In my practice, I see so many people suffering from stress and one thing I almost always recommend is Ginseng. Ginseng is excellent for any kind of stress: stress from the environment, from working too hard, stress caused by physical exertion or stress from unfortunate or unexpected incidents that occur in our lives.
More and more, I see that stress is a major force in people’s lives and Ginseng works well in all of these cases. It’s a truly wonderful herb that has been used for two centuries in China and since the 1940’s, it’s been one of the most studied herbs in North America.
Ginseng is great, especially for people who are over the edge with work-related stress. Why? – because it helps the adrenal glands. When we’re under stress, the adrenal glands are working overtime. Ginseng strengthens those glands. IN fact, it actually influences the control centre that regulates adrenal function. It also improves attention, performance and memory. It’s excellent for people who are aging, for people who have chronic low energy and chronic fatigue – and it’s a favorite among endurance athletes and body builders.
To get the full benefit from Ginseng, take it for two to three weeks, then discontinue for a week and continue that cycle. You don’t want to overstimulate the adrenal glands.
Studies done on both humans and animals show that when you administer Ginseng and then apply stress, there is far less fatigue. Ginseng increases energy, mental alertness and physical endurance.
One of the wonderful things about herbs is that often they are adaptogens, which means they’ll either calm down an overactive organ or give energy to a deficient system, depending on the need. Ginseng is definitely one of the best adaptogens we know of.
Some of the studies done on Ginseng in the past have been inconsistent because of a lack of standardization. Good Ginseng comes from the roots, not the rootlets and a root has to be at least four to six years old.
The best assurance you have of getting good Ginseng is to read labels. Use a standardized extract – standardized to four – seven per cent ginsenocides. Standardization means that there is always a precise amount of the herb in that product. It’s a guarantee of quality.
I see a lot of professionals who are working far too many hours and don’t take enough breaks. I also see people who work very hard for short bursts of time – actors for instance. These are people who do very well on Ginseng. They can take Ginseng a few weeks before they gear up, then during their high-stress periods and for a few weeks after. When they finish their high-stress stint, they’re not so depleted.
There are a few possible side effects from Ginseng. Ginseng contains phytoestrogens so it may cause sore breasts in women. Pregnant and lactating women should not take Ginseng – neither should people with uncontrolled high blood pressure. A few people have reported nervousness and insomnia.
But Ginseng is absolutely excellent. I highly recommend it to anyone who is experiencing stress in their lives.