Ginseng: a blessing in stress

In this article you will learn how ginseng can be helpful in stressful situations. In the first part of this article you will be informed about experience of Ginseng in combination with high-dose coenzyme Q10 in heart disease and cancer treatments.

Ginseng – a blessing for treatment of stress

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Ginseng is among the best-known medicinal plants in the world. The namemeans “human root” because, strangely enough, the roots of the ginseng shrub often have a striking resemblance to the human form. The ginseng root has been used in Chinese medicine for over 5000 years. In the West, ginseng has been known since the 1960s, when Ginseng was systematically and scientifically investigated, and its physiological and pharmacological properties were discovered.

The results of this research have provided impressive evidence of the effectiveness of traditional ginseng use in many specific health problems, but above all, it is one special feature that makes ginseng outstanding: its ability to harmonize body functions. The Russian scientist I. Brekhman, who intensively researched the pharmacological properties of ginseng, coined the term “adaptogen” in 1957 to refer to this unique property.

Adaptions caused by Ginseng

Adaptation becomes necessary when the body functions are not in balance. The balance of the countless, largely unconscious regulatory mechanisms that take place in our body can be disturbed. If the disorder persists, health problems can result.

A major trigger for such imbalances is the stress in our daily life. The daily requirements build up in their diversity and add up to a point where it becomes almost impossible to cope with the burdens. There is the professional pressure. There may be quarrels in the family. There are financial worries, time pressure, deadlines. All these are – known to all – stress factors (stressors). A stressor can be anything that “unbalances” us, including external stresses such as heat or cold, environmental pollution and toxins, toxic microorganisms, physical strain and, of course, severe mental stress.

Ginseng is a wonderful way to handle stress situations better (quite similiar to Ashwagandha). Ginseng restores the balance of body functions by curbing or stimulating the biochemical processes in the organism, which are disordered by physical or mental stress, as needed (much like a thermostat adjusts the heating to changing outside temperatures.) The scientists have the opinion the settlement is mainly due to a delay in the so-called “alert phase” that precedes the classic stress decision “flight or fight”. Ginseng acts -according to the current state of knowledge – primarily by balancing the adrenal glands, which try to maintain the physical and mental equilibrium through the release of important hormones in stress situations. In many stressed people, the work of the adrenals is exhausted and limited by the constant overloading, but also by the increasingly frequent medical use of corticosteroids. Ginseng can make an important contribution to restore the normal functioning of the adrenal glands.

Stress does not only severely encumber our body’s own regulatory mechanisms, but, if it persists and there is not enough opportunity for regeneration, stress also causes fatigue and, ultimately, physical and mental fatigue. Stress management requires a lot of extra energy. Ginseng provides this energy through its ability to increase physical and mental activity. Improvements in endurance and performance, e.g. in athletes, through the use of ginseng are variously documented.

Ginseng improves metabolism

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Incidentally, this also applies to the mental capacity (including mood, motivation, drive strength, attention / alertness, general well-being) and the ability to concentrate. (To investigate this effect, there was once a famous test with radio speakers: one group received ginseng extract, the other group received a placebo instead, and the ginseng group read their texts with significantly fewer errors than the placebo group.) Ginseng improves metabolic activities in the brain, however, in a completely different way than stimulants such as caffeine. These develop their activity under all circumstances, while the effect of ginseng is only under the challenge of a stress situation. To clarify this aspect, the car comparison has often been cited: caffeine (or other common stimulants) presses on the gas pedal, so to speak, but ginseng increases the performance of the engine.

Vitalization through the ginseng root

The extraordinary ability of the ginseng root to strengthen the whole organism to revitalize and provide new energy, does not only benefit people which are temporarily exposed to stress.

Ginseng also helps sick people to regenerate more quickly or older people to renew their life-force spent over the years. In fact, ginseng has been considered by Chinese medicine as the best way to maintain its youthfulness and inhibit the natural aging process. All effects described here are substantiated by thorough scientific studies and clinical tests. Further studies document the positive influence of ginseng in the treatment of diabetes and menopausal symptoms, its immune-enhancing properties, the beneficial effect on the heart, liver (detoxification) and reproductive organs and its ability to protect against radiation damage to a certain extent.

Unfortunately, the popularity of ginseng has resulted in a myriad of low-quality ginseng preparations such as tinctures, ampoules, teas, ginseng cigarettes, chewing gum and sweets. Many of these supplements contain far too little ginseng in order to have a salutary effect. Therefore, it is essential to pay attention to first-class quality and dosage when selecting a ginseng preparation, otherwise disappointment is inevitable. Quality and dosage come at a price but give the certainty of really doing the best for your health.

Michael T. Murray, author of numerous bestsellers on the use of nutrients and herbs, makes the following recommendations: “Of the various types of ginseng, Korean (Panax ginseng) is generally considered the best. But the American ginseng (Panax quinquefolium) and the Siberian ginseng (Eleutherococcus sinticosus), a separate genus, which is strictly related only remotely with the Panax species, are recommended.”

The drug content of Panax roots increases with their age. They should be at least 4 – 6 years old before being used. In order to ensure a reliable therapeutic effect, it is advisable to use only preparations with a standardized active ingredient content. This is determined by the content of saponins. There are at least 13 different saponins found in ginseng, they are called Ginsenoside in Panax ginseng, and Eleuthosides in Siberian ginseng. The proportion of Rg1 and Rb1 ginsenosides should be in a ratio of 1: 2. A typical delivery (for general toning use) is according to Dr. med. Murray with 10 mg saponins, 1 – 3 x daily.

Let’s look at the label of one of the most popular ginseng preparation GinsaMax in the US. The product contains 60 soft capsules in the following composition:

  1. Korean Panax ginseng 100 mg (white root extract, 6 years old) with a minimum of 15 mg ginsenosides, Rg1: Rb1 ratio 1: 2
  2. Siberian ginseng (Eleutherococcus senticosus) 80 mg (root extract) with a minimum content of 640 mcg Eleutherosiden B and
  3. Schinzandra extract (Schisandra chinensis) berries 50 mg (Schizandra is itself an adaptogen and enhances the ginseng effect)

A soft capsule GinsaMax thus provides a guaranteed total saponin content of at least 21.64 mg. The recommended dosage is 1 soft capsule daily. Ginseng is generally well tolerated, even in long-term use. Many older people and the unfortunate contemporaries who are exposed to constant stress would find it hard to do without ginseng. Side effects have been rare in standardized ginseng preparations, but it is convenient not to take the capsules at bedtime, because the invigorating effect might otherwise lead to insomnia.