American ginseng (Panax Quinquefolius) is the same in effect as Asian or Korean Ginseng, only found in America. As an adaptogenic herb, it aids in relieving stress and illnesses found in the body. Taken orally, it aids in the natural healing process. Ginseng has been used by many cultures throughout history and helps to cure or help fight against illnesses. Ginseng also contains ginsenocides, a chemical that is rumored to ease stress and soothe muscles by giving support to the adrenal glands. With all of these benefits in ginseng, many health professionals and fitness experts use ginseng to heal or aid in their physical health. Many people take powders or tablets to give them a daily dose of the herb. As an herb, it is widely used as a substitute for what modern medicine offers as a blood thinning agent. For instance, instead of somebody over 40 starting to take daily doses of Aspirin, the healthy and herbal alternative to that is ginseng.
What is the history of American ginseng?
American ginseng was most commonly used by Native Americans who (like many other cultures including the Chinese) used the herb as a general cure-all for many illnesses or ailments. Historically, ginseng meant a nice amount of pay for hunters of the root. Unfortunately, it is becoming increasingly harder in recent years to find this legendary root. American ginseng is decreasing in numbers as harvests become more rampant, and with the deer population constantly feasting on this rarity, the root is all but endangered. Asian ginseng is much more common, and is usually what is found in most medicines, drinks and foods. American ginseng is still widely used, however, wild ginseng is used much less often than the mass-produced ginseng.
Where does American ginseng grow?
Given the obvious name, the wild American ginseng root is seen mostly in America and sometimes in Canada. Years ago, there was an abundance of the root in the Appalachians and Ozark areas, as well as New York and Pennsylvania. However, due to the vast expansion of urban life and over-harvesting the plant, it has become harder to find and quickly became an endangered specie.
While wild American ginseng has become somewhat endangered, the plant is still being commercially grown in the fields of Wisconsin and Minnesota, and is harvested between three to four years. Wisconsin is thought to be the biggest producer of American ginseng, accounting for a large percentage of the usable ginseng in America.
What are some common uses?
Though ginseng was a widely used herb back in the day, it has quickly been replaced by advances in modern medicine. People who still use the legendary herb have favorable results, with special emphasis on the root lowering blood sugar levels in people with type 2 diabetes. American ginseng is also used in energy drinks and some teas for the blood-thinning effect, giving the user more energy. While ginseng can indeed be used as a stimulant, it is most often seen aiding or treating patients with some form of illness or malady. Asian ginseng is usually shown to have the most effect as a stimulant, however, with American ginseng having more of a relaxing effect. In essence, there is not too much of a difference in stimulation strength.
How is American Ginseng administered?
American Ginseng is taken orally and, thanks to modern medicine, there are several ways to take the herb. Ginseng can be found in some vitamin waters, alcohol, personal lubricants, capsules, powders, teas, energy drinks, and tablets. For a more medicinal use, it is common to take ginseng in a capsule or tablet form. However, throughout history, it was made into a tea for maximum effect. Either means of consumption prove beneficial for the user.
Ginseng berries, recently more so than the roots, have been shown to have great effect as well. To some degree it depends on the variation of the illness and what the user needs in regards to medication, but the berries have their own medicinal uses.
What are the health benefits?
Wild American Ginseng is shown to have tremendous results in helping cure just about any ailment, or at least inhibiting some of the symptoms of major illnesses and diseases. In fact, American Ginseng not only assists in lowering blood sugar levels for diabetes patients, but aids people diagnosed with cancer, colds and flu, and ADHD.
What are some health deficits?
The blood-thinning effects of ginseng could be a problem for people taking anticoagulant medication, such as Coumadin. Ginseng should also not be taken with drugs such as Aleve or Motrin that sometimes cause internal bleeding. Finally, while ginseng is shown to have significant effect on diabetes patients, you should take care not to mix insulin with large doses of the herb. Doing so can cause an enormous drop in the levels of blood sugar in the system.
Other complications with using ginseng include high blood pressure, nosebleeds, headaches, anxiety, restlessness, and inability to sleep. Sometimes side effects can be more serious, such as vomiting, diarrhea, vaginal bleeding, and breast pain. Always use caution when using an unfamiliar herb for medicinal purposes. Above all else, be sure to consult a doctor before using American ginseng–especially if used with a prescription drug.
How is this being used in medicine today?
Almost anyone who takes American ginseng benefits from the root in at least some way. Some people take the herb simply to stay in good shape and avoid illness. Others treasure it for the blood-thinning effects and the inevitable energy it gives. In medicine it is good for lowering blood sugar levels in diabetes patients, though insulin is still used more often than ginseng. People who use ginseng may or may not actually be meaning to receive treatment, but they can still be guaranteed of the benefits of using American ginseng to help cure their ailments.