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(Korean ginseng - Panax ginseng)


Ginseng (manroot) is a hardy perennial woody shrub which grows in woodland under trees and other shrubs, originally in China and Korea. It has a history of herbal use going back thousands of years. It is one of the most highly regarded of herbal medicines in China, where it has gained an almost magical reputation for being able to promote health, general body vigour and also to prolong life. The roots are harvested in the autumn, preferably from plants 6 - 7 years old, and can be used fresh or dried. The leaf is emetic and expectorant.

korean ginseng root

The ground root is a powerful adaptogen, stimulant and tonic. It both stimulates and relaxes the nervous system, encourages the secretion of hormones, improves stamina, lowers blood sugar and cholesterol levels and increases resistance to disease. It is used internally in the treatment of debility associated with old age or illness, lack of appetite, insomnia, stress, shock and chronic illness. Ginseng should be avoided by pregnant women, those under the age of 40, or those with depression, acute anxiety or acute inflammatory disease.

Ginseng is normally only taken for a period of 3 weeks. Excess can cause headaches, restlessness, raised blood pressure and other side effects, especially if it is taken with caffeine, alcohol, turnips and bitter or spicy foods. A dose of 10ug/ml of ginseng saponins has been shown to be significantly radio-protective when it is administered prior to gamma-irradiation.




(Siberian ginseng - Eleutherococcus senticosus)

siberian ginseng 

‘Siberian ginseng’ is classified as an entirely different plant species from true ginseng, although of very similar appearance and found found in similar woodland habitats in China, Japan and Siberia. The roots (corms) are harvested in the autumn and dried for later use.

siberian ginseng root

Siberian ginseng is a powerful tonic herb with an impressive range of health benefits. Unlike many herbs with a medicinal use, it is more useful for maintaining good health rather than treating ill health. Research has shown that it stimulates resistance to stress (adaptogen) and so it is now widely used as a tonic in times of stress and pressure. This plant is a very commonly used folk treatment in China and Russia where it is used as a substitute for true ginseng (panax geninseng - see above).

It is a pungent bitter-sweet warming herb that is said to be stronger in its action than korean ginseng. Regular use is said to restore vigour, improve the memory and increase longevity. The root and the root bark are adaptogenic, anti-inflammatory, hypoglycaemic, tonic and vasodilating. It is taken internally during convalescence and in the treatment of menopausal problems, geriatric debility, physical and mental stress etc]. It works by strengthening the bodies natural immune system. It has also been used to combat radiation sickness and exposure to toxic chemicals. This herb should not be used by children and like ginseng, should not be used for more than 3 weeks at one time. Caffeine should not be taken when using this herb.



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