GINSENG HERBS, HERBAL MEDICOS

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Three ginseng species — American ginseng (Panax quinquefolius), Oriental ginseng (Panax
ginseng), and Siberian ginseng (Eleutherococcus senticosus) — have been promoted as energy
enhancers, stress reducers, and mood improvers. The active components of ginseng are known as


ginsenosides, more than 20 of which have been identified. The pharmacological activity of each
ginsenoside appears to vary depending on where the plant grew and the extraction techniques used.
Also, data suggest that the ginsenoside composition varies widely among commercially available
ginseng products. This variability makes it difficult to evaluate the safety and efficacy of ginseng
products. Although the exact pharmacological actions of ginsenosides in humans are not fully
understood, studies suggest that these substances may increase adrenal hormone synthesis, decrease
blood glucose concentrations, and promote immunomodulation. Oriental ginseng (Ginsana) may
antagonize the anticoagulant effects of warfarin. The possible mechanism for this interaction has
not been identified, and it is not known which ginsenoside or ginsenosides may be responsible.

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