This article was written by my late friend, Deb Jackson, around 1999. She was one of my early mentors and a major contributor to the plant descriptions on Altnature.com. Deb passed away in May of this year.
It been edited and updated a few times.
Ginseng Herb Uses
Other Names: American Ginseng, Panax Ginseng, San,
Redberry, five fingers, man root, divine root, Root of life
There is insufficient research on this herb to prove benefits or safety issues it may have in humans. I have to say that.
Ginseng herb has a long history of use as an alternative medicine going back over 5,000 years, and appears on several continents (origin unknown). It is and was used extensively in Native American medicine. Its remarkable ability to help the body adapt to mental and emotional stress, fatigue, heat, cold, and even hunger is confirmed and documented!
Ginseng root is an adaptogen, cardio-tonic, demulcent, panacea, sedative, sialagogue, stimulant, tonic and stomachic. Ginseng has been studied over the past 30 years (now 50) in many countries.
The major constituents in Ginseng are Triterpenoid saponins, Ginsenosides (at least 29 have been identified), Acetylenic compounds, Panaxans, and Sesquiterpenes.
Taken over an extended period, it is used to increase mental and physical
performance, Ginseng is said to be therapeutic for the whole body. A very powerful herb, it both stimulates and relaxes the nervous system, encourages the secretion of hormones, improves stamina, lowers blood sugar and cholesterol levels and increases resistance to disease.
The ginsenosides that produce these effects are very similar to the body’s own natural stress hormones.
Ginseng is used in the treatment of debility associated with old age or illness, lack of appetite, insomnia, stress, shock and chronic illness. Ginseng also increases immune function, resistance to infection, and supports liver function. The leaf is emetic and expectorant.
Ginseng stimulates and increases endocrine activity in the body. Promotes a mild increase in metabolic activity and relaxes heart and artery movements. Stimulates the medulla centers and relaxes the
central nervous system.
CAUTION: Ginseng and Ginseng mixtures with Coffee may accelerate the
caffeine effects on the body and can cause diarrhea.
Ginseng is said to be highly good for the metabolism, and promotes general well being. It has a reputation as an aphrodisiac, but this seems to be totally
based on the fact that it relaxes the overly tense person a bit. If you suffer from back pain or TMJ adding this to a tea of Catnip and slippery elm may help. It is also presumably usable as an ingredient in a Meade or magewine.
Dosage : This seems to vary, some say 1000 mg. a day, others more or less! I just break off a small piece of the dried root (aspirin size) and swallow it with the daily vitamin.
Ginseng Native Habitat
Ginseng is a perennial herb, native to Eastern N. America found from Maine to Georgia, west to Oklahoma and Minnesota. It grows in rich soils in cool woods.
Ginseng Folklore and History
The roots are called Jin-chen by the
natives of China, meaning ’like a man,’ in
reference to their looking like the human form. The
American Indian name for the plant, garantoquen, has
(strangely) the same meaning and uses, seeing how each race
had no knowledge of the existence of the other. The
American Indians attributed much magic power to Ginseng.
The Seminole Indians using it as a Love Medicine, rubbed it
on the body and clothes to bring back a divorced wife.
Article by Deb Jackson, Edits and updates by Karen Bergeron Copyright 1999- 2019