Botanical: Panax quinquefolius
Family: Araliaceae (ginseng)
Other common names: Five Fingers, Man's Health, Red Berry
Revitalize your body! Help to enhance your mental efficiency and boost stamina and energy with American Ginseng. An excellent way to improve the body's resistance to infection and damaging environmental influences, the herb is also used by many athletes for overall body strengthening and endurance. It has been useful in cases of bronchitis relief and for circulatory problems, diabetes and infertility. Recent studies have shown it to be helpful in lowering cholesterol and possibly even inhibiting the growth of malignant growths. American Ginseng has long been used as an aphrodisiac and is especially helpful to weak or elderly people.
The information presented herein by Herbal Extracts Plus is intended for educational purposes only. These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA and are not intended to diagnose, cure, treat or prevent disease. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplements, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.
American Ginseng is a smaller version of its more famous Asian (Korean/Chinese) cousin but has many of the same benefits. It is a slow-growing perennial plant with a large fleshy root (the part used in herbal medicine) and a stem that grows to two feet. It is found from Maine to Georgia and from Oklahoma to Minnesota, and it is endangered in much of this area. Gar-ent-oguen is its Iroquois name, meaning Man Plant, and Native Americans made a tea to alleviate nausea and vomiting long before European settlers arrived in North America. Some tribes thought it to be a love potion, and modern researchers believe that it may, in fact, enhance interest in sex by altering the action of the neurotransmitter, dopamine, in the brain. American Colonists began using Ginseng in the early 1700s, and by 1709 through 1714, French Jesuit missionaries, Père Jartoux and Père Lafitau, were responsible for noting the value of the wild American Ginseng, collecting samples in southern Canada and creating a huge market in China. Tons of American Ginseng were exported to Asia, where it was prized by Chinese herbalists, because it is sweeter than the Korean Panax ginseng and considered more "yin" (cooler) in nature. Asians particularly favor the Ginseng grown in Wisconsin. Some of the constituents in American Ginseng include ginsenosides, kaempferol, beta-sitosterol, campesterols, cinnamic-, ferulic-, fumaric-, oleanolic-, panaxic- and vanillic-acids, as well as saponin, stigmasterol, calcium, choline, fiber, folate, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, potassium, silicon, zinc, B-vitamins and vitamin C.
American Ginseng is an adaptogen in that it helps to normalize body functions during stressful situations that might alter those functions, helping the body to adapt and return to an overall sense of well-being. It works to increase mental and physical vigor and is often used by athletes for overall body strengthening and endurance.
Taken over a course of one to three months, American Ginseng helps to combat stress, because it appears to protect a portion of the brain known as the hippocampus from the effects of stress hormones. This helps inhibit memory problems and loss of cognitive ability in people who suffer from bipolar disorder and even depression. It may be used to combat stress and relieve fatigue and nervousness, especially after acute illness. It is an overall tonic, which can be particularly helpful to the old and weak.
American Ginseng is believed to promote a good appetite and has been considered helpful for relieving rheumatism, headaches, colds, coughs, bronchitis, constipation and cystitis. Its anti-inflammatory properties may be useful in alleviating fevers and lung problems. Taken in low doses, it acts as a mild sedative; in large doses, it is a stimulant.
American Ginseng is said to stimulate fertility in women, as it stimulates growth of the uterine lining. Various Native American groups used it in the treatment of infertile women, and it is known that American Ginseng shares compounds with Chinese Ginseng that stimulate the pituitary gland to, in turn, stimulate growth of the uterine lining. The herb is also said to relieve unpleasant symptoms of menopause.
Although less well studied than Asian Ginseng, American Ginseng has been thought to lower cholesterol levels and high blood pressure, and recent studies indicate that it may be used to inhibit the growth of malignant growths. Like Asian Ginseng, American Ginseng is considered an effective antioxidant that protects against cell damage.
Researchers also believe that American Ginseng may be a viable alternative to conventional forms of management for Type-2 diabetes. Constituents in American Ginseng root appear to be responsible for its ability to reduce blood sugar in diabetics, and clinical trials have shown potential benefit in the supportive treatment of diabetes.
American Ginseng is said to improve vitality and boost the body's resistance to a wide variety of illnesses and damaging external influences. It appears to strengthen the adrenal and reproductive glands, enhance immune functions and support lung and respiratory health.
It has long been regarded as a powerful aphrodisiac and has traditionally been used to restore sex drive in men. It is thought to alter the action of the neurotransmitter, dopamine, in the brain. American Ginseng also has the added benefit of not increasing testosterone, which could increase aggression or aggravate prostate disorders.
2011 Research from China’s Tongji University School of Medicine suggests that Ginsenoside Rb1 (GRb1), the active protein in American Ginseng (Panax quinquefolius) may protect against stroke and also benefit other neurodegenerative diseases. The study results provide new support for the neuroprotective effects of GRb1 against ischemic stroke and may provide potential therapeutic treatment for other neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. In animal models, GRb1 promoted neural behavior recovery and also induced neurogenesis (the process by which new nerve cells [neurons] are generated) after ischemic stroke. Results revealed the GRb1 infusion after cerebral ischemia significantly promoted recoveries of neurological functions at three and five days post-stroke. The research may show potential for GRb1-induced neurogenesis as a plausible strategy for many other neurodegenerative disorders besides cerebral ischemia.
Since American Ginseng stimulates fertility, it should be avoided by women in the first week after starting any new brand of oral contraceptives. It should be avoided by women who take prescription medications for which pregnancy is contraindicated, especially isotretinoin (Accutane). This product should not be taken by pregnant or nursing mothers. There may be possible interactions with blood thinners, i.e., Coumadin, aspirin, Plavix and Ticlid. American Ginseng Herbal Supplement should not be taken by people with hypoglycemia, high blood pressure, heart disorders, asthma or insomnia without consulting a physician.