The Multipurpose Health Supplement: American Ginseng
I am sure you have heard of ginseng, and its many medicinal properties. But did you know that it has a cousin, known as “American Ginseng?”
American ginseng, technically the herb Panax quinquefolius, has been used for centuries in Traditional Chinese Medicine and by Native American healers. A member of the ivy family, the root of the plant is said to boost energy, prevent infections, and even treat diabetes and cancer.
While it shares the name, American ginseng has different medicinal effects than the more well-known Siberian and Asian varieties.
People have used American ginseng to improve digestion and for loss of appetite, as well as for vomiting, inflammation of the colon, and inflammation of the lining of the stomach.
American ginseng is also used for low iron in the blood, diabetes, insulin resistance cancer-related fatigue, and high blood pressure and even as a hangover cure.
In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) it has been used for:
- Nerve pain
- Erectile dysfunction (ED)
- Attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
- Blood and bleeding disorders
- Dizziness, headaches, and convulsions
- Heart disease
- Menopausal symptoms
How Does American Ginseng Work?
American ginseng contains chemicals called ginsenosides that seem to affect insulin levels in the body and lower blood sugar. Other chemicals, called polysaccharides, seem to positively affect the immune system. Studies have found that these ginsenosides can inhibit the growth of cancer cells, lower blood sugar, and may even treat dementia.
If you want to achieve the full benefits of American ginseng, it is very important that you look at the label of any product you purchase. Look for the botanical name, which is Panax quinquefolius to confirm that what you are buying is authentic American ginseng. *A note of caution – be sure not to confuse American Ginseng with Asian Ginseng (Panax ginseng) or Siberian ginseng (Eleutherococcus senticosus). These have different uses and medicinal effects.