Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Ginseng in traditional medicine

The traditional interest in plants as sources of ‘natural’ medicines prompted the grouping of closely related species under common names.

Although many different kinds of ‘ginseng’ may be sold in Canadian and American retail outlet, two species are commonly seen in pharmacy practice:

Panax Ginseng and Panax quinquefollius L. Other closely related species include: Panax pseudoginseng Wallich var, japonicus, Panax pseudoginseng Wallich var, notoginseng are rarely seen. Panax is derived from the Greek roots pan meaning “all” and akos meaning “cure” and refers to the “cure all” and “panacea” quality generally attributed to the herb. The name ginseng means “essence of the earth in the form of a man,” and refers to the resemblance of the roots to a human form.

In the United States, only 9% of all functional beverage consumers do not recognize ginseng, and 24% of functional beverage users are likely to look for this herb in beverages.

In addition to tea and energy drinks, the usage of the herb is increasing in other beverages types, including juice drinks and enhanced bottled water.
Ginseng has been an important part of Traditional Chinese Medicine for over five thousand years. It is considered to be a bitter sweet herb with a warming character.

Within Traditional Chinese Medicine, ginseng was used to restore ‘yang’ quality and to treat general weakness, deficient qi (chi) patterns, anemia, lack of appetite, nervous agitation, thirst, and impotence.

Ginseng is categorized as an adaptogenic herb, and it commands high awareness among consumers. It is thought to increase non specific resistance to adverse influences such as stress and infection. Traditionally it was used as a tonic to “increase strength, increase blood volume, promote life and appetite, quite the spirit, and give wisdom.” It was generally thought to improve vitality.

Many claims have been made that ginseng is helpful in treating ulcers, upset stomachs and constipation. Interestingly, the use of ginseng as a stomach remedy is one of the earliest-know medicinal applications of the root in Native American culture.
Ginseng in traditional medicine
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