Tag Archives: Doctor of Philosophy

Alnus nitida

Botanical Name: Alnus nitida
Family: Betulaceae
Genus: Alnus
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Fagales

Synonyms : Clethropsis nitida.

Habitat :Alnus nitida is native to E. Asia – Himalayas. It grows by rivers and streams, 600 – 1200 metres, occasionally to 2700 metres.

Description:
Alnus nitida is a deciduous Tree growing 20 m or more tall. Young shoots pubescent, becoming glabrescent when old. Leaves ovate to elliptic-ovate, 5-15 cm x 3-9 cm, acute or acuminate, remotely serrate to sub-serrate, pubescent to pilose, often villous at the angles of the veins on the under surface, base cuneate to rounded; petiole 1-4 cm long, glabrous to pubescent. Male flowers in catkins, up to 19 cm long; peduncle 5-6.5 mm long; bract c. 1.2 mm long, more or less ovate, bracteoles smaller, suborbiculate. Tepals oblong-obovate to spathulate, c. l mm long, apex and margin minutely toothed. Anthers c. 1 mm long, filament slightly shorter than the tepals, scarcely forked. Female flowers in erect ‘woody cones’, 3-3.5 cm x c. 1.2 cm; bract broadly ovate, bracteoles suborbiculate. Styles 2, linear. Fruiting scale 5-lobed, 5-6 mm long, apex obliquely truncate. Nut 2.5-4 mm long, fringed by the narrow and more or less leathery wings.

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It is in flower in September. The flowers are monoecious (individual flowers are either male or female, but both sexes can be found on the same plant) and are pollinated by Wind.It can fix Nitrogen.

Suitable for: medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils and can grow in heavy clay and nutritionally poor soils. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It prefers dry moist or wet soil.

Cultivation:
Prefers a heavy soil and a damp situation. Grows well in heavy clay soils. Tolerates drier soils than most members of this genus. Succeeds in very infertile sites. Trees probably tolerate temperatures down to between -5 and -10°c and so will not succeed outdoors in the colder areas of the country. A very ornamental tree. This species has a symbiotic relationship with certain soil micro-organisms, these form nodules on the roots of the plants and fix atmospheric nitrogen. Some of this nitrogen is utilized by the growing plant but some can also be used by other plants growing nearby.

Propagation:
Seed – best sown in a cold frame as soon as it is ripe and only just covered. Spring sown seed should also germinate successfully so long as it is not covered. The seed should germinate in the spring as the weather warms up. When large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots. If growth is sufficient, it is possible to plant them out into their permanent positions in the summer, otherwise keep them in pots outdoors and plant them out in the spring. If you have sufficient quantity of seed, it can be sown thinly in an outdoor seed bed in the spring. The seedlings can either be planted out into their permanent positions in the autumn/winter, or they can be allowed to grow on in the seed bed for a further season before planting them. Cuttings of mature wood, taken as soon as the leaves fall in autumn, outdoors in sandy soil.

Medicinal Uses: A decoction of the bark is applied externally to treat swellings and body pains.

Other Uses: Tannin is obtained from the bark, it is used in dyeing. Wood – soft, even grained, hard to cut. Used for construction and furniture

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

Resources:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alder
http://www.efloras.org/florataxon.aspx?flora_id=5&taxon_id=242420274
http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Alnus+nitida

 

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Claytonia sibirica

Botanical Name : Claytonia sibirica
Family: Montiaceae
Genus: Claytonia
Species: C. sibirica
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Caryophyllales

Synonyms: Claytonia alsinoides. C. sibirica.

Common Names: Siberian Spring Beauty, Siberian Miner’s Lettuce, Candy Flower or Pink Purslane

Habitat:Claytonia sibirica is native to E. Asia – Siberia. Western N. America – Alaska to California. Naturalized in Britain. It grows on damp woods, shaded streamsides etc, especially on sandy acid soils. Thickets of red alder, dogwood, vine-leaf maple, moist shaded coniferous forests from sea level to 2000 metres.

Description:
Claytonia sibirica is a short-lived perennial or annual flowering plant with hermaphroditic flowers which are protandrous and self-fertile. The numerous fleshy stems form a rosette and the leaves are lanceolate. The flowers are 8-20 mm diameter, with five white, candy-striped, or pink petals, flowering is between February and August.

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It is not frost tender. It is in leaf 12-Jan It is in flower from Apr to July, and the seeds ripen from Jun to August. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Bees, flies.The plant is self-fertile.

Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils, prefers well-drained soil and can grow in nutritionally poor soil. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils and can grow in very acid soils.

It can grow in full shade (deep woodland) semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It prefers dry or moist soil.

Cultivation:
A very tolerant and easily grown plant, it prefers a moist peaty soil and is unhappy in dry situations. It succeeds in full sun though is happier when given some shade and also grows in the dense shade of beech trees. Plants usually self-sow freely. This is an excellent and trouble-free salad plant. It is extremely cold-hardy and can provide edible leaves all year round in all areas of the country even if it is not given protection.

Propagation:
Seed – sow spring or autumn in situ. The seed usually germinates rapidly.

Edible Uses:
Leaves – raw or cooked. They usually have a fairly bland flavour and are quite nice in a salad or cooked as a green vegetable. The leaves have a distinct earthy after-taste rather like raw beetroot. They are available all year round but can turn rather bitter in the summer, especially if the plant is growing in a hot dry position. Although on the small side, the leaves are produced in abundance and are very easily harvested.
Medicinal Uses:
The plant is diuretic. A poultice of the chewed leaves has been applied to cuts and sores. The juice of the plant has been used as eye drops for sore red eyes. A cold infusion of the stems has been used as an antidandruff wash for the hair.

Other Uses:
A good ground cover plant for a shady position. This species is a short-lived perennial but it usually self-sows freely and gives a dense weed-excluding ground cover

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

Resources:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Claytonia_sibirica
http://www.pfaf.org/user/plant.aspx?latinname=Claytonia+sibirica

Eatching & tearing of Eyes (Epiphora)

Definition:

Watery eyes (epiphora) tear persistently or excessively.

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Depending on the cause, watery eyes may clear up on their own. Self-care measures at home can help treat watery eyes, particularly if caused by inflammation or dry eyes.

Causes:
Watery eyes can be due to many factors and conditions.

In infants, persistent watery eyes, often with some matter, are commonly the result of blocked tear ducts. The tear ducts don’t produce tears, but rather carry away tears, similar to how a storm drain carries away rainwater. Tears normally drain into your nose through tiny openings (puncta) in the inner part of the lids near the nose. In babies, the tear duct may not be fully open and functioning for the first several months of life.

In older adults, persistent watery eyes may occur as the aging skin of the eyelids sags away from the eyeball, allowing tears to accumulate and flow out.

Sometimes, excess tear production may cause watery eyes as well.

Allergies or viral infections (conjunctivitis), as well as any kind of inflammation, may cause watery eyes for a few days or so.

There may be some more other cause like due to different medication & other  diseases.

Do your eyes itch after you’ve been near a cat? Do they puff up or run with tears when pollen is in the air? Allergies of the eye affect about 20% of Americans each year, and are on the rise. The same inhaled airborne allergens — pollens, animal dander, dust mite feces, and mold — that trigger allergic rhinitis (the familiar sneezing, runny nose, and congestion) can lead to allergic conjunctivitis (inflammation of the conjunctiva, the lining of the eye). It’s not surprising that people with allergic rhinitis often suffer from allergic conjunctivitis as well.

About 50% of allergic conjunctivitis sufferers, who tend to be young adults, have other allergic diseases or a family history of allergies. About 80% of eye allergies are seasonal; the rest are perennial (year-round). The symptoms are itchy and red eyes, tearing, edema (swelling) of the conjunctiva or eyelid, and a mucous discharge. Although it can be uncomfortable, you can rest assured that it is not a threat to your vision.

Diagnosing allergic conjunctivitis:

Allergic conjunctivitis usually can be confirmed by your doctor based on your symptoms. Testing is not usually needed to diagnose the condition, but skin testing (the same kind that’s done for other allergic reactions) may help identify the allergens causing your symptoms.

If your symptoms don’t quickly respond to treatment, see your doctor in case you have a different condition. Dry eye, in particular, can mimic the symptoms of allergic conjunctivitis.

Treating allergic conjunctivitis:-

Avoidance is your first line of defense. If you are allergic to cats, for example, avoid them (or at least don’t touch your eyes when near one), and wash your hands immediately after touching one. If pollen is your nemesis, keep your windows closed and an air purifier or air conditioner going in pollen season. Also, don’t rub your eyes, because rubbing causes cells in the conjunctiva to release histamine and other inflammatory chemicals, which worsens symptoms. Use artificial tears (available without prescription) frequently for relief and to dilute allergens in the eye.

If your only allergy problem is allergic conjunctivitis, then medicated eye drops would be your first step. You can start with an over-the-counter product, such as ketotifen eye drops (Zaditor, Alaway). The active ingredient is an antihistamine and a mast cell stabilizer, both of which can control the immune system overreaction that leads to your symptoms. Prescription-strength products that have similar actions are also available.

Allergic conjunctivitis can also be treated with over-the-counter oral antihistamines such as loratadine (Claritin), cetirizine (Zyrtec), and fexofenadine (Allegra), or the prescription antihistamines desloratadine (Clarinex) and levocetirizine (Xyzal). These are especially useful for people that have other allergy symptoms in addition to conjunctivitis.

For allergic conjunctivitis that is very severe and doesn’t improve with other medications, there are prescription eye drops that contain corticosteroids, such as loteprednol etabonate (Alrex, Lotemax) and fluorometholone (Fluor-Op, FML Forte). However, these eye medications should only be used under the guidance of an ophthalmologist.

General  precautions  & Alternative treatment of eatching & tearing eyes:

*Remember to keep their eyes free from dust and other particles that cause a blocking of the tear ducts.

*Wash the face and eyes frequently as this will also help to keep you refreshed. Washing your eyes frequently also removes the impurities from around the area of the tear ducts, keeping them free from blockages.

*You could also keep your eyes moist with the use of some mild eye drops. This will help in reducing the itchiness and the dryness that you experience.

*If you are going outdoors, make sure to wear some protective eye wear that help to keep impurities out of the eyes, thereby avoiding any irritability of the sense organs.

*Rose water is an excellent remedy to soothe dryness or burning sensations that are experienced in the eyes. Washing out the eyes in a capful of rose water will provide instantaneous relief.

*There are occasions where the optical nerve of the eyes and the muscles around the eyes have been strained, leading to dryness and itching, followed by a continuous flow of secretions. In order to relax the eyes and the relevant muscles, place slices of cucumber over the eyelids while you rest your eyes. The cooling effect of the cucumber slices will provide a great deal of relief to your tired eyes.

*On certain occasions, a warm compress, made by dipping a piece of towel into warm water and pressing it gently over the eyes will provide relief from symptoms of itching and continuous flow of tears.

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Disclaimer: This information is not meant to be a substitute for professional medical advise or help. It is always best to consult with a Physician about serious health concerns. This information is in no way intended to diagnose or prescribe remedies.This is purely for educational purpose.
Resources:
Harvard Medical School healthbeat@mail.health.harvard.edu via nf163.n-email.net
http://www.home-remedies-for-you.com/askquestion/83237/causes-of-itchy-eyes-what-could-be-the-root-of-itc.html
http://www.mayoclinic.org/symptoms/watery-eyes/basics/causes/SYM-20050821

Coccydynia

Definition:
Coccydynia is a medical term meaning pain in the coccyx or tailbone area, usually brought on by sitting too abruptly.
We humans have evolved biologically so much that we tend to forget that we were once animals and had a tail. That is, till we suddenly develop a pain deep down in the cleft between the buttocks, making it difficult to abruptly shift positions, from sitting to standing or getting up after lying down. This pain is called coccydynia.

That last bone in the vertebral column is called a coccyx. It actually is a vestigial tail, which has shrunk over generations. About 2.7 per cent of patients who see a doctor for “backache” actually had pain in the tailbone. It is more likely to occur in physically active youngsters and adults over the age of 40. Women, with their wide pelvis, are more prone to coccodynia.

Coccydynia occurs in the lowest part of the spine, the coccyx, which represents a vestigial tail, or in other words the “tail bone”. The name coccyx is derived from the Greek word for cuckoo due to its beak like appearance. The coccyx itself is made up of 3 to 5 vertebrae, some of which may be fused together. The ventral side of the coccyx is slightly concave whereas the dorsal aspect is slightly convex. Both of these sides have transverse grooves that show where the vestigial coccygeal units had previously fused. The coccyx attaches the sacrum, from the dorsal grooves with the attachment being either a symphysis or as a true synovial joint, and also to the gluteus maximus muscle, the coccygeal muscle, and the anococcygeal ligament.

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Symptoms:
Pain and local tenderness at the tailbone are the major symptoms of coccydynia. This can lead to difficulty sitting or leaning against the buttocks. Along with the pain with sitting, there is typically exquisite tenderness at the tailbone area. Coccydynia is also known as coccygodynia, coccygeal pain, coccyx pain, or coccalgia.

Causes:
One way of classifying coccydynia is whether the onset was traumatic versus non-traumatic. In many cases the exact cause is unknown and is referred to as idiopathic coccydynia.

The coccyx is prone to injury. Acute dislocations, sprains and fractures can occur. Usually there is a history of having fallen abruptly, on a staircase, the side of the swimming pool or some other hard surface. It can also occur while cycling or rowing. Chronic injury can occur if work or academics involves sitting for prolonged periods on hard surfaces like a wooden bench or a chair without cushions. In women, the coccyx can be injured during childbirth, especially if labour is prolonged. Overweight and obese men and women are more likely to develop problems with the coccyx.

There are common pathophysiological ways that a person may develop coccydynia. The two main causes for this condition are sudden impact due to fall, and coccydynia caused by childbirth pressure in women. Other ways that coccydynia develops are partial dislocation of the sacrococcygeal synchondrosis that can possibly result in abnormal movement of the coccyx from excessive sitting, and repetitive trauma of the surrounding ligaments and muscles, resulting in inflammation of tissues and pain.

Coccydynia is a fairly common injury which can often result from falls, particularly in leisure activities such as cycling and skateboarding. Coccydynia is often reported following a fall or after childbirth. In some cases, persistent pressure from activities like bicycling may cause the onset of coccyx pain. Coccydynia due to these causes usually is not permanent, but it may become very persistent and chronic if not controlled. Coccydynia may also be caused by sitting improperly thereby straining the coccyx.

Rarely, coccydynia is due to the undiagnosed presence of a sacrococcygeal teratoma or other tumor in the vicinity of the coccyx. In these cases, appropriate treatment usually involves surgery and/or chemotherapy.
Diagnosis:
A number of different conditions can cause pain in the general area of the coccyx, but not all involve the coccyx and the muscles attached to it. The first task of diagnosis is to determine whether the pain is related to the coccyx. Physical rectal examination, high resolution x-rays and MRI scans can rule out various causes unrelated to the coccyx, such as Tarlov cysts and pain referred from higher up the spine. Note that, contrary to most anatomical textbooks, most coccyxes consist of several segments: ‘fractured coccyx’ is often diagnosed when the coccyx is in fact normal or just dislocated at an intercoccygeal joint.

A simple test to determine whether the coccyx is involved is injection of local anesthetic into the area. If the pain relates to the coccyx, this should produce immediate relief.

If the anesthetic test proves positive, then a dynamic (sit/stand) x-ray or MRI scan may show whether the coccyx dislocates when the patient sits.

Use of dynamic x-rays on 208 patients who gave positive results with the anesthetic test showed:

* 31% Not possible to identify the cause of pain
* 27% Hypermobility (excessive flexing of the coccyx forwards and upwards when sitting)
* 22% Posterior luxation (partial dislocation of the coccyx backwards when sitting)
* 14% Spicule (bony spur) on the coccyx
* 5% Anterior luxation (partial dislocation of the coccyx forwards when sitting)

This study found that the pattern of lesions was different depending on the obesity of the patients: obese patients were most likely to have posterior luxation of the coccyx, while thin patients were most likely to have coccygeal spicules.

Angle of incidence:
Sagittal coccygeal movement is measured using the angle of incidence—or the angle at which the coccyx strikes the seat when an individual sits down. A smaller angle indicates the coccyx being more parallel to the seat, resulting in flexion (or “normal” movement) of the coccyx. A larger angle indicates the coccyx being more perpendicular to the seat, causing posterior subluxation (or “backward” movement) of the coccyx. CLICK & SEE THE PICTURE : Stand to Sit Coccyx

Treatment:
Once coccydynia has been diagnosed, conservative treatment can make the pain disappear in 8-12 weeks. This involves sitting in a basin of hot water (sitz bath) for 10-15 minutes at least twice a day. A donut shaped cushion makes sitting during work easier. Inflatable rubber cushions are available which can be carried around. When seated on chairs or in the toilet, try to lean slightly forwards.

Stretches can be done for that area. The two common ones are the kneeling stretch, when you kneel on one leg keeping the other bent at a right angle. After 30 seconds switch sides. The other stretch involves lying down, bending the knees, crossing the legs at the ankle and then pulling the legs towards you with your arms.
You may click & see : BACK PAIN REMEDY.. 

Since sitting on the affected area may aggravate the condition, a cushion with a cutout at the back under the coccyx is recommended. If there is tailbone pain with bowel movements, then stool softeners and increased fiber in the diet may help. For prolonged cases, anti-inflammatory medications such as NSAIDS(non-steroidal anti inflammatory drugs) or pain-relieving drugs may be prescribed. The use of anti-depressants such as Elavil (amitriptyline) may help alleviate constant pain. Tailbone pain physicians specializing in Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at New Jersey Medical School have published that sometimes even just a single local nerve block injection at the ganglion impar can give 100% relief of coccydynia when performed under fluoroscopic guidance.

Additionally if the pain is caused by a malignment of the coccyx, manipulation by a chiropractor, osteopathic physician (D.O.) or physical therapist can offer relief.

In rare cases, surgery to remove the coccyx (coccygectomy) may be required. Typically, surgery is reserved for patients with cancer (malignancy) or those whose tailbone pain has failed to respond to non-surgical treatment (such as medications by mouth, use of seat cushions, and medications given by local injections done under fluoroscopic guidance, as noted above.

Prevention:
Body positioning and alignment is significant for producing less stress in the coccyx region. Bad posture can influence coccyx pain. People may not realize that they are over stressing their coccyx while doing daily activities. Pain in the coccyx can be caused from many incidents like falling, horseback riding, or even sitting on hard surfaces for a long period of time. The main focus is to prevent coccyx pain from occurring, by correcting everyday activities that contribute to tailbone pain.

Proper equipment used to preventing coccyx pain:
There is no definite way to fully prevent coccyx pain because an accident can occur at any given time. However, people who are obese are at a higher risk for developing coccyx pain. Carrying excessive weight contributes to more stress on the coccyx while sitting down causing increased chances of pain.  Prevention of carrying excessive weight gain can help reduce the tension and pressure on the coccyx. In other words the coccyx for obese people may be more posteriorly outward when they are sitting down.  Avoidance of contact sports like basketball, football, and or hockey can decrease the risks of coccyx pain, because it can help reduce the chances of falling. Another method is proper safety equipment for sports is to prevent coccyx pain. For example, there are hockey pants that provide extra cushion that protect the thigh, coccyx, and buttocks. These results will lead to less falls that can cause trauma to the coccyx.

Stretches & strengthening exercises for prevention:
A kneeling groin stretch can help prevent coccyx pain from occurring after long periods of sitting. The adductor magnus is involved in the kneeling groin stretch, and when it is tight it can contribute to tailbone pain, so stretching can help prevent tailbone pain. Other stretches like piriformis stretch, and hands to feet stretch, can relieve stress off the muscles around the coccyx, after sitting for a long time. These release tension built up around the muscles in the coccyx.
Every part of our body (even the coccyx) needs looking after.

*While cycling on a stationery bike or on the road, make sure the cycle seat is soft and comfortable. Special “cycling innerwear” is available with padding and should be used.

*Do not run on slippery surfaces like the edges of the swimming pool.

*Wear footwear that is rubber soled or has a “grip”, not smooth leather.

*Maintain ideal body weight. This can be calculated as height in metre squared X 23.

*Walk and sit with the correct posture. If you feel you are slouching, stand with both shoulders touching the wall and balance a book on your head.

*Do not sit on hard surfaces for prolonged periods of time.

Disclaimer: This information is not meant to be a substitute for professional medical advise or help. It is always best to consult with a Physician about serious health concerns. This information is in no way intended to diagnose or prescribe remedies.This is purely for educational purpose.

Resources:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coccydynia
http://www.medicinenet.com/coccydynia/article.htm
http://www.telegraphindia.com/1160201/jsp/knowhow/story_66774.jsp

Panax ginseng

Botanical Name : Panax ginseng
Family: Araliaceae
Subfamily: Aralioideae
Tribe: Aralieae
Genus: Panax
Species: Panax ginseng
Kingdom: Plantae
Subkingdom: Tracheobionta
Division: Magnoliophyta
Class: Magnoliopsida
Subclass: Rosidae
Order: Apiales

Synonyms : Aralia ginseng. Panax chin-seng. Panax verus.

Common Name : Ginseng, Chinese ginseng

Habitat : Panax ginseng is native to E. Asia – China, Korea.(Manchuria, Chinese Tartary and other parts of eastern Asia, and is largely cultivated there as well as in Korea and Japan.) It grows on mountain forests.
Description:
Panax ginseng is a smooth perennial herb, with a large, fleshy, very slow-growing root, 2 to 3 inches in length (occasionally twice this size) and from 1/2 to 1 inch in thickness. Its main portion is spindle-shaped and heavily annulated (ringed growth), with a roundish summit, often with a slight terminal, projecting point. At the lower end of this straight portion, there is a narrower continuation, turned obliquely outward in the opposite direction and a very small branch is occasionally borne in the fork between the two. Some small rootlets exist upon the lower portion. The color ranges from a pale yellow to a brownish color. It has a mucilaginous sweetness, approaching that of liquorice, accompanied with some degree of bitterness and a slight aromatic warmth, with little or no smell. The stem is simple and erect, about a foot high, bearing three leaves, each divided into five finely-toothed leaflets, and a single, terminal umbel, with a few small, yellowish flowers. It is hardy to zone (UK) 6. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) The fruit is a cluster of bright red berries.

CLICK & SEE THE PICTURES
Cultivation:
Requires a moist humus rich soil in a shady position in a woodland. Ginseng is widely cultivated and also collected from the wild in the Orient for its root which is commonly used as a medicine. The root is prepared in a number of different ways, including by steaming it for 4 hours in wicker baskets over boiling water.

Propagation :
Seed – sow in a shady position in a cold frame preferably as soon as it is ripe, otherwise as soon as the seed is obtained. It can be very slow and erratic to germinate. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots when they are large enough to handle and grow them on in a shady positi
Edible Uses: ...Root – chewed. This probably refers to its medicinal uses. A tea is made from the root.

Medicinal Uses:
Ginseng was considered for generations to be a panacea by the Chinese and Koreans, although there are some disorders, such as acute inflammatory diseases, for which it is not recommended. It usually is not taken alone, but combined in formulas with other herbs. One of ginseng’s key investigators, Russian I.I. Brekhman, coined the term “adaptogen” to describe ginseng’s ability to regulate many different functions. It can have different responses, depending on what an individual needs. Studies show that ginseng increases mental and physical efficiency and resistance to stress and disease. Psychological improvements were also observed according to Rorschach. Studies done at the Chinese Academy of Medical Science in Beijing, China, showed that the ginsenosides increase protein synthesis and activity of neurotransmitters in the brain. They are also probably responsible for ginseng’s dual role of sedating or stimulating the central nervous system, depending on the condition it is being taken to treat. Studies also show that ginseng improves carbohydrate tolerance in diabetics. When volunteers were given 3 grams of ginseng along with alcohol, their blood alcohol level was 32% to 51% lower than that of the control group.

Ginseng appears to stimulate the immune system of both animals and humans. It revs up the white blood cells (macrophages and natural killer cells) that devour disease-causing microorganisms. Ginseng also spurs production of interferon, the body’s own virus-fighting chemical, and antibodies, which fight bacterial and viral infections. It reduces cholesterol, according to several American studies. It also increases good cholesterol. Ginseng has an anticlotting effect, which reduces the risk of blood clots. It reduces blood sugar levels. Ginseng protects the liver from the harmful effects of drugs, alcohol, and other toxic substances. In a pilot human study, ginseng improved liver function in 24 elderly people suffering from cirrhosis. Ginseng can minimize cell damage from radiation. In two studies, experimental animals were injected with various protective agents, then subjected to doses of radiation similar to those used in cancer radiation therapy. Ginseng provided the best protection against damage to healthy cells, suggesting value during cancer radiation therapy.

Asians have always considered ginseng particularly beneficial for the elderly. As people age, the senses of taste and smell deteriorate, which reduces appetite. In addition, the intestine’s ability to absorb nutrients declines. Ginseng enjoys a reputation as an appetite stimulant and one study showed it increases the ability of the intestine to absorb nutrients, thus helping prevent undernourishment. This is a yin tonic, taken in China for fevers and for exhaustion due to a chronic, wasting disease such as tuberculosis. It can help coughs related to lung weaknessIn the 1960s, a Japanese scientist, Shoji Shibata, at the Meiji College of Pharmacy in Tokyo, identified a unique set of chemicals that are largely responsible for ginseng’s actions. They are saponins, biologically active compounds that foam in water. Ginseng’s unique saponins were dubbed “ginsenosides.”

Research reveals that ginseng can have beneficial effects on metabolic function, immunity, mood, and physiological function at the most basic cellular level. It does not benefit everyone; recent studies of elite athletes reveal that it has no demonstrable effects on athletic performance. Yet in older people, studies show that it reduces fatigue, improves performance, and boosts mood. This makes sense in classic terms because why would world-class athletes, with superior yang energy, want to take a root for people with “devastated ” yang? But if you are recovering from a drawn-out illness, feeling fatigued, or feeling the effects of age’ if you are experiencing a “collapse” of your “chi”, ginseng may be right for you.

As an adaptogenic, ginseng’s action varies. In China, ginseng is best known as a stimulant, tonic herb for athletes and those subject to physical stress, and as a male aphrodisiac. It is also a tonic for old age, and is traditionally taken by people in northern and central China fro late middle age onward, helping them to endure the long hard winters.

Ginseng has been researched in detail over the past 20-30 years in China, Japan, Korea, Russian, and many other countries. Its remarkable “adaptogenic” quality has been confirmed. Trials show that ginseng significantly improves the body’s capacity to cope with hunger, extremes of temperature, and mental and emotional stress. Furthermore, ginseng produces a sedative effect when the body requires sleep. The ginsenosides that are responsible for this action are similar in structure to the body’s own stress hormones. Ginseng also increases immune function and resistance to infection, and supports liver function.

In Asian countries, ginseng has long been recognized as effective n reducing alcohol intoxication and also as a remedy for hangovers. A clinical experiment demonstrated that ginseng significantly enhanced blood alcohol clearance in humans. In regards to cancer, a number of experiments have shown that ginseng can help restore physiological balance within the system and significantly reduce the side effects when used along with anticancer drugs. For diabetes, when patients are treated with ginseng at the early stages, conditions can return to normal. In advanced stages, the blood glucose level is significantly lowered. When combined with insulin, insulin requirements are reduced while still effectively lowering blood glucose level. Other symptoms such as fatigue and decreased sexual desire are also alleviated.

There is some evidence that ginseng, taken in small amounts over a long period of time, improves regulation of the adrenals so that stress hormones are produced rapidly when needed and broken down rapidly when not needed. Whole root is best. Extracts, even those that contain specific guaranteed-potency ginsenosides, don’t have some of the other compounds in ginseng that may be beneficial. Its not recommended to take even good quality extracts for more than 2-3 weeks at a time, but the whole ginseng root, in small amounts can be taken every day for a year or more.

At the Institute of Immunological Science at Hokkaido University in Sapporo, Japan, researchers have been studying a ginsenoside, Rb2. In mice given lung tumors,’ oral administration of ginsenoside Rb2 caused a marked inhibition of both neovascularization and tumor growth,’ they write. Neovascularization, also called angiogenesis, is the tendency of tumors to create tiny blood vessels that feed their malignant growth.

A case-control study in Korea compared about 2,000 patients admitted tot eh Korea Cancer Center Hospital in Seoul to another 2,000 noncancer patients. Those with cancer were about half as likely to use ginseng as those without cancer. Cancer risk was lower with those who took ginseng for a year but much lower for those who took ginseng for up to 20 years. Fresh ginseng, white ginseng extract, white ginseng powder, and red ginseng were all associated with reduced cancer risk.

Known Hazards : Side effects include inability to fall asleep, increase in heart rate and blood pressure. Overuse or prolonged use may cause over stimulation (diarrhoea, nervousness, skin eruption). Caution with other stimulants needed. Avoid in patients with psychosis and manic disorders. Not recommended during pregnancy and breast feeding

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

Resources:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Panax_ginseng
http://www.hardingsginsengfarm.com/botgin.htm
http://www.herbnet.com/Herb%20Uses_FGH.htm
http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Panax+ginseng