Search Term: " Codonopsis "
May 19, 2008 03:37 PM
Codonopsis, "the poor man's ginseng," is the dried or fresh root cultivated from the plant Codonopsis pilosula. It is a perennial native to Asia and is found most abundantly in parts of China. It thrives in moist soil and at the edges of thick, wooded areas and grows to approximately five feet tall.
It is now cultivated in many other areas of the world including the United States. Its bell-shaped greenish-purple flowers have helped it gain its two other names in the English language: bastard ginseng and bonnet bellflower.
Codonopsis is best known in Chinese herbalism where it is referred to as tang shen. It has been used there for more than 2,000 years and is one of the most widely used herbs in Chinese alternative medicine.
In Chinese health, the yin and yang aspects of nature must remain balanced in order to maintain overall health of mind and body. Here are the properties of each.
* Yin: cold, dark, moisture, passivity * Yang: heat, light, dryness, activity
When the body suffers from inner disharmony, the elements and energies must be rebalanced. Herbs and treatments are taken to restore harmonious balance, and therefore bring yin and yang back to equal counterparts of each other.
Codonopsis has a sweet taste and a neutral nature. According to traditional Chinese medicine, it is taken as a tonic to nourish and strengthen the blood and to balance metabolic function. It also helps to keep the lungs and spleen healthy.
Codonopsis is an adaptogen. This means that it helps to regulate the body and enhance its ability to tolerate stress. It helps to increase the overall performance of the body to aid it in combating disease and maintaining a healthy immune system.
This herb stimulates the body's nervous system. It also increases resistance to colds, flu and other infections. It has been shown that Codonopsis increases the number of red blood cells and hemoglobin content.
Codonopsis benefits the entire body by:
* Increasing stamina * Building strength * Increasing mental alertness * Rejuvenating the system * Strengthening the immune system * Speeding recovery from illness * Stimulating the appetite * Reducing stress * Improving digestive functions
Taken in the form of a tonic, Codonopsis is a nourishing herb. It is used to promote digestion, absorption and metabolism. It is also said to strengthen and tone the stomach and spleen.
It has been found to reduce blood pressure, as well, by inhibiting adrenal cortex activity and dilating peripheral blood vessels. For the lungs, it helps to treat shortness of breath and chronic coughing.
Codonopsis can also be taken to address specific conditions beyond whole body health. Some of these are anemia, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, asthma, hemorrhoids, headaches, tension and prolapsed uterus. Nursing mothers can take Codonopsis in order to increase their supply of breast milk.
Codonopsis has even been discovered to aid in fighting cancer when used in conjunction with other conventional medical therapy. It has been found to have properties that assist in helping to protect patients from the harmful side effects of radiation therapy. This seems to happen without diminishing the effectiveness of the therapy.
Overall, Codonopsis has many uses and benefits to the body. It is an immune system booster and all around promoter of bodily health. It works to stabilize and strengthen many different areas of the body together, as well as separately.
Codonopsis seems to be one of the best herbs of its kind for use in maintaining a healthy and balanced body. As more studies are performed on this beneficial herb, new discoveries will be made as to its other healing properties and benefits to the human body.
What is the difference between the types of Ginseng?
June 17, 2005 12:45 PM
What is the difference between the types of Ginseng?
Ginseng has been used for thousands of years by the Chinese and Native Americans. The Chinese name, Ren Shen means "Man-Root" because it is shaped like a human. There have been over 3,000 scientific studies published on Ginseng. Studies have examined the anti-tumor, anti-infective, nervous system, lipid lowering, and anti-fatigue activity of ginseng. Experimental research indicates that Ginseng helps the body adapt to stress, protects the body against radiation, and increases sperm count, and stabilizes blood sugar levels.
Ginseng can differ depending upon the species, the way it is prepared, and of course the dose administered. There are two main kinds of Ginseng: American and Asian. American Ginseng, Panax quinquefolium, grows wild in many states although it is cultivated mainly in Wisconsin. American Ginseng generates body fluids and is said to clear heat. Those who can benefit most from American Ginseng are individuals that are under stress, athletes, and people who feel hot and thirsty. They may also have coughing, or coughing up blood, which indicates heat according to traditional Chinese Medicine.
Asian Ginseng, Panax Ginseng, is usually imported to the US from either China or Korea. It is traditionally used to treat cold syndromes, which include cold limbs, weak pulse, exhaustion, and shortness of breath. White Ginseng usually refers to untreated ginseng, and is said to be less warm than red Ginseng. Typically red Ginseng is steamed and cured with other herbs giving it a dark red appearance; most Korean Ginseng is red.
A common substitute for Ginseng in the US and China is Codonopsis, known botanically as Codonopsis pilosula. It has similar effects to Asian Ginseng: it is not as strong and not nearly as expensive. Eleuthero Ginseng, sometimes referred to as Siberian Ginseng, is really not ginseng at all but is in fact a distant cousin. It belongs in a different botanical species: Eleutherococcus Senticosus. Eleuthero Ginseng grows in northern China and Russia. Although it is used to help the body adapt to stress, it is less specific as a medicinal herb than Asian or American Ginseng.
Traditional herbalists rarely use ginseng by itself. Herbs are usually combined with other ingredients in order to increase clinical benefits and reduce negative reactions. For example, Generate Pulse Powder (Sheng Mai San) is a traditional combination, which often combines America Ginseng with herbs to moisten the lungs; therefore it can be used for chronic cough that is difficult to expectorate, and shortness of breathe. Bu Zhong Yi Qi Wan is an ancient formula that has been used for at least one thousand years to treat patients who are exhausted, feel cold, and may have weak limbs and/or chronic loose stools. In this ancient formula, Ginseng is combined with Astragalus and other harmonizing herbs, which help the body assimilate ginseng. Modern formulas with Ginseng or Codonopsis, have been used to help people overcome serious conditions such as impotence, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, and fibromyalgia. Modern Ginseng formulas have also been used in conjunction with western medical approaches to treating patients with HIV, and patients undergoing chemo and radiotherapy.
Asian Ginseng is considered a "big gun" and should not be indiscriminately used especially by itself. Headache, elevated body temperature, digestive upset, rash, fever, irritability, and insomnia are possible signs that Ginseng is not appropriate. It should not be taken at the same time as caffeine or other stimulants. Good quality Ginseng is expensive. Superior grade Ginseng can run several thousand dollars per pound. For this reason, it makes no sense to shop for the cheapest Ginseng or Ginseng products.
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June 15, 2005 10:29 AM
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