* Ginseng: American ginseng – panax quinquefolius. American and Asian ginseng belong to the same botanical family.
* Japanese ginseng – panax japonicum.
* Korean or Chinese ginseng – Asian ginseng, panax ginseng. The most commonly used ginseng.
* Siberian ginseng – eleuthero, ci wu ju, touch me not, devils shrub. Siberian ginseng belongs to a different botanical family to that of the Asian and American ginseng. Ginseng has a number of active constituents one of which improves energy levels and reduces stress levels by supporting the adrenal glands, another lowers blood sugar levels and yet another supports the immune system.
* Traditionally Asian ginseng was used to normalize blood pressure and improve blood circulation and was used by the elderly to improve mental and physical vitality. The Siberian ginseng was used as a preventative for colds, flu and other respiratory tract and general infections and to improve energy and vitality. American ginseng was used by the Native Americans for vomiting and nausea. The American ginseng is said to be a more mild form of the Asian ginseng and is good for people recovering from a long or serious illness.
* More recently ginseng in general has been used for stress, immune support, high cholesterol, symptoms of menopause such as hot flashes, Alzheimer’s disease, as a tonic for the adrenal glands, for athletic performance, poor appetite, chemotherapy support, withdrawal symptoms from cocaine, CFS, colds, diabetes and fatigue. Ginseng is also used to reduce the risk of cancer.
* Eleuthero is also thought to protect the body against the effects of radiation and is good for insomnia.
It is recommended to take a break from continuous ginseng use. Eleuthero is recommended 300 – 400 mg daily for 6 – 8 weeks on, and 1 – 2 weeks off. Asian ginseng is recommended 100 – 200 mg daily for 2 – 3 three weeks on, and 1 – 2 weeks off. American ginseng can be taken as tea (as can Asian ginseng), 1 cup daily or capsules according to label instructions.
* Do not use ginseng if you have hypoglycemia, high blood pressure or heart disorders.
* Avoid taking caffeine with ginseng.
* Siberian ginseng is said to be safe for use during pregnancy or lactation, although other species of ginseng should not be used during these times.
* In rare cases ginseng may cause insomnia.
* Do not use ginseng for a prolonged period at high doses.
* If you take vitamin C supplements, wait at least two hours before taking ginseng as vitamin C may effect the absorption of ginseng.
* If you have sleeping problems do not take Asian ginseng in the afternoon or at night.