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By: Sarah@JoyAmaze

Ginseng

You removed all distracting electronic devices; television, personal computer, mobile phones and the likes from your bedroom. You redecorated it for a more relaxing ambience, yet have you ever face the time when you woke up feeling weary and bone tired, even after an early night? Worst of all, does anybody complain you behave negatively and out of character, lately? Do you notice that you are suddenly easily irritated and sometimes downright hostile, especially when you’re behind the wheel? If these scenarios are familiar to you, then there’s a chance you might be experiencing stress and fatigue.

 

According to Dr. Hans Selye, a renowned Austrian-Canadian endocrinologist, stress can cause the body’s homeostasis to change. Health problems arise when the body’s homeostasis unable to return back to normal. Panax ginseng or Asian or Korean or Chinese ginseng is an adoptogenic herb and is used as an energy tonic to promote and restore homeostasis, and strengthened and support the energy (chi) functions of most of the organs, especially the five visceral (vital) organ systems – kidney, liver, lungs, spleen and heart. In Traditional Chinese Herbalism, exertion, persistent overwork and staying up late coupled with bad greasy diet and eating hastily can tax these organs, resulting in premature aging (kidney); easily angered or feeling of frustration (liver); feeling of constant lethargy (spleen); excess sweating (lung); and anxiety, restlessness and insomnia (heart). The fortifying ginseng is believed to be able to revitalize the organs and reverse the symptoms.

 

American cardiologist, Dr. Meyer Friedman observed the body-language of his patients, which he and his colleague, Dr. Ray Rosenman later classified as Type A and Type B personality. Individuals with Type A personality are the most susceptible to stress and fatigue due to their ambitious, competitive and “always in the hurry” nature. According to Dr. Friedman, these individuals are usually impatient, always checking the time and sit restlessly on the edge of their seats. In clinical studies, ginsenosides, chemical compounds abundantly found in the herb has been proven to lower stress hormone, the cortisol – promoting calmness and re-energize and rejuvenate the whole being.

 

Panax ginseng can be considered as an energy powerhouse due to its ability to boost physical stamina and mental performance and concentration even during (prolonged) stressful period, making it a suitable functional tonic not just for athletes but also working adults, including the ones who work in shift or suffer from lack of sleep. In traditional Chinese Medicine, ginseng is one of Fu Zheng herbs used for Fu Zheng therapy, which means to normalize the center and support vital energy. All the Fu Zheng herbs, are valued for their ability to boost vitality, particularly in an already weaken body. As for modern clinical trials, several studies have shown promising results of ginseng usage, especially in terms of reducing fatigue, which includes idiopathic (sudden) chronic fatigue, increase endurance, enhance memory, learning, improved coordination and reaction time. One of the studies involved a group of student nurse working the night shift. For two weeks the nurses were given ginseng extract where the result showed improvement in their work performance, mood and helps to alleviate fatigue.

 

Panax ginseng can exhibit side-effects, especially for people with digestion problems. It can induce nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and insomnia. Although the herb is not estrogenic, it must be avoided by anyone who is suffering from hormone-related cancer. Individuals who are going to undergo surgery also must avoid it as the herb may interact with the anesthesia. Pregnant ladies and breastfeeding mothers are advised to steer clear from ginseng. If you are taking any medication or supplement, please consult your physician or medical practitioner whether it is safe to consume Panax ginseng without any unwanted herb-drug interaction.

 
References:

Blair, L 2011, Stay Calm Stay Healthy, Reader’s Digest, United Kingdom

Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, accessed on August 26, 2014

Public Health Service, accessed on October 13, 2014

The Chiropractic Resource Organization, accessed on August 26, 2014

The Herb Research Foundation, accessed on August 25, 2014

 

Wiley Online Library:

Botanical characteristics, pharmacological effects and medicinal components of Korean Panax ginseng C A Meyer, accessed on August 25, 2014

A Comparison of the Ancient Use of Ginseng in Traditional Chinese Medicine with Modern Pharmacological Experiments and Clinical Trials, accessed on October 10, 2014

Yance, D.R 2013, Adaptogens in Medical Herbalism, Healing Art Press, Canada

 

PHOTO: FOTOLIA/PROMOLINK – http://www.fotolia.com/

 

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