The ancient Chinese believed that ginseng had many health benefits and helped improve many health conditions. Ginseng is believed to improve blood flow, improve memory and improve thinking. The Chinese believe that if you drink ginseng tea on a regular basis, it can make you more alert. Improved blood circulation can also bring more blood flow throughout the body and increase energy and enhance sexual functions. Ginseng is also believed to reduce stress and help in relaxation and to improve sleep. Ginseng may also lower blood sugar and cholesterol levels and help to control hypertension. Ginseng can also increase longevity and slow down cellular degeneration. The root of the ginseng plant contains ginsenosides (or panaxosides), the active ingredient in ginseng that is responsible for ginseng¡¯s medicinal effects. The western world remains somewhat skeptical of the medicinal effects of ginseng. The U.S. Pharmacopoeia no longer lists ginseng and the British Pharmacopoeia does not mention ginseng. In the west, the goal of modern medicine is to treat or cure a disease with drugs, not necessarily to maintain general health. Ginseng has never been shown to cure any disease states, just maintain god health, which, in turn, would prevent disease from occurring. As more people look to alternative medicines or methods to improve their health, ginseng use and popularity has been increasing in the western world. **Please note that before you start any ginseng regimen, speak to your doctor, especially if you have a bleeding or clotting disorder, diabetes, heart disease or hypertension or if you are taking any medications for these health conditions.** Ginseng is generally safe and has very few side effects.
The most common side effects are nervousness, excitability, and diarrhea. More uncommon, but serious side effects that have been reported include asthma attacks, palpitations and uterine bleeding in postmenopausal women. Caution should be exercised when consuming caffeine with ginseng as this may increase the risk of over stimulation and insomnia. Seek immediate medial attention if you think you took too much ginseng or if an allergic reaction occurs. Taking too much ginseng may result in muscle tension, sleeplessness, and swelling or fluid retention. Ginseng is not recommended during pregnancy and for women who are breastfeeding. There is not enough information available to recommend the safe use of ginseng in children under the age of 18. The Food and Drug Administration do not regulate herbal products and supplements, including ginseng.