ginseng 2010

ginseng 2010 - Ginseng Background Ginseng has been used for...

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Ginseng Background Ginseng has been used for thousands of years in Asian cultures and in Eastern Russia. Most times it is used in combination with other herbs, but this is one herb that can be used fairly safely as a single herb. According to the FDA ginseng is considered a food, but many researchers treat it as a drug. It has been used to treat nervous disorders, anemia, dyspnea, chronic fatigue, heart pain, nausea, diabetes, liver and kidney disease and to improve exercise performance [1]. There are several forms of ginseng with three being the most important as a dietary supplement. They are Chinese (or Korean or red) ginseng (/Panax ginseng/), Japanese ginseng (/Panax japonicus/), Russian ginseng (/Eleutherococcus senticosus/), and American ginseng (/Panax quinquifolicus/). Chemistry and Pharmacology The active ingredient is most likely a glycoside (which is a molecule linked to a sugar) referred to as ginsenosides or ginseng saponins. Ginseng is mainly derived from the roots of the plant which contains about 2-3% ginsenosides. These saponins are similar in each species of ginseng, but vary a great deal in concentration and structure and hence biological action. Around 30 ginsenosides have been isolated. Ginseng also contains B-vitamins, folic acid, amino acids and certain minerals, like iron and zinc. The pharmacological profile of ginseng is broad and incompletely understood because of the many heterogeneous and sometimes opposing effects of different ginsenosides. The underlying mechanism of action of the ginsenosides appears to be similar to that for steroid hormones. Because dietary supplements are not subject to the same regulations that pharmaceuticals are, there is concern that these products may lack purity or potency. Some older studies have found that most commercial preparations had no ginseng [9]. Therefore, it is important to buy the supplements from a reputable brand. Purported Health Effects 1. Exercise The main proposed use of ginseng is a tonic for reversing fatigue, for increasing concentration and to increase work capacity. Therefore, it has been proposed that ginseng would benefit exercise performance. This is proposed to work by causing a shift in metabolism to fat utilization
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This note was uploaded on 06/09/2010 for the course MFC 141 taught by Professor Horvath during the Summer '10 term at SUNY Buffalo.

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ginseng 2010 - Ginseng Background Ginseng has been used for...

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