Panax Ginseng a great well documented herb to reduce stress but is it of there any foundation to it’s use as a nootropic smart drug let us get the facts?
Many health benefits have been claimed for panax ginseng, but, as with many other traditional remedies, little has been proven.
As ginseng is a plant that is freely able to grow by anyone, there is little incentive for drug companies to invest in large-scale trials, which means that most of the studies we have are the efforts of enthusiastic amateurs and perhaps-biased Chinese researchers.
The primary health benefit claimed for ginseng is that it reduces stress without otherwise harming the body something like alcohol, only without the side effects.
The few studies that have been done have shown a few other benefits: it was proven to slightly reduce the risk of flu in old people, for example.
The most controversial claim (again, one that is made for many traditional medicines) is that ginseng helps to fight cancer but while this has been shown to be true in animals, it does not seem to have any effect in humans.
Red ginseng has a few extra health benefits: it even further reduces the risk of cancer in some animals, and has also been proven to be an effective treatment for impotence, although nowhere near as effective as real impotence medicines such as Viagra.
Similarly, wild ginseng has the same effects as normal, domestic ginseng, but is a lot more powerful.
Many of the problems with studying ginseng come from the sheer number of different types on the market and different places they are grown, as every variety seems to produce slightly different effects.
Studies from China make somewhat vaguer claims for ginseng, including one government-funded study that concluded that ginseng ‘increases quality of life’.
It seems likely that this is more of an attempt to promote Chinese agriculture than anything, however.
In the end, the only real proven benefit for ginseng is that it reduces stress, and, indeed, this is the reason most people take it.
As a stress treatment, ginseng can be very good, but don’t expect the world from it.
Asian Panax Ginseng Medicinal Uses, Interactions, Side Effects, Dosage
Asian, Chinese, Korean, or “true” ginseng are all common names for Panax ginseng, one of the world’s oldest known herbal medicines.
The word Panax, of Greek derivation, means “all-cure” and gives rise to the word panacea.
In Chinese, “ginseng” (schinseng) refers to the human-shaped figure of the root, which is believed to suggest powerful properties.
White ginseng refers to the unprocessed dried root, while red ginseng refers to the steamed root, which is red or caramel colored.
Uses and Benefits:
Ginseng has been used for thousands of years in Asian countries to boost energy, relieve stress, improve concentration, and enhance physical and cognitive performance.
It is claimed to be a general restorative, tonic, or adaptogen, which restores the body’s balance, enhances stamina, and increases resistance to stress and disease.
Among many other claims, ginseng is also recommended as an aphrodisiac, for cardiovascular diseases, to prevent or treat cancers, and to prolong life.
In traditional Chinese medicine, ginseng is used to restore the vital life force (qi or chi) in the body.
Asian ginseng is considered more stimulating or heating (yang), while American ginseng is considered more calming or cooling (yin).
The triterpene saponins, commonly referred to as ginsenosides, are considered to be the main pharmacologic constituents of P. ginseng.
At least 30 of these steroidal compounds have been described, based on their sugar side chains.
The most abundant or important ginsenosides are Rg-1, Rg-2, Rb-1, Rb-2, Rc, Rd, and Rf.
Like lipid-soluble steroid hormones, ginsenosides may insert into cell membranes and interact with membrane channels and proteins, or transverse the membrane to initiate genomic effects.
In addition, polysaccharides, polyacetylenes, and other non-saponin constituents of P. ginseng have pharmacologic activity.
Hundreds of in vitro and animal studies, mostly from the Asian and Russian literature, have investigated the biochemical and pharmacologic activities of P. ginseng, and numerous properties have been described.
For example, pharmacologic effects on the cardiovascular system (anti-ischemic, antiplatelet, vasodilatory), endocrine system (hypoglycemic, ACTH-stimulating), immune system (immunostimulatory, anti-inflammatory), and nervous system (CNS-stimulating and inhibiting) have been reported.
Cytoprotective, cognitive, and anticarcinogenic activities are also alleged. Cytoprotective effects include resistance against ischemia, toxins, oxidation, and radiation.
In this video you’ll discover the nootropics benefits of Ginseng.
Including which types of Ginseng make the best nootropic, recommended dosage, side effects and clinical research.
Ginseng helps improve mood and reduce stress. Ginseng provides neuro-protective effects on the dopaminergic-pathway which can help with ADHD.
And ginseng is a serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor. Working as an antidepressant and helping some symptoms of ADHD.
Ginseng also acts as an anti-inflammatory by reducing cytokines. And as an anti-oxidant. Boosting ATP production in mitochondria, in part because this antioxidant effect shields and protects mitochondria.
Courtesy of NootropicsExpert
Adverse Effects Asian Panax Ginseng
Side effects appear to be mild and uncommon, and are usually similar to placebo in controlled clinical trials.
Rare idiosyncratic reactions have been reported, such as Stevens-Johnson syndrome and cerebral arthritis.
Estrogen like properties such as vaginal bleeding and mastalgia have been associated with ginseng use in isolated reports.
However, a cause and effect relationship is doubtful, as controlled clinical studies of standardized products have not demonstrated hormonal effects.
Many of these reactions are most likely due to adulteration or contamination by unrelated herb or drug products, which has been well described with many Asian herbal medicines.
CNS-stimulation and a “ginseng abuse syndrome” (hypertension, nervousness, insomnia, skin eruptions, and morning diarrhea) were described in 10-20% of chronic ginseng users in an uncontrolled survey of psychiatric patients in 1979.
These adverse effects have not been observed in controlled studies, and this “syndrome” is probably nonexistent.
However, several Asian ginseng supplements have been reported to contain significant amounts of methylxanthines, and CNS-stimulation has been reported with ginseng use in other psychiatric patients.
Effects and Interactions:
Asian ginseng appeared to inhibit the effects of warfarin in one patient, although no interaction could be detected in a rat model.
Ginseng combination products were loosely associated with stimulant or manic effects in two patients taking phenelzine, a monoamine oxidase inhibitor.
Overall, interactions do not appear to be a significant concern, but data is limited.
Adulteration or contamination with drugs (e.g., steroids, stimulants, sedatives), pesticides, and heavy metals has been well described for many Asian herbal medicines, and is a particular concern for pregnant and nursing women.
Although caution in using ginseng during pregnancy and breast-feeding is advisable, in a survey of 88 women who consumed ginseng during pregnancy, reproductive outcome was no different than matched controls.
No mutagenic, carcinogenic, teratogenic, or adverse reproductive effects are seen in animal models.
Preparations & Doses:
Ginseng is commercially available as the whole or powdered root, in capsules and tablets, as teas, candies, and in many other forms.
In traditional Chinese medicine, 10 g or more may be employed, usually in combination with other herbs such as Ginkgo Biloba.
In Western herbal medicine, 1-2 g/day of a crude or powdered root preparation is commonly used.
Commercial extract products (standardized to 4% ginsenosides) are usually dosed as 100 mg b.Ld., which is equivalent to about 1 g/day of ginseng root.
The proprietary extract examined in many controlled trials (G115, standardized to 4% ginsenosides) is marketed in the U.S. as Ginsana, and the product combined with vitamins and minerals as Vitasana (Pharmaton Natural Health Products).
The American Botanical Council’s Comprehensive Ginseng Evaluation Program recently analyzed 13 commercially available “standardized” Asian ginseng products for lot-to-lot consistency.
Most products were reasonably consistent, but the ginsenoside content of a few products was more variable.
Summary Evaluation of Asian Panax Ginseng
Asian ginseng is claimed to have multiple pharmacologic and clinical effects, most of which have not been established in rigorous controlled trials in the Western literature.
Although some controlled studies have reported potential benefits, many others offer contrasting results and thus provide little convincing evidence.
The overall evidence does not support claims that Asian ginseng can reliably improve physical performance, cognitive functioning, and quality of life.
Beneficial effects on fatigue, diabetes, and viral URIs have been demonstrated in single or limited clinical trials, but in general, the efficacy of Asian ginseng is not established beyond a reasonable doubt for any indication.
Side effects appear to be rare. Although millions of people have taken ginseng daily for years, suggesting that it is very benign, adulteration or contamination of Asian ginseng products with unwanted substances is concerning.