TIENCHI GINSENG /GINSENG

Panax quinquefolius foliage and fruitImage via Wikipedia

Botanical Name :Panax notoginseng, Panax pseudoginseng San qi.
Family:Araliaceae
Subfamily:Aralioideae
Genus:Panax
Kingdom:    Plantae
Order:Apiales
Common Name
:Ginseng, San Qi,Tan Qi,Teinchi Ginseng
Part Used:
Tuberous root.
Collection and habitat: Origin
China, An Asian herb used primarily in Korea, China, and Japan; the root is gathered in the spring or fall. The older the roots, the better.

Description:Tien-chi Ginseng (Panax pseudoginseng) is a unique type of ginseng plant that grows in southwestern China; mainly cultivated in Yunnan and Guangxi Provinces. The main part of the tien-chi plant used as a health product is the root, which is valued for regulating blood circulation, as detailed in a 1979 report (cover pictured here). The flower is used somewhat differently, as a “heat clearing and toxin cleansing” herb, given to reduce inflammation, feverish feeling, skin eruptions, and sore throat.

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All parts of the ginseng plants contain the saponins-known as ginsenosides-that have been shown to be responsible for most of ginseng’s beneficial effects. Additionally, the flowers contain flavonoids that contribute to the cooling and detoxifying action. The flowers have a mild, pleasant taste, and subtle aroma. In China, the flower tea is a favorite summer drink, used to compensate for the hot weather of the central and southern regions. The flowers are collected in early summer and then extracted and concentrated onto cane sugar to yield an instant tea granule, manufactured by Shenbao Corporation of Guanxi Province.

WHAT IT DOES: Tien chi root is sweet and slightly bitter in taste, and warming in action. It stops bleeding while simultaneously reducing blood congestion and clotting. It also relaxes, detoxifies and repairs blood vessels, and speeds wound healing. It is a mild tonic.

Medicinal Uses: Immune tonic and stimulant, adaptogenic, hepatoprotective, antiviral, cardiotonic, anti-inflammatory, anticomplement, antihyperglycemic, antiulcer, antioxidant, hemostatic, analgesic; promotes blood circulation.

Functions in liver disease: Antiviral, hepatoprotective, strong stimulant and tonic for the immune system. Directly active against hepatitis viruses.

Properties: Warming, both hemostatic and anticoagulant (depending on the condition), disperses blood stasis, anti-swelling, analgesic, anti-inflammatory, immunomodulating, hypolipemic (raw sanqi), hyperlipemic (cured sanqi), anti-atherosclerotic, antioxidant.

Most Common Traditional Uses: Hemorrhages of various kinds (e.g., coughing blood, vomiting blood, nosebleeds, hematochezia, and metrorrhagia), traumatic injuries with bleeding and pain, stabbing pain in chest and abdomen.

By Chinese standards, tienchi is not an ancient herb, being first described only about 400 years ago, in Li Shi-Zhen’s Ben Cao Gang Mu (circa 1590 A.D.). It is cultivated mainly in southern China, in the provinces of Yunnan, Guangxi, and Guangdong, at altitudes between 800 and 1,000 m. Tienchi is closely related to Asian ginseng and American ginseng.Like ginseng, it also contains ginsenosides (esp. Rb1 and Rg1) as its major active components. However, unlike ginseng, tienchi’s most well-known traditional use is not as a tonic but as a hemostatic, and is a common ingredient in many hemostatic formulas both for internal and external applications. Perhaps the most famous formula of this kind is Yunnan Baoyao (White Drug of Yunnan Province) which contains tienchi as a major component. This medicine was carried by both Chinese and American airmen (the Flying Tigers) during World War II to stop bleeding due to wounds and injuries.

After modern chemical and pharmacological studies have shown tienchi to contain ginsenosides and to exhibit broad biological activities that are typical of tonics (cardiovascular, immunomodulating, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, normalizing blood lipids and blood pressure, etc.), it is now also used in tonic formulas.

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Research Highlights:-

• Studies from China show that it speeds recovery from wounds by over 50% (reported in Dharmananda, 1994).

• Studies have shown that this action is strengthened by repeated administration and tends to be dose-dependent (Gong YH et al., 1991).

• In mouse studies, Tien chi root extract has shown significant anti-tumor activity on skin tumors induced by chemical toxins (Konoshima et al., 1999).

• In a study of patients with essential hypertension, tien chi root saponins, were shown to precipitate remarkable improvement in left ventricular diastolic function. The researchers concluded that the herb could improve heart muscle relaxation by enhancing calcium pump activity, inhibiting intracellular calcium overload, and lightening left ventricular muscle mass (Feng et al., 1997). In spite of this positive effect, however, the herb is not a reliable blood pressure-lowering agent by itself, though it may be a useful addition to a treatment protocol (Lei XL et al., 1986).

•The development of cardiac dysfunction and weakness immediately following traumatic burns is a serious problem, and one that is very difficult to treat. In a placebo controlled trial performed on rats at the Institute of Burn Research in Chongqing, China, researchers determined that tien chi root was effective in improving early post-burn cardiac function (Huang et al., 1999).

• The actions of this herb on the cardiovascular system are complex, involving multiple mechanisms. Studies done at the Chinese Academy of Medical Science in Beijing have shown that the saponins in tien chi root act as calcium channel blockers in neurons (Ma et al., 1997).

• The protection the whole root affords against hypoxic damage is attributed to the improvement of energy metabolism, preserving the structural integrity of neurons (Jiang KY et al., 1995).

• Other effects include lipid-lowering activity (Xu et al., 1993), increased outflow of coronary vessels and relaxed constriction of ileum smooth muscles (Hu Y et al., 1992), and anti-arrhythmic activity (Gao BY et al., 1992).

• A study on rabbits suffering from hemorrhagic shock examined the effects of various combinations of salvia root, tien chi root and chuan xiong rhizome (Ligusticum wallichii). Blood tests showed that all three herbs were effective for relieving blood pressure and heart rate reduction, but that the combination of any two herbs was superior to
using a single herb, improving results and lowering the required dosage (Wang et al., 1997)

Disclaimer:
The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplements, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.

Resources:
http://eatmoreherbs.com/zine/ginseng_tienchi.html
http://www.globalherbalsupplies.com/herb_information/ginseng_tienchi.htm#top
http://www.health-report.co.uk/phytochi_tienchi_ginseng.html
http://oneearthherbs.squarespace.com/important-herbs/tien-chi-root-panax-notoginseng.html
http://www.itmonline.org/jintu/tienchi.htm

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