..The Intuitive Times
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The Ginsengs

by Kali Simmonds

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There are 3 species of Ginseng: Korean Ginseng (Panax Ginseng), American Ginseng (Panax quinquefolius), and Siberian Ginseng (Eleutherococcussenticosus). Asian and American Ginseng are most closely related to each other, but all 3 types have very distinct uses.

Korean Ginseng is primarily used in the treatment of type II Diabetes and to enhance Immune function. Other uses include the management of impotence, Alzheimer's disease, the common cold, fibromyalgia, flu, stress; the support of individuals with HIV; and to increase aerobic capacity. Ginseng's actions in the body are due to a complex interplay of nutrients, not just one active ingredient. The primary group are the ginsenosides which are found to increase energy, counter stress, and enhance physical and intellectual performance. Other groups are the panaxans which lower blood sugar, and the polysaccharides which support immune function. The best form of Korean Ginseng is a standardized herbal extract which contains 5 - 7% ginsenosides; 100 - 200mg / day should be taken on an empty stomach. Non-standardized extracts need to be taken in higher dosages (1000 - 2000mg / day in capsule form). It is best taken for 3 weeks, then off 2 weeks, and back on again. It should not be taken by those with uncontrolled high blood pressure, or pregnant or lactating women.

American Ginseng is mainly used to stimulate the immune system against infection, and fight fatigue & stress by supporting the adrenal glands. Standardized extracts are generally not available, and the recommended dosage is 1000 - 2000mg / day in divided doses taken on an empty stomach. Side effects include possible agitation and insomnia and are more likely found when ginseng is used with caffeine. To avoid the above symptoms, it is not recommended that you take Ginseng after 6 p.m.. American Ginseng is better than Korean ginseng if you tend to get overheated or red in the face. Siberian Ginseng is best known as an adaptogen, which essentially means "to restore normal function." It has specific action on the adrenal glands and the immune system. The active ingredients are eleutherosides, and 300 - 400mg / day should be taken on an empty stomach. Siberian Ginseng is very suited to this "age of go-go-go" fast-paced society. It is one of the top herbs to help the body cope with stress. It is safe to take during pregnancy and lactation. It should not be taken by those with uncontrolled high blood pressure, or too close to bedtime!

Dr. Kali Simmonds is a Naturopath Doctor who practices in Charlottetown


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