Panax ginseng is a member of the Araliaceae family of plants, which includes the closely related American ginseng and less similar Siberian ginseng. Panax ginseng commonly grows on mountain slopes and is usually harvested in the fall. The root of panax ginseng is used preferably from plants older than six years of age.Panax ginseng is different from American ginseng and Eleuthero. They are not interchangeable.
Unlike American ginseng and Eleuthero or Siberian Ginseng, panax has been a part of Chinese medicine for thousands of years. It is used in connection with many conditions such as cancer, anxiety, colds, flu and for lowering blood levels of sugar and cholesterol, as in type 2 diabetes and high cholesterol. Most commonly known as an adaptogen, panax ginseng is currently being used in Asian countries to treat heart conditions and lungs, as well as for an overall health enhancer. Panax ginseng has been known to have a relaxing effect on the muscles in the lungs. The resulting airway relaxation may help to calm asthma symptoms and other airways constricting lung conditions. In some studies a combination of panax ginseng and gingko seemed to increase memory and thinking processes.
Taking panax ginseng orally may enhance male fertility by increasing sperm count, quality, and movement, as it activates the body system that increases production of certain hormones. To increase athletic performance, panax ginseng is often added to sports drinks or supplements. It has, however, not been proven effective for this use.
Also used for women, it is supposed that panax ginseng can cause an effect similar to that of estrogen, by stimulating hormone production and related chemicals. In some laboratory studies, panax ginseng increased the production of breast cancer cells. It is possible that this is achieved by activating estrogen receptors. Panax ginseng may increase blood levels of substances that the body converts into estrogen according to some studies. More studies are being performed to verify the hormonal effects of panax ginseng.Dosage and Administration
Panax ginseng may be taken by mouth or applied topically. It can be applied directly to the penis in treatment for erectile dysfunction in men. It is available in capsules, dried root powder, fresh root, liquid extracts, and teas. Usually it is standardized to contain 7 of the active ingredients known as ginsenosides.
The amounts of active chemicals in panax ginseng vary greatly according to how the plants are grown, harvested, processed, and stored. Panax ginseng products may be extended with other types of ginseng that are less expensive to produce.
Recommended daily dose of oral Panax ginseng is:
- Fresh Root - 500 mg to 3000 mg (0.5 -3 grams).
- Dried root powder capsules - 200 mg to 600 mg.
Tea may be made by soaking chopped fresh root or 1500 mg (1.5 grams) of dried root powder in about 5 ounces of boiling water for 10 to 15 minutes. Strain to remove solid particles. You may wish to sweeten the tea or flavor it with other herbs to make it more enjoyable.
It is encouraged to discontinue use after 3 months for a period of 2-3 weeks if using panax ginseng continuously. It is always best to follow the directions on the package.