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About Mind/Body Consultant Services & Protocols

Protocols: American Ginseng (Panax quinquefolius)


Description: Native of Americas but cousin of Asian ginseng perhaps transported across land bridge from Asia in early history.

Method of Action: Although it has been theorized that Ginseng augments adrenal steroidogenesis via the pituitary gland, actual studies have found an immunomodulating effect (as measured by IgG and IgM responses to either a primary or secondary challenge with sheep red blood cells) with stimulation of interferon production in vitro. Cell-mediated immunity and natural killer cell activity increase following administration.

Indications and Usage: Stress and tiredness from overwork; Nausea and vomiting: Improved subjective ratings of mood, vigor, and well-being which was associated with increased physical activity and reduced weight have been reported in research literature along with hypoglycemic effects useful in the treatment of Type-2 Diabetes.

Contraindications: Common adverse effects of ginseng administration include hypertension, insomnia, nausea and vomiting, headache and epistaxis. Moderate infiltration of the dermis by mononuclear calls has been observed. May alter bleeding time and should not be used concomitantly with warfarin sodium. May increase cortisol levels resulting in increased anxiety and insomnia and is not recommended during period of acute stress and anxiety. Not recommended for women who have menstrual irregularities (has been known to cause vaginal bleeding attributed to a moderate estrogen effect), or for individuals with high blood pressure, or migraine headaches. Ginseng may be highly stimulating and cause tremulousness and manic episodes in patients being treated concomitantly with phenalzine sulfate. Likewise, ginseng products should not be used by persons with Bipolar Disorder, psychotic or thought-disordered conditions. Ginseng also should not be used with estrogens or corticosteriods because of possible additive effects. Ginseng has been associated with mastalgia with diffuse breast modularity. Ginseng has been associated with neonatal androgenization and use in pregnancy should be avoided at this time. May interfere with digoxin pharmacodynamically or with digoxin monitoring. Can affect blood glucose levels and should not be used in patients with diabetes mellitus.

Dosage and Administration: 100 mg standardized to 13 percent ginsenosides two times daily. Two weeks on and two weeks off.

Clinical Effect In: One to two weeks.

Adverse Reactions: Frequently causes insomnia. Hypertension, diarrhea, restlessness, anxiety and euphoria are also common side effects. May aggravate asthmatic and emphysema conditions. If you suspect that an herb or other supplement is making you sick, call the FDA's MedWatch hotline at 800-332-1088 or contact the agency via its website at http://www.fda.gov/medwatch.

Known Interactive Effects: Should be used with caution in patients with hypertension and diabetes and in conjunction with centrally acting medications. May potentiate the effect of MAO inhibitors, stimulants (including caffeine) and haloperidol and should not be used in such situations.

Additional Considerations: There is tremendous content variation in commercial Ginseng products. Only 25% of studied commercial products actually contain Ginseng. This form of Ginseng is an endangered species. Milder and less stimulating than Asian Ginseng, but with many more side effects than Siberian Ginseng. Thought by oriental medicine practitioners to have higher levels of yang.

Warnings: The information above is provided for educational purposes and may not be construed as a medical prescription or as a substitute for the advice of your physician. Do not use this product without first consulting your physician especially if you are pregnant or lactating. Be advised that some herbs and dietary supplements can cause severe allergic reactions in some individuals and may also have an adverse result in conjunction with other medications or treatments. You should regularly consult your physician in matters regarding your health and particularly in respect to symptoms and conditions which may require diagnosis or medical attention. Reevaluate use of this product after 6 months.

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