Korean Ginseng Helth Benefits, Usage, Cautions Side Effects

Korean Ginseng refers to the dried root of Panax ginseng (Araliaceae), a perennial herb with characteristic branched roots extending from the middle of the main root. Panax ginseng C.A.Mey is also known as Asian ginseng, Chinese ginseng, Korean ginseng, Oriental ginseng and Renshen.

Korean Ginseng is used to promote good overall health and boost the immune system. It improves stamina, and mental and physical performance.

Ginseng is beneficial for men as it promotes libido and performance. It helps in erectile dysfunction, hepatitis C, and symptoms related to menopause.  When taken in appropriate dose, it lowers blood glucose and controls blood pressure.

Short-term use in recommended dose, Koran Ginseng appears to be safe for most people. Excessive and/or prolonged use might cause side effects. The most common side effects are headaches and sleep and gastrointestinal problems. Some people can be allergic to it.

Latin Name of Korean Ginseng

Panax ginseng

Other Names

Five-fingers, Red berry, American Ginseng,Chinese Ginseng, Korean Ginseng, Oriental Ginseng

Korean Ginseng Dried root

The main root is fusiform or cylindrical, 2.5–20 cm long by 0.5–3.0 cm in diameter. Externally greyish yellow. Upper part or entire root exhibiting sparse, shallow, interrupted, and coarse transverse striations and distinct longitudinal wrinkles. Lower part bearing 2–5 branching lateral roots and numerous slender rootlets with inconspicuous minute tubercles.

Rhizomes 1–4 cm long by 0.3–1.5 cm in diameter, mostly constricted and curved, bearing adventitious roots and sparse depressed circular stem scars.  Texture relatively hard, fracture yellowish white, cambium ring brownish yellow, starchy.

Habitat

Panax ginseng is indigenous to China. It is cultivated in China, Korea, Japan and Russia.

Distribution

It is found in Mountain regions of China (Manchuria), the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Japan, the Republic of Korea, and the Russian Federation (eastern Siberia).

Compounds found in Korean Ginseng

Triterpene saponins

  • Aglycone (20S) protopanaxadiol: including ginsenoside Ral, Ra2, Ra3, Rbl, Rb2, Rb3, notoginsenoside R4, Rsl, Rs2, Rs3, Rs4, malonylginsenoside Rbl, Re, Rd
  • Aglycone (20S)protopanaxytriol: including ginsenoside Re, Rf, Rgl, notoginsenoside Rl
  • Aglycone oleanolic acid: including ginsenoside Ro, chikusetsusasaponin- V Rbl, Rb2, Re, Rd, Re, Rgl
  • Water-soluble polysaccharides: panaxane A to U
  • Polyynes: including falcarinol (panaxynol), falcarintriol (panaxytriol), examples estered with acetic acid or linolenic acid

Dosage forms of Korean Ginseng

  • Capsules
  • Crude plant material
  • Extracts
  • Lozenges
  • Tablets of powdered drugs
  • Tonic drinks
  • Wines

Korean Ginseng dosage

Unless otherwise prescribed, daily dose (taken in the morning): dried root 0.5–2 g root. To make an infusion, pour boiling water over roots and strain after 5 to 10 minutes.

Homeopathic Dosage: 5 drops, 1 tablet, 5 to 10 globules or 1 mL injection solution sc twice weekly.

Korean Ginseng Benefits

Boosts Male fertility

Ginseng extract enhances the mating behavior of males. It stimulates spermatogenesis and increases the motility and survival of sperms. The ginsenosides, depress blood prolactin levels, thereby increasing libido.

In one clinical study, 90 patients with erectile dysfunction were treated with ginseng saponins (600 mg orally per day). This Treatment improved rigidity, tumescence, and libido.  The saponins have shown enhancement of erectile capacity mediated by endotheliumderived relaxing factor and peripheral neurophysiologic enhancement.

Korean Red Ginseng given orally as 600 mg three times daily has been effective in Erectile Dysfunction.

Prophylactic and restorative tonic

Korean Ginseng promotes an overall improvement in physical and mental performance. It is adaptogenic due to presence of ginsenosides. It produces a non-specific increase in the body’s own defenses against exogenous stress factors and noxious chemicals.

Protects from damage by stress

Korean Ginseng resist the damaging effects of various stressors most likely through the hypothalamus–pituitary– adrenal axis.

Immunomodulatory

The immunomodulatory activity is also present in ginseng.

Improves performance

Intake of Ginseng brings Improvement in physical and mental performance and in learning ability.

Ginsenosides Rg1 and Rb1 are the active nootropic constituents of the Ginseng. It causes vasodilatation, which improved brain and coronary blood flow. Oral standardized Ginseng 400 mg daily was effective in improving cognitive function.

Ginseng given 100 mg twice daily has improved oxygen capacity, reduction of maximum stress frequency, increase in ling function parameters and shortened reaction time to visual stimulants after 11 weeks.

Manages diabetes

Korean Ginseng modestly lower blood-glucose levels and potentiate the blood-glucose-lowering effects of conventional oral antidiabetics.

Ginseng contains a number of constituents with hypoglycemic activity. Ginseng increases plasma insulin level by stimulating insulin secretion from pancreatic islets, and enhanced insulin sensitivity by increasing insulin binding to receptors. It stimulates hepatic glucose utilization by increasing the activity of glucose-6-phosphate 1-dehydrogenase, phosphorylase a, and phosphofructokinase.

Dosage of 100-200 mg of oral standardized Ginseng has been effective in Type 2 diabetic patients.

Lowers triglycerides and cholesterol

Korean Ginseng saponins activate lipoprotein lipase, an enzyme that reduces chylomicrons and very low-density lipoproteins, and results in a decrease of triglycerides and cholesterol.

Korean Ginseng Indications

  • Convalescence
  • Coughs
  • Dyspnoea
  • Enhancement of mental and physical capacities
  • Fever
  • Gastrointestinal disorders, gastritis and ulcers
  • Hypothermia
  • Impotence
  • Lack of stamina
  • Liver disease
  • Loss of concentration
  • Nervous disorders
  • Prevention of hepatotoxicity
  • Prophylactic and restorative agent
  • Rheumatism
  • Tuberculosis
  • Vomiting of pregnancy
  • Weakness, exhaustion, tiredness
  • Erectile dysfunction
  • Low libido
  • Sexual weakness

Korean Ginseng Contraindications

  • Do not take in case of heat, acute infections, acute asthma, hypertension, excessive menstruation or nose bleeds.
  • Do not use with stimulants, including excessive use of caffeine.
  • It may interact with monoamine oxidase inhibitor phenelzine and also with warfarin.
  • Korean Ginseng is contraindicated in hypertension.

Korean Ginseng Side effects & Warnings

  • Consuming caffeine with ginseng increases the risk of overstimulation and gastrointestinal upset.
  • Diabetic patients should consult a physician prior to taking ginseng, as ginseng intake may slightly reduce blood glucose levels.
  • Do not use with amphetamines.
  • Estrogenic-like side-effects have been reported in both premenopausal and postmenopausal women.
  • Higher doses can overstimulate and aggravate insomnia, irritability, depression, headache, palpitation, hypertension, and can cause tremor, euphoria, skin eruptions, menstrual abnormalities, diminished sexual function and weight loss.
  • It has antiplatelet activity, so excessive bleeding cannot be ruled out.
  • It may cause side effects related to an estrogen-like activity in women.
  • It may increase libido in premenopausal women.
  • It may reduce blood glucose levels.
  • Mastalgia with diffuse breast nodularity has been reported with ginseng use.
  • Panax ginseng may reduce the effects of warfarin.
  • The use of ginseng is not associated with serious adverse effects if taken at the recommended dose level.
  • Oral Ginseng and Ginseng face cream have been associated with post-menopausal vaginal bleeding.

Over dosage

Excessive and uncontrolled intake of ginseng products should be avoided.

When taken in large quantities, ginseng is reported to result in hypertension, nervousness, irritability, diarrhea, skin eruptions, and insomnia, which were collectively called ginseng abuse syndrome.

Carcinogenesis

Ginseng is not carcinogenic or mutagenic in vitro.

Pregnancy

The safety of Ginseng for use in pregnancy has not been established.

Maternal use of Ginseng has been associated with neonatal androgenization, thus it is not recommended for use during pregnancy or lactation.

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