Ginseng Chinese Panax
Panax ginseng is a member of the Araliaceae family of plants, which includes the closely related American ginseng and less similar Siberian ginseng. Panax ginseng commonly grows on mountain slopes and is usually harvested in the fall. The root of panax ginseng is used preferably from plants older than six years of age. Unlike American ginseng and Eleuthero or Siberian Ginseng, panax has been a part of Chinese medicine for thousands of years. It is used in connection with many conditions such as cancer, anxiety, colds, flu and for lowering blood levels of sugar and cholesterol, as in type 2 diabetes and high cholesterol. Most commonly known as an adaptogen, panax ginseng is currently being used in Asian countries to treat heart conditions and lungs, as well as for an overall health enhancer. Panax ginseng has been known to have a relaxing effect on the muscles in the lungs. The resulting airway relaxation may help to calm asthma symptoms and other airways constricting lung conditions. In some studies a combination of panax ginseng and gingko seemed to increase memory and thinking processes. Taking panax ginseng orally may enhance male fertility by increasing sperm count, quality, and movement, as it activates the body system that increases production of certain hormones. To increase athletic performance, panax ginseng is often added to sports drinks or supplements. It has, however, not been proven effective for this use. Also used for women, it is supposed that panax ginseng can cause an effect similar to that of estrogen, by stimulating hormone production and related chemicals. In some laboratory studies, panax ginseng increased the production of breast cancer cells. It is possible that this is achieved by activating estrogen receptors. Panax ginseng may increase blood levels of substances that the body converts into estrogen according to some studies. More studies are being performed to verify the hormonal effects of panax ginseng.