Ginseng panax Health Benefits

Ginseng panax Health benefits, Side Effects

What is Ginseng panax is a popular herb used in Chinese Medicine for its many health benefits
Ginseng panax Health Benefits Ginseng panax has been traditionally used to improve blood flow and to treat memory loss, erectile dysfunction in men and as a general health tonic..

Gingko Biloba Tree
Ginseng panax constituents. Ginseng panax contains saponins called ginsenosides that is considered the active medicinal ingredient.

Ginseng panax Side effects and warnings. Ginseng panax is considered safe at recommended dosages. May cause side effects such as dizziness, headache and many others. Not safe for pregnant women and children.

What is Ginseng panax

Sginseng rootcientific Name: Ginseng Panax

Other Names: Asian Ginseng, Asiatic Ginseng, Chinese Ginseng, Chinese Red Ginseng, Ginseng, Ginseng Asiatique, Ginseng Blanc, Ginseng Blanc de Corée, Ginseng Chinois, Ginseng Coréen, Ginseng Coréen Rouge, Ginseng de Corée, Ginseng Japonais, Ginseng Oriental,

Ginseng (Ginseng Panax)

Ginseng is a perennial plant composed of about eleven species that grows in the cold regions of Northern Hemisphere. Different species are defined by the location where it is found.  Ginseng panax, also known as the Asian ginseng, are particularly found in Korea, Japan and northern China. American ginseng are found in Northern America while Siberian ginseng are found in Eastern Siberia.

Ginseng Panax or Asian ginseng is characterized by the presence of ginsenosides, the same compound can be found in the American ginseng. The Siberian Ginseng (Eleutherococcus senticosus) is in the same family of Ginseng, but not considered as Ginseng Panax. The Siberian ginseng does not have ginsenosides instead its active ingredient are eleutherosides.

Traditional Chinese Medicine differentiates the American ginseng as “hot” ginseng while Ginseng Panax is “cold” ginseng that presents different medicinal uses and health benefits.

Ginseng Panax Description

Ginseng panax is a slow growing plant that can reach about a foot in height. It has five palmately compound leaves that grow in a circle around a thick spindle like straight stem. Ginseng leaves are oblong-ovate and finely double-serrate. Ginseng Panax has yellowish-green umbrella-shaped flowers that bloom by mid summer. Ginseng fruits are bright crimson berries containing one to three seeds at the size of a small pea and are edible.

Ginseng panax are highly valued for the medicinal properties of its roots and sometimes of its leaves. Ginseng panax roots are gnarled sometime resembling a human body. Because of its peculiar shape, traditional healers believed that it is has health benefits for the entire body. Ginseng root has to mature to about 4 to 6 years before it is considered for harvesting and use. The roots are fleshy, brownish-yellow in color about 2 to 4 inches in length and about ½ -1 inch in thickness. Ginseng root has a faint aromatic smell that tastes somewhat like licorice or ginger with bitter after taste.

While the most prized ginseng are those that are found in the wild, ginseng has been commercially produced either grown as undergrowth in forests, or shaded by mats in an open field. Ginseng are prepared in three forms, the sun dried ginseng, the red ginseng that is prepared by steaming then drying, and the white ginseng that is prepared by removing the outer skin and then boiled, soaked in syrup then dried.

Nutrients and Chemical Constituents of Ginseng panax

Chemical Constituents found in Ginseng Panax include:

Carbohydrates, Caryophyllene, Farnesene, Fatty Acids, Fructose, Glucose, Hormones, Humulene, Maltose, Pectin, Polyacetylenes, Saponins (ginsenosides), Starch, Sterols, Sucrose, Volatile Oils.

Other nutrients found in Ginseng Panax

Biotin, Calcium, Choline, Copper, Iron, Manganese, Nicotinic acid, Vitamin B complex, Zinc

Traditional Health Benefits of Ginseng panax

Ginseng panax has been part of the Traditional Oriental Medicine for over 2,000 years as a panacea for all illness. There are many claimed traditional health benefits derived from ginseng panax that some has recently been confirmed through scientific research while others need further investigation. Some of these traditional health benefits are as follows;

Ginseng panax is used as a general tonic or as an “adaptogen” that benefits the whole body and improves overall health by relieving stress, increasing stamina, prolonging athletic endurance and promoting a feeling of well being. 

Ginseng panax provides mental and brain health benefits. Medicinal uses include improvement of memory and concentration, treatment for dementia and Alzheimer’s desease. Ginseng panax benefits the mind by promoting calmness and clarity that is beneficial for fighting mental stress, anxiety, depression and mental psychosis.

Ginseng panax benefits the immune system by fighting infections and as treatment for inflammations. It is also used for chronic fatigue syndrome.

Some people believe that ginseng panax benefits cancer patients as well as ginseng can prevent the development of liver cancer, ovarian cancer and skin cancer.

Ginseng panax benefits for men include treatment of erectile dysfunction and as topical preparation applied on the penis’ skin to treat premature ejaculation.

Ginseng panax benefits women by helping them to regain strength and health after child birth or miscarriage. Ginseng is also used to alleviate symptoms of premenstrual syndrome (PMS) and menopause.

Other ginseng benefits include treatment for fever, anemia, asthma, bleeding disorders, loss of appetite, dizziness, headache, nerve pain, joint pains, nausea, sleeping disorders, convulsions,

Among the many health benefits of ginseng panax, the most popular is its ability to slow down aging.

Scientific Studies of Ginseng panax Benefits

Ginseng Benefits for Lung Cancer

In the American Journal of Chinese Medicine. 2012  an article entitled “Mountain ginseng extract exhibits anti-lung cancer activity by inhibiting the nuclear translocation of NF-κB” was published and stated that extracts from mountain ginseng can restore advanced lung cancer to a normal state. In a clinical trial, Mountain ginseng extract prevented the progression lung cancer by attenuating cancer cell proliferation and promote death of lung cancer cells. The study further suggests that the Butanol-extracted maountain ginseng inhibits lung cancer growth by activating tumor repressors and inhibiting nuclear translocation of NF- κB.(1)

Ginseng benefits for Colorectal Cancer

In a similar study done in Tang Center for Herbal Medicine Research, and Department of Anesthesia and Critical Care, University of Chicago, USA, as reported in the International Journal of Oncology. 2012 Mar 12. The ginsenoside compound K and not Rb1, possesses potential chemopreventive activities in human colorectal cancer. These results suggest that C-K could be a potentially effective anti-colorectal cancer agent.(2)

Ginseng Benefits for Influenza

In a clinical trial done in the Department of Microbiology and Immunology, and Emory Vaccine Center, Emory University School of Medicine, Atlanta, GA, USA., the role of ginseng and salviae herbs as immune activators and as immune responses modulator during influenza virus infection was investigated. Test results have shown that a PR8 and ginseng or Salviae extract increased the levels of influenza virus specific antibodies and neutralizing activities compared to immunization with PR8 alone, and provided protective immunity. The study concluded that the results indicate that both ginseng and Salviae play a role as mucosal adjuvants against influenza virus as well as immuno-modulators during influenza virus infection.(3)

Ginseng Benefits for Candida Albicans

In another study published in the Journal of Ethnopharmacology. January 2012 a clinical trial was done in the Department of Internal Medicine, Southern Illinois University School of Medicine, Springfield, IL, United States, that reported the efficacy of ginseng against Candida albicans by demonstrating significant reductions in infectious load and some markers of inflammation in susceptible mice.(4)

Ginseng Benefits for Brain Damage due to Traumatic Injury.

In a clinical study reported in the Journal of Neuroscience and Research, March 2012 done in the Department of Neuropharmacology, Institute of Nautical Medicine, Nantong University, Nantong, China, investigated the neuroprotective effect of ginseng total saponins and its underlying mechanisms in a rat model of traumatic brain injury. Test results suggest that treatment of ginseng total saponins improved the neurological function with an effective dosage of 5-80 mg/kg and an efficacy time window of 3-6 hr after traumatic brain injury. These findings suggest that administration of ginseng total saponins after traumatic brain injury could reduce the secondary injury through inhibiting oxidative and nitrative stress, attenuating inflammatory response, and reducing apoptotic cell death.(5)

Ginseng Benefits as Neuroprotective Activity

A study was reported in Molecular Medicine Reports. February 2012, which was done in the  School of Life Sciences, Northeast Normal University, Changchun, Jilin, China, that investigated the neuroprotective activities of ginseng pectin against hydrogen peroxide (H2O2)-induced neuronal toxicity in different neuronal cells. Ginseng panax selectively attenuated H2O2-induced damage up to 26% in primary cortical neuron cells and human glioblastoma U87 cells. The study suggests that the  neuroprotective property of ginseng panax could serve as a potential therapeutic agent for neurodegenerative diseases.(6)

Ginseng Benefits for Alzheimer's Disease Patients

The extensive characterization of the effects of Ginsenoside Rg1, a pharmacological active component purified from the nature product ginseng panax, in an Alzheimer's disease mouse model was investigated in a study done in Department of Surgery, Physicians & Surgeons College of Columbia University in New York, USA and was published in Biochimica et Biophysica Acta, February 2012. These studies indicate that Rg1 has profound multi-faced and neuroprotective effects in an Alzheimer’s disease mouse model. The ginseng panax component Rg1 induces neuroprotection through ameliorating amyloid pathology, modulating APP process, improving cognition, and activating PKA/CREB signaling.(7)

Ginseng Benefits for Phsychosis Conditions (Antipsychotic)

A study publisjhed in Neurochemical Research. April 2012 entitled “Evaluation of the Antipsychotic Potential of Ginseng Panax quinquefolium in Ketamine Induced Experimental Psychosis Model in Mice” has reported that in a clinical evaluation of ginseng panax quinquefolium pharmatheraphy for psychiatric illness, it has been found that ginseng panax quinquefolium as compared to standard drugs haloperidol and clozapine provides positive health benefits for psychotic conditions in animals. The study further suggests that panax quinquefolium possess antipsychotic like properties, which may lead to future studies of its specific constituents which may particularly be beneficial in predominant negative and cognitive symptoms of schizophrenia.(8)

Gisneng Benefits for Depressions

A clinical study reported in Behavioral Medicine, April 2011, which was done in Kyung Hee University, Korea has reported that altered Korean red ginseng extract has the potential to improve symptoms of depression in mice.(9)

Ginseng Benefits the body for its Anti Oxidant Action

In a study done in the Institute for Phytochemical-Drug Interactions, College of Biomedical Science & Engineering, Inje University, Korea as reported in International Journal of Molecular Sciences. 2012 February, suggested that the red ginseng essential oil has antioxidant and hepatoprotective effects in H2O2 treated HepG2 cells and CC1(4)-treated mice. The test results showed that red ginseng essential oil seems to protect the liver from oxidative stress through the activation and induction of antioxidant enzymes via inhibition of MAPKs pathways.(10)

Ginseng Benefits against Inflammation

A study entitled “Anti-inflammatory and Anti-oxidative Effects of Korean Red Ginseng Extract in Human Keratinocytes” was published in the Journal of Immmune Network February 2011. The study was done in the Department of Pharmacy, Yeungnam University, Gyeongsan, Korea that investigated the effect of Korean red ginseng extracts on the production of TNF-α and IL-8 in human keratinocytes. The study had shown that there is a significant inhibition of TNF-α when cells were treated with 500 and 1,000 µg/ml of Korean red ginseng extracts. Additionally, Korean red ginseng extracts showed DPPH radical scavenging and SOD activity in a dose-dependent manner.(11)

Ginseng Benefits against Fatigue

Excess fatigue is a pathological state of continuing accumulation of fatigue, which may cause the deterioration of body health, occurrence of diseases, and even lead to death. A metabonomics study was performed on the excess fatigue rats treated with traditional Chinese medicine Tongxinluo or ginseng based on ultra fast liquid chromatography coupled with ion trap-time of flight mass spectrometry (UFLC-IT-TOF-MS). The results showed tryptophan, bile acid, lysophosphatidylcholine metabolism were disturbed in the excess fatigue rats. The metabolic pattern including the related metabolic pathways of the rats, being treated with Tongxinluo or ginseng, was adjusted towards the normal state.(12)

Ginseng Benefits against Osteoporosis

Food and Chemical Toxicology. February 2012 reported that clinical trials done in the Department of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Changhai Hospital, Second Military Medical University, Shanghai, China. Had shown that ginsenosides, the main active components of ginseng possesses anti-osteoporosis activity in ovariectomized rats. The data suggest that ginsenoside Rb1 is one of the effective components of ginsenosides for the anti-osteoporosis activity and can inhibit osteoclastogenesis by suppressing RANKL-induced activation of both JNK and p38 MAPKs and NF-κB pathways, and consequently down-regulating the gene expression of c-Fos and NFATc1 in osteoclast precursors.(13)

Ginseng Benefits against Itchy Dermatitis

The Journal of Pharmacological Science. March 2012reported that the Korean red ginseng inhibits scratching behavior associated with atopic dermatitis in experimental animal models. The study was done the Department of Pharmacology, Osaka City University Medical School, Japan where histamine induced itching in mice was treated with topical red ginseng extract. The results showed that there was a significant reduction of scratching to the induced dermatitis in rats’ ears. This suggests that red ginseng extract possess potential health benefit for atopic dermatitis.(14)

Ginseng Anti Microbial Benefits

The antimicrobial polyacetylenes from panax ginseng hairy root culture was evaluated in a study conducted in the Graduate School of Pharmaceutical Sciences, the University of Tokyo, Japan. The report that was published in the Chemical and Pharmaceutical Bulletin  2012 stated that compounds isolated from panax ginseng showed antimicrobial activity against Staphylococcus aureus, Bacillus subtilis, Cryptococcus neoformans and Aspergillus fumigatus. It is suggested that Panax ginseng plants release antimicrobial polyacetylenes into the surrounding soil from the roots as defense compounds.(15)

Gisneng Benefits against Hypertension

The Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry. March 2012 issue reported a study done in Department of Nutritional Science and Food Management, Ewha Womans University , Seoul, Korea entitled “Panax ginseng Extract Rich in Ginsenoside Protopanaxatriol Attenuates Blood Pressure Elevation in Spontaneously Hypertensive Rats by Affecting the Akt-Dependent Phosphorylation of Endothelial Nitric Oxide Synthase”. This study suggests that nitric oxide (NO) produced by endothelial nitric oxide synthase (eNOS) a fundamental regulator of systemic blood pressure. Ginseng extract enhanced nitric oxide production, improved vessel wall thickening, and alleviated hypertension in SHRs, confirming the physiological relevance of previous in vitro studies with ginsenosides.(16)

Ginseng Benefits for the Heart

A stucy titled “Therapeutic potential of ginseng in the management of cardiovascular disorders” published in Drugs Journal of October 2011 released from the Department of Physiology and Pharmacology, Schulich School of Medicine and Dentistry, University of Western Ontario, London, ON, Canada propose that the many cardiovascular benefits attributed to ginseng include cardioprotection, antihypertensive effects, and attenuation of myocardial hypertrophy and heart failure.(17)

Ginseng Benefits Against Diabetic nephropathy

The Journal of Phytomedicine. April 2012 edition reported that a clinical study done in  Schulich School of Medicine and Dentistry, London, Ontario, Canada. had reported that the dysmetabolic state in the diabetic mice was significantly improved by ginseng treatment. In the kidneys of diabetic animals, ginseng significantly prevented oxidative stress and reduced the NF-κB (p65) levels.(18)

Ginseng Anti Keloid Benefits

The Phytotheraphy Research Journal of February 2012  reported that a recommendation has been proposed by researchers from the University of Medical Sciences, Ahvaz, Iran to investigate the potential activity of Korean ginseng against keloid formation. Keloid scars are large protruding claw-shaped lesions that develop beyond the confines of the wound and uniquely appears only in humans. Previous studies have revealed that ginseng inhibits NF-kappa B, TGF-β, IL-6, ACE and MMP-2 and these factors play a pivotal role in keloid formation pathogenesis. Therefore it could be reasoned that ginseng could be effective for the treatment of the keloid scars. Clinical studies by topical applications of Panax notoginseng (800 µg/ml) are warranted.(19)

Ginseng Anti Diabetes Benefits

In the Journal of Nutrition, Metabolism & Cardiovascular Diseases January 2008, it was reported that Korean red ginseng (Panax ginseng) improves glucose and insulin regulation in well-controlled, type 2 diabetes. This study was investigated in Department of Nutritional Sciences, Faculty of Medicine, University of Toronto, Canada, where nineteen participants with well-controlled type 2 completed the study. Using a double-blind, randomized, crossover design, each participant received the selected Korean red ginseng preparation (rootlets) and placebo at the selected dose. Korean red ginseng treatment maintained good glycemic control and improved PG and PI regulation safely beyond usual therapy in people with well-controlled type 2 diabetes.(20)

Ginseng Benefits for Prostate

In the Journal of Natural Medicine November 2011 issue, it was reported that Red ginseng and 20(S)-Rg3 control testosterone-induced prostate hyperplasia by deregulating androgen receptor signaling. This is the result of a clinical study done in Department of Biomedical Sciences, Seoul, Korea where the effect of water extract of Korean red ginseng (WKRG) on testosterone-induced prostate hyperplasia was tested. Testosterone-induced expression of human kallikrein-3 mRNA and activation of androgen receptor (AR) were effectively inhibited by the Korean red ginseng extract. Red Korean Ginseng and 20(S)-Rg3 were found to have new pharmacological activities against testosterone-induced prostate overgrowth. Red ginseng and 20(S)-Rg3 could be potential therapeutic regimens for treating benign prostatic hyperplasia.(21)

Ginseng Benefits for Menopausal Symptoms

A study published in Menopause Journal of April 2012, the effects of red ginseng supplementation on menopausal symptoms and cardiovascular risk factors in postmenopausal women: a double-blind randomized controlled trial was reported. The study was done  in
Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Yonsei University College of Medicine, Gangnam-gu, Seoul, Korea;
The aim of this study was to evaluate the effects of red ginseng (RG) on menopausal symptoms and cardiovascular risk factors in postmenopausal women. The study further recommended that red ginseng could be an attractive herbal dietary supplement for relieving menopausal symptoms and conferring favorable effects on markers of cardiovascular disease in postmenopausal women.(22)

Ginseng Benefits to induce Hair growth

The Journal of Ethnopharmacology of November 2011 issue reported that Fructus panax ginseng extract promotes hair regeneration in C57BL/6 mice. The study was done in the Department of Oriental Medical Food and Nutrition, Semyung University, Jecheon Korea. The study showed that  fructus panax ginseng extract significantly increased the proliferation of DPCs in dose and time dependent manners. This study suggests that fructus panax ginseng extract improves the cell proliferation of human DPCs through anti apoptotic activation. Topical administration of fructus panax ginseng extract might have hair regeneration activity for the treatment of hair loss.(23)

Ginseng Benefits against Liver Damage

The Journal of Hazardous Materials November 2011 issue reported the protective effect of Panax ginseng against serum biochemical changes and apoptosis in liver of rats treated with carbon tetrachloride (CCl4). This report is based from the study done in the Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, University of Atatürk, Turkey that investigated the possible beneficial effects of Panax ginseng (PG) on carbon tetrachloride (CCl(4))-induced acute hepatotoxicity in rats. The study suggests that Panax ginseng treatment may play a protective role by enhancing liver enzyme activities and recovering biochemical parameters, and improving the changes in histological structure against CCl(4)-induced liver damages in rats.(24)

Ginseng Anti Obesity Benefits

The Journal of Medicinal Food. June 2011 issue reported the antiobesity effect of oil extract of ginseng. The study was released from the School of Applied Biosciences, Kyungpook National University, Daegu, Korea. The study suggests that dietary oil extract from ginseng improved obesity-related parameters in blood, liver, and adipose tissue in a mouse model and suppressed obesity induced by high fat diet, possibly by regulating lipid metabolism by modulating peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor γ  (PPARγ) protein expression (25)

Ginseng Benefits for Erectile Dysfunction Condition

The British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology. October 2008 issue, published a review entitled “Red ginseng used for treating erectile dysfunction: a systematic review”. In this report, seven randomized clinical studies were reviewed to establish and evaluate the evidence for the effectiveness of red ginseng for treating erectile dysfunction. The review concluded that the collective randomized clinical studies provide suggestive evidence for the effectiveness of red ginseng in the treatment of erectile dysfunction. However, the total number of RCTs included in the analysis, the total sample size and the methodological quality of the primary studies were too low to draw definitive conclusions. Thus more rigorous studies are necessary.(26)

Ginseng Benefits for Allergic Rhinitis

A study released from Allergy, Asthma & Immunology Research. April 2011, reported the therapeutic effects of fermented red ginseng in allergic rhinitis: a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study. This study was done in the Department of Internal Medicine, Seoul National University College of Medicine, Seoul, Korea. It reported that allergic rhinitis is clinically defined as a disorder of the nose induced by IgE mediated inflammation after allergen exposure of the nasal mucosa. For nasal congestion, fermented red ginseng was significantly effective (P<0.005), while placebo caused no change. It thus conclude that fermented red ginseng improved nasal congestion symptoms and RQoL in patients with perennial allergic rhinitis.(27)

Ginseng Anti Asthma Benefits

A study published in BMB Reports. February 2012 that was done in the Department of Microbiology and Immunology, School of Medicine, Pusan National University, Korea, reported that  the RG-II from Panax ginseng C.A. Meyer suppresses asthmatic reaction. This study provides evidence that RG-II plays a critical role in ameliorating the pathogenic process of asthmatic inflammation in mice. These findings provide new insights into the immunotherapeutic role of RG-II in terms of its effects in a murine model of asthma.(28)



Ginseng panax Availability and Dosage

Ginseng panax are available in most drug stores and health stores and online stores such ebay and amazon.

Bear in mind that Ginseng panax is considered as a supplement and not as medicine. Manufacturing procedures are not closely regulated. Be aware that Panax ginseng products are not always what they claim. The contents of products labeled as containing Panax ginseng can vary greatly. Many contain little or no Panax ginseng. To get the high quality ginseng supplements, always buy from a reputable source or brand. Look for the USP mark.

Ginseng is also available online such as in ebay as well as in amazon such as Nature's Way Ginseng, Korean,

Ginseng panax Side Effects and Warnings

Ginseng panax is generally safe for most adults if taken at recommended dosage. However, long term use can cause unfavorable side effects.

Ginseng panax can cause side effects such as sleeplessness, dizziness, breast pain, increased heart rate, loss of appetite, itching, rash, mood changes, low blood pressure or high blood pressure, changes in menstrual cycles, diarrhea, headache and many other side effects.

Other less common side effects of ginseng panax include Steven Johnson syndrome, severe allergic reactions and liver damage.

A chemical present in ginseng panax has been reported to cause birth defects in animal trials. Ginseng panax is not recommended during pregnancy and when breast feeding.

Ginseng panax has been reported to cause unfavorable side effects when given to infants and very young children. Ginseng is only recommended for adult use.

Ginseng panax creams when topically applied to the skin of the penis to treat premature ejaculation can cause side effects such as skin irritation and burning sensation when left for over an hour.

Ginseng panax is known to improve the immune system thus it can worsen autoimmune diseases.

Ginseng panax can thin the blood and can affect conditions that involve bleeding. Ginseng can also amplify the effects of blood thinning drugs (e.g. warfarin) to dangerous level.

Ginseng panax benefits included lowering blood pressure. When under lowering blood pressure drugs (e.g. insulin), ginseng can further lower the blood pressure that may cause problem. Supervision of competent health practitioner is recommended.

Ginseng panax benefits diabetics by helping lower the level of blood sugar. Always monitor blood sugar level when taking ginseng panax.

Ginseng panax contains ginsenosides that act like estrogen. Care should be taken by people who have hormone sensitive health conditions such as breast and ovarian cancer, endometriosis and uterine fibroids.

Ginseng panax can react with stimulants (e.g. caffeine, prescribed stimulant drugs) to make heightened anxiousness, jittery and increased heart rate.

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