Search Term: " Legends "
Ginseng, Its Good For The Body
October 05, 2009 11:35 AM
Ginseng, one of the oldest and most beneficial herbs in the world, is probably the most popular herb used in traditional medicine. It was rated the highest and most potent of herbs in Shen-Nung’’s Pharmacopoeia in AD 206-220. People in northern China began using ginseng thousands of years ago. Early herbalists recognized the shape of ginseng as resembling a human figure, feeling this was a sign that the root was important for healing the entire body. Often, ginseng is referred to as the “man root” and is often the subject of many Legends and fold history. The Chinese revered the ginseng root so highly that they even fought wars over the land used for growing this herb.
There are many different types of the ginseng plant that are grown throughout the world and used for traditional medicine. All of the most common species of plants known as ginseng have similar reactions in the body. Ginseng has often been referred to as an adaptogen herb, helping to normalize and adjust the body. This herb also restores and regulates natural immune response. Ginseng helps produce adjustments as needed in the body without side effects or harm. This herb has been used to help normalize blood pressure. This adaptogen helps to modify the effects of the environmental and internal stresses from various sources like chemical pollutants, radiation, some poisons, weather, temperature changes, poor diet and exercise, and emotional stress. Used for many ailments, ginseng is thought of as a universal cure-all, promoting longevity in general.
A great variety of studies have been done in many countries to determine the effectiveness of ginseng. In some instances, incomplete results have occurred. However, there have been enough credible studies done to now determine that high-quality ginseng plants do contain active constituents that are very beneficial to the body. Research has even shown that the roots are effective against bronchitis and heart disease.
There has been a lot of interest in the alleged aphrodisiac effects of ginseng. Often marketed as a sexual stimulant, the results of most studies have been inconclusive. Ginseng does increase the sperm count. For thousands of years, ginseng has been used to strengthen the male reproductive system. It is highly recommended alone or in combinations for both male and female health.
Ginseng contains at least thirteen known triterpenoid saponins, which are referred to as ginsenosides. These are thought to be the most important active constituents. Many other minor components have been isolated as well. The age, location, species, and curing method of each plant effects the composition. Some of the plants tend toward stimulating and warming effects, while others have relaxing and cooling effects.
The root of the ginseng plant is used to provide adaptogen, alterative, aphrodisiac, stimulant, and stomachic properties. Primarily, ginseng is extremely beneficial in dealing with age spots, appetite loss, asthma, high blood pressure, and depression, lack of endurance, fatigue, fevers, hemorrhage, hormone imbalance, sexual stimulation, and stress.
Additionally, this herb is very helpful in treating aging, anemia, bleeding, blood diseases, bronchitis, and cancer, lack of concentration, gastric disorders, indigestion, inflammation, impotence, insomnia, liver disorders, and lung disorders. For more information on the many beneficial effects provided by ginseng, please contact a representative from your local health food store.
July 12, 2005 09:52 AM
HISTORY or Milk Thistle
Natural substances which afford us protection from toxins and potential carcinogens have recently come to the fore front of scientific attention. Compounds known as antioxidants, which can help minimize the damaging effects of chemical stru c t u res called free radicals, are extensively used today. One of these protectant substances is not as familiar to most people as vitamin C or beta-carotene. It is an herb called Milk Thistle and it has some extraordinary protective properties. Milk Thistle, also known as Silymarin has enjoyed a long history of use in European folk medicine. Centuries ago, Romans recognized the value of this herb for liver impairments. They routinely used the seeds and roots of the plant to restore and rejuvenate a diseased liver. Pliny the Elder, an ancient Roman, re c o rded how the juice of Milk Thistle, when mixed with honey was used for carrying off bile. Dioscorides extolled the virtues of Milk Thistle as an effective protectant against snake bites. The genus silybum is a member of the thistle tribe of the daisy family. Two species of the plant exist and both are native to southern Europe and Eurasia. Plants which grow in the Southern United States actually have more potent seeds than their European and Asian counterparts. Milk Thistle is a stout and sturdy looking plant, which can grow up to 12 feet tall. The flower heads can expand to six inches in diameter and are a vivid purple color. They usually bloom from June to August. Very sharp spines cover the heads. The leaves are comprised of hairless, milky bands, and when young, are quite tender. Historically, the seed of Milk Thistle was used as a cholagogue which stimulated the flow of bile. The seed was also used to treat jaundice, dyspepsia, lack of appetite and other stomach disorders. Homeopathic uses included:
peritonitis, coughs, varicose veins and uterine congestion. While tonics were sometimes made from the leaves of Milk Thistle, the most valuable part of the plant was contained in its seeds.
Milk Thistle is also known as Marian Thistle, Wild Artichoke, Variegated Thistle or St. Mary’s Thistle. Reference to Milk Thistle as “Vi rgin Mary” stems from its white milky veins. Legends explained that these veins were created when Mary’s milk fell on the thistle. Subsequently, a connection between the herb and lactation arose, which has no scientific basis for its claims. Milk Thistle is frequently confused with Blessed Thistle, which does act to stimulate the production of mother’s milk. Gerarde, a practicing herbalist in 1597, said that Milk Thistle was one of the best remedies for melancholy (liver related) diseases. In 1650, Culpeper wrote of its ability to remove obstructions in the liver and spleen. In 1755, Von Haller recorded that he used Milk Thistle for a variety of liver disorders. Subsequently, Milk Thistle became a staple agent for the treatment of any kind of liver aliment. European physicians included it in their written materia medica. Unfortunately, for an extended period during the 18th century, the herb was not stressed, however in 1848, Johannes Gottfried Rademacher rediscovered its medicinal merits. He recorded in great detail how Milk Thistle treated a number of liver ailments and spleen disorders. His research was later confirmed in medical literature. In the early 20th century, Milk Thistle was recommended for female problems, colon disorders, liver complaints and gallstones. Almost every significant European pharmaceutical establishment listed Milk Thistle as a valuable treatment. In recent decades, Milk Thistle has been primarily used as a liver tonic and digestive aid. Nursing women who wanted to stimulate the production of their milk used Milk thistle as a traditional tonic. As mentioned earlier, modern day medical science now refutes this particular action of Milk Thistle, however, its benefit to the liver has been confirmed.
German herbalists have routinely used Milk Thistle for treating jaundice, mushroom poisoning and other liver disorders. This therapeutic tradition contributed to modern German research into Milk Thistle, resulting in its use as a widely prescribed phytomedicine for liver disease. Silymarin or Thisilyn, as it is also known, is a relatively new nutrient in the United States. Since 1954, scientists have known the Milk Thistle contained flavonoids, however, it wasn’t until the 1960’s that they discovered the just how unique silymarin is. Silymarin was considered an entirely new class of chemical compound, and its therapeutic properties continue to impress the scientific community.
June 25, 2005 12:57 PM
Ginseng is one of the oldest and most beneficial herbs in the world. It is probably the most popular adaptogenic herb used in traditional medicine. Shen- Nung’s Pharmacopoeia (A.D. 206-220) rated it the highest and most potent of herbs. People in northern China began using ginseng thousands of years ago. In fact, in 1904, it was suggested that all of the 400 million individuals who lived in China were familiar with and used ginseng to some degree.6 It was used to restore the “yang” quality in the body to heal disorders such as t u b e rculosis, coughs, diabetes, diarrhea, indigestion, nausea, kidney problems, rheumatism, gout, infected sores, insomnia, leprosy, and impotence. It was often used, and is still today, as a tonic to rejuvenate the body after an illness or prolonged stress.
Early herbalists recognized the shape of ginseng as resembling a human figure. They felt this was a sign that the root was valuable for healing the entire body.7 It is often referred to as the “man root” and is the subject of many Legends and folk history. Proponents of the “Doctrine of Signatures” felt that because of the roots shape, it could heal any disorder in the body.8 The Chinese were so enthralled with the ginseng root that they even fought wars over the land used for growing it.
The Native Americans also enjoyed the healing, tonic benefits of the American ginseng plant. It was valued by the natives long before the arrival of the Europeans. Many tribes knew well the therapeutic powers of ginseng. They used it to relieve nausea, indigestion, vomiting, stomach problems, bronchitis, earaches, bleeding, asthma, headaches and as an aphrodisiac. The Cherokees referred to ginseng as “The Plant of Life” and used it to help relieve female problems such as menstrual cramps and excessive bleeding. The Mohawks were familiar with the value of ginseng and used it to help relieve fevers accompanying illness.9 The Seneca tribe was known to use ginseng to help elderly individuals prevent difficulties associated with the aging process.10 The Native Americans saw nature as a friend and looked for healing agents within the plant kingdom. American ginseng was used and valued for its medicinal properties. Folklore and customs are now being investigated in this world of modern medicine to rediscover the natural approach in healing and health.
Father Jurtoux has been credited with discovering the American ginseng. He was a French priest transferred from China to Canada around 1709. He collected some of the root near Montreal because they resembled the Panax ginseng. He shipped some back to China where it had a favorable reception. The French soon began employing some of the Native Americans to collect and then exported the American ginseng to China. Word of this fabulous and profitable ginseng spread to the United States. Soon the American ginseng was gathered and exported to China by Americans. Ginseng was a popular item in the early frontier days. It was used not only for trade but for consumption locally. George Washington mentioned ginseng in his personal journal, and famous frontiersmen such as Daniel Boone and Davy Crockett were known to have been involved in the exporting of ginseng.