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ren shen (ginseng) 人參  (in English and Chinese 中英文)

By: Joe Hing Kwok Chu

Click here to see picture of herb and plant.

Pharmaceutical name:英文藥名 ﹕

Radix Ginseng

Biological name:學名﹕

Panax ginseng C. A. Mey

Pron. in Japanese:

日語發音﹕

ninjin

Pron. in Korean:

高麗發音﹕

insam

Pron. in Cantonese:

廣東音﹕

jan4 sam1

Common Name:

英語﹕

ginseng root

Distribution:

分佈﹕

Jilin, Liaoning, Heilongjiang provinces of China and Korea

吉林, 遼寧, 黑龍江等省 , 與韓國。

Properties (characteristics)﹕

性味﹕

smells aromatic, tastes sweet and slightly warm

香, 甜, 略溫 。

Channels (meridians) entered:

歸經﹕

spleen and lung

脾, 肺。

Actions & Indications:

主治:

For: tonifying qi to improve cardiac function as in cardiac exhaustion, short of breath, palpitation, instant sweating, dropping of blood pressure; for pixu condition of weak digestive system,   for prolapse of stomach, uterus and rectum. Ren shen can generates fluids and reduce thirst, for xinqixu (heart qi deficient) palpitations with instant sweating and anxiety, insomnia, dizziness/headache, forgetfulness, impotence, diabetes, bleeding in the vagina not during period, seizures in children, chronic weakness, restlessness. any qixu (qi deficient)  xue xu (blood deficient) or fluid deficient syndrome.

 補氣以加強心臟功能, 如心臟虛脫, 氣短, 心陣跳, 自汗, 血壓降低, 脾虛 消化不良, 食少, 胃 , 子 宮或直腸下垂. 人參可以增加津液, 減少口渴。用于 心氣虛 之 陣 跳 , 倦怠, 反胃吐食, 大便滑泄, 虛咳喘促, 自汗暴脫, 驚悸, 健忘, 眩暈頭痛, 陽痿尿頻, 消渴, 婦 女崩 漏, 小兒慢驚, 及久虛不復, 不安, 一切氣 虛, 血虛 津液不足之證。

Medical Function:

藥理:

Medical Functions:

  1. Regulates central nervous system: it can regulate the excitation and inhibition process of the CNS.

  2. Regulates circulatory system: small amount: stimulates and increase blood pressure, large amount: suppresses blood pressure; prevents  platelet coagulation.

  3. Improves memory: small amount: improves memory;

  4. Improves immune system: Activates macrophages, and improves phagocytic activity of white blood cells.

  5. Anti Cancer: it contains a variety of saponins, ginseng polysaccharide, ginseng volatile oil, which possess anti-cancer effects. Saponins of red ginseng can make cancer cells divide and become non-cancer cells. [208] {209}. Ginsenoside-Rh2 significantly inhibit the role of human promyelocytic leukemia HL-60 cell strains. Panax Ginsengleaves extract can inhibit the in vitro culture of human gastric cancer cell growth rate and the ability to divide, increasing the intracellular glycogen content, decreasing the intracellular mucopolysaccharide and phosphatase activity, inhibit of the role of gastric cancer cell growth and division rate and proliferation. Long-term oral administration of red ginseng extract can reduce the urethane, N-methyl-N-nitrite base - N-guanidine nitrate, DMBA (7,12-dimethylbenz [α] anthracene), aflatoxin and other chemical substances, carcinogenic effects in mice
     

  6. Anti aging: nursing bees with Chinese ginseng flowers has significantly extended the life span of about 10 to 15 days [140].

  7. Anti stress

  8. Prevents morphine from becoming habit-forming

  9. Improves condition of diabetic patients: lowers blood sugar

  10. Increases aldosterone (anti-diuretic action)

  11.  Ginsenosides can facilitate penile erection by directly inducing the vasodilatation

  12.  Reduces bacterial load and lung pathology in chronic Pseudomonas aeruginosa pneumonia

  13. Improves  the cognitive performance of Alzheimer's disease patients.[4]

  14. protective effect of ginseng components toward liver fibrosis.[5]

藥理:

  1. 調節中 樞神經: 調節中樞神經系統興奮過程和抑制過程的平衡。

  2. 調節循 環系統。小量刺激增高血壓, 大量抑制血壓。

  3. 小量增 強記憶力。人參具有中 樞擬膽鹼活性和擬兒茶酚胺活性, 能增強膽鹼系統功能, 增加Ach的合成和釋放, 同時提高中樞M-膽鹼受體密度[28]

  4. 增強免 疫系統。能活化巨噬細胞, 白血球細胞吞噬能力。

  5. 抗癌: 人參含多種皂甙, 人參多醣, 人參揮發油, 具有抗癌作用。紅參皂甙能使癌細胞再分化, 誘導轉為非癌細胞.[208]{209}. 人參皂 甙-Rh2 具有明顯抑制人體早幼粒白血病HL-60瘤株作用。人參莖葉總皂甙可抑制體外培養的人胃癌細胞的生長速度和分裂能力, 增加細胞內 糖原含量, 降低細胞內粘多醣和磷酸酶活性, 而抑制胃癌細胞生長和分裂速度及增殖的作用。長期 口服紅參浸膏可減少烏 拉坦(氨基甲酸乙酯), N-甲基-N-亞硝酸基-N-硝酸, DMBA (7,12-dimethylbenz[α]anthracene), 霉 素等化學物質對大、小鼠的致癌作用

  6. 抗衰老: 用人參花調養蜜蜂可明顯延長壽命10~15天左右. [140].

  7. 抗心理 壓力

  8. 防止用 嗎啡成習慣性

  9. 增進糖 尿病者的健康:降血糖作用。

  10. 增進醛固酮(反利尿激素)作用

  11. 其化學成份之一, 人參皂甙, 能使血管擴張而 使陰莖挺起 [2]

  12. 減少慢性綠膿桿菌肺炎的細菌負荷肺組織病理。

  13. 提高阿爾茨海默氏症患者的認知能力。[4]

  14. 人參的化學成份對肝臟纖維化有保護作用[5]

Chemical Ingredients:

化學成份:

Chemical ingredients:

(1) Saponins

ginsenoside Rc, Ra1[7-9], Ra2[7-9], Ra3[10-11], Rba, Rb2, Rc, Rd; Rg3[10-11], Rg3[12], notoginsenoside R4[9], chikusetsuaponin IV, IVa

(2) Vaporizing oil

panaxynol, ginsenyne, alpha pansinsene, beta pansinsene, beta farnesene, bicyclogermacrene, beta elemene, gama elemene, alpha neodovene, beta neodovene, alpha humulene, beta humulene, caryophyllene, beta gurjunene, alpha gurjunene, alpha selinene, beta selinene, gama selinene, selin-4, alpha guaiene, gama cubebene, beta patchoulene, hepatadecanol-1, octanal, gama cadinene, trans beta farnesene, beta guaiene, beta maaliene, cis caryophyllene, delta elemene, tetradecane, pentadecane, hexdecan, ;2, 6-ditertbutyl-4methly-phenol, heptadecane, delta cadinene, widdrol, beta bisablene, octadecane, abol, alpha elemene, tridecan, eremophifene, gam patchoulene, cedrol, gama gurjunene, dodecane, alloaromadendrene, trans-caryophyllene, eicosane, alpha santalene, alpha muurodlene, palustalol, beta demene, alpha santalol, beta eubesmol, di-n-butyloxalate, eleutherosides.

(3) Organic acid and ester

citric acid, isocitric acid, fumaric acid, oleic acid, linoleic acid, cis-butendicarboxylic acid, malic acid, pyuvic acid, succinic acid, tartaric acid, panax aid, salicyclic acid, vanillic acid, p-hydroxycinnamic acid, triglyceride, plmitin, palmitic acid.

(4) Sterols

Beta sitosterol, stigmasterol, daucosterol, sitosteryl-o-(6-O-fatty acyl)-glucpyranoside.

(5) Nitrogen compounds

choline, adenosine triphosphate, adenosine and other amino acids.

(6) Vitamins

B1, B2, B12, C, nicotinic acid, folic acid, biotin

(7) Enzymes

(8) Trace minerals

copper, zinc, iron, manganese and others (more than 20).

(9) Gomisin N and gomisin A.

(10) Kaempferol and pansenoside.

(11) Sugars

Fructose, glucose, arabinose, rhamnose, glucuronic acid, mannose, xylose, sucrose, maltose, raffinose, ginsengtrisaccharide A, B, C, D; maltol, nonacosane, methoxy-5, nephyl-2(5H)-furanone.

Dosage:

用量﹕

1.5 g to 38 g

1.5 克 ~ 38 克。

Commonly Used formulae:

常用配方:

Sample of formulae:

  1. Ban Xia Xie Xin Tang,

  2. du huo ji sheng tang 獨活寄生湯

  3. Ju Pi Zhu Ru Tang,

  4. li zhong tang 理中湯

  5. liu jun zi tang 六君子湯 

  6. Ren Shen Bai Du San 人参 败毒散 ,

  7. Ren Shen Yang Rong Tang 人 參養榮湯 

  8. si jun zi tang 四君子湯

  9. Bu Zhong Yi Qi Tang, 補中 益氣湯

  10. shi quan da bu tang 十全大補湯

  11. Gui Pi Tang,

  12. Sheng Mai San 生 脈 散

  13. Tian Wan Bu Xin Dan

  14. Wen Jing Tang

  15. wu zhu yu tang 吳茱萸湯 

  16. Xiao Chai Hu Tang, 小柴胡湯 

Modern Research:

Freeze drying can prevent degradation of its saponins.

Effects of Panax ginseng, consumed with and without glucose, on blood glucose levels and cognitive performance during sustained ‘mentally demanding’ tasks can enhance cognitive performance. [0]

Ginseng treatment reduces bacterial load and lung pathology in chronic Pseudomonas aeruginosa pneumonia in rats:

Toxicity and Side Effects:

毒性與 副作 用﹕

Toxicity and Side Effects:

1. Emotion : causing headaches, insomnia, anxiety.(2, 3, 4)

2. Circulatory system: pale face, purple lips, spastic limbs, elevated blood pressure, rapid respiration, even exhaustion and death. (2, 3, 4)

3. May cause edema

4. Other side effects: hiccups, itchy skin. (2)

 Generally, the natural saponins are highly toxic. The toxicity of saponin of ginseng is relatively mild. Oral dosage of 100 ml of 3% ginseng tincture may cause anxiety and over-stimulation. Oral dosage of 200 ml may cause allergic reactions of rash, itchiness, dizziness, headache, rising of body temperature and bleeding. There is a report of death after orally taking 500ml. (1) Eleutherosides of ginseng are related to digitalis glycosides, such as digoxin, and may have an additive effect with digoxin. The concurrent  use  of digitalis glycosides and ren shen (ginseng) may increase serum levels of digoxin and possible digitalis glycoside toxicity.

A fake substitute is Hua-shan shen (華山參). The shape and color of Hua-shan shen is very similar to ren shen. Although it is also an medicinal herb that is being used for calming and as a cough suppression, cold type of diarrhea, but its dosage is very small: 0.3 g to 0.9 g being used in decoction. Dosages of Hua-shan shen (華山參) over 1 gram can be toxic. Clinical symptoms include: dry mouth, dry tongue, difficulty in swallowing, excitement, hallucination, flushing but without sweat, dilation of pupils, vomiting, dizziness, manic and delirium. The late stage symptoms include slowing down in breathing, rising body temperature but with cold extremities, spasm, coma and even death.

May not be suitable during pregnancies.

Stalks of ginseng plants contain large amount of calcium oxalate. Calcium oxalate can combine with hydrochloride acid of the stomach and form oxalic acid which is toxic and can promote nausea and vomiting. So, the stalk cannot substitute ginseng in application.

Notice:

注意:

Do not use microwave oven to heat ginseng.

不可用微 波爐處理人參。

Adulteration:

Adulteration:

Since ginseng is expensive and difficult to produce, adulteration or substitution with cheaper products is very common in packaged ginseng products. Some manufactured "ginseng" products contain Mandragora officinarum (mandrake, a poisonous narcotic) with hyoscine bromide, rauwolfia alkaloids  with the hypertensive drug reserpine,   cola with caffeine,   phenylbutazone (a carcinogen), and aminopyrine.

An independent test commissioned by the health food trade journal “Whole Foods”  found that 60 percent of ginseng products are  worthless because they contained too little of the herb to have any biological effect. Twenty-five percent contained no ginseng at all.

 

Price and Quality:

Price and Quality

Wild ginseng roots cost much more than cultivated roots. There is no fixed market price for good quality wild roots. Usually dealers charge what the market will bear. Chinese Manchuria wild ginseng roots fetch the highest prices in the retail market. Wild root found in Jilin province used to fetch the highest price. Now there are products that called "Jilin ren shen" sell for modest prices, less than those of Korean ginseng.  A good wild Jilin ginseng root of  about 50 grams (a little less than two American ounces) can sell for US $15, 000. Usually the age, fragrance and look of the root, the market supplies, urgency of the buyers and the willingness of the sellers determined the price. Top quality American wild ginseng roots can fetch 600 to 1, 200 dollars a pound. Cultivated American roots sell for US $60 to about US $120 a pound. Price fluctuation is determined more by supply. Usually the demand for the cheaper quality roots is more elastic and the demand for the higher quality roots is more inelastic.

Wild ginseng roots usually do not have symmetrical shapes and are much denser than cultivated ones. The wild roots are not even and most of the time are not straight because they have to struggle through the uneven soil in the wild. Cultivated roots are more symmetrical and straighter and much softer than the wild roots. The ring marks are not as dense as those of the wild roots and the roots are less fragrant.  Wild roots have more small, thin, hair-like whiskers growing out from the main roots for seeking water and nutrients in the wild.  The cultivated roots have very little of those because  they are watered and fertilized by farmers. The author was told by a friend who worked for an herb importing company that some crooks in Hong Kong buy American wild ginseng roots and trim off the "whiskers", and then re-attach them to the cultivated Chinese or Korean ginseng roots to make them look wild ginseng before shipping them to Europe and selling them as such. When the unwary buyers cook the roots in water, all the whiskers fall off. (In Cantonese slang, one's phony whiskers falling off means losing one's dignity, because the Chinese revere older people.)

 

Ginseng is also sold in powder form, in capsules, and in extract in the West, to mainly non-Oriental market.. Usually the better quality ginseng roots are sold in root form. It is just like better cuts of beef, tenderloin or filet mignon are not made into hamburger.

hong shen  紅參  literally means red ginseng, because of a steaming process used in preparing the raw ginseng. The end product is reddish brown in color.

Saponins are any plant glucosides that form soapy lathers when mixed and agitated with water. It is being used in detergents, foaming agents, and emulsifiers. Most saponins are toxic and can cause hemalysis but saponins of ginseng are mild and almost do not have that effect.

The chemical structures of saponins of ginseng are completely different from the saponins of other plants. For differentiating the saponins of ginseng from the other saponins, a term 人參皂甙 ginsenoside was created. It was a term combining the word ginseng and glycoside.

According to the characteristics and the chemical structures, ginsenosides can be divided into 3 groups:

  1. Protopanaxadiol (PD): ginsenoside-Rb1 is one of the important ingredients and it possesses the effect of CNS inhibition

  2. Protopanaxatriol (PT): ginsenoside-Rg1 is one of the important ingredients and it possesses the effect o CNS stimulation

  3. Oleanolic acid (齊墩果烷酸): saponins of most plants belong to this group.

The effects of PD and PT are opposite of each other but do not cancel each other.

在植物界一般存在的皂甙大部分属齊墩果烷類。人参皂甙属其它 植物幾乎不存在的大馬樹烷 (dammarane) 類三萜皂草甙。

参蘆含大量的草酸鈣。草酸鈣能與胃中的鹽酸化合而生成草酸。草酸有催吐作用, 能使人惡心嘔吐。因此蘆頭不能當人参用。

人參的偽品:華山參外形象人參, 分佈在陝西, 山西, 河南等地 。此藥性熱有毒。雖有藥效如溫中 安神定咳喘, 治虛寒腹瀉, 但用量甚小, 煎湯用0.3~0.9 g, 若以 l g以上煎服即易中毒, 中毒症狀主要為阿托品 樣作用。臨床症狀在初期會有口 乾舌燥, 吞嚥困難, 興奮, 幻覺, 皮膚潮紅無汗, 瞳孔散大及嘔吐, 眩暈, 狂躁, 瞻 妄等 症狀。晚期會有呼吸慢, 體溫升高但手腳發冷 全身抽搐, 昏迷, 甚至死亡發生。

紅参是人參的栽培品 (圓參)經蒸制後的干燥根。秋季採挖, 洗淨, 蒸制後, 乾燥而成的。

Also see ci wu jia (incorrectly called Siberian Ginseng)

Also see American Ginseng.

[n] Bibliography on request. You can ask the Research Librarian

(1) Xiao Pei Gen, Research and Cultivation of Ginseng, Agriculture Publications, Beijing, 1987; 252

[1]肖培根, 人参的研究及 栽培, 北京:農業出版社, 1654:252

[2] Ann N Y Acad Sci. 2002 May;962:372-7.

[3] Antimicrob Agents Chemother. 1997 May; 41(5): 961–964.

[4] 2008 Jul-Sep;22(3):222-6. doi: 10.1097/WAD.0b013e31816c92e6.

[5] Avid Based Complement Med 2013, 2013: 529458

[0] http://jop.sagepub.com/content/20/6/771.abstract

 

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