Panax Ginseng has been valued as a medicine in China for over 2,000 years. It has traditionally been used by elderly Asians to boost physical and mental vitality. Only the root is medicinal.
The active ingredients in Ginseng are a set of compounds called ginsenosides. These complex chemicals have a variety of effects, ranging from stimulation of the nervous system to reduction of blood sugar levels. The herb also has an antioxidant effect, stimulates the immune system, thins the blood, and reduces "bad" cholesterol levels. Ginseng is most commonly used for fatigue.
Panax ginseng is native to China, but is also cultivated in Korea, Japan, and Russia. An almost identical plant, Panax quinquefolius, grows in the United States and was, in fact, exported to China during the 18th Century.
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Products containing Panax Ginseng
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Special Considerations Because of its blood-thinning effects, Ginseng should not be combined with anticoagulant drugs such as Coumadin, or with nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs that tend to cause bleeding, including Aleve, Anaprox, Indocin, Motrin, Naprosyn, and Orudis. Be cautious, too, when taking the herb with insulin or other diabetes drugs. The combination could lead to an excessive drop in blood sugar levels. There have been reports of headache, tremors, and mania when Ginseng is taken with the antidepressant drug Nardil. Many Ginseng products may also interfere with certain water pills. Check with your doctor before combining Ginseng with this type of drug
Cautions At recommended dosage, Ginseng has no side effects; however, too much may cause insomnia, headaches, nervousness, nosebleeds, and vomiting.