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7 Benefits and Side Effects of American Ginseng (8 Contraindications To Be Noted)

American Ginseng was first mentioned in the new Compendium of Materia Medica, in 1757 AD, it is one of the most widely used medicinal plants as an adaptogen, promoting vitality, improving physical performance, and increasing resistance to stress and aging

In empirical medicine, what are the benefits of taking American ginseng? Are there any side effects of American ginseng? See text analysis for details

What is American Ginseng?

Panax quinquefolius L. is a perennial herb belonging to the family Araliaceae, Panax, and almost all of the plants in this genus are important Chinese herbal medicines, especially Asian ginseng.

American ginseng is native to temperate forests in eastern North America, from southern Quebec, Minnesota and Wisconsin in the north to Oklahoma, the Ozark Plateau and Georgia in the south.

Its main active ingredient is ginsenosides, which are distributed in many parts, including roots, leaves, and berries. In general, the active or inactive chemicals that can be extracted can be divided into five categories: saponins, polysaccharides, polyynes, flavonoids and volatile oils, of which saponins and polysaccharides are the main research targets

To date, more than 30 species of ginsenosides have been isolated from American ginseng and divided into two major groups according to their glycoside element structure: dama form (including Rb1, Rc, Rd, Re, Rg1. ) and oleanocarp type (Ro).

Various ginsenosides have different pharmacological effects, including nervous system regulation, immune system regulation, anticancer, antioxidant, and antidiabetic.

What are the proven benefits of American ginseng?

1. American ginseng prevents the common cold

The common cold is defined as an upper respiratory tract infection that mainly affects the mucous membranes of the nasal cavity and is caused by a virus (usually rhinovirus, but also coronavirus and respiratory syncytial virus, or metapneumovirus).

Common cold symptoms include sneezing, runny nose, headache, and general malaise, with a sore throat in about 50% of patients and a cough in 40%.

A systematic review (5 randomized controlled trials, 747 participants) noted that American ginseng (American ginseng) extract tended to reduce the incidence of other acute respiratory infections of the common cold and shorten the duration of colds or acute respiratory infections (6.2 days) compared with placebo. Note 1

*Conclusion: To date, there is insufficient evidence to support the use of American ginseng extract for the prevention of the common cold due to factors such as small sample sizes and manufacturer-funded studies

2. American ginseng is beneficial for type 2 diabetes

Type 2 diabetes mellitus, a disease that affects more than 2 million people worldwide, is expected to skyrocket in prevalence over the next 4 years due to age, obesity and an increase in high-risk groups.

Chronic hyperglycemia and diabetes can form damage to various organ systems and lead to the development of disabling and life-threatening complications, common of which are microvascular complications (retinopathy, nephropathy and neuropathy) and macrovascular complications, increasing the risk of cardiovascular disease by 2 to 4 times.

An 8-week, double-blind, randomized, crossover trial of 24 treated patients with type 2 diabetes showed that oral administration of American ginseng extract significantly reduced glycated hemoglobin (HbA1c) and fasting blood glucose compared with placebo. Note 2

*Conclusion: The combination of American ginseng extract in addition to the traditional treatment of diabetes may have additional positive help in blood glucose management, but limited by the small sample size and short study period, more large long-term trials are still needed to support it

3. American ginseng is beneficial for cognitive memory performance

Working memory plays an important role in daily work, such as listening to voice instructions, reading magazine articles, and calculating tips in restaurants, all of which require temporary storage and processing of information.

Working memory is essential for everyday life and is at the heart of human reasoning and judgment, in other words, working memory is an important part of cognitive performance and a determinant of intelligence level.

A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, crossover trial of 32 healthy adults showed that supplementation with American ginseng extract (branded Cereboost, containing 10.65% ginsenosides) significantly improved working memory performance in the short term. Note 3

*Conclusion: American ginseng supplementation may help improve short-term cognitive memory function, but limited by small sample sizes, more studies are needed to support this

4. American ginseng is beneficial for cancer-related fatigue

Fatigue is the most common non-custodial symptom in cancer patients and often occurs in patients undergoing chemotherapy, radiation, biological therapy, and those who have completed treatment.

According to the survey, the incidence of fatigue ranged from 59% to 96% in patients receiving chemotherapy, 65% to 100% in patients receiving radiation therapy, and 30% in long-term survivors.

Compared to other fatigue, cancer-related fatigue is characterized by abnormal or extreme fatigue that cannot be relieved by sleep or rest.

One randomized, double-blind trial (8-week trial of 364 patients with cancer-induced exhaustion) noted that the use of ginseng (daily dose 2000 mg) improved cancer-related exhaustion (as measured by the Multidimensional Fatigue Symptom Inventory scale). Note 4

The underlying mechanism may be related to downregulation of inflammatory pathways, regulation of cortisol, and the effects of chronic stress on the adrenal axis of the hypothalamic pituitary gland.

*Conclusion: For patients with cancer-induced exhaustion, the use of American ginseng (American ginseng) may be helpful for symptom improvement, but due to the short duration of the study, more long-term trials are needed to support it

5. American ginseng reduces oxidative stress damage

Reactive oxygen species are products of normal cellular metabolism in living organisms. At low to moderate concentrations, they play a role in physiological cellular processes (including killing invading pathogens, wound healing and tissue repair processes).

But at high concentrations, they adversely modify cellular components such as lipids, proteins, and DNA, and cause oxidative stress to rise.

Excessive oxidative stress can lead to a variety of pathological conditions, including cancer, neurological disorders, atherosclerosis, hypertension, ischemia/perfusion, diabetes, acute respiratory distress syndrome, idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and asthma.

A controlled study of 14 healthy adults showed that drinking American ginseng tea (200mL) protected cellular DNA from oxidative stress for a short period of time (as measured by Comet Assay results). Note 5

*Conclusion: Intake of American ginseng can help reduce the oxidative stress of cellular DNA, but it is limited by the small sample size and needs more rigorous experiments to support it

6. American ginseng has ionizing radiation protection effect

Ionizing radiation is widely used in medical diagnostics, cancer-related treatments and industrial applications.

In addition to directly affecting cells, these ionizing irradiation may also damage cells by producing reactive oxygen species (hydrogen peroxide, lipid hydrogen peroxide, superoxide, hydroxide, hydride and peroxynitrite), which can seriously induce cell death, genetic mutation and carcinogenicity.

Currently, amifostine (WR-2721) is a radioprotectors approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for cancer patients undergoing radiation therapy.

However, limitations associated with amifostine include its inherent toxicity, high cost, route of administration, and possible tumor protective mechanisms.

An in vitro cell study found that North American ginseng extract reduced radiation-induced cellular damage (as measured by cytokinesis-block micronucleus assay) and was as protective as an anti-radiation drug (WR-1065). Note 6

*Conclusion: American ginseng extract may have a protective effect against radiation-induced cell damage, but further verification is still required in human experiments

7. American ginseng is beneficial for blood pressure regulation

Essential hypertension, characterized by chronic increases in blood pressure of unknown etiology, affects nearly 95 percent of people with high blood pressure, with about half of the genetic factors.

Because high blood pressure is usually asymptomatic, only 70% of people are aware of their elevated blood pressure, and 59% receive treatment, which, if not detected early and treated appropriately, can lead to myocardial infarction, stroke, and kidney failure in the long term.

A double-blind, placebo-controlled study (12-week study of 64 well-controlled patients with essential hypertension and type 2 diabetes) noted that the use of American ginseng (3 g daily dose) reduced the augmentation index and systolic blood pressure drop (by 11.7%) compared with placebo, but had no significant effect on diastolic blood pressure. Note 7

*Conclusion: The use of American ginseng in the conventional treatment of diabetes mellitus and hypertension may bring additional help in blood pressure regulation

Are there any side effects of American ginseng?

In the right dosage and duration, American ginseng is considered a highly safe health food.

However, possible side effects have been reported as diarrhea, indigestion, itching, insomnia, headache, restlessness, rapid heartbeat, increased or decreased blood pressure, breast tenderness, and vaginal bleeding.

In addition, very rare side effects include cholestatic hepatitis, severe skin allergic reactions (Stevens-Johnson syndrome), and inflammation of cerebral arteries.

Safety precautions

1. Do not use by pregnant and lactating women (due to unknown safety)

2. Diabetic patients or those taking hypoglycemic drugs please use with caution (because ginseng has a hypoglycemic effect), related drugs should not be named: Glimepiride, glyburide (glycemic reduction), insulin, pioglitazone, rosiglitazone, chlorpropamide, glipizide, Tolbutamide

3. Do not use for estrogen-sensitive diseases, such as: breast cancer, uterine cancer, ovarian cancer, endometriosis or uterine fibroids, because the effect of ginsenosides may be similar to estrogen

4. Do not use for patients with difficulty falling asleep or insomnia, which may cause aggravation of symptoms

5. Patients with Schizophrenia should use it carefully, high doses of Western Ocean are involved in sleep problems and restlessness

6. Discontinue use two weeks before surgery, American ginseng may affect blood sugar level and blood sugar control

7. Do not use it with anticoagulant drug Warfarin, it may reduce the effectiveness of the drug and increase the risk of blood clotting

8. Do not use it with antidepressant monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs), which may cause side effects such as anxiety, headache, irritability and insomnia, and related drugs should not be named: phenelzine, tranylcypromine

Why is Citigo popular?

The reason why ginseng is popular is that ginseng is hot and dry, it is not easy for the elderly to control blood pressure, and young people are easy to get hot after taking it.

And American ginseng is slightly cool, tonic but not dry, all those who are not suitable for ginseng treatment and hot supplementation, can use American ginseng.

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