An herb entry from the Ancient Herbs and Modern Herbs book by James K. Sayre, Copyright, 2001. All rights reserved.
Ginseng, Asian - Panax ginseng - family: Araliaceae (Ginseng Family).
This perennial plant grows to about three feet high. It has compound leaves with oval-shaped leaflets. In the late spring and early summer it produces tiny greenish-white flowers. The flowers are followed by berries that ripen to a bright red in the autumn. The fruits each enclose two hard seeds. Its dried roots have long been used in Traditional Chinese Medicine and elsewhere in Asia for anemia, anxiety, diabetes, excessive menstrual flow, gum problems, resistance to disease, immune system support, impotence, liver protection, memory loss, nervousness and for increasing appetite. Traditional Asian use of the roots as a folk aphrodisiac. This root has also been used in Kampo, traditional Japanese medicine. Modern Japanese (Kampo) use of root in the treatment of some cancers. Under the name Lakshmana, Asian Ginseng has been used as an Ayurvedic medicinal herb. Modern European and American folk use of roots as a remedy for coronary artery disease, fatigue, stress and a weakened immune system. Modern American folk use to possibly slow down the aging process. Approved by the German Commission E as a remedy for fatigue. Ginseng has been shown to reduce blood sugar levels. Modern American folk use as a remedy for chronic fatigue syndrome, diabetes and hangovers. Modern American folk use as a possible remedy for male infertility and for possible prevention of cancer. Note: do not use if suffering from high blood pressure. Note: ginseng may cause some medical problems such as anxiety, asthma, headache, higher blood pressure, heart disturbances, insomnia, nervousness, post menopausal bleeding, rashes or tenderness in the breasts. Note: several authorities suggest not taking Ginseng for more than two or three weeks at a time. Note: Ginseng may increase the anti-blood-clotting effects of aspirin and other drugs; it is probably not advisable to ingest Ginseng when taking aspirin or anti-coagulant (blood thinning) drugs. It must be grown for about six years before it reaches full strength. Native to Manchuria and Korea in Asia.
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Web page last updated on 21 May 2003.