Energy Tonics For Today's Hectic Lifestyles
By Ellen J. Kamhi, Ph. D. with Dorie Greenblatt
What's the difference between Chinese (white root), Chinese (red root), Eleuthero and American Ginsengs? Which one is best for me? There are actually many different "ginsengs." We will discuss those mentioned above since they are the most widely available. All of these Ginsengs are considered to be potent adaptogens, which means that they are: 1) harmless to the body 2) non-specific in their actions 3) have balancing or normalizing effects. An adaptogen helps the body adapt to stress - both mental and physical. It is in this area that ginseng excels.
Chinese Ginseng (Panax ginseng) is what most of us think of when Ginseng is mentioned. It is indigenous to the forests of northeast China, Manchuria and Korea. Red Ginseng is often referred to as "Korean" Ginseng. In traditional Chinese Medicine Ginseng is used to tonify the "Chi" (vital energy or life energy force). Modern scientific studies indicate Panax Ginseng stimulates the immune system, has antifatigue, antistress, antitumor, anticancer and anti-aging properties, balances blood sugar levels, enhances mental performance and memory, lowers cholesterol, strengthens the heart muscle and protects against radiation damage. Panax ginseng has had a notorious reputation as a sexual rejuvenator which studies give some credence to; albeit not to the degree of its reputation. Ginseng "overuse syndrome", although rare, is characterized by irritability, insomnia and rapid heart beat, and is associated with using too much Chinese Ginseng, especially by healthy, active men.
American Ginseng (Panax quinquefolium) is indigenous to the eastern woodlands ranging from Georgia to Quebec and was used by many Native Americans. Jesuit Priests were reported to be trading American Ginseng to the Chinese as early as 1718. Ironically, American Ginseng is highly sought after in China, while Americans chase after Chinese ginseng. While having much the same adaptogenic qualities of Chinese Ginseng, American Ginseng is believed to have a more "yin" or cooler nature. What this means is that American Ginseng is excellent for the high-paced, stressed, not enough time culture that we live in. While still energizing the body, American Ginseng calms the central nervous system, quiets the brain and lowers blood pressure. Also, because of its more "yin" nature, it is generally better to use on a day-to-day, long term basis than Chinese Ginseng. American Ginseng is one of the best tonics for all-around health and vitality, particularly well suited for the hectic world we've created.
Eleutherococcus senticosus (known as Siberian Ginseng in Herbs of Commerce) is native to Siberia, Japan, Korea and China. Although not a "true ginseng", this variety is most highly prized. Eleuthero was traditionally used to promote longevity and general health. Many herbalists prefer Eluthero for helping with women's health issues. It is particularly useful with depression associated with PMS and menopause. Research, mostly from Russia, confirms this herb's ability to increase mental and physical performance, stimulate the immune system, increase phagocytosis (movement of white blood cells) promote circulation and enhance the benefits of medical radiation treatments while lessening its negative side-effects. (The dosage used in one Russian study was 4 milliliters in the morning and 2 milliliters at night.)
Which Ginseng is Right For Me
Here's a simple guide for deciding which Ginseng to use. Chinese Ginseng is best suited as a tonic 1)for the fragile and weak 2) during convalescence, and/or 3) to support the immune system. American Ginseng is for regular daily use, specially suited for energetic personality types. Eleuthero is excellent for endurance and stamina, and well suited for athletes as well as for women's issues. If you're still confused, try Balanced Ginseng™ (alcohol-free) a high-powered liquid herbal extract supplement that blends several varieties of Ginsengs together to assure balanced tonic action.
It is important in purchasing Ginseng products to buy from a company you trust and one that has the technical capabilities to test and guarantee quality and activity. Unfortunately, the Ginseng market is prone to both adulteration and poor activity levels. Nature's Answer®, with its full pharmaceutical level in-house laboratory and years of experience, is proud to offer a variety of the finest quality of Ginseng formulations available in either liquid (alcohol-free or organic alcohol) or encapsulated (standardized or single) forms. The company also offers the herb in unique, proprietary blends. All products are Unconditionally Guaranteed.