Korean ginseng is discouraged from taking during summer?
Definitely not. We are vulnerable to loss of physical strength during
summer due to excessive sweating. Therefore, it is recommended to
get enough nutrients during summer. Korean ginseng is known to stimulate
the metabolism, thereby helping recovery of energy during summer.
Accordingly, Korean ginseng can be taken regardless of season. Increase
in blood circulation was misunderstood as an increase in body temperature.
Korean ginseng facilitates blood circulation, thereby increasing
skin temperature but body core temperature does not change. Professor
Fujimoto at the College of Medicine, Kyushu University, Japan and
professor Sakata at the College of Medicine, Oita University, Japan
demonstrated that Korean Red Ginseng powder alleviated physical
disorders induced by high temperature. They also found that ginseng
counteracts increase in body temperature induced by endogenous pyrogen,
indicating buffering effect of ginseng on body temperature.
Koreans eat Samge-tang (ginseng-chicken soup, a favorite Korean
traditional food) during summer to overcome the heat. Recently,
Samge-tang is eaten regardless of season.
2. Korean Ginseng
is effective only for the elderly and weak people?
Absolutely not. Many research articles support that Korean Red Ginseng
and its active ingredients are effective in strengthening immune
function and delaying the aging process. It might be true that ginseng
exerts a more potent activity in abnormal subjects than in normal
(healthy) persons. In light of thus far reported studies, the potency
of ginseng depends more on the physical condition than on age of
Clinical study with healthy adults at the age of 20s suggests that
ginseng is effective for the enhancement of physical exercise. For
this reason, worldwide famous sportsmen take ginseng regularly.
Recently, a clinical study with 55 subjects was carried out in China-Japan
Friendship Hospital. Korean Red Ginseng was given at a daily dose
of 3 g for 1 month. Cardiac function was enhanced at the time of
In conclusion, Korean ginseng is relatively more effective in the
elderly with decreased physical function or in weak subjects than
in young healthy adults. However, young healthy adults are also
encouraged to take ginseng for the prevention of disease.
3. Children and
pregnant women are forbidden from taking Korean ginseng?
No. Children are recommended to take 1/3 of the adult's dose. Pregnant
women can take ginseng but excessive dosage should be avoided and
it is recommended to consult an herbal physician when necessary.
Ginseng is effective for the control of weak constitution in children.
It can play important role in growth and brain development. However,
excessive doses are forbidden. It would be wise to give ginseng
to children only under parent's guidance.
Use of ginseng by pregnant woman is not forbidden in Oriental medicinal
books. It has been recognized that ginseng plays beneficial role
in the health of mother and fetus. The effect of ginseng on 88 pairs
of pregnant women with similar backgrounds in age and child delivery
was investigated in a case control study. There was no significant
difference in children in the two groups. However, the number of
women suffering from preclampsia, a toxic response encountered in
woman during late gestation period with symptoms of high blood pressure,
edema, etc., was markedly decreased.
However, pregnant women should pay careful attention when taking
medicine. It would be wiser for pregnant women not to take ginseng
in high doses and to consult an Oriental physician when taking ginseng
for excessive loss of physical strength.
Korean ginseng can
be taken depending on physical constitution?
Korean ginseng exerts effective biological role in overall organs.
Somebody says that his/her physiological constitution does not comply
with Korean ginseng. However, this has no scientific ground. From
the Oriental medicinal point of view, ginseng plays a medicinal
role in the spleen and stomach. Therefore, it can be said that ginseng
is more effective for the person with a small yin constitution,
in other words people with weak digestive functions. The pharmacological
effects of ginseng have been verified by various pharmacodynamic
experiments, in which ginseng normalizes functions overall of internal
organs in a non-specific manner. Healthy persons with abnormally
high body temperatures (different from infection-derived fever)
or who have adverse reactions when taking ginseng are recommended
to adapt himself/herself over times by taking small amounts at the
Korean ginseng induces side effect
of nasal bleeding?
In Oriental medicinal philosophy, ginseng is categorized as an upper
medicine, an herb that induces no side effect, therefore can be
taken for long periods of time.
Ginseng demonstrated no side effect in acute, sub acute and chronic
toxicity tests. A great number of clinical experiments also support
the safety of Korean ginseng. The Food and Drug Administration,
USA classified ginseng as GRAS (generally recognized as safe). Furthermore,
WHO (World Health Organization) monograph, German Commission E Monograph
and British Herbal Compendium state that ginseng has no side effects
However, in light of our century-old experience we recommend persons
with abnormally high body temperatures and who are vulnerable to
nasal bleeding not take ginseng. Ginseng is not recommended for
a person with a fever. In case of patients with influenza, they
are encouraged to take ginseng for the recovery of physical strength
when fever has gone.
Increase in blood pressure was misunderstood as one of the prominent
side effect of ginseng. However, a multi-centric study encompassing
13 hospitals and 316 subjects demonstrated no significant abnormal
change in blood pressure.
It is also said in some East Asian countries that Korean ginseng
induces nasal rhinorrhagia (nose bleeding) and body weight increment.
However, a clinical experiment conducted in China-Japan Friendship
Hospital, Beijing, China confronts the misunderstanding. A total
of 75 subjects were divided into placebo-treated (2o cases) and
Korean Red Ginseng-treated groups (55 cases). Korean ginseng was
given at a the dose of 3g/day for 1 month. No significant side effects
were observed in the ginseng-treated group. However, hypersensitivity
such as skin eruption, itching, headaches, flushing and diarrhea
was observed in rare cases. There was no significant difference
between those 2 groups in frequency of side effects.
From the Oriental medicinal viewpoint, this kind of mild side effect
could be regarded to as adaptation response. It is encountered in
the process of physical change to health. However, if this kind
of discomfort continues for more than 10 days it is better to reduce
dosage or to stop taking ginseng and consult a physician. Thus far,
Korean Red Ginseng has induced no serious adverse reaction during
the past 2 thousand years of medicinal history.
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