Ginseng is an adaptogenic herb that enhances and supports the energy body while supporting physical strength and stamina. As an adaptogen, it supports the adrenal glands as it nourishes the nervous system and creates an energy force that works to alleviate blockages in the body. There are 12 meridians, 6 on each side of the body that flow vertically from the meridian points — connecting an energetic flow throughout the body. This enhances the life force energy and the overall health and vitality of our organ systems, known as Qi or Chi pronounced as ‘chee’.
Think of your home. If you walked into a cluttered room barricaded with boxes, littered with trash, and dirty walls, how would this make you feel upon entering? Possibly stressed, less energized, maybe sick, and wanting to exit ASAP! Well, if this is the state of your internal body then the energy body will suffer. A clean environment with good energetic flow is harmonious.
Ginseng helps by supporting the qi. It gets things moving. When we experience repeated emotional or physical stress, it can have effect on our nervous system, brain, thought patterns, and adrenals. We can become stuck in fight or flight mode. This impairs digestion, mood, and wake/sleep cycle – leaving one in a state of fatigue or constantly on-the-move, until the head hits the pillow at night and we crash.
You can use adaptogenic herbs alone or in a combination with other herbs. As an adaptogenic herb, it “sets things in motion”. What’s wonderful about Ginseng is that it has an affinity for the body as a whole. The root itself reflects the human form from its flowering tops to its roots that resemble legs.
You may have heard of ginseng or seen it used in combination with other herbs. It’s revered as being an elixir of life and is called Panax ginseng in recognition of its supposed power of curing all ills. In Chinese mythology, one of the Eight Immortals ate ginseng root that was two feet long, and it was called “godlike”.
Other common names for ginseng result from the region where it is grown. Korean Ginseng, Wild American Ginseng, and Siberian Ginseng, which is now known as Eleuthero. Eleuthero, also known as Siberian Ginseng, is a distant relative of Asian ginseng (Panax ginseng). Although, it belongs to a different plant genus entirely, eleuthero does share many properties with true ginseng.
Historic Use And Cultivation Of Different Types Of Ginseng
1. Panax Ginseng ( Known As Asian, Chinese, and Korean Ginseng)
It is a 5,000 year old tonic and restorative herb. Cultivated in China and Korea. It is used in China as an anti-aging herb and also does the following:
- Calms nerves and ulcers
- Boosts immune system
- Controls fatigue and stress
- Enhances hormone secretion (adaptogenic/aphrodisiac)
- Improves stamina
- Reduces blood sugar and cholesterol levels
- Provides overall sense of better health
Traditional Medicinal Uses
- Blood sugar imbalances
- Kidney degeneration
- Liver disease
- Radiation poisoning
- Sexual indifference
- Shortness of breath
- Spontaneous perspiration
- Suppuration sores
It is also useful in the following rehabilitating diseases:
- Chronic anemia
- Coronary problems
- Aids in quicker recovery post-surgery
Panax Ginseng is gaining popularity in the treatment of allergies, AIDS, cancer, Candida albicans, high cholesterol, and rheumatoid arthritis.
Korean ginseng also contains substances which stimulate the brain, central nervous system, heart and blood vessels, liver enzyme production, and overall metabolism. It is a harmless substance which raises the body’s immunity to negative geological, chemical, and physical influences, such as extreme temperatures, hunger, and emotional or mental stress. It has been reported to help prevent hair loss and brittleness, perhaps due to its ability as a vasodilator, allowing healthy blood supply to carry nutrients where it is needed – encouraging hair growth and overall health.
2. Wild American Ginseng (Scientifically Known As Panax Quinquefolium)
It is used by Native Americans, gaining popularity in 1700s. By mid-1800s, exportation of ginseng to China became a herbal gold rush, resulting in many Native Americans participating in the collection of wild roots. The Obijwa people may have been the only ones to plant seeds to replace the herb — leaving it now an endangered species.
- Endangered species, Listed under CITES to preserve what remains of native populations.
- Cultivated in Wisconsin, China, and France.
- Chinese considered American ginseng an entirely different plant with different properties than Panax ginseng.
- Has cooling, anti-inflammatory properties.
- Acts as Yin tonic for overheated conditions due to stress, excessive caffeine intake or over-stimulation.
- Helps break fevers (scarlet fever).
- Stimulates fluid production, especially saliva, in a dehydrated individual.
- Beneficial for the lungs.
- Dry coughs due to lung chi deficiencies.
- Acts as Yin tonic for blood loss, coughs, fatigue, fever, hot flashes, irritability, night sweats, smoking, thirst, weakness, and wheezing.
- Its tea form, on a regular basis, is said to help maintain beauty, tone and refine skin, strengthen fragile capillaries, and reduce dryness and wrinkles.
Ginseng is a wonderful adaptogenic herb that works with your body. It helps you adapt better to the world around you, as it adapts – while supporting – the world within.