Ginseng has been used in different cultures as a super cure-all herbal product for
at least 2,000 years. The perennial plant, Ginseng is from the Araliaceae family.
It is the roots of the Ginseng plant that have medicinal qualities. Ginseng has
been used to treat illness of virtually every part of the human body from insomnia,
memory loss, cancer, colitis, anxiousness, menopause to impotence.
Photo Credits: Copper and Gold - Keira Bishop
Kinds of Ginseng
There are three kinds of Ginseng in the world:
Panax ginseng - Asian Ginseng that grows in China, Korea, Japan and Russia. Much
of the China grown Ginseng are imported from China to the rest of the world.
Panax quinquefolius - American Ginseng grows in several parts of the United States
mostly from Wisconsin.
Eleutherococcus senticosus - Siberian Ginseng is not truly a Ginseng plant but it
does have the similar effects as the Asian and American Ginseng.
Growth and Cultivation of Ginseng in China
Ginseng grown in the wild is considered the best and the most potent but it is rare
and expensive. Due to wild Ginseng being considered as an endangered species, it
is controlled by law in many countries.
A true wild Ginseng root can yield hundreds of thousands of US dollars in the open
market. Ginseng is grown in the wild in shady mountain forests of northwest China.
It is found in elevations between 400 to 1,000 m.
When cultivated in the farmer's field, Ginseng takes 3 to 6 years before it can be
harvested. This grown version of Ginseng is likely your import from China opportunity.
How Ginseng Works
Various beneficial chemical compounds have been isolated from Ginseng including vitamins
B-1 and B-2, minerals, enzymes and flavonoids (Vitamin P). The active ingredient
in Ginseng is a mixture of chemicals called ginsenosides. These are very similar
in structure and are classified as steroids.
Ginseng has many effects on the human brain even though its exact pharmacology is
unknown. Here are some scientific theories on how Ginseng works:
Ginseng increases the release of acetylcholine in the brain or stimulates the acetylcholine
receptors. Acetylcholine is responsible for memory. So talking Ginseng could improve
Ginseng dilates the blood vessels and increases blood flow to the brain.
Ginseng might have antioxidant effects. It helps to protect neurons from free radical
Ginseng Drug Effects
The effects of Ginseng peak in about thirty minutes because the herbal medicine is
taken orally and is quickly absorbed. Most drugs are broken down by the body as
they pass through the digestive system. This does not appear to be the case with
Ginseng. The Ginseng active ingredients are excreted in the same condition as they
Ginseng Effects on the Human Body
Ginseng has been known to have various physiological effects on the human body:
Ginseng causes a drop in the heart rate. It begins with a slight increase
in blood pressure followed by a decrease under normal dosages. It does not appear
to have any effect on breathing.
Due to the blood vessel dilation effects of Ginseng, it is believed
that this herbal medicine has sexual effects. It is known that blood flow increases
to the genitals during sexual arousal. Dilated blood vessels will help to facilitate
In tests with men, Ginseng has been shown to help men with erectile
dysfunction. The male testosterone hormone level is also increased with the intake
of Ginseng which could also further enhance sexual performance. Ginseng also promotes
the production of the female hormones of estrogen and cortisol which benefit menopausal
Ginseng Hormonal Effects
When taking over a long period of time, Ginseng reduces the
amount of stress hormones that are released during periods of stress. It also reduces
the amount of prolactin, the hormone required for breast feeding. Herbalists have
been using Ginseng as a remedy for overworked and stressed out individuals.
Ginseng Effect on Memory and Alertness
Although the studies have been inconclusive
so far, the evidence does point to the fact that Ginseng improves attention and mental
processing speed. Ginseng has been linked to the enhancement of athletic performance.
Ginseng Tea is drank as a daily rejuvenator. The Ginseng Tea is made by adding
sliced or ground Ginseng root into a non-metallic container. Ginseng Tea is steeped
longer than western teas in order to extract all of the ginsenosides. Two cups of
tea are made from the Ginseng root to get all the ginosenoside benefits.