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Ginseng

Ginseng photo

Panax ginseng

Common name: American/Korean ginseng, Ren-shen (person root)

Family: Araliaceae

To restore vital energy and create resistance to long-term stress.

Botanical Description

Panax ginseng is indigenous to North America and China. Ginseng plants are slow-growing shrubs, reaching heights of up to 50cm. The roots characteristically represent the shape of the human form, hence the common name of person root. The roots themselves are yellow/brown in colour and can grow up to 10cm in length. The upper part of the root often grows above ground. Ginseng leaves are formed in whorls of three, are a dark green in colour and are wedge-shaped, tapering to a point. The leaflets will grow to lengths of 10cm. Ginseng flowers are a green-white and form clusters of 4-40 flowers, with each flower being 2-3mm in length. Ginseng fruits are a bright red and each fruit produces 2-3 white seeds.

The roots of this plant have been valued as a medicinal herb for thousands of years. Unfortunately, as a result of its over-exploitation and the loss of its natural forest habitat, it is now rare in the wild, and material used commercially is often from cultivated plants.

How it Works

Ginseng is an adaptogen strengthening the (Hypothalamic-Pituitary-Adrenal) (HPA) axis. It specifically supports and spares the adrenal glands by increasing their capacity to produce stress hormones. Ginseng supports the phase 1 ‘Alarm’ response of the General Adaptation Syndrome (GAS) and the phase 2 ‘prolonged resistance’ response. It does so through balancing the stress-hormone glucocorticoid levels and, thereby, helping the adrenal cortex to have more capacity. As a whole, this generates efficient energy production whilst also protecting against exhaustion.

Ginsenosides are the active ingredient in ginseng responsible for the majority of its medicinal benefits. There are two main types of ginsenosides, RG’s and RB’s. The RG’s boost energy and improve our learning and memory capability, the RB’s encourage a hormonal balance throughout the body.

Into the Heart of Ginseng

Red Ginseng is known as the ‘King of Herbs’. It is an adapotogenic herb which increases the body’s resistance to disease and stress enabling it to cope with the challenges of daily life. It encourages strength and endurance during periods of short-term and long-term stress. Ginseng is a powerful root that will draw the energy inwards and strengthen the body’s core. Ginseng is used in Chinese Herbal Medicine to tonify the source qi as well as replenish both pre-heaven and post-heaven qi; it helps to rejuvenate constitutional genetic health as well as our acquired vitality. In Traditional Chinese Medicine, ginseng specifically supports the lungs, spleen, heart and kidneys, warming the yang and expelling debility.

Indications

Adrenal:Red Ginseng is a valuable adaptogenic tonic for the adrenal glands supporting efficient energy production whilst also protecting against exhaustion. It acts specifically upon the Hypothalamic-Pituitary-Adrenal (HPA) axis and the balanced production of stress and reproductive hormones. Adaptogens improve overall wellbeing, increase energy, increase inner strength, improve libido, balance the stress response, improve blood sugar levels, optimise protein synthesis, reduce inflammatory cortisol levels and optimise the function of all of your organs. Adapting to life in temperatures below -20°C, Ginseng helps us adapt to prolonged stress.

Musculoskeletal: Ginseng is indicated for the very active as well as the elderly. It supports muscle regeneration and repair and improves oxygen availability, whilst also nourishing depletion caused by prolonged illness. It increases thecapacity of skeletal muscle to oxidise free fatty acids to produce cellular energy. It is indicated where there is muscular damage due to injury, but also where the muscles are under continued strain, as a result of prolonged physical exertion.

Nervous: Red Ginseng supports a nervous system that has become weakened by stress. It is indicated in states of nervous insomnia, prolonged anxiety, depression and chronic fatigue syndrome.

Cardiovascular:Red Ginseng tonifies the heart and improves cardiac performance through influencing the dilation of the blood vessels and stimulating the circulation. It is indicated where there is cardiac insufficiency.

Reproductive: Ginseng is strengthening to the kidneys in addition to encouraging efficient fluid production within the urinary and reproductive systems. It is indicated in prostate inefficiencies and impotence. 

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