Panax Ginseng
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Common Name: Korean White Ginseng, Man Root, Oriental Ginseng (Chinese name: Ren Shen)
Habitat: Panax Ginseng is native to China and cultivated extensively in China, Korea, Japan and Russia. Panax quinquefolia is native to North America.
Panax ginseng is the most prized quality in the 50 species of the family.
Part Used: Root. gins.jpg (6015 byte)

It was chosen as an ingredient of Wonderup because:
It has a high content in isoflavones (phytoestrogens) and other hormone-like substances such as estradiol which have a direct influence in balancing the female body's hormonal production and thus contributing to the healthy and natural development of the breast, which is the main beneficiary of a good estrogenic production, not only because the mammary glands naturally attracts estrogens, which stimulate its growth, but also because estrogenic compounds in plants bind to these receptor cells in the mammary glands, thus blocking the absorption of bad estrogens from chemicals and foods, and therefore protecting the breast from harm.

Other characteristics and properties:
Ginseng needs no introduction because it is probably the most known and widely used energy-giving substance found in nature.
It contains high levels of toning active components: ginsenoids (chemically complex compounds), saponins, all of the group B vitamins (among which a small percentage of choline, a substance that is already present in the organism and that contributes to the regulation of blood pressure), vitamin C, vitamins A, E and K, folic acid (which corresponds to vitamins once named B1, B2 and M), essential oil, peptides, pollens, saponosids, all the essential aminoacids, minerals and trace elements (sodium, potassium, magnesium, sulphur, phosphorus, iron, zinc, cobalt, manganese - a powerful antifatigue -, aluminium, copper, germanium, silicium, vanadium), enzymes (amilasi, glicolasi, fenolasi), fat acids, organic acids; fitosteroles; hormone-like substances of estrogenic type: estriol, estrone, beta-estradiol; amid, tannins, oils and resins.
Recently, and antioxidant substance called "Maltol" has been discovered by Korean researchers.
And research are still under way, to reveal the secrets of a root which seems to still retain many of its mysteries.

Although miraculous cures have been attributed to Ginseng and its botanical name suggests a panacea-like ability, its main use is as a tonic. Ginseng's unique set of constituents exert a broad spectrum effect on glucose absorption, brain function, respiration and the endocrine glands. The root is used as a tonic for invigoration to overcome fatigue, reduced work capacity, concentration, and during convalescence.
Oriental Ginseng is the subject of a German therapeutic monograph.
Korean White Ginseng is also helpful in returning the body to normal glandular function after birth control or hormone therapy.
Modern pharmacology acknowledges ginseng's tonic and invigorating action, thus confirming the Eastern ancient tradition.

* adaptogen - affects immune, endocrine, and nervous systems due to its ability to increase the body's capability to adapt to external and internal stress by strengthening those systems. Adaptogens are substances which increase the capacities of reaction of the brain and the adrenal glands, thus improving the resistance of the organism against several damaging agents of chemical, physical, mechanical, pharmacological and biological nature. In other words, adaptogens help the organism adapt easily to circumstances influencing it.

* tonic - affects all systems due to its ability to invigorate and strengthen all systems and organs. Korean White Ginseng is especially useful for patients in recovery from serious accidents, major surgery, or debilitating age-related disorders. It is helpful in the support of long-term illness, respiratory weakness, systemic weakness, brain function, sugar absorption, endocrine glands, and all deficiency diseases.

* stimulant - affects all systems due to its ability to temporarily increase function and activity with a usually quick onset of action

* antihyperglycaemic - affects endocrine system and hormone function due to its ability to reduce or control high blood sugar (which is predominantly the responsibility of the pancreas)

* stimulates the adrenal glands

* rebalances and stimulates the central nervous system

* antifatigue - affects endocrine system and hormone function as well as nervous system and nerve function due to its ability to prevent and/or relieve fatigue - thanks to the presence of manganese which is a powerful antifatigue

* antistress - gives resistance to cold, heat, chemical intoxications, fatigue, etc.
Experiments on men and animals confirm the antistress effect of ginseng. These studies indicate that ginseng not only improves and enhances resistance to stress by "exciting" the nervous system but also seems to act on a hormonal level. Its balancing action depends on the interaction between its active ingredients and psychohormones, ie. those hormones that not only are released by the brain to transmit orders to the whole organism but also circulate inside the brain itself.

* aphrodisiac - stimulates sexual desire and functions.
Associated to its capacity to fight stress is its capacity to act on the resolution of several sexual problems, such as impotence, frigidity, lack of desire. A high level of stress indeed is certainly one of the main factors which negatively influence a happy and healthy sexual life. This antistress property, associated with the antidepressive and tonic and invigorating actions, makes ginseng a great help in all cases of "sexual fatigue".

* stimulates the synthesis of proteins, the building processes of the organism and of muscular growth

* accelerates metabolism

* antihyperlipemic - affects liver and detoxification systems due to its ability to reduce or controls higher than normal concentrations of lipids (fats) in the blood

* protects the liver

* stimulates the immune system thus helping the body build its own defenses against illnesses

* potentiates nerve growth factor

* improves reflexes

* acts on the cardiovascular system by regulating blood pressure - thanks to the presence of choline, a substance which is already present in the organism and wich contributes to the control of blood pressure, lowering and balancing it

* antioxidant - ginsenoids are powerful scavengers of free radicals. Ginseng also protects from the harmful effects of radiation (ie. those of mobile phones).

* antidepressive and tonic for the cerebral function - Panax Ginseng has been proven to improve mood, memory and concentration. According to Ayurvedic Medicine, it is one of the most tonic and rejuvenating plants, it revitalizes body and mind. It is particulary indicated for elderly people.

It is totally safe from the toxicologic point of view, since it has no side effects.
Inevitably the question of safety comes up resulting from the 1979 JAMA paper by R.K. Siegel, attributing Ginseng abuse syndrome, characterized by nervousness, sleeplessness, etc. The study is discredited, since 14 of 133 persons surveyed -- the 14 who exhibited the so-called ginseng abuse syndrome -- were all using caffeinated beverages as well. What's more, the Ginseng included in the study included teas, capsules, extracts, tablets, roots, chewing gum, cigarettes, and candies, and as much as 15 grams per day! The study has been totally discredited, yet continues to be widely cited.

Usage Warnings
Not recommended during pregnancy or lactation.Should not be used with large amounts of caffeine.Not intended for use by children or in cases of hyperactivity.Do not exceed recommended dose. Do not take if experiencing a high fever.

History and curiosities: Ginseng is one of the world's most well-known Oriental medicinal herbs. The traditional Chinese philosophy of the man-shaped root improving and prolonging life (in its native countries it is known as the "potion of longevity") has found confirmation in laboratory studies (Schopper), and most researchers agree that Korean White Ginseng exhibits excellent adaptogenic properties that help tone and balance the body's metabolic and recovery functions. Applications in traditional Chinese medicine include general weakness, chronic fatigue, lack of appetite, anemia, nervousness, forgetfulness, thirst, and impotence.

Ginseng has an ancient history and as such has accumulated much folklore about its actions and uses. The genus name Panax derives from the latin panacea meaning 'cure all'. Many of the claims that surround it are, unfortunately, exaggerated but it is clear that this is an important remedy.

Recent scientific research is investigating the anti-cancer properties of Ginseng, thought to be particularly useful for women in preventing breast cancer, due to its high contents if isoflavones.

Soy Products, Ginseng May Lower Breast-Cancer Risk
[Medical Tribune: Family Physician Edition 38(20): 1997. 1997 Jobson Healthcare Group]

SAN ANTONIO--Tofu and other soy-based foods--and possibly even the herb ginseng--may help women stave off breast cancer, according to preliminary research presented here last month at the annual meeting of the American Osteopathic Association.
In a laboratory study of human breast-cancer cells, high amounts of isoflavones--dietary components found in soy-based products--stunted the growth of cancerous cells by as much as 30%, reported Donna Dixon Shanies, Ph.D., an assistant professor of biochemistry and genetics at the New York College of Osteopathic Medicine in Old Westbury, N.Y.
In a second laboratory study, Dr. Shanies found that traditional Chinese herbal remedies including ginseng and vitex berry extract also inhibited the growth of human breast-cancer cells.
Because they are loaded with phytoestrogens, isoflavones may help prevent breast cancer by reducing levels of natural estrogen in the body, she explained. Or isoflavones may have antioxidant properties that inhibit tumor development. "Phytoestrogens may in the future prove to be promising agents used to reduce the risk of breast cancer and other hormone-dependent cancers, such as prostate cancer," Dr. Shanies said.
Although there are no recommendations concerning how much soy individuals should include in their diets, she said, "it would be prudent for women to try to eat more soy products."
Dr. Shanies and colleagues tested the effects of three major isoflavones--biochanin A, daidzein and genistein--on human breast-cancer cells. They also measured the effects of ginseng, black cohosh root, dang gui root, hops flower, vitex berry and shiu chu ginseng root on breast-cancer cell lines.
Calling the new research "a promising first step," Richard J. Cenedella, Ph.D., chairman of the department of biochemistry at the Kirksville College of Osteopathic Medicine in Kirksville, Mo., said the findings add a new dimension to what is understood about the link between diet and breast cancer.
"We have always known that there are beneficial effects of a low-fat diet [on breast-cancer risk], and concentrations of trace plant hormones found in certain foods may play a role in the reduced risk," Dr. Cenedella said. --D.M.