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Since May 10th 2008

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Paeonia lactiflora
Panax ginseng
Plantago afra
Platycodon grandiflorum
Piper methysticum
Polygala senega
Prunus africana
Prunus armeniaca
Plantago ovata
Pimpinella anisum
Passiflora incarnata
Psidium guajava
Punica granatum



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Untitled Document Panax ginseng C.A. Meyer (Araliaceae)

Other Panax species, including P. quinquefolius L. (American ginseng), P. notoginseng Burk. (San-chi ginseng), P. pseudoginseng Wall. ssp. japonicus Hara  P. japonicus C.A. Meyer (Japanese chikutsu ginseng) and P. notoginseng ssp. himalaicus (Himalayan ginseng) have also been referred to as “ginseng” and used medically. However, scientific documentation of these species is insufficient to justify the preparation of a monograph at this time

Local names
Chosen ninjin, ginseng, Ginsengwurzel, hakusan, hakushan, higeninjin, hongshen, hungseng, hungshen, hunseng, jenseng, jenshen, jinpi, kao-li-seng, korean ginseng, minjin, nhan sam, ninjin, ninzin, niuhuan, Oriental ginseng, otane ninjin, renshen, san-pi, shanshen, sheng-sai-seng, shenshaishanshen, shengshaishen, t’ang-seng, tyosenninzin, yakuyo ninjin, yakuyo ninzin, yehshan- seng, yuan-seng, yuanshen

A perennial herb with characteristic branched roots extending from the middle of the main root in the form of a human figure. Stem erect, simple, and not branching. Leaves verticillate, compound, digitate, leaflets 5, with the 3 terminal leaflets larger than the lateral ones, elliptical or slightly obovate, 4–15cm long by 2–6.5 cm wide; apex acuminate; base cuneate; margin serrulate or finely bidentate. In general, 1 leaf in the first year with 1 leaflet added annually until the sixth year. Inflorescence a small terminal umbel, hemispherical in early summer. Flowers polygamous, pink. Calyx vaguely 5-toothed. Petals 5, stamens 5. Fruit a small berry, nearly drupaceous, and red when ripe in autumn

Plant material used
dried root

Chemical assays
Microchemical, thin-layer chromatographic, and spectrophotometric methods are used for the qualitative and quantitative analysis of ginsenosides. High-performance liquid chromatography and liquid chromatography– mass spectrometry methods are also available. Characteristic saponins known as ginsenosides, not less than 1.5% calculated as ginsenoside Rg1 (D-glucopyranosyl-6-glucopyranosyl-20Sprotopanaxatriol, relative molecular mass 800)

Major chemical constituents
The major chemical constituents are triterpene saponins. More than 30 are based on the dammarane structure, and one (ginsenoside Ro) is derived from oleanolic acid. The dammarane saponins are derivatives of either protopanaxadiol or protopanaxatriol. Members of the former group include ginsenosides Ra1-3, Rb1-3, Rc, Rc2, Rd, Rd2, and Rh2; (20S)-ginsenoside Rg3; and malonyl ginsenosides Rb1, Rb2, Rc, and Rd. Examples of protopanaxatriol saponins are ginsenosides Re2, Re3, Rf, Rg1, Rg2, and Rh1; 20- gluco-ginsenoside Rf; and (20R)-ginsenosides Rg2 and Rh1. Those considered most important are ginsenosides Rb1, Rb2, Rc, Rd, Rf, Rg1, and Rg2; Rb1, Rb2, and Rg1 are the most abundant

Dosage forms
Crude plant material, capsules and tablets of powdered drugs, extracts, tonic drinks, wines, and lozenges. Store in a cool, dry place in well-sealed containers.

Medicinal uses
Uses supported by clinical data
Radix Ginseng is used as a prophylactic and restorative agent for enhancement of mental and physical capacities, in cases of weakness, exhaustion, tiredness, and loss of concentration, and during convalescence.

Uses described in pharmacopoeias and well established documents
Radix Ginseng has been used clinically in the treatment of diabetes, but further clinical studies are needed. The drug is also used in the treatment of impotence, prevention of hepatotoxicity, and gastrointestinal disorders such as gastritis and ulcers.

Uses described in traditional medicine
Treatment of liver disease, coughs, fever, tuberculosis, rheumatism, vomiting of pregnancy, hypothermia, dyspnoea, and nervous disorders

Proven pharmacological activity
Animal studies
Immunostimulant, Adaptogenic (physical and mental performance enhancer)

Human studies
Antifatigue, Psychomotor stimulant, Antidiabetic, Impotence


No information available.

Diabetic patients should consult a physician prior to taking Radix Ginseng, as ginseng intake may slightly reduce blood glucose levels.

Drug interactions
There are two reports of an interaction between Radix Ginseng and phenelzine, a monoamine oxidase inhibitor. The clinical significance of this interaction has not been evaluated.

Drug and laboratory test interactions
None reported.

Carcinogenesis, mutagenesis, impairment of fertility
Radix Ginseng is not carcinogenic or mutagenic in vitro, and does not have any effect on fertility.

Pregnancy: teratogenic effects
Radix Ginseng is not teratogenic in vivo.

Pregnancy: non-teratogenic effects
The safety of Radix Ginseng for use in pregnancy has not been established.

Nursing mothers
Excretion of Radix Ginseng compounds into breast milk and its effects on the newborn have not been established.

Paediatric use
The safety and efficacy of Radix Ginseng use in children have not been established.

Adverse reactions
Various researchers who studied Radix Ginseng extracts using conventional toxicological methods in five different animal models reported no acute or chronic toxicity of the extract. On the basis of Radix Ginseng’s long use, and the relative infrequency of significant demonstrable side-effects, it has been concluded that the use of Radix Ginseng is not associated with serious adverse effects if taken at the recommended dose. However, in Siegel’s open study of 133 patients ingesting large quantities, ginseng was reported to result in hypertension, nervousness, irritability, diarrhoea, skin eruptions, and insomnia, which were collectively called ginseng abuse syndrome (GAS). Critical analysis of this report has shown that there were no controls or analyses to determine the type of ginseng being ingested or the constituents of the preparation taken, and that some of the amounts ingested were clearly excessive (as much as 15 g per day, where the recommended daily dose is 0.5–2g). When the dose was decreased to 1.7 g/day the symptoms of the “syndrome” were rare. Thus the only conclusion that can be validly extracted from the Siegel study is that the excessive and uncontrolled intake of ginseng products should be avoided. One case of ginseng-associated cerebral arteritis has been reported in a patient consuming a high dose of an ethanol extract of ginseng root (approximately 6g in one dose). However, again the type and quantity of ginseng extract were not reported. Two cases of mydriasis and disturbance in accommodation, as well as dizziness have been reported after ingestion of large doses (3–9g) of an unspecified type of ginseng preparation. Estrogenic-like side-effects have been reported in both premenopausal and postmenopausal women following the use of ginseng. Seven cases of mastalgiaand one case of vaginal bleeding in a postmenopausal woman were reported after ingestion of unspecified ginseng products. An increased libido in premenopausal women h also been reported. Specific studies on the possible hormonal side-effects of ginseng have been carried out with a standardized ginseng extract. Under physiological conditions, there is no interaction of the ginseng extract with either cytosolic estrogen receptors isolated from mature rat uterus or progesterone receptors from human myometrium. Furthermore, clinical studies have demonstrated that a standardized ginseng extract does not cause a change in male and female hormonal status.

Unless otherwise prescribed, daily dose (taken in the morning): dried root 0.5–2g by decoction; doses of other preparations should be calculated accordingly


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