Scientific Name: Eleuthero
NOTE: Eleuthero is different from both American ginseng and Panax ginseng. They are
Siberian ginseng is a genus of the panax (true ginseng) plant. Widely known as an
adaptogen, a substance that may help assist people in dealing
with physical and emotional stress, Siberian ginseng has been
used to increase the capability to peform physical tasks and to
relieve stress. Chemicals in eleuthero appear to produce moderate
reductions in blood sugar and blood cholesterol levels and
modest improvements in memory and concentration. In
laboratory studies, various chemicals found in eleuthero have
also shown antiviral and anticancer properties.
What is ginseng?
Ginseng is a herb used in traditional medicine for thousands of years. In Mandarin the word
Ginseng literally means root of man. It was so named because the root of this plant resembles
the shape of a human body. Almost 2,000 years ago, the great Chinese medical directory
stated that ginseng increased longevity. The main active ingredients in ginseng are called
ginsenosides. The higher the quantity of ginsenosides, the better the quality of the ginseng.
Some people classify ginseng as an adaptogen; a substance which helps the body resist the
effects of physical and environmental stress. Some people also claim that ginseng can increase
physical endurance under stress, improve mental alertness, memory, thinking ability or even
reistance to infection. Based on the Herb Bible by Earl Mindel, PhD and Ginseng by Betty
Kamen, PhD, ginseng facilitates the reduction of cholesterol and blood pressure. Ginseng may
also reduce the risk of metastasis (spread) of tumor (cancer). In addition, ginseng may also
hels protects the user from viral infection and reduced cellular oxygen. Ginseng helps reduce
discomfort caused by menopause.
There are two major types of ginseng: American and Asian. Asian ginseng contains high
contents of the active ingredients, while American ginseng is mild. Siberian ginseng belongs to
different family of herbs. The "ginseng" in this article refers to Asian ginseng.
What are the side effects of ginseng?
Ginseng is widely used as an aphrodisiac and a stimulant. When used appropriately, ginseng
appears to be safe. NCCAM suggests that its use be limited to 3 months because of concerns
about the development of side effects. We must be more aware of the side effects and the
potential drug interactions of ginseng, and avoid long term use of ginseng supplements. The
common side effects of ginseng side effects are mental status changes [nervousness,
restlessness, excited feeling, trouble sleeping, gastrointestinal problems etc.]. Other side
effects include vaginal bleeding, mastalgia diarrhea, high blood pressures*. Ginseng may also
cause allergic reactions. [2,6,7]
*Most reports stated that ginseng has hypotensive effect, instead. 
People with the following conditions should consult with their doctors before taking
People with mental problems. A 56-year-old woman with previous affective disorder presented
a manic episode during ginseng intake. Symptoms disappeared rapidly with low doses of
neuroleptics and benzodiazepines after ginseng suppression. 
People who are preparing for surgery. Ginseng may increase the risk of bleeding, Ginseng
should be discontinued prior to dermatologic surgery to minimize the risk of surgical
People who drink coffee and smoke excessively. A 39-year-old female patient experienced
menometrorrhagia, after a prolonged use of oral and topical ginseng. This patient also had a
habit of smoking, and drinking coffee. After stopping smoking, drinking coffee and using
ginseng products for about two weeks, she had no sign of menometrorrhagia or
tachyarrhythmia and her hemoglobin levels were in the normal range. Smoking and coffee
consumption, along with ginseng use, (or just ginseng alone) can be responsible for
arrhythmogenic effects .
People who have high/low blood pressure or diabetes or those who are using
medications/herbs to control blood pressure. Ginseng may have effects on blood pressure and
increase the risk of bleeding. [4,7] Ginseng may also lower blood sugar levels. This effect may
be seen more in diabetes. Thus, people with diabetes should use extra caution with ginseng,
especially if they are taking blood sugar lowering medicines or other herbs including bitter
melon and fenugreek.
In general, we should consult doctor before taking any supplements.
STUDIES SHOW THAT GINSENG IS SAFE
In a 4-week-placebo-controlled study involving 77 women, no side effects were observed for
the 34 subjects supplemented with a mixture of ginseng, ginkgo, and damiana, L-arginine,
multivitamins, and minerals. 
Forty-five patients with class IV cardiac function were divided into three groups: group I
(digoxin group), group II (Red Ginseng group) and group III (Red Ginseng plus digoxin
group). After treatment, the improvement of the hemodynamical and biochemical indexes of
group II and group III were greater than those of group I, and group III was the most
significant amongst all. The results suggested that Red Ginseng and digoxin had synergism for
treatment of congestive heart failure, and Red Ginseng was an effective and safe adjuvant
without any side effects. 
Ginseng has demonstrated multiple health benefits in various population subgroups.
Cold Symptom Complex Kaneko et al confirmed the preventive effects of medical ginseng on
the common cold symptom complex, including flu, by clinical observation. [Kaneko et al,
Kaneko Heart Clinic, Proof of the Mysterious Efficacy of Ginseng.., J Pharmacol Sci. 2004
Learning and Memory Deficits Nishijo H. found that red ginseng has ameliorating effects on
learning and memory deficits due to hippocampal lesions and aging in rats. [Nishijo et. al,
Proof of the meysterious efficacy of ginseng..., J. Pharmacol Sci.2004 Jun;95(2):145-52.]
Cancer Kim et al concluded that ginsenosides Rg3 and Rh2 could inhibit the proliferation of
prostate cancer cells. [Effect of ginsenosides Rg3 and Rh2 on the proliferation of prostate
cancer cells. Kim et al., Pusan National University, Korea. Arch Pharm Res. 2004 Apr;
Immunoglobulin Production Enhancement Ginseng extract was prepared by boiling the ginseng
root in 50% ethanol. Then, this extact was injected into mice. The researchers found the
serum levels of immunoglubulins IgM, IgG and IgA were significantly elevated.
[Inteaperitoneal injection of ginseng extract enhances both immunoglobulin and cytokine
production in mice, Liou et al, Kang-Ning Junior College of Medical Care and Management,
Taiwan, China. Am J Chin Med. 2004;32(1):75-88]
Lim et al extracted water-soluble ginseng marc polysaccharide and studied its effect on murine
peritoneal marcrophages. They found this chemical significantly increased the lysosomal
phosphatase activity and the phagocytic index of peritoneal macrophages.
[Immunomodulating activities of polysaccharides isolated from Panax ginseng. Lim et al,
Yonsei University, Korea. J Med Food.2004 Spring;7(1):1-6.]
THIS ARTICLE IS FOR YOUR REFERENCE ONLY. IF YOU HAVE QUESTIONS, YOU SHOULD CONSULT
WITH YOUR DOCTORS. It is important to inform your health care providers about any herb or dietary
supplement you are using, including Asian ginseng. This helps to ensure safe and coordinated care.
ALL RIGHT RESERVED 2005 zhion inc. DO NOT COPY NOR TRANSFER THIS ARTICLE TO OTHER
WEBSITES OR OTHER TYPES OF PUBLICATIONS.
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