April 21, 2011 - 10:38am
Panax comes from the Greek word “Panacea” meaning to “cure all”. Panax ginseng has been used for medical purposes for thousands of years by the Chinese. Ginseng was used by the ancient Chinese to increase the vital energy, increase the body fluids and to promote a good healthy long life.
Today it is used as an adaptogen for improving our response to stress and as a tonic to increase our energy. Other uses of Panax Ginseng include: improving the stamina of an athlete, improving immunity, and is helpful in the control of blood sugar in Type II diabetes. Ginseng can also reduce symptoms of menopause, help us to think more clearly and be beneficial in improving lung function with chronic lung disease.
Siberian Ginseng (Eleuthercoccus senticosus) also known as Eleuthero isn’t a true ginseng because it doesn’t contain any ginsenosides. It is not found in Siberia as the name implies but in NE Asia, including the SE section of the previous USSR, Japan, Korea and China. Because Eleuthro has similar adaptogenic properties of Panax Ginseng it has been called a ginseng. Clinical studies have shown it to be useful with: chronic fatigue, insomnia, irritability and mild depression. Eleuthero is also helpful in assisting with recovery from acute or chronic disease, trauma and surgery.
Native to North America, American Ginseng was first used by various tribes of Native Americans. In the 1700’s this herb was exported to China and has become part of herbal formulas used in Chinese Medicine. It wasn’t until the mid-1800’s that it became recognized as an official herb in the United States. Most of the American Ginseng grown in the United States is grown in Wisconsin.
This herb was initially used for stomach ailments and mental exhaustion. American Ginseng hasn’t been studied as much as the previously mentioned ginsengs. Its primary use is controlling blood sugar levels with Type II diabetics. It has potential use in improving mental clarity, relieving fatigue and increasing body fluids.
All herbs have different properties including cold, hot and neutral temperatures. Panax tends to be hot, while Eleuthero is neutral and American is cool. It is best to mix these herbs together to balance the temperature of a formula. That is why it is best to ask your herbalist before taking any formulas with these ingredients.