Ginseng (Ranakh ginseng); root of life, human root; ginseng
A perennial herbaceous plant of the Aralia family. The root system of ginseng consists of a short vertical rhizome (the so-called neck) and the root itself; the root is yellowish-white, thick, fleshy, slightly branched, often resembles a human figure (hence the second name of the plant). The stem is thin, upright, smooth, hollow inside, 30-70 cm tall, topped with a rosette of 2-5, and sometimes 6 leaves. The leaves are petiolate, pinnately compound; leaves are obovate, serrated on the edge. The flowers are bisexual, white, sometimes pale pink, collected in an apical single umbrella. The fruit is a juicy bright red drupe. Blooms in June. The fruits ripen in August.
Spread. In its wild state, ginseng occurs in the remote taiga of the Far East. Amateur gardeners successfully grow ginseng in beds. The plant is listed in the Red Book of Ukraine.
Procurement and storage. Ginseng root is used to make medicine. The most favorable period for harvesting ginseng is the first half of August, when it is easy to find behind the ripe red fruits. After the fruit ripens, the root becomes harder and more durable for storage in a raw state. The roots collected at this time are also considered the most valuable in a therapeutic sense. They are dug up with the help of wooden, metal or bone sticks, taking care not to tear off the “neck” from the root and not to damage the lateral and additional roots. The excavated root is carefully cleaned from the ground with a soft dry brush (it is impossible to wash it), the above-ground part is cut off, placed in a box made of bark lined with moss of medium humidity, covered with soil taken from the place where ginseng grew, and in this form delivered to reception pointArbitrary harvesting of wild ginseng is prohibited! You can keep the roots raw for no more than 5 days. For long-term storage, the roots are dried in the sun, thus obtaining a raw material called “white roots”. Thick roots are cut into plates before drying. If the roots are kept for an hour over boiling water before drying, then such raw materials are called “red roots”. It is believed that the red root contains almost twice as many biologically active substances. Store raw materials in tightly closed cans or polyethylene bags in a dry place.
Chemical composition . Ginseng roots contain triterpene glycosides (panaxosides A, B, C, D, E, F, G), essential oil (0.05-0.25%), vitamins C, B 1 and B 2 , pectin substances, starch, sucrose, fatty acids, macro- and microelements (iron, phosphorus, sulfur, manganese, aluminum, silicon and some others) and other substances.
Pharmacological properties and use. It is believed that the carrier of the pharmacological effect of ginseng is a complex complex of glycosides similar in their properties. Despite the fact that ginseng has been widely used since ancient times, a detailed study of its various products in different species of laboratory animals has been carried out only in the last 50 years. It has been established that ginseng acts as a synergist of known stimulants and is a physiological antagonist of some drugs (barbiturates, chloral hydrate, ethyl alcohol). Galen products of the plant strengthen the excitation processes in the neurons of the cortex and in the stem parts of the brain and improve the reflex activity of animals. In the experiment, it was established that the products increase work capacity and reduce fatigue during heavy physical exertion and stress. The effect of ginseng on the body largely depends on the dose used. In small doses, it increases excitation and reduces inhibition processes, and in large doses, it does the opposite: it increases inhibition processes. Ginseng preparations in the experiment stimulate the synthesis of nuclear ribonucleic acids and RNA polymerase of the liver, increase the synthesis of deoxyribonucleic acid, protein, ribonucleic acid and lipids in bone marrow cells, increase the level of AMP in the adrenal glands and the content of oxycorticosteroids in the blood plasma – and in general have a wide general pharmacological effect on various metabolic processes in animals.
Ginseng has a wide general pharmacological effect on the human body. In clinical conditions, it is used for the treatment and prevention of various diseases of the central nervous system, to increase the level of the body’s performance and its resistance to stressful situations. Ginseng is an adaptogenic tonic. It is used for nervous and physical exhaustion, anemia, neurasthenia, hysteria, asthenic conditions caused by various diseases (diabetes, tuberculosis, malaria, etc.), during the recovery period after various complex surgical interventions, with increased and decreased pressure, to improve cardiovascular activity systems, as an immunostimulant in viral hepatitis and as a means of reducing the sugar content in the body in diabetes, for the treatment of sexual disorders, atherosclerosis and gastritis of various origins. When using ginseng products, a certain seasonality of its action has been noticed. Its use in autumn and winter gives the greatest effect.
Medicinal forms and applications .
Internally – tincture of ginseng (Tinctura ginsengi) 15-25 drops 3 times a day before meals; powders or tablets covered with a shell, 0.15-0.3 g 3 times a day;
home-made tincture (10-15 g of dry crushed roots per 500 ml of vodka, infused for 2 weeks) 1 tablespoon 2-3 times a day.
With long-term use of ginseng and overdose, side effects appear in patients: insomnia, headache, palpitations and pain in areas of the heart, depression and decreased sexual activity. Therefore, it is necessary to choose the dose individually. In recent years, researchers have described a withdrawal syndrome that appears in approximately 10% of people with long-term use of ginseng tincture. The cause of these phenomena has not been completely clarified, but there is no doubt that the use of ginseng and other adaptogens of plant origin requires medical supervision. It is not recommended to use ginseng in acute infectious diseases.