By Ted Wosko and Sandra Wosko
As you know good food is good health and Ginseng is a supplement that I have taken daily for several years now, for me it really does help with tiredness and I believe helps to suppress my stress levels.
My friends are always saying that I generally appear calm and never stressed, well all I can say is that it is a good job they are not with me 24 hours a day as it might paint a different picture.
But it is true, I have felt calmer since taking it and although some people think that the effect is physiological, I disagree, and I am really pleased that new studies carried out have shown benefits from taking regular ginseng supplements.
There are generally three types of ginseng, the 'true' ginseng- Panax found in Asia, Panax quinquefolius- America and Eleutherococcus senticosus in Siberia, used as supplements.
Ginseng has also been used for centuries as a Traditional Chinese Medicine, where it is administered as a tonic for its beneficial effects on the body's central nervous system, anti-fatigue properties, and protection from stress ulcers and increase of gastrointestinal mobility including metabolic acceleration. Also it is highly considered as an enhancement of sexual functions.
Ginseng is an adaptogenic herb from the Aralacae plant family. Adaptogens are known and defined as being a therapeutic and restorative tonic, which are considered to produce a good feeling - balancing effect on the body.
For any substance to be defined as an adaptogen, it is required to be innocuous and cause minimal changes or disorders in the physiological functions of an organism. Therefore, an adaptogen is a substance that is thought to help the body deal with the pressure of stress levels, as the substance has to possess a normalising action that is irrespective of the direction of the pathological changes.
Ginseng contains ginsenosides, these are thought to combat fatigue and stress by aiding and supporting the adrenal glands and improve the use of oxygen by exercising muscles.you can obtained it in either root or powder form. The root is often chewed by Eastern people for its aphrodisiac properties, and is also well known the world over for this. Ginseng is generally safe and without side effects. But as with all supplements, it is recommended that individuals with a pre-existing medical condition, or taking any other forms of medication should seek advice from their health care professionals on guidance and advice.
In rare instances consuming caffeine with ginseng can increase the risk of over stimulation and gastrointestinal upset or insomnia. Also it is not recommended during pregnancy or for breastfeeding women.
As always the correct guidance should always be taken from the product labeling, as different products use different standards of extract, but generally a daily intake of 100 - 300mg capsules taken over a 3 - 6 week period is required to produce the adaptogenic and energetic benefits.
Daily requirements of 1-2gm a day of root American or Asian ginseng, and 2-3gm of Siberian is recommended for production of the adaptogenic and energy benefits, but again always check the products labeling for correct dosage.
Red and white ginseng are the other two primary classes of ginseng, the white root being dried naturally where as the red ginsengs colour comes from a drying process that is said to increase the potency.
White ginseng is for promotion of general well being and good health and the red variety is often used for aiding disease recovery.
Recent studies have been carried out on ginseng and cancer patients, as the illness causes a great deal of stress, anxiety and fatigue, any reduction of this would be greatly beneficial.
The study was carried out on patients who were expected to live for at least six months. They were divided into four groups, each group was to receive different dosages daily of either - a placebo, 750mg, 1,000mg or 2,000mg of ginseng in capsule form. All patients were given the same crop of Wisconsin ginseng to ensure a level potency.
The study took place over an eight - week period. Patients who received the 750mg dose compared to the group who were given the placebo reported a slight or little improvement in general well-being and fatigue.
25 percent of the group given the 1,000mg reported moderately better or much better fatigue symptoms and also vitality and well being was moderately improved.The group with the 2,000mg had over 27 per cent reporting moderately better or much better fatigue symptoms and moderate improvements in vitality and well-being.
Doctors said that any improvement in well- being and vitality, goes a long way on helping a patient whatever the illness, and being an adaptogenic is useful for most patients.
Another study has been carried out again using cancer patients at the Vanderbilt University Medical Centre, which focuses heavily on an'interdisciplinary approach' to cancer treatment, care and prevention.
30 percent of the patients were already regular users of ginseng before their breast cancer was diagnosed. The study team found that these subjects when compared to patients that had never taken it, had a significantly reduced risk of death.Pleasingly, it was found that ginseng use after diagnosis attributed to a higher quality of life score, in association with areas of psychological, social well- being and fatigue. It was noted that as the amount of ginseng administered was increased, the quality of life improved.
Nowadays, we in the Western world are looking to the herbalists of the Eastern world for all types of natural remedies, that they have tried and tested for thousands of years. In every town you will now find Traditional Chinese Herbalists popping up as we also reap the benefits of their knowledge.
Just be sure to check with your practitioner as a precaution before taking ginseng or any other supplements for guidance and advice.
Remember good food is good health
Ted & Sandra