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Panax Ginseng

Perennial


Medicinal properties and applications: vitality, energy, aphrodisiac, stimulant, coughs, blood builder, exhaustion, memory, menstrual cramps, digestive aid, prostate health, cancer, endocrine, metabolic & circulatory systems, adaptogen ( reduce and cope with stress ), type II diabetes, immune system support, increase alertness, cardiovascular and central nervous systems, antioxidant, anti-aging, and appetite stimulating. [1,2,5]


         Ginseng has properties which can be compared to those of the color Red, being energetic, potentially sexual, and of vitality. (see color psychology) It has many more applications than people are aware of though. Most people think of it as just a stimulant, but it has much more to offer than that. On this page, i'll discuss the many medicinal applications of this plant, its historic use among various cultures, and the phytochemistry behind its medicinal potential.


Use Among Native Americans


Native Americans used ginseng for a number of ailments. Most people think that just the root is used, but they also found use for the leaf. The leaf was dried and steeped to make a tea which was used for coughs, as a blood builder, a sexual stimulant ( aphrodisiac ), exhaustion, and memory.(Rain 1990 130) The roots were used raw and boiled into a decoction for menstrual cramps.(Rain 1990 130) The raw roots were also chewed or ingested as a digestive and prostate aid, and to retard cancer growth.(Rain 1990 130)


I suggest adding a drop of oil to the water prior to boiling. This will prevent the water from boiling over. It's also common knowledge that certain plant alkaloids are volatile and can easily evaporate. With this in mind, I suggest covering the mixture. Once it comes to a boil, I would lower the temperature or even remove it from the burner temporarily. I cook my decoctions for about ten minutes. Almost always are roots boiled into decoctions. A tea differs because its typically made by steeping the leaves in hot water.


Use In Chinese Medicine


For over 5,000 years Ginseng was used in Chinese medicine for its ability to induce vitality. Its properties assist the body in increasing the efficiency of the endocrine, metabolic, circulatory and digestive systems. Like Golden root, it's also considered an adaptogen, and may also help with type II diabetes. Adaptogens help the body adapt to stress.[5] Many prize it as a natural nootroppic.


With such a vast history of successful use, why are these ancient remedies still being condemned and mocked by ignorant and hateful individuals? We now understand the phytochemistry behind Ginseng and other herbs, yet there are still those who claim they are placebo. Even if this were the case, which it's not, if it works, it works. So, what difference does it make? Never underestimate the power of your mind, nor nature. Despite what you may have heard, there have been studies, and they indicate that Ginseng can stimulate the immune system, increase alertness, and help people with stress.([2] Swerdlow 2000 30)


"The plant contains alkaloids known as Ginsenosides, which work by stimulating the cardiovascular and central nervous systems to stimulate physical and mental performance . Alkaloids known as Panaxans lower blood sugar. Polysaccharides enhance the immune system and help treat diabetes. It's also believed to possess antioxidant, anti-aging, and appetite stimulating properties."([2] Swerdlow 2000 30) These alkaloids, are researched by brilliant students around the globe who belong to a field known as phytochemistry.[6]


How Does It Work?



How can a plant act as a medicine? Well, besides the fact that we couldn't exist without them, and that even the animals we eat need plants to survive, and that they produce the air we breath, they also contain and produce pharmacological alkaloids known as phytochemicals. Phytochemistry is the study of these medicinal chemicals that plants create.(6) This is how we scientifically understand medicinal plants. Some of the most famous phytochemicals in the world are opiates. They are not made by man, rather are extracted from the Opium Poppy.


Phytochemical constituents

Ginseng contains: N9-formylharman, ethyl carboline-1-carboxylate and perlolyrine. Over twelve alkaloids were found in the roots.[4] ; Ginsenosides, Panaxans, Polysaccharides.([2]Swerdlow 2000 372)


The roots in the image above resemble a human figure. Other plants have parts which also resemble human body parts such as the Hookers lips plant. If you ask me, these innate and reoccurring shapes and aromas indicate a system of non-verbal communication in nature. Various cultures have observed that the properties of a plant can be identified by its color, shape, and aroma.([3] Heaven, Charing 2006 12) Colors have their own unique influences and can be thought of as the hieroglyphics of reality. ( research color psychology / therapy )


So now you know that a long time ago people observed the medicinal qualities of plants. On top of that, in modern times even scientific inquiry has shown us that it's beyond placebo. Yet, there are still those out there who mindlessly chant the mantra that "there is no scientific evidence to support that". Without taking the time to do the research, their bias goes on to influence others. We see it all the time in the educational system. Students are often mislead by fascist and bias belief systems. Keep these teachings in mind, and educate the people in your life about Ginseng and other medicinal plants.



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