Perhaps the most famous herb of all time is Ginseng. Its history of therapeutic use is some 2000+ years and has a multitude of physical and psychological benefits. On the physical side, Ginseng has been shown to:
1. Improve energy or “qi” of the body. For those individuals who feel constant fatigue or malaise, Ginseng may be the herb for them.
2. Strengthens the lungs. Athletes have benefited from the use of Ginseng for a long time as it improves endurance and lung capacity.
3. Tonifies the spleen and the stomach. We went into detail about the spleen in the last newsletter. . Symptoms such as lack of appetite, abdominal distention, chronic gastric problems and even prolapses (stomach or uterus), Ginseng can be a great benefit.
4. Generates fluid and stops thirst. In cases of prolonged fever or again, athletics, consider this herb.
5. Ginseng is one of the most powerful herbs to strengthen the heart and the immune system.
On a psychological level, Ginseng has been known to:
a. Calm the spirit. Symptoms would include anxiety, restlessness, vague fears and constant worry.
b. Improves memory. A combination of Ginseng with Ginkgo or Gotu Cola is a powerful herbal memory enhancer.
c. Alleviates insomnia. The “spirit” is said to reside in the heart (according to Oriental Medicine). When the heart is strengthened, the spirit is strong, centered and calm. One’s thoughts are clear and centered, and creativity abounds.
d. Calms or facilitates dreams. If one is having dreamed- disturbed sleeps, take 2-4 drops of Ginseng prior to bed. Have a problem and feel you are “stuck?” Do the same as Above – 2-3 drops. Soon as you awaken, write down the Information that you receive.
What about the types of Ginseng?
There are four major ones – Chinese or Ren Shen, Korean, American and Siberian Ginseng. The aforementioned characteristics in terms of physical and psychological benefits are common to all four types but some differences are noted.
Chinese Ginseng is very warming in nature. Individual who tend toward cool or cold (Ex/ “Everyone else is fine but I always seem to need a sweater.”) would be candidates for Ren Shen. As a general rule, women benefit more from Chinese Ginseng as it also has blood building qualities.
In Traditional Chinese Medicine Korean Ginseng is believed to have the strongest stimulating properties of all the Ginseng’s. Korean Ginseng promotes blood circulation, tonifies Qi, thereby increasing immune function and invigorating the body. As mentioned, it strengthens the lungs and spleen, increases nutritive fluids, settles the mind, restores energy, sustains mental alertness, and improves the appetite and digestion.
Korean Ginseng is typically given to individuals who are greatly depleted (ex/ prolonged illnesses such as cancers) or world class athletes (Ex/ ultra- marathon runners). Be careful of the dosage if taking this as it can be very stimulating for some. As a general rule, men benefit more from Korean Ginseng.
American Ginseng is the opposite of Chinese. It is very cooling in nature and individuals who run warm or hot would benefit more so from American Ginseng (Ex/ “No matter what the temperature is, I have to have the AC on.”) Heat and dryness correlate so individuals with dry skin or hair, bloodshot and/or dry eyes, great thirst and perspire excessively are candidates for this form of Ginseng. Finally, if you are having problems with tendons, sinews, ligaments or joints, consider Siberian Ginseng. This is the major characteristic of this form and has been known to significantly improve those areas of the body, in particular the knees.
Ginseng ranges in price from $10 to $10,000. (Yes, that is ten thousand dollars! Not a misprint.) High quality Ginseng, in its unprocessed form should look like a female figure. The upper portions are used to treat the upper part of the body while the lower part of Ginseng is used for the lower sections. The highest quality of Ginseng comes from Wisconsin and from Korea, in this order. Most health stores carry a variety of Ginseng but the ideal places to find high quality affordable Ginseng are Chinese herb stores. A month’s supply would cost around $25 for good quality.
One more note, avoid the liquid Ginseng that are mixed with honey. They are usually in glass tubes, 10 per box. This form of Ginseng is very low quality and contains a high sugar content. They are more akin to candy than medicine. That’s all for this issue! Remember to forward this to others who can benefit from the content.