The Trouble With Ginseng

Ginseng is available in many forms and its 5,000-year history has helped boost its sales in many health food stores.

The plant, which is promoted as a panacea, is sold as chewing gum, tea, powder, tablets, capsules, and a tonic drink among others. There are ginseng candies, cigarettes, shampoos, and even a whole ginseng root in an attractive glass container which would make a good conversation piece – provided you can afford its expensive price.

Such is the popularity of the “essence of man,” as the plant is called, that in Britain alone, sales of ginseng have reached three million pounds yearly, making it one of South Korea’s major exports.

Apparently, what people are buying is hope. Buyers of ginseng hope the plant will purify the blood, increase their resistance to disease, and improve their sex life.

One leaflet says ginseng can be used for “common ailments like tiredness, insomnia, headaches, cold or flu, aches and pains, and weakness.”

It adds that the plant can neutralize excess stomach acid in ulcer patients and is ideal for dieting. It also recommends ginseng for diabetes, hypertension, pimples, kidney and liver problems, anemia, asthma, night blindness, and cancer.

What makes ginseng special? One of its major selling points is that this small shrub takes six to seven years to grow in a special climate. During this time, the plant supposedly takes up so many minerals and trace elements from the soil which makes it effective for a variety of ailments, we are told.

Unfortunately, no evidence is offered to support this claim. But we are given a fancy name for ginseng’s magical properties. Promoters say it has an “adaptogenic effect.” meaning the body supposedly adapts and uses the plant for whatever purpose it needs. This explains why ginseng can supposedly treat many ills.

While all that sounds appealing don’t be misled for there is nothing scientific about it. “In spite of ginseng’s ancient reputation as a panacea, there are serious doubts about its alleged health benefits,” according to Kurt Butler and Dr. Lynne Rayner of the University of Hawaii in “The Best Medicine.”

The trouble with ginseng is that no one knows exactly what it is. There are 900 different varieties – the Panax, Acanthopanax, Aralia, Oplopanax, and Kalopanax to name a few – which all belong to the Araliaceae or ginseng family. Various species from China, Korea, Japan, and North America are wild and cultivated, sun-dried, bulk root, and come in many forms. For this reason, it is difficult to tell exactly what type of ginseng a product contains and how effective it is.

“Rival products available offer obvious contradictions to one another but there are also contradictions within the same product,” added Arnold Bender in “Health or Hoax?” The US Pharmaceutical Journal reports that seven out of 24 ginseng products in the market do not contain ginseng at all. The mislabeling, of products, the lack of standards in the manufacture of ginseng, and the different varieties make all this confusing.

If you’re serious about losing weight, don’t rely on ginseng. There are many effective products in the market today that can give you the body you want. One of them is Phenocal – a safe and natural weight loss supplement that will boost your metabolism, suppress your appetite, increase energy levels, and help you lose unwanted pounds. For more information, visit

By: Janet Martin

About the Author:

Janet Martin is an avid health and fitness enthusiast and published author. Many of her insightful articles can be found at the premiere online news magazine

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Asian Panax – the Real Ginseng?

Ginseng has become one of the most popular herbs in the world today, accounting for over $400 million a year in sales in the United States alone. Analysts say it is the herb of choice for many people owing to its alleged ability to fight stress and enhance immunity.

However, not everything labeled as ginseng is the real thing. Medical experts say many commercial products have no ginseng at all!

There are at least three different types of ginseng in the market today – American ginseng, Siberian ginseng, and Asian or Oriental ginseng.

American ginseng or Panax quinquefolius grows wild in Appalachia and in Canada. Because it is intensively sought in the United States, it has been declared an endangered species. However, there “is no good clinical data” that it works, according to Dr. Gail Mahady, a scholar of medicinal herbs at the University of Illinois in Chicago and co-author of a review for the World Health Organization (WHO).

Siberian ginseng is actually Eleutherococcus senticosus and is chemically and botanically different from real ginseng. It was introduced over 30 years ago by Russian scientists who were looking for a cheap and abundant substitute for ginseng. Unlike the Panax species, it contains unrelated and adulterated compounds that have no effects on humans. The plant is native to eastern Siberia, Korea and China.

Of the three types of ginseng, the most widely investigated is Asian or Oriental ginseng which is known as Panax ginseng C.A. Meyer. This plant is extensively cultivated in China, Korea, Russia and Japan and contains at least 13 saponin glycosides or ginsenosides that are believed to have a wide range of beneficial effects. Studies show that this type of ginseng acts as a stimulant and may enhance immunity.

“Hundreds of experiments have shown that Panax ginseng can prolong swimming time, prevent-stress-induced ulcers, stimulate hepatic ribosome production, increase activity of the immune system, stimulate protein biosynthesis, prevent platelet aggregation, and induce many other effects, all of which might contribute to its general tonic or adaptogenic effects,” explained Dr. Varro Tyler of the Purdue University School of Pharmacy.

Promoters say ginseng can fight obesity but there are no scientific studies to prove this. To shed those extra pounds, nothing beats a good diet and regular exercise. One product that can help is Phenocal, a safe, natural, and effective weight loss supplement that boosts your metabolism, suppresses your appetite, reduces food cravings, and increases energy levels to keep you in shape. Visit for details.

By: Janet Martin

About the Author:

Janet Martin is an avid health and fitness enthusiast and published author. Many of her insightful articles can be found at the premiere online news magazine

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