these two plants, but it is not botanically related.

 

Interactions and Depletions

Interactions

Dosage Info

Dosage Range

200mg (standardized), 1-3 times a day.

Most Common Dosage

200mg (standardized), 2 times a day.

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 5% ginsenosides (mainly Rb1) per dose.

Reported Uses

Scientists call the main active chemical components in American ginseng ginsenosides. However, the kind of ginsenosides present in American ginseng are slightly different than those found in Asian gensing. Because of this subtle chemical difference, Asian ginseng can have different effects than its American counterpart. American ginseng, for instance, is reported to have the ability to improve stamina and learning capacity. It may also function as sedative and may have the ability to lower blood pressure. Meanwhile, Asian ginseng may raise blood pressure levels while functioning as a mild stimulant.

The calming properties of American ginseng may be more suitable for people who are coffee drinkers, overweight, or who suffer from insomnia. (1) Alternatively, Asian ginseng may be better suited for those who do not suffer from high blood pressure, or for those who are athletes, fatigued, or with high stress jobs. Simply put, American Ginseng is more sedative and relaxing, and increases "yin" energy, in contrast to Asian Ginseng, which is more stimulating and increases "yang" energy.

Researchers have also studied American ginseng for its potential in enhancing overall health and in the treatment of specific conditions. Some of these include:

    Lowering of blood sugar levels in diabetic patients. (2) , (3) , (4) , (5) Increased sexual desire in men. (6) Prevention of free radical damage and support of cardiovascular health. (7) , (8) Enhanced immunity. (9) Slowing of the aging process. (10)
  • Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). (11)

Ginseng is commonly used to treat menopausal symptoms due to a suspected hormonal-like activity in the body. A study involving 384 postmenopausal women compared the use of ginseng to placebo for relief of related symptoms. Benefit was seen for depression and general well-being and health. However, no advantage was seen for hot flashes and physical changes that occur to the vagina and surrounding area. This study seems to indicate that the beneficial effects seen may not be related to hormonal-like effects anticipated. (12) Another study has supported improvement of vaginal lubrication in menopausal women. (13)

Protection against the development of breast cancer was once considered a benefit of American ginseng, (14) , (15) though recent studies have provided some conflicting results. (16) , (17) These studies have evaluated not only the estrogen-like activity but also the potential of ginseng to stimulate the growth of certain types of breast cancer cells. Though no activity on estrogen receptors was noted in a laboratory study, ginseng stimulated cell growth of a specific type of breast cancer. (18) A second laboratory study evaluating the same type of breast cancer cells had opposite results. Compared to estradiol, American ginseng did not increase cell growth. In fact, when tested with certain drugs designed to fight breast cancer, cell growth was actually decreased. (19) American ginseng should be avoided in women with estrogen fed cancers until further information is gathered regarding its estrogenic activity.

 

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. (20)

Side Effects

Side effects are possible with any dietary supplement. The ginsengs may cause breast tenderness or menopausal bleeding in some women. (21) , (22) Tell your doctor if these side effects become severe or do not go away.

Pregnancy/ Breast Feeding

This dietary supplement should not be used if you are pregnant or breast-feeding an infant. (23)

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.

Read More

  1)  Native American Herbs

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: Oshima Y, Sato K, Hikino H. Isolation and Hypoglycemic Activity of Quinquefolans A, B, and C, Glycans of Panax quinquefolium Roots. J Nat Prod. Mar1987;50(2):188-90.
  3. View Abstract: Ng TB, Yeung HW. Hypoglycemic Constituents of Panax Ginseng. Gen Pharmacol. 1985;16(6):549-52.
  4. Yokozawa T, Kobayashi T, Oura H, et al. Studies on the Mechanism of the Hypoglycemic Activity of Ginsenoside-Rb2 in Streptozotocin-diabetic Rats. Chem Pharm Bull. Tokyo. Feb1985;33(2):869-72.
  5. View Abstract: Vuksan V, Sievenpiper JL, Wong J, Xu Z, Beljan-Zdravkovic U, Arnason JT, et al. American ginseng (Panax quinquefolius L.) attenuates postprandial glycemia in a time-dependent but not dose-dependent manner in healthy individuals. Am J Clin Nutr. Apr2001;73(4):753-8.
  6. View Abstract: Murphy LL, Cadena RS, Chavez D, et al. Effect of American Ginseng (Panax quinquefolium) on Male Copulatory Behavior in the Rat. Physiol Behav. Jun1998;64(4):445-50.
  7. View Abstract: Huang YS. Effect of Ginsenosides Rb1 and Rg1 on Lipid Peroxidation of Rat In Vitro. Chung Kuo I Hsueh Ko Hsueh Yuan Hsueh Pao. Dec1989;11(6):460-2.
  8. View Abstract: Li J, Huang M, Teoh H, et al. Panax quinquefolium Saponins Protects Low Density Lipoproteins from Oxidation. Life Sci. 1999;64(1):53-62.
  9. View Abstract: Wang HX, Ng TB. Quinqueginsin, A Novel Protein with Anti-human Immunodeficiency Virus, Antifungal, Ribonuclease and Cell-free Translation-inhibitory Activities from American Ginseng Roots. Biochem Biophys Res Commun. Mar2000;269(1):203-8.
  10. View Abstract: Cui J, Chen KJ. American Ginseng Compound Liquor on Retarding-aging Process. Zhong Xi Jie He Za Zhi. Aug1991;11(8):457-60, 451.
  11. View Abstract: Lyon MR, Cline JC, Totosy de Zepetnek J, Shan JJ, Pang P, et al. Effect of the herbal extract combination Panax quinquefolium and Ginkgo biloba on attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder: a pilot study. J Psychiatry Neurosci. May2001;26(3):221-8.
  12. View Abstract: Wiklund IK, Mattsson LA, Lindgren R, Limoni C. Effects of a standardized ginseng extract on quality of life and physiological parameters in symptomatic postmenopausal women: a double-blind, placebo-controlled trial. Swedish Alternative Medicine Group. Int J Clin Pharmacol Res. 1999;19(3):89-99.
  13. View Abstract: Lucero MA, et al. Alternatives to Estrogen for the Treatment of Hot Flashes. Ann Pharmacother. 1997;31(7-8):915-17.
  14. View Abstract: Duda RB, Taback B, Kessel B, et al. PS2 Expression Induced by American Ginseng in MCF-7 Breast Cancer Cells. Ann Surg Oncol. Nov1996;3(6):515-20.
  15. View Abstract: Duda RB, Zhong Y, Navas V, Li MZ, Toy BR, Alavarez JG. American ginseng and breast cancer therapeutic agents synergistically inhibit MCF-7 breast cancer cell growth. J Surg Oncol. Dec1999;72(4):230-9.
  16. View Abstract: Liu J, Burdette JE, Xu H, Gu C, van Breemen RB, Bhat KP, et al. Evaluation of estrogenic activity of plant extracts for the potential treatment of menopausal symptoms. J Agric Food Chem. May2001;49(5):2472-9.
  17. View Abstract: Amato P, Christophe S, Mellon PL. Estrogenic activity of herbs commonly used as remedies for menopausal symptoms. Menopause. Mar2002;9(2):145-50.
  18. View Abstract: Amato P, Christophe S, Mellon PL. Estrogenic activity of herbs commonly used as remedies for menopausal symptoms. Menopause. Mar2002;9(2):145-50.
  19. View Abstract: Duda RB, Zhong Y, Navas V, Li MZ, Toy BR, Alavarez JG. American ginseng and breast cancer therapeutic agents synergistically inhibit MCF-7 breast cancer cell growth. J Surg Oncol. Dec1999;72(4):230-9.
  20. Newall CA, et al. Herbal Medicines: A Guide for Health Care Professionals. London: The Pharmaceutical Press; 1996:145-49.
  21. Dukes MN. Ginseng and Mastalgia. Br Med J. Jun1978;1(6127):1621.
  22. View Abstract: Hopkins MP, et al. Ginseng Face Cream and Unexplained Vaginal Bleeding. Am J Obstet Gynecol. Nov1988;59(5):1121-22.
  23. 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.