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Ginseng (Panax spp.)

Ginseng has a mystique about it that has grown over the last few decades in the West. It has been called an "adaptogen", which is a word coined by Russian researchers to refer to any herb or other agent that increases the ability to adapt. Ginseng helps one to physically and emotionally adapt to the stress of the environment such as air pollution, noise, chemicals, and emotional duress.

          There are different types of Ginseng, however two of the most common types are American and Chinese ginseng:

          American Ginseng (Panax quinquefolium) is bitter, sweet and moistening with a cooling quality. It affects the lungs, stomach and kidney and is a mild chi (building vital energy) tonic.
          It is classified in Chinese medicine as a "yin" tonic. Yin refers to the vital essence or all the fluid aspects of the body: lymph, muscles, connective tissues, reproductive secretions, lubricating secretions of the mucous membranes, skin and joints, and hormonal secretions. American ginseng is well suited to the stressed, overworked, and overactive Americans who have injured their vital essences.
          Chinese ginseng (Panax ginseng) is heating to the system and can be over bearing to a weak person who may feel more nervous and agitated after taking it. On the other hand, it may over activate and heat up a person who is already physically outward and very warm. Take Chinese ginseng in small doses with meals during the winter months.

          Ginseng restores normality and increases the nonspecific resistance of bodies to diseases and other "changes" away from normal health.
Ginseng helps in the following ways:
  • Enhances immunity
  • Regulates blood pressure
  • Normalizes the flow of blood
  • Neutralizes free radicals
  • Strengthens the heart
  • Stimulates recovery from surgery and debilitating infectious diseases

          One of the best ways to take ginseng is to steam the root until it is soft enough to cut and slice into thin pieces. Suck or chew on a piece each day. You can also take ginseng in capsules, liquid extracts, and pills.

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