May 4, 2016

Ginseng, Panax

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What other names is Ginseng, Panax known by?

Asian Ginseng, Asiatic Ginseng, Chinese Ginseng, Chinese Red Ginseng, Ginseng, Ginseng Asiatique, Ginseng Blanc, Ginseng Blanc de Corée, Ginseng Chinois, Ginseng Coréen, Ginseng Coréen Rouge, Ginseng de Corée, Ginseng Japonais, Ginseng Oriental, Ginseng Panax, Ginseng Radix Alba, Ginseng Root, Ginseng Rouge, Ginseng Sino-coréen, Ginseng Tibétain, Guigai, Hong Shen, Japanese Ginseng, Jen-Shen, Jinsao, Jintsam, Insam, Korean Ginseng, Korean Ginseng Root, Korean Panax, Korean Panax Ginseng, Korean Red Ginseng, Korean White Ginseng, Manchurian Ginseng, Mandragore de Chine, Ninjin, Ninzin, Oriental Ginseng, Panax Coréen, Panax Ginseng Blanc, Panax schinseng, Racine de Vie, Radix Ginseng Rubra, Red Chinese Ginseng, Red Ginseng, Red Kirin Ginseng, Red Korean Ginseng, Red Panax Ginseng, Ren Shen, Renshen, Renxian, Sang, Seng, Sheng Shai Shen, Tibetan Ginseng, White Ginseng, White Panax Ginseng.

What is Ginseng, Panax?

Panax ginseng is a plant that grows in Korea, northeastern China, and far eastern Siberia. People use the root to make medicine. Do not confuse Panax ginseng with American ginseng, Siberian ginseng, or Panax pseudoginseng. See the separate listings for American Ginseng, Ashwaganda, Blue Cohosh, Canaigre, Codonopsis, Panax Pseudoginseng, and Siberian Ginseng.

Panax ginseng is taken by mouth to improve thinking, concentration, memory, Alzheimer's disease, work efficiency, physical stamina, preventing muscle damage from exercise, and athletic endurance.

Some people use Panax ginseng to help them cope with stress and as a general tonic for improving well-being. They sometimes call Panax ginseng an "adaptogen" when it's used in this way.

Panax ginseng is also used for depression, anxiety, general fatigue and chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS), multiple sclerosis, for boosting the immune system, and for fighting particular infections in a lung disease called cystic fibrosis. These infections are caused by a bacterium named Pseudomonas.

Some people use Panax ginseng to treat breast cancer and prevent ovarian cancer, liver cancer, lung cancer, and skin cancer.

Other uses include treatment of anemia, chronic bronchitis, swine flu, prediabetes and diabetes, inflammation of the stomach lining (gastritis), fever, hangover, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), HIV/AIDS, fertility problems and sexual dysfunction in men, to increase sexual arousal in women, and asthma.

Panax ginseng is also used for bleeding disorders, loss of appetite, vomiting, intestinal problems, gallstones, bad breath, fibromyalgia, sleeping problems (insomnia), nerve pain, joint pain, dizziness, headache, hearing loss, convulsions, disorders of pregnancy and childbirth, hot flashes due to menopause, common cold and flu, heart failure, high blood pressure, quality of life, wrinkled skin, and to slow the aging process.

Some men apply Panax ginseng to the skin of the penis as part of a multi-ingredient product for treating early orgasm (premature ejaculation).

In manufacturing, Panax ginseng is used to make soaps, cosmetics, and as a flavoring in beverages.

Possibly Effective for...

  • Alzheimer's disease. Evidence shows that taking Panax ginseng root daily for 12 weeks can improve mental performance in people with Alzheimer's disease.
  • Lung disease called chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Taking Panax ginseng by mouth seems to improve lung function and some symptoms of COPD.
  • Mental function. Taking Panax ginseng by mouth might improve abstract thinking, mental arithmetic skills, and reaction times in healthy, middle-aged people but not in young adults. Panax ginseng alone does not seem to improve memory. But there is some evidence that a combination of Panax ginseng and ginkgo leaf extract can improve memory in otherwise healthy people between the ages of 38 and 66.
  • Erectile dysfunction (ED). Taking Panax ginseng by mouth seems to improve sexual function in men with erectile dysfunction.
  • Flu. Taking a specific Panax ginseng by mouth appears to reduce the risk of getting a cold or the flu. But, taking Panax ginseng does not seem to reduce flu symptoms or the length of the illness.
  • Multiple sclerosis-related fatigue. Taking Panax ginseng daily for 3 months reduces feelings of tiredness and improves quality of life in females with MS.
  • Premature ejaculation. Applying a cream containing Panax ginseng, angelica root, Cistanches deserticola, Zanthoxyl species, torlidis seed, clover flower, asiasari root, cinnamon bark, and toad venom (SS Cream) to the penis one hour before intercourse and washing off immediately before intercourse seems to help prevent premature ejaculation.
  • Sexual arousal. Taking powdered Korean red ginseng, a specific form of Panax ginseng, seems to improve sexual arousal and satisfaction in postmenopausal women. Also, using a specific product containing Korean red ginseng and other ingredients (ArginMax for Women, Daily Wellness Company) seems to improve sexual desire in women who report sexual problems.

Possibly Ineffective for...

  • Athletic performance. Taking Panax ginseng by mouth for up to 8 weeks does not improve exercise performance.

Insufficient Evidence to Rate Effectiveness for...

  • Age-related memory loss. Taking a specific product containing Panax ginseng and other ingredients (Memo, Pharco Pharmaceuticals) by mouth for 4 weeks improves memory in elderly people with some mental impairment.
  • Breast cancer. Research conducted in China suggests that some people with breast cancer treated with any form of ginseng (American or Panax) have a higher quality of life and lower risk of death. However, this might not be a result of taking the ginseng. The people in the study were also likely to be treated with the prescription anticancer drug tamoxifen. It is difficult to know how much of the benefit to attribute to ginseng.
  • Infection of the airways in the lung (bronchitis). Taking a specific Panax ginseng extract (G115) by mouth, combined with antibiotics, might be more effective in killing bacteria in the lungs of people with long-term bronchitis than antibiotic treatment alone.
  • Cancer. Research suggests that taking ginseng by mouth might decrease the occurrence of some types of cancer, including stomach cancer, lung cancer, liver cancer, ovarian cancer, and skin cancer. However, other research shows that Panax ginseng doesn't reduce the risk of getting cancer. But several studies show that Panax ginseng might slow cancer growth and improve quality of life in cancer patients.
  • Common cold. There is some evidence that taking a specific Panax ginseng extract (G115) by mouth can decrease the chance of catching a cold.
  • Heart failure. Taking Panax ginseng by mouth daily, without or without conventional medications, seems to improve heart function.
  • Diabetes. There is inconsistent evidence about the effects of Panax ginseng on diabetes. Some research shows that taking Panax ginseng by mouth daily can improve blood sugar levels. However, other research suggests that taking Panax ginseng (AIPOP, Gangdown-Do, Korea) or Korean red ginseng, a type of Panax ginseng, by mouth does not improve blood sugar levels in people with diabetes.
  • Fatigue. Research suggests that taking Panax ginseng daily for 4 weeks reduces some, but not all, symptoms of fatigue.
  • Fibromyalgia. Research suggests that taking Panax ginseng root extract by mouth daily for 12 weeks does not improve pain, tiredness, sleep quality, anxiety, tender points, or quality of life in people with fibromyalgia.
  • Gallbladder disease. Research suggests that taking Panax ginseng together with medication for 24 weeks does not reduce gallstones.
  • Bad breath. Early research suggests that taking Korean red ginseng, a type of Panax ginseng, daily for 10 weeks helps reduce bad breath. This is especially true in people with stomach ulcers from H. pylori infection.
  • Hangover. Research suggests that drinking a beverage containing Panax ginseng extract within 5 minutes of drinking alcohol and eating a piece of cheese might lower blood alcohol levels and reduce hangover symptoms.
  • Hearing loss. Early research suggests that taking Panax ginseng for 14 days reduces temporary hearing loss caused by loud noise. But it might be less effective than N-acetyl cysteine at preventing temporary hearing loss caused by loud noise.
  • HIV. Early evidence shows that Korean red ginseng, a type of Panax ginseng, might increase immune function. But it does not affect how much of the HIV virus is circulating in the blood of people with HIV.
  • High blood pressure. There is inconsistent evidence about the effects of Panax ginseng on blood pressure in people with high blood pressure. Some early research shows that taking Panax ginseng in three divided doses daily for 8 weeks slightly reduces blood pressure in people with high blood pressure. But taking a specific Panax ginseng product (Ginseol K-g1) daily for 8 weeks does not reduce blood pressure in people with mildly high blood pressure.
  • Prediabetes. Taking a combination of Korean red ginseng and cheonggukjang, a type of fermented soybean paste, can reduce pre-meal blood sugar levels in people with prediabetes. Also taking fermented Panax ginseng can reduce post-meal blood sugar levels and increase post-meal insulin levels in people with prediabetes.
  • Male infertility. Swollen prostate caused by Chlamydia infection is associated with reduced male fertility. Early research suggests that taking a specific product containing Panax ginseng (Fertimev) along with an antibiotic improves sperm concentration and sperm movement in people with swollen prostate caused by Chlamydia.
  • Memory. Taking a specific Panax ginseng extract (G115) together with vitamins, minerals, and dimethylaminoethanol bitartrate might improve memory in people with memory problems.
  • Postmenopausal conditions. Panax ginseng seems to improve some, but not all, symptoms associated with menopause. Some early research suggests that Panax ginseng might improve quality of life and menopausal symptoms, such as fatigue, insomnia, and depression in postmenopausal women. Panax ginseng also seems to reduce cholesterol levels in postmenopausal women. There are mixed results regarding whether Panax ginseng reduces hot flashes. Panax ginseng does not appear to improve memory or concentration in postmenopausal women.
  • Quality of life. While some research suggests that Panax ginseng might improve quality of life, other research shows no benefit.
  • Wrinkled skin. Early research shows that taking a combination of Korean red ginseng root with Torilus fructus and Corni fructus daily for 24 weeks might reduce wrinkles. But it does not appear to affect skin moisture, elasticity, thickness, or color.
  • Depression.
  • Anxiety.
  • Anemia.
  • Fluid retention.
  • Stomach inflammation and other digestive problems.
  • Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS).
  • Fever.
  • Swine flu.
  • Sleeping problems (insomnia).
  • Disorders of pregnancy and childbirth.
  • Convulsions.
  • Bleeding disorders.
  • Loss of appetite.
  • Nerve pain.
  • Joint pain.
  • Dizziness.
  • Aging.
  • Other conditions.
More evidence is needed to rate Panax ginseng for these uses.

Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database rates effectiveness based on scientific evidence according to the following scale: Effective, Likely Effective, Possibly Effective, Possibly Ineffective, Likely Ineffective, and Insufficient Evidence to Rate (detailed description of each of the ratings).


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