Search Term: " Ginsengs "
Adaptogens: Herbs That Can Help In Fighting Stress
It has been proven through various researches that cortisol hormone in your body can cause stress by effecting its physiological system like adrenal glands or thyroid, etc. The anxiety and irritation caused by the elevation of cortisol can cause a number of health problems including diabetes, weight gain, depletion of energy level and risk of heart problems etc. Most researchers have found adaptogenic herbs as the best and effective natural source of fighting stress caused by the elevation of cortisol in the body.
A group of plants that can be used for fighting stress caused by the increase of cortisol hormone in the body are known as Adaptogens. They can help in protecting and restoring the body by balancing its hormonal growth. Some of the popular herbs used for this purpose may include Ashwagandha, American Ginseng, Astragalus, Asian Ginseng, Eleuthero, Cordyceps, Maca, Holy Basil, Schisandra and Rhodiola.
Here's a brief description about these herbs:
Ashwaganda: It is also known as Indian ginseng as Ayurvedic medicine science uses it since thousands of years not only for fighting stress but also for regulating your immune system by lowering the level of cortisol hormone.
American Ginseng: This adaptogenic herb is also known as Panax Ginseng as it belongs to the botanical family of Panax. Normally two types of Ginseng are used for relieving stress including American and Asian ginseng.
Asian Ginseng: Researches have proved it to be one of the most popular adaptogens that can help in improving your ability to handle stress along with your mental performance due to its antidepressant and antioxidant properties which can lower the levels of your blood sugar and blood pressure. Though American and Asian Ginsengs belong to the same medicinal group, their healing properties are different from each other.
Astragalus: The root of this herb is used in various Chinese medicine to reduce the effect of stress along with boosting your immunity level. It can reduce the receptor binding ability of cortisol, a stress causing hormone.
Eleuthero: It reduces the symptoms of adrenal fatigue due to its Panax Ginseng like properties. It soothes the stimulated adrenal glands producing stress causing hormones cortisol and adrenaline.
Cordycep: It is a kind of fungus which has antioxidant properties to help you in fighting stress along with boosting your immune system.
Maca: It is a root vegetable that is used to reduce the risk of various health problems like arthritis and diabetes etc. caused due to increased stress along with increasing your libido. Along with wide variety of nutrients, it also provides healthy fiber to your body.
Holy basil: Tulsi is another popular name of this adaptogenic herb. Along with boosting your immune system it also helps you in fighting stress and regulating blood pressure.
Schizandra: The berries of this adaptogenic herb are used for making various stress relieving medicines and general tonics in China.
Rhodiola: According to various health experts it helps in reducing physical fatigue along with stress related problems like mental stress etc. due to its antioxidant properties.
September 22, 2008 09:48 AM
Panax is a type of perennial plant with fleshy roots, and grows in Eastern Asia. Ginsengs contain ginsenosides that are triterpene saponins, steroidal compounds that are found only in Panax ginseng. The effects of these saponins are difficult to establish, but they are believed to be behind the properties of ginseng.
Panax ginseng is found predominantly in Korea, China and Siberia, although a genus has also been found in Vietnam. Panax are adaptogenic herbs that help promote resistance to anxiety, fatigue and stress, and are said to adapt the body to resist a number of different stressors. It has been proposed that adaptogenic herbs can balance the endocrine hormones of the hypothalamus, pituitary and adrenal axis.
They also normalize the immune system, and increase the activity of phagocytes, the killer cells. Additionally, they not only help to maintain homeostasis, but are believed to go further and act as allostatic agents, adapting response to maintain system stability in a more dynamic fashion, by changing interactive functions as opposed to the individual adaption’s made in homeostasis.
Not all Ginsengs are the same, and although Siberian ginseng is an adaptogen, it is not a true ginseng. Its roots are woody rather than fleshy, and it contains eleutherosides as opposed to ginsenosides. These also are triterpenoid saponins, but of a different adaptogen. The herb is actually Eleutherococcus senticosus as opposed to Panax ginseng and P. quinquefolius, both true Ginsengs. Siberian ginseng was misnamed as a marketing ploy.
American ginseng is Panax quinquefolius, sometimes referred to by the Chinese as Huaqishen. It, too, is an adaptogen and a true ginseng, containing ginsenosides. However, it contains much less ginsenonide Rg1 than panax. This ginsenonide appears to possess estrogen-like activity and improves spatial learning. The other forms of ginesonide found in panax ginseng are:
Ginsenoside Rb1: This appears in greatest concentration in American ginseng, and appears to have an effect on the reproductive system. It not only has an effect on the testicles, but is believed to increase testosterone production through its stimulating effect on luteinizing hormone. It also helps to rdeduce the incidence of angiogenesis, which is the formation of new blood vessels from old, and also a stage in the development of malignant tumors from dormant ones.
Ginsenoside Rc: this possesses sedative properties, and in a study on breast cancer was found to have an effect in inhibiting the growth of these particular cancer cells. Ginsenoside Rc might therefore have use in the treatment or prevention of breast cancer. Studies have also suggested that this ginsenoside could increase the motility of sperm: the motiliy of sperm was found to increase significantly in a solution of ginsenoside Rc.
Ginsenoside Rf: this is present only in panax ginseng, and studies have indicate that it has an inhibitory effect on the Ca2+ neural channels in the brain, and so cokld have an analgesic effect. Studies have as yet failed to explain this effect that is seen in animal tests, but are continuing on this ginsenoside.
Ginsenoside Re: this ginsenoside has strong antioxidant effects and has a significant antidiabetic effect in that is reduces insulin resistance, which is likely why ginseng is taken to treat Type 2 diabetes. Studies are ongoing into the properties of this ginsenoside, and also on the other 10 or more that are known to be present in Panax ginseng. The effects of ginseng are difficult to establish with certainity because they work through so many different pathways and it is difficult to isolate one. More than one ginsenoside, for example, affects the calcium channels in the brain, and it is difficult to determine which does what.
There are fewer ginsenosides in Panax quinquefoilius, and in the USA it is only the panax version that can be traded as simply ‘ginseng’. One of the main problems with all Ginsengs is that although it is one of the most studied plants, the majority of the studies have been on animals, and due to this, and the difficulties caused by the multiple pathways described earlier, many of the postulations have not been proved in humans.
However, if the theory as it is know today is taken into consideration along with the traditional uses of ginseng in traditional Indian (ayurvedic), Chinese and Native American medicine, it would be fairly accurate to say that ginseng is useful in helping your body to recover after illness or surgery, and to help you to deal with stress. It has also been proved to lower your blood glucose (sugar) levels, and help in the treatment of Type II diabetes, as already mentioned. There is evidence that it helps to boost your mental performance, memory and might help to slow down the onset of Alzheimer’s disease.
Ginseng can also give a boost to your energy levels, and it is genarally accepted that panax ginseng is more effective than the American version. In traditional medicine, Asian ginseng is said to be warming, and the American variery cooling. Thus Panax ginseng is useful for people recovering from illness and trying to recover their strength, acts as a tonic, stimulant and supports the immune system. In other words it helps the body to get whole again after being depleted.
It should not be used if you get very hot and red, such as with heat stroke, unless you use it in combination with the American version, because these are conditions of high yang and this type of ginseng will increase the yang even further.
American ginseng, on the other hand, is good for those with fevers, hypertension (high blood pressure), and suffereing the effcts of heat. It helps build the yin and reduce the yang, so if you always feel flushed and hot or are hyperactive then go for the American, and if you easily get chilled or find your hands and feet get cold very easily, reach for the Asian ginseng to increase your yang.
You often find ginseng as an ingredient in soft drinks, but the concentration is so low that it has no metabolic or pharmacological effect. The dose to be taken should be as stated on the pack, since there is no specific standardization. It has been noted that the effects can be lost if an excess of ginseng is taken, but generally the herb is safe and if you feel a bit down or lacking in energy, ginseng can work wonders for you.
Adapt To The Stresses Of Life with Herbal Adaptogens
October 18, 2007 11:13 AM
Life today places a number of different types of stresses upon us. There are the normal stresses of living, of facing problems at work, financial worries and family stresses. Schedules are becoming busier as we try to pack more and more into each day, and relaxation time is cut to a minimum. For many of us, the stress starts when we waken and rush through breakfast, if we have time for one, to catch the bus or train to work, or to slip into the morning traffic rush that takes us an hour to travel 10 miles or less.
Once at work we have problems to deal with that continue throughout a rushed lunch period, and then back to the stress of trying to return home in the evening to open the bills and check if we have enough in the bank to pay them. However, that is not all.
Our environment is continually changing, and our bodies are subject to the stresses of pollution from the planes, trains and automobiles, not to mention the pesticides, preservatives plastics and harsh lighting. The noise of air conditioning and the continual musak of the stores and shopping malls and everything else that goes to completely stress us out, weekdays and weekends.
That is ignoring the smog, the disappearing ozone layer and increased UV radiation, the greenhouse effect and global warming, El Nino and everything else that causes worry or affects the delicate balance of the body’s biochemistry. Rather than adapting to our environment we are continually striving to adapt the environment to suit our needs. We should develop a flexibility of mind and body so that we can survive these modern-day stresses, and this is where the substances known as adaptogens are important.
Adaptogens help us to adapt to the environment and withstand the stresses of modern life. The term was first used by Russian N.V. Lazarev in 1947 who defined an adaptogen as a substance meeting three specific criteria: it should cause a minimal disruption to the normal physiological function of the body, it must work by means of a range of chemical, physical and biochemical factors rather than through one specific action and must have an overall effect of normalization, so that no condition is aggravated to improve another.
There are a large number of identified adaptogens, among them several forms of ginseng: Panax, American, Siberian and Japanese; licorice, schizandra berries, rhodiola and others. These adaptogens tend to work in the body by improving the body’s availability and use of energy, improving the efficiency of removal of the metabolic waste and by-products, supporting the adrenal function so that the effects of stress are reduced or countered, improving the utilization of oxygen and helping to build up body tissue. In general the body works more efficiently in generating and using energy, muscle tissue and counteracting the effects of modern day stress, both environmental and psychological.
Of the Ginsengs, Panax is very expensive for regular use, although many people prefer it. However, studies have shown that Siberian, or eleuthero ginseng, is a stronger adaptogen that Panax which is also called Korean or Chinese ginseng. In fact the other forms, including American and Japanese, tend to over-stimulate the body, and can also cause unwanted side effects such as constipation and over-excitement. The Siberian ginseng tends not to show these symptoms.
Siberian ginseng contains seven active substances known as eleutherosides A – F which are not present in the other Ginsengs. These substances appear to have several properties that have been clinically proven. For example, they relieve insomnia, one of the symptoms of stress, high and low blood pressure, bronchitis, various forms of neuroses and, it is claimed, also some types of cancer. Siberian ginseng also allows humans to withstand noise, heat and extra stresses caused by severe workloads. It improves athletic performance and allows people to improve their work output under a variety of stresses. Athletes can train harder and recover quicker.
Another adaptogen is schizandra berries (also called schizandra chinensis and magnolia vine). Chinese herbalists class medicinal herbs by the five different flavors, sour, bitter, salty, acrid and sweet. Schizandra berries possess all five, and are therefore considered by the Chinese to balance all the systems of the body.
It is used in the West as a stress reducing adaptogen and is also included in sports and weight loss formulae. It helps insomnia and improves endurance and mental coordination. Schizandra is believed to be a good tonic for the liver and is often used in combination with Siberian ginseng (eleuthero) and licorice. The latter is another popular herb in China that is said to be a good tonic for the spleen. Licorice itself is a known anti-inflammatory since it contains flavanoids and saponins that promote the immune system. Licorice is thought be a useful supplement for HIV patients due to its effect on the immune system. It also increases corticosteroid levels by inhibiting the liver’s ability to break down adrenal hormone. However, people with high blood pressure should be careful with licorice since it can cause sodium retention. Like any other medication, you should seek your physician’s advice if you have any existing conditions.
Rhodiola, also referred as roseroot, is used for improved memory and enhanced vitality and it can also be used as a mood modifier. It is used by athletes of all types for increased strength and endurance, and improved cardiovascular and muscle recovery time. The Russians call it ‘Golden Root’ and it is a safe and effective adaptogen.
More and more people are turning to adaptogens to help them cope with the hustle and bustle of their daily lives, and they are becoming increasingly available from ordinary health stores. If you are finding it difficult to stay energetic and active then try them out. Not all work with every individual, but there is a large variety to choose from and most people are able to find an adaptogen that suits them and enables them to adapt to the stresses of daily life.
December 08, 2005 03:33 PM
Carnitine CreatinateNeil E. Levin, CCN, DANLA 6/30/05
LIKELY USERS: Athletes, Bodybuilders, Dieters, People who consume a lot of fat, People needing cardiovascular support (energy for the heart), People who need quick energy, especially for fast muscle response, People with muscle wasting problems (including the elderly), Weightlifters
KEY INGREDIENTS: L-Carnitine and Creatine Monohydrate
MAIN PRODUCT FEATURES: Carnitine Creatinate Monohydrate is a specialized form of Creatine bonded to L-Carnitine. Creatine is a compound natural to the human body that aids in the regeneration of ATP, the chemical energy used by muscle tissue. During exercise, large quantities of creatine are irreversibly consumed. Clinical studies have shown that oral supplementation with Creatine can increase the amount of Creatine available in muscles for ATP production. L-Carnitine is an amino acid that is necessary for the transfer of fatty acids into the fat-burning parts of the cell, facilitating energy production from fat. The combination of these two compounds can produce a synergistic effect, making NOW® Carnitine Creatinate an ideal energy supplement.
ADDITIONAL PRODUCT USE INFORMATION & QUALITY ISSUES: Carnitine and Creatinate Monohydrate is a patented ingredient that has been the subject of research studies. It is supported by the scientific staff in the laboratories of both NOW Foods and the raw material supplier, both of which have a mutual interest in protecting the integrity and efficacy of this product. Protected by U.S. Patent No. 5,994,581 (L-Carnitine Creatinate Monohydrate).
Look at the price: this is a better way to buy both supplements than purchasing them separately.
This formula is suitable for vegetarians and is offered in both tablet and powder forms.
SERVING SIZE & HOW TO TAKE IT: As a dietary supplement, every two tablets provide 1,000 mg. (one gram) each of both L-Carnitine and Creatine Monohydrate. Or one teaspoon provides 1,150 mg.) each of both L-Carnitine and Creatine Monohydrate. Take one or more servings per day with a carbohydrate source, such as fruit juice or sports drinks.
COMPLEMENTARY PRODUCTS: CoQ10, carbohydrates, B-Complex vitamins, chromium, vanadium, Hawthorn leaf and flower extract, protein supplements. Adaptogenic herbs: Ginsengs, Eleuthero, Rhodiola, Maca, Ashwaganda, licorice root
PRODUCT SPECIFIC: This product is very sensitive to moisture. Please keep in the original packaging or in a moisture resistant container. Do not take more than 20 grams per day. Discontinue use if cramps of stomach upset occur, especially if taking large doses. Do not take if kidney disease is present. Do not use large doses of caffeine with creatine, as it may increase the possibility of muscle cramping.
GENERAL: Pregnant and lactating women and people using prescription drugs should consult their physician before taking any dietary supplement. When taking any new supplement, use common sense and cautiously increase to the full dose over time to avoid any potential problems.
Packages may contain moisture or oxygen controlling packets or canisters that are not intended for consumption. In order to maintain maximum freshness, please do not remove these from your bottle (until the bottle is empty). Please recycle your container.
Disclaimer: These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.
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Ginsengs - Energy Tonics For Today's Hectic Lifestyles
June 30, 2005 09:34 AM
Ginsengs 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.
June 25, 2005 01:05 PM
Hypoglycemic activity has been reported from studies conducted on Asian ginseng, which may be beneficial for diabetics.31 It is interesting to note that ginseng increases serum cortisol levels in nondiabetics, yet it reduces serum cortisol levels in diabetics. This is benefi-cial for diabetics. It is also another example of the adaptogenic properties of ginseng and it is important to note the necessity of using the whole plant rather than only a portion. The ginsenosides, responsible for much of Ginsengs effects, do not contain hypoglycemic activity. The constituents responsible include glycans, adenosine, a carboxylic acid, a peptide and DPG-3-2.32
Physical and Mental Stamina
June 25, 2005 01:03 PM
Many studies have been done to determine the effectiveness of ginseng in a variety of countries. Incomplete results have occurred in some instances. Long-term studies are most often recommended because Ginsengs properties may not be seen in immediate experiments but are more effective when taken in small doses over a period of time. There have been enough credible studies done to now determine that high quality ginseng plants do contain active constituents known to be beneficial. Research has shown that the roots are effective against bronchitis and heart disease.16 Ginseng has been found to reduce blood cholesterol, build the immune system, improve brain function and memory, increase physical stamina, stimulate the function of the endocrine glands and strengthen disorders of the central nervous system.
Physical and Mental Stamina
A study down in the late 1950s and early 1960s by Brekhman and Dardymov in Russia involved an experiment with Soviet soldiers. They were studying the pharmacology and reactions of different varieties of East Asian ginseng. Some were given an extract of Asian ginseng and others a placebo before running a 3-kilometer race. Those given the ginseng ran faster with less fatigue than those given the placebo.17 Other tests performed by Brekhman involved gauging reading capacity after taking ginseng. It was noted that not only was the work and reading ability improved, but the effects continued for up to six weeks after the treatment.18
Another study giving radio operators either an Asian ginseng extract or placebo. The group given the ginseng performed better with fewer mistakes. The ginseng helped to increase stamina and mental function.19 A study involving rats followed the results when they were put in extremely cold water and forced to swim for a long period of time. The rats given the Asian ginseng were able to swim longer than the control group which indicated anti-fatigue activity. It is also important to note that ginseng increased the recovery rate of the exposed rats. The process was initiated in order to see if the point of exhaustion could be increased with the addition of ginseng. The results were favorable.20
Ginseng seems to be able to help slow glycogen utilization in the muscles when exercising. Fatigue accom-panying prolonged exercise is due in part to the depletion of glycogen and lactic acid build-up. Fatty acids are used as the energy source when there is enough oxygen available to reach the muscles reserving the glycogen stores to increase the body’s performance and reduce fatigue.21 Athletes may benefit from using ginseng to help improve and prolong their performance and abilities under stress during training and competition.
Serious athletes throughout the world use ginseng regularly. Some Olympic athletes take ginseng daily to increase and enhance their physical performance. Siberian ginseng has been found to help improve mental abilities in geriatric patients.22 This may be of benefit to all individuals as they age especially those prone to senility and Alzheimer’s patients. It is also thought to help an aging heart and brain tissue under stress and sustained work.23
Siberian ginseng has also been found to help increase energy and performance. Japanese medical researchers studied the extract of Eleuthero ginseng to determine anti-fatigue activity. The results showed increased physical performance and ability after taking the ginseng.24
June 25, 2005 12:56 PM
This valued plant known as ginseng can be purchased in different forms. White ginseng is what the root is called before any processing occurs. White is the natural color of the root after it is harvested and washed. When dried, the root becomes a light brown color. When the ginseng root is processed using steam and heat, it becomes red. This procedure is done in order to preserve the plant and its constituents. The heat process is thought to help stimulate the active properties in ginseng and some herbalists believe that the red ginseng is more stimulating than the white.2 There are a variety of types as well as grades of ginseng and ginseng products.
This is due in part to differences in age, source, part of the root used and the preparation. The old wild plants are the most desirable because of their nutritional content which is believed to increase with age. The western world often treats the different ginseng varieties the same. But in traditional Chinese medicine, the various types are thought to possess distinct properties. They are each valued for their differences and used for divergent purposes.
The Asian variety of ginseng (Panax ginseng) grows principally in Korea, Japan and China. Centuries ago the ginseng plant grew wild and was abundant. But because of the claims of its healthy properties, it has been depleted in its natural state almost to the point of extinction. Now it is grown commercially for export and local medicinal use. The Asian ginseng is often exported to the western world. It is unfortunate but most of the ginseng grown now is cultivated using pesticides to promote mass production. The Asian plant has similar composition to the American variety with some variations. It contains ginsenosides, the active ingredients, between one and three percent. There are at least thirteen of these different triterpenoid saponins, referred to as ginsenosides. The Asian contains Rb1, Rb2, Rc, Re, and Rg1.3
The Wild American variety of ginseng is still found in its natural state. This variety grows naturally and organically but is hard to find. There is an increasing amount of American ginseng being cultivated and grown for commercial use. Fertilizers and pesticides along with modern farming equipment aid in the production and high yield of this variety of ginseng. The American ginseng is thought to be less stimulating than the Asian variety. The American ginseng contains primarily the ginsenosides Rb1 and Re and does not contain Rb2, Rf and sometimes not Rg1.4 Generally, the American ginseng is thought to possess more of a sedative effect than the Asian ginseng. Differences in the chemical structures of the ginseng roots makes the identification process between the varieties easier. Siberian ginseng, though not considered a “true ginseng,” contains similar properties to the other varieties.
It was discovered in Siberia but is now cultivated around the world. Some of the saponins found in this variety are not the same as the Asian and American. But is known to have the same tonic and stimulant effect as the “true ginseng.”5 It is believed to be less potent than either the American or Asian Ginsengs. Research has documented may of its valuable adaptogenic capabilities.
GINSENG - KoreanAmerican(Panax quinquefolium), Siberian(Eleutherococcus senticosus)
June 25, 2005 12:54 PM
Ginseng and ginseng products are increasing in popularity. They have been highly valued for thousands of years in many different cultures for their medicinal properties. Ginseng is probably the most highly regarded tonic and adaptogenic herb in the world. There are many different varieties of the ginseng plant grown throughout the world that are used for traditional medicine. All of the most common species of plants known as ginseng have similar reactions in the body. Ginseng is often used to maintain and support health as a tonic rather than treating a particular disease in the body. Panax ginseng, also known as Asian, Korean or Chinese ginseng, is the type most often studied and the most abundant. The genus name for Asian ginseng is Panax ginseng from the Greek word meaning “all healing.” The Wild American variety, Panax quinquefolium, is thought to have properties similar to the Asian plant. Most consider it to be less stimulating than the Asian root. The Siberian ginseng, Eleutherococcus senticosus, grown in Russia originally and now throughout the world, is not considered to be “true ginseng,” though scientists have reported common pharmacological features to the Panax. The compounds in the Siberian variety, eueutherosides, are not the same as the ginsenosides found in the American and Asian, but they do have similar chemical activity. The American, Asian and Siberian Ginsengs are all considered to be superior adaptogens.1
Pep Up and Go!
June 14, 2005 05:45 PM
Pep Up and Go!
by Harris Parker Energy Times, February 2, 2000
Feel your energy flagging?
You've lost count of the number of phone calls you fielded all afternoon-the last was from your son, who missed the late bus home from school-and colleagues needing your decision are lined up outside your office. Your husband has invited clients home for dinner. You wilt like a new hairdo on a damp August day and pray for a miracle to jump-start your engine.
Your pep quotient depends on three essential ingredients: nutrients you consume through your diet and supplements, how much you exercise and your sleep schedule.(Of course, if you're troubled by any kind of disabling, ceaseless fatigue accompanied by mental fuzziness, joint pain, sore throat, swollen glands, headaches and other chronic distress, consult your health practitioner.)
Vitamins and Energy
Certain nutrients are called vitamins because scientists consider them to be crucial for vitality. They generally function as coenzymes, partnering with the enzymes that are catalysts for the chemical reactions constantly taking place in our bodies. Our need to replenish our store of vitamins, which may merge with cell, muscle, enzyme, hormone, blood and bone structure once they have been absorbed, depends on their rate of utilization, according to The Real Vitamin & Mineral Book (Avery) by Shari Lieberman, PhD, and Nancy Bruning.
While a low-fat diet rich in raw fruits and vegetables helps supply important nutrients, a B complex supplement and a balanced multivitamin can guarantee daily vitamin levels.
Be Energetic with B Vitamins
Vitamins, especially the B vitamins, play extremely important roles in producing cellular energy. The chart on page 39 lists the key vitamins and describes their effects as well as the consequences of not getting enough of them. Their benefit is felt most profoundly in the energy producing process known as the Krebs cycle (which we'll explain in a moment).
Vitamins B2 and B3, for example, supply the major building blocks for substances that are called flavin adenine dinucleotide (FAD and FADH) and nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD and NADH), which are critical elements of energy production in the Krebs cycle as well as a process called oxidative phosphorylation.
Hundreds of Reactions
Even though you may never have heard of NAD and NADH, these molecules are found in very many places throughout your body; they play a role in hundreds of biochemical reactions in all kinds of cells. B vitamins also combine with other materials to build coenzymes, chemicals which help form other chemicals necessary for cellular energy. B vitamins are crucial: miss out on one or more and you may break these metabolic chains necessary for peak energy.
Energy to Spend
The main energy currency of every cell single cell is ATP: a chemical called adenosine triphosphate. This material is used by cells for every imaginable task including reproduction, growth, movement and metabolism. Specialized metabolic cycles within the cell are designed to generate ATP.
Consequently, the more ATP our cells create, the more energy can be generated. The raw materials used to make cellular energy are glucose (blood sugar) and "free" fatty acids. The best way to supply your cells with the sugar they need is to consume complex carbohydrates which also supply fiber and other nutrients. When you eat carbohydrates, they are made into glucose which is stored as a starch called glycogen in muscles and the liver. Your body can rapidly turn glycogen into glucose for extra energy. (The process of making energy from glycogen yields carbon dioxide and water as well as ATP.)
The first step in making glucose into energy is called glycolysis. This complicated process requires nine different steps. During these steps, glucose is made into a substance called pyruvate. The process of glycolysis requires ATP, but yields twice as much ATP as is present when it starts.
From here, the process gets a little more complicated as pyruvate enters into a complex chain of events in tiny cellular structures called mitochondria. (Many metabolic events take place in the mitochondria.) The pyruvate molecules are converted to a molecule known as acetyl coenzyme A and eventually made into carbon dioxide, water and more ATP.
This process is known as the Krebs cycle or citric acid cycle. It also involves a series of events known as oxidative phosphorylation in which NADH formed during the Krebs cycle is oxidized to form ATP.
Why is fat such a concentrated source of energy? Free fatty acids enter the Krebs cycle to help generate ATP much more efficiently than glucose - producing roughly six times more energy per gram than glucose.
And Don't Overlook. . . . . .other supplements that may aid energy production: • Alpha Lipoic Acid, an antioxidant that works in the fatty tissues of cell membranes and in cells' watery interiors • Coenzyme Q10, also known as ubiquinone as it exists everywhere in the body, acts like a vitamin because it stimulates some reactions. CoQ10 protects cell membranes, especially of the heart, against oxidation and toxins.
Ginsengs: Energy Generators
With their legendary and slightly mysterious characteristics, the Ginsengs are greatly respected natural energy boosters. " Perhaps no herb has excited so much interest in medical circles as ginseng, and yet, strangely, it does not actually 'cure' any one particular ailment," reports Michael Hallowell, the author of Herbal Healing (Avery) and a frequent lecturer on botanic medicine. "Rather, its virtue lies in its tremendous power as a tonic and invigorator. Russian athletes are prescribed large amounts of ginseng because researchers in Moscow have shown that it not only improves stamina, but also increases the efficiency with which blood is pumped to the muscles."
What are the physiological mechanisms that allow ginseng to bolster your get up and go? In order to unravel the legend and lore of ginseng, the first step is understanding the intricacies of the three types: • Asian (Panax ginseng), which produces the strongest and most profound stimulation; • American (Panax quinquefolium), which soothes at a more subtle level; • Siberian (Eleutherococcus senticosus), a stamina booster embraced by a wide range of athletes. All three varieties are treasured for their ability to help people adjust to stress.
The Ginsengs are adaptogens, "biologically active substances found in certain herbs and plants that help the body and mind adapt to the changes and stress of life," says Stephen Fulder, MD, author of The Book of Ginseng and Other Chinese Herbs for Vitality (Inner Traditions). "Stress is not an illness in itself. Stress is change, our ability to adapt to all the changes that occur in life, emotional or physical, from exercise, work, chemicals, drugs, food, radiation, bacteria, disease, temperature, or simply too many late nights or too much fun."
The body reacts to stress by producing the hormone adrenaline, which throws the whole body into a state of alert. Metabolism, blood pressure and circulation accelerate; immunity and resistance drastically decline; performance suffers.
Enter the Ginsengs, with their varied, subtle tonic qualities. The Greek name for this herb, "panax," means "panacea" or cure-all. But the Chinese, who first referred to it 2,000 years ago, more literally called it "ren shen" or "person root," in reference to its physical resemblance to a miniature human form.
" Most exhibit medicinal properties, but each species has a different chemical makeup and has a unique application in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM)," says Kim Derek Pritts, author of Ginseng: How to Find, Grow and Use America's Forest Gold (Stackpole). "In general, all true ginseng contains biologically active saponins (chemicals similar to human hormones), essential oils, carbohydrates, sugars, organic acids, nitrogenous substances, amino acids, peptides, vitamins and minerals."
Building Vital Energy
All the Ginsengs strengthen, nourish and build Qi, the TCM concept describing basic vital energy circulating through our bodies. Every physical and mental function, from breathing, thinking, nutrition and circulation, is regulated by Qi. Although many of the Native American tribes used the abundant, indigenous Panax quinquefolium ginseng extensively, particularly to increase mental acuity and boost fertility, the herb never has been as popular in North America as it is in Asia. American ginseng traditionally has been a lucrative export crop to China, where the wild native variety suffers from overharvesting. Even today, according to Paul Bergner in The Healing Power of Ginseng & the Tonic Herbs (Prima), 95% of the American ginseng crop is exported to China, where XiYang Shen, or "western sea root," as it is called, is immensely valued and costs double what it does here.
Jacques MoraMarco, author of The Complete Ginseng Handbook: A Practical Guide for Energy, Health and Longevity (Contemporary), as well as a licensed acupuncturist and doctor of Eastern medicine, suggests American ginseng for a slight energy boost. The moderate effect of American ginseng is considered a more appropriate tonic to the intensity of our pace and diet.
Variations on a Theme
In TCM terms, American ginseng cools and moistens, as well as lubricates and strengthens the body. It is reputed to reduce fevers and night sweats and alleviate hot, dry lung problems like smoker's cough. With its emollient qualities, American ginseng is considered to treat dry, wrinkled skin effectively.
The Bolder Energizer
Asian ginseng, which includes red Korean panax, is a bolder energizer taken by those who feel depleted from anemia, blood loss, cardiovascular weakness, injury, shock or trauma, as well as the disabling effects of age. In general, Asian ginseng is warming and stimulating, urging the body to run faster.
Siberian ginseng, though botanically not a true ginseng, still acts similarly to Asian ginseng in its reputed power to control stress, boost energy, support the immune system, enhance performance and increase longevity. Called Wu Cha Seng in Chinese, Siberian ginseng is perceived by natural practitioners as an ideal herb for the healthy who want to lift both stamina and endurance. Experts believe it counteracts the effects of cortisol, the stress hormone produced by the adrenal glands in response to injury, pain or emotional turmoil.
Natural Energy Boosters
The herbal pharmacopeia includes several other natural energy boosters available in various forms-shakes and bars for those on the run-loaded with nutrition absent from commercial snacks. Some choices: • Ginkgo biloba-used in Chinese medicine to heat the body and increase sexual energy. Ginkgo enthusiasts take this herb to increase the supply of oxygen to the brain and generally increase circulation. • Gotu kola-may stimulate the central nervous system and help eliminate excess fluid, thereby reducing fatigue. • Astragalus-a Chinese herb that enhances energy and builds the immune system. It is credited with strengthening digestion, improving metabolism, increasing appetite, combating diarrhea and healing sores. • Schisandra-also a Chinese herb, treats respiratory illness, insomnia and irritability and rejuvenates sexual energy. Its mild adaptogens help the body to handle stress. • Licorice-is a favored endocrine toner in Chinese medicine. It is reputed to support the adrenals, the pair of small glands directly above the kidneys that secrete steroidal hormones, norepinephrine and epinephrine, the "fight or flight" hormones. People with high blood pressure or edema, or pregnant women, should avoid it. • Ashwagandha-an Ayurvedic herb used for thousands of years in the traditional healing of India as a potent strength builder for men and women.
Experienced herbal practitioners acquire an impressive and fascinating store of knowledge and experience-you'll find it helpful to visit one as you begin your course of ginseng or other energy-boosting herbs.
When you visit a TCM practitioner, you'll notice that she evaluates your body's condition through an extremely careful examination of all the different systems: Several pulse points are felt in order to ferret out and detect troubling abnormalities. The condition and color of the tongue is observed to decipher digestive disorders. In addition, your urine may be examined to determine other imbalances and specific health problems.
In many cases, your TCM practitioner will recommend ginseng as an adaptogen that can give you an overall boost. When taking ginseng, follow the directions on the package. Note: in some cases, you may want to consume a little bit less if you suffer headaches, insomnia or high blood pressure. Consult your health practitioner if you are afflicted with either acute inflammatory disease or bronchitis.
Then take comfort in the eternal soothing wisdom of Chinese Traditional Medicine. In the first century A.D., the Shen Nong Ben Cao Jing (The Divine Husbandman's Classic of the Materia Medica) effusively described ginseng and the tonic herbs in this beguiling and intriguing manner: "The first class of drugs...are considered to perform the work of sovereigns. They support human life and they resemble heaven. They are not poisonous regardless of the quality and duration of administration."