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Ginseng is now found all over the world. American ginseng is native to North America; ginseng is native to the Far East.
Ginseng extract is considered tonic and nourishing for its vitamin and hormone content.It seems to help reduce wrinkles and help dry skin.It is also said to promote skin elasticity,possibly by stimulating sterol and protein production.Other claims include skin rejuvenating, oxygenating and stimulating properties.Folk remedies cite its use on boils,bruises,sores,and swellings.The root's active ingredients are called ginsenosides,and these ingredients are said to be responsible for revitalizing and reactivating epidermal cells.Other important ingredients include saponins,mucins,and B vitamins.The extract comes from the root.Humans are involved in many allergic skin reactions.
Panax ginseng describes the roots of two plants,Asian ginseng (Panax ginseng) and American ginseng (Panax quinquefolius), commonly used to enhance physical strength and provide a sense of well-being.The terms red ginseng and white ginseng refer to the way the root is processed,not the species of origin.Red ginseng roots are steamed before drying,while white ginseng is bleached and dried.Ginseng contains triterpenoid saponins called ginsenosides (also known as ginsenosides),as many as 18 of which are thought to have different,and sometimes opposite,pharmacological properties.Siberian ginseng (Eleutherococcus senticosus) should not be confused with ginseng.Although they belong to the same plant family (Araliaceae),it is a larger, more abundant and therefore cheaper plant.However, like ginseng,it is used as a tonic and an adaptogen,which is a non-medical term meaning it helps the body adapt to stress in a variety of ways.Siberian ginseng does contain saponins (eleutherosides),but not ginsenosides.To date,despite its popularity, there is little conclusive evidence of clinical efficacy.
The main ingredient is named ginsenoside.The chemical constituents of ginseng are called ginsenosides or ginsenosides.A total of 12 of them were isolated,but in such small quantities that they were difficult to purify.Sterols,flavonoids,proteins and vitamins (B1, B2, B12, pantothenic acid,niacin and biotin) are also pharmacologically active ingredients.The chemical properties of ginseng are a good example of how different compounds in one herb can produce opposite pharmacological effects.Ginsenoside Rb-1 acts as a central nervous system depressant,anticonvulsant, analgesic,and antipsychotic,prevents stress ulcers,and accelerates glycolysis and nuclear RNA synthesis.Ginsenoside Rg-1 stimulates the central nervous system,fights fatigue, hypertension and aggravates stress ulcers.In addition,ginsenosides Rg and Rg-1 enhance cardiac function,whereas Rb inhibits it.Some other ginsenosides show antiarrhythmic activity similar to the calcium channel blockers verapamil and amiodarone.Ginseng is widely believed to improve concentration, stamina,alertness and work capacity.Long-term use claimed to enhance 'well-being' in elderly patients.”
Ginsenosides are believed to be the active ingredients in ginseng root.The various isoforms may have opposite pharmacological effects:Rg1 stimulates the central nervous system (CNS) and raises blood pressure,while Rb1 does the opposite.Somehow,these multiple ginsenoside components are thought to work synergistically to provide enhanced stamina.In addition,these compounds have antiplatelet and antioxidant properties,which may stimulate the immune system.
Despite its long-standing popularity and apparent mild stimulating effects,ginseng has less solid evidence of its clinical effectiveness than many of the other herbs discussed in this chapter.When it comes to improving cognitive function,most studies have failed to demonstrate a consistent benefit.A recent investigation into the effects of ginseng on physical performance found that an 8-week course of treatment failed to improve aerobic work capacity.Ginseng has been studied as a diabetes drug, documenting reduced hemoglobin A1c levels and improved glucose control in one small trial.Although ginseng has some interesting work as a cancer preventive, there is currently insufficient evidence for its clinical use.
Ginseng is generally considered safe for healthy adults who are not pregnant;however,in sufficient doses,ginseng may increase blood pressure and cause insomnia,palpitations,nervousness,and tremors in susceptible individuals.These effects are increased if caffeine or other stimulants are also taken at the same time.Ginseng and Siberian ginseng should be absolutely avoided by anyone with poorly controlled high blood pressure.Dizziness,headache,diarrhea,and nausea have also been reported.The controversial ginseng abuse syndrome,which includes tremors,increased blood pressure,insomnia,and anxiety,may also occur.Diabetics who have experienced hypoglycemia from ginseng must monitor their sugar and may need to reduce the dose of insulin or other hypoglycemic drugs. Concomitant use of ginseng anticoagulants (such as warfarin) and antiplatelet agents should be avoided due to the theoretical increased risk of bleeding.In addition,coadministration of ginseng with digoxin and MAOIs should be avoided.