|GINSENG - Panax ginseng
Traditional use: superior overall tonic, hormone & metabolic balancer, adaptogen, tonic to all systems
Ginseng has been revered for centuries in the Orient, and has achieved a near-mythic status as an herb which can cure nearly all ailments and greatly increase well-being at all levels. Western research has examined only a fraction of the uses and cures claimed by Eastern medicine, but all of the Western research has tended very strongly to support what has been known to Oriental medicine for ages.
Ginseng's broad spectrum of healing actions, as well as its immense effectiveness at healing, can be traced mainly to its adaptogenic qualities. As an adaptogen, it helps to regulate all systems of the body, regardless of the direction of action needed, and helps the body respond efficiently and protectively to all types of stresses- environmental, emotional, illness, nutritional, etc, and to re-establish health by bringing the body back to homeostasis.
These balancing qualities can be applied to most of the body's systems to beneficial effect. To the metabolism, Ginseng is helpful in building healthy tissues and cells, rather than fatty tissues, or mutated cells from oxidation, pollution, or other harmful substances. It is also beneficial to the immune system, and to the production of correctly-formed DNA. This group of effects have led physicians to use Ginseng to treat tumors, cancer, and radiation damage.
Its normalizing effects on the circulatory system can result in regulated blood pressure, stronger and more regular heart activity, increased circulation and lower cholesterol. It is also tonic to the brain and nervous system, stimulating or relaxing as needed, and is used by many on spiritual paths to promote clarity and deeper meditation.
Some data indicates that Ginseng promotes testosterone production, and so is helpful for all types of male complaints. It is especially beneficial for prostate problems. There is some debate about Ginseng's usefulness for women in the long term. Most herbalists agree that it is beneficial as a tonic for women in short term- for 6 weeks at a time, with 6 month breaks between, is a conservative statement. Other herbalists state that Ginseng also produces estrogen, and is equally safe for men and women.
Ginseng's effects are cumulative, and it has greatest effect if taken daily for years. It can be detrimental by being overly stimulating if taken by the elderly, weak, or persons recovering from a long or especially debilitating illness. In such cases, it is wise to first build up the patient through gentler tonics, and then switch to Ginseng for long-term health.
Another possible approach for women and persons recovering from illness is the use of American Ginseng, which some people find less overwhelming and more balanced than Oriental.