Ginseng for Everything
The herb, better described as a root, called ginseng is of the genus Panax and for at least a couple of millennia has been used and valued in Chinese medicine. The most commonly used species are cultivated Asian ginseng and American ginseng which is both cultivated and harvested in the wild. Siberian ginseng had gained some popularity, being touted in quality as equal to the Asian ginseng; however, over time it has proven to be inferior in quality and effectiveness.
Research Proves Ginseng Okay
There have been many research studies and tests done on ginseng to evaluate its effectiveness in various situations. Some diseases and conditions are very serious and should be evaluated by a physician before taking on any type of self-cure. Ginseng is used in a variety of ways and it does take a longer period of time to see results, so one must be prepared to be consistent over several months in order to see long-lasting effects of using this herb.
Based on scientific evidence, ginseng can modestly improve mental performance. The testing was done using standardized measurements of reaction time, concentration, learning, math and logic and benefits were noted in both young people and older people who were ill. There have been several studies which report people with Type 2 diabetes were positively affected with ginseng by the dropping of blood sugar levels in both fasting and non-fasting states.
Heart Conditions and Stamina Affected
It was reported that ginseng caused improvement in pulmonary function and exercise capacity in patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). A combination of herbs, including ginseng, were reported to reduce symptoms of coronary artery disease in studies from China. Anginal chest pain was reduced and heart abnormalities may have improved when seen on an ECG.
Commonly used by athletes for the improvement of stamina, ginseng helps to decrease fatigue and is considered a good, overall tonic. Ginseng may lower high blood pressure and assist in dealing with depression as it promotes a sense of well-being. Along with a healthy lifestyle, the use of ginseng is thought to be an aid in cancer prevention.
Ginseng and Cancer
Perhaps some of the most important reports concern cancer and the effect ginseng has on cancer patients. Debra Barton of the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota conducted studies on patients with a variety of cancers who were expected to live for at least six months. Different doses of ginseng were used and the reports indicated that those taking between 1,000mg and 2,000mg found their symptoms of fatigue improved to moderately better or much better. Those taking a lower dosage also reported improvements.
Dr. Nancy Davidson, an oncologist at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, and president of ASCO was quoted as saying, "I wouldn't have predicted this, I have to admit. We might want to test this on a large scale."
Perhaps the day will come soon when, in conventional medicine, medicines which have serious side effects will be replaced by herbs which have few, if any side effects.