2265 North Clybourn Avenue    Chicago, IL 60614    P: 773.296.6700     F: 773.296.1131

Ginseng (Panax)

What Is It?

Look at the nutrition label on your orange juice or multivitamin and you may notice that ginseng has been added. That’s because smart marketers have caught on to this Herb’s 2,000-year-old reputation as a “feel good” tonic that can boost energy, combat the physical effects of stress, empower the immune system, improve concentration, and provide Antioxidant actions. Its legendary properties, particularly as an aphrodisiac, were once so prized in China that only the emperor was allowed to gather the herb. Today some men still take it to treat impotence and infertility although it’s unclear whether it actually improves these conditions.

The healing ingredients in Panax ginseng are concentrated in the root, or what traditional Chinese healers call the “man root” because it’s shaped like a person. This classic form of ginseng, also known as Asian, Chinese, or Korean ginseng, is the most widely available and extensively studied form.

Siberian ginseng (Eleutherococcus senticosus) and American ginseng (Panax quinquefolius) are botanical cousins with different effects. A growth period of four to six years is necessary for full maturity of the herb’s complex mixture of energizing compounds known as ginsenosides, panaxans (substances that reportedly lower blood sugar), and polysaccharides (complex sugar molecules that enhance the immune system).

High-quality ginseng root is expensive and must be properly cured to be of any therapeutic value. A recent analysis of products on the market revealed that some so-called ginseng supplements are devoid of active ingredients. Other examinations have found that the amount of active ginsenosides in different brands varies widely. Such ginseng products as chewing gum and soft drinks probably contain little if any of the root.

Use products standardized to contain at least 7% ginsenosides, the main active ingredient in ginseng.

General Interaction

Because of the risk of unwanted interactions, don’t take ginseng with MAO inhibitors (drugs primarily used to treat depression), antipsychotics, diabetes medications, heart disease medications, high blood pressure medications, diuretics (furosemide in particular), or oral Corticosteroids. Consult your doctor if you have any questions.

Ginseng may increase the risk of overstimulation and stomach upset when taken with methylphenidate (Ritalin) and other nervous system stimulants.

Consuming large amounts of caffeine or other stimulants while taking ginseng can result in nervousness, sleeplessness, elevated blood pressure, and other complications.

Cautions

Avoid ginseng if you have an acute illness, uncontrolled high blood pressure, an irregular heart rhythm, or if you are pregnant.

Because the effects of long-term use of ginseng remain to be carefully examined, avoid using it for more than three months at a stretch.

Ginseng is a stimulant, so don’t take it too close to bedtime.

Higher than commonly recommended doses may cause nervousness, insomnia, headache, skin eruptions, stomach upset, and increased menstrual bleeding and breast tenderness. If you experience any of these reactions, reduce your dose or stop taking the herb.

Ailments

Andropause – 600-700 mg mg twice a day or 1/2 tsp. liquid extract twice a day

Diabetes – Take 1-3 g of the crude root, or 200-600 mg of a standardized extract daily

Fatigue – 535-650 mg or 1/2 tsp. liquid extract twice a day

Impotence – 600-700 mg mg twice a day or 1/2 tsp. liquid extract twice a day

Infertility, male – 650 mg twice a day or 1/2 tsp. liquid extract

Stress – 100-200 mg 2 or 3 times a day

For product recommendations and orders click here for the Natural Apothecary or call 773-296-6700, ext. 2001.

Leave a Comment


Join our Newsletter

Get health recommendations, delicious and time-saving recipes, medical news, supplement reviews, birthday discounts, and more!

BIRTHDAY

Health Tips

Dr. Edelberg’s Health Tips contain concise bits of advice, medical news, nutritional supplement and pharmaceutical updates, and stress relief ideas. With every Health Tip, you’ll also receive an easy, delicious, and healthful recipe.

When you sign up to receive Health Tips, you can look forward to Dr. Edelberg’s smart and very current observations arriving in your in-box weekly. They’re packed with helpful information and are often slightly irreverent. One of the most common responses to the tips is “I wish my doctor talked to me like this!”

Quick Connect

Get One Click Access to our

patient-portal

The Knowledge Base

Patient education is an integral part of our practice. Here you will find a comprehensive collection of staff articles, descriptions of therapies and nutritional supplements, information addressing your health concerns, and the latest research on nutritional supplements and alternative therapies.

Join our Newsletter

Get health recommendations, recipes, medical news, supplement reviews, birthday discounts, and more!

Upcoming Workshops

**Facial Guasha Class
Thursday, March 12, 6:00–7:30pm
Hosted by Mari Stecker, LAc

Course Fee: $75.00
(Includes take-home facial guasha tool and custom anti-aging facial oil!)

Join us and learn a traditional Chinese facial rejuvenation technique that you can do yourself! Guasha treatment is a 2,000 year old Chinese massage technique that uses a flat tool to apply pressure to the skin to increase circulation as it moves along acupuncture channels. Learn more and register →

**Adrenal Boost!
Tue, April 28, 6:00 PM – 8:00 PM
With Naturopath Caley Scott and Yoga Therapist Renee Zambo

Course Fee: $75.00
(Includes custom adrenal herbal tincture and a description of yoga practices you can do at home.)

Feeling Tired? Need help improving fatigue? Learn to boost your energy! Dr. Scott will teach you about herbs that support your adrenal glands to help boost your energy and adapt to stress. Renee will teach practices that restore and build energy, support daily activities, and ensure sound rest at night. More →

Recent Health Tips

  • When Your Sex Drive is on Life Support

    Low desire? No more orgasms? Is your sexual enjoyment a nonexistent priority in your partnership? Sex is such a physical/emotional chore that you’d rather be burning the calories in a Pilates class? Part of our intake questionnaire at WholeHealth Chicago asks if you’re satisfied with your sex life and fully half of our newcomers either indicate no or leave it unanswered. This pretty much lines Read More

  • Breakthroughs in Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

    To me, the greatest advance for the estimated 2.5 million adults, adolescents, and children with chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) has been the slow but steady acceptance of its very existence by the conventional medical community. This has been a real uphill battle and we’re encouraged to finally see some (guarded) victories. The first description of what would be later called chronic fatigue syndrome came in Read More

  • It’s The Carbs. It’s Always Been The Carbs.

    Somewhere in my library is a copy of Gary Taubes’ 2008 Good Calories, Bad Calories, one of several books that appeared in the wake of the really vicious controversy that surrounded Robert C. Atkins, MD’s Dr Atkins’ Diet Revolution, which first appeared in 1972, has been published in 13 revisions and editions, and continues to sell around the world. It’s challenging to convey the extent Read More

Join our Discount Program!

Member benefits include 10% off all your purchases. Low, one-time membership fee of $25 ($35 for family).

MORE INFORMATION