From Personalliberty.com (http://www.personalliberty.com/news/research-uncovers-anti-inflammatory-properties-of-ginseng-19422913/) posted October 30, 2009.
According to the results of a new study, the herb ginseng—which has been used in traditional Chinese medicine for millennia—may be a natural anti-inflammatory agent.
The news comes from the University of Hong Kong where scientists isolated seven ginseng compounds, called ginsenosides, which they say show strong immune-suppressive effects.
Using human immune cells, which they treated with extracts of ginseng, they discovered the seven ginsenosides had the ability to selectively inhibit expression of the inflammatory gene CXCL-10.
Allan Lau, lead researcher on the team, says the beneficial effects of ginseng may result from the combined effects of ginsenosides which appear to target different levels of immunological activity.
However, he added that “further studies will be needed to examine the potential beneficial effects of [the herb] in the management of acute and chronic inflammatory diseases in humans.”
Ginseng is a perennial fleshy plant native to cooler climates of eastern Asia, including northern China, Korea and eastern Siberia. Extracts and nutritional supplements containing ginseng are available in many health stores across the U.S.
Now for my usual commentary. The article speaks pretty much for itself, but is missing a few crucial pieces of information:
Firstly, people should know that siberian ginseng is not a true ginseng in that it does not contain the said ginsenosides. It has a similar range of function to true ginseng but was only called a ginseng as a marketing tactic.
Secondly, American ginseng, while a true ginseng, has a slightly cooling nature compared to chinese and korean ginseng. What does this mean? It means that it is more suitable for warm climates as too much “heat” inducing foods and herbs will be detrimental to one already constantly exposed to heat. Hence, in my native Philippines, I believe that american ginseng is more suitable. That is, unless the patient also has pathogenic cold that requires heat to counter it.
Thirdly, while this stuff is beneficial AND can be taken by itself, it is still OVERDOSEABLE (if there is such a word). In the Philippine General Hospital, I have heard some cases of people taking too much Korean Red Ginseng (VERY firey, see statement two…) and ending up with Kidney failure. From a TCM point of view this makes perfect sense – too much fire consumes the water (kidneys). Hence, we should NOT tolerate the idea that “supplements” are not drugs and are thus safe or that herbal medicines are natural and hence there is no such thing as an overdose.
And fourthly, look at the Ginseng root. It is called renshen (man root) in chinese because it looks like a human being with hands and feet .
And Happy All Saints’ Day!
Personal Liberty News Desk. “Research Uncovers Anti-inflammatory Properties Of Ginseng” personalliberty.com. 30 October 2009. accessed 1 November 2009 <http://www.personalliberty.com/news/research-uncovers-anti-inflammatory-properties-of-ginseng-19422913/>