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In A Nutshell – Siberian Ginseng – E. senticosus
by Jill Rosemary Davies

There are many different types of ginseng, including some more appropriate for men or for women, and they can be found growing in China, Korea, Russia, Siberia, Canada, and America. Perhaps the most balanced and popular is Siberian Ginseng, on which this book focuses. This is not botanically a true ginseng but otherwise acts exactly like one. As a balancing and energising tonic and immune system booster, Siberian Ginseng has no proven unpleasant side effects. It enables people to adapt to and cope with any given situation, from day-to-day stress to more major stressful events such as divorce, redundancy, or a death in the family.

Contents

Introduction

Exploring Siberian Ginseng

A History of Healing

Anatomy of Siberian Ginseng

Siberian Ginseng in Action

Energy and Emotion

FLOWER REMEDIES

Growing, Harvesting, and processing

Preparations for internal use

Tincture

Decoction

herbal tea (Infusion)

Capsule

Tablets

Chewing the root

Siberian Ginseng Soup

Root Wine

Natural Medicine for Everyone

Herbal Combinations

How Siberian Ginseng works

Glossary

Introduction

The word Ginseng means 'the wonder of the world'. This herb is an ancient tonic from the Far East and is widely used to treat a diverse range of illnesses.

Many varieties of Ginseng are grown in China, Korea, Russia, and the United States, but this book will concentrate on Siberian Ginseng. Highly honoured in the East, Siberian Ginseng’s recent revival in the West is quite understandable given its profound ability to balance and 'normalise' the body – physically and mentally – and therefore help people to cope with stressful events and everyday tensions.

Siberian Ginseng is classified as an adaptogen, which means it helps the body adapt to stress. It is one of the best herbs for helping recovery from illness and for maintaining good health, mostly by supporting and sustaining resistance to stress.

Definition

Botanical family: Araliaceae

Species: Eleutherococcus senticosus

In botanical terms Eleutherococcus senticosus is not a true Ginseng but it acts exactly like one as a balancing and energising tonic – and it has no known side effects.

Siberian Ginseng is a tall, striking shrub that grows to 1.5–2 m (5–7 ft) in height. Its leaves look like those of horse chestnut trees, with 3 to 5 small, toothed leaves at the end of each stalk, which are borne on upright branches. The young shoots have long, thick brown 'prickles'.

Mature stems are straight with sharp, fragile thorns that protrude downwards. At first, the light greyish-brown branches are densely covered with thorns, but the thorns diminish as the years pass. The shrub can grow for up to 100 years and even at this age it continues to produce offspring.

The flowers appear in July as magnificent umbels of clustered cream stars. In the wild, the colour can vary to pale yellow, lilac or violet. The flowers are followed in the autumn by striking clusters of black berries.

Siberian Ginseng has three types of reproductive system: male, female, and bisexual, something of a botanical curiosity which emphasises its adaptive and fiercely procreative abilities.

The Ginseng family

Red Ginseng (Latin name Panax, Chinese name Ren Shen) is a 'warmer', more stimulating Ginseng and is predominantly used for men. It should be used only for short periods of time, when energy is very depleted and under the direction of a qualified herbalist or medical practitioner. While some strong, active people do take it regularly, for example athletes, there is genuine concern that it can be over-used and cause side effects such as high blood pressure.

There is also a white version of Red Ginseng, but it is less powerful. Botanically the same species, both are therapeutic for a wide variety of conditions from infertility to digestive problems and mild diabetes.

American Ginseng (Panax quinquefolius) is often used in similar situations as Siberian Ginseng. Although American Ginseng has more stimulating qualities, it lacks the balance that the adaptogenic Siberian Ginseng is able to bring to the body. American Ginseng is less powerful than Red Ginseng, but it can be taken safely over a longer period of time.

Exploring Siberian Ginseng

Siberian Ginseng is a hardy plant and can grow in full sun or in the shade. It is found in cool zones north of latitude 30°, most often in terrain over 800 m (2,600 ft) above sea level.

Where to find Siberian Ginseng

Siberian Ginseng grows abundantly in the wild in parts of Russia (notably Siberia), Mongolia, Korea, China and Japan. It thrives in mountainous forested regions with a mixture of evergreen and deciduous trees. While the plant will quickly proliferate in any clearings where it can find full sun, it is also adept at jostling in the thickest parts of the woods, where there is little or even no sun. A tough survivor, it has the ability to adapt to many different situations in order to procreate. One of its survival mechanisms is to create an impenetrable fortification of thorns to keep out other species of plants or animals.

Commercial growers

The most prolific commercial sources of Siberian Ginseng are China and Siberia. In Siberia and elsewhere in Asia, the wild root of the plant is more likely to be used than commercially grown plants. Herbs Hands Healing, like many other companies, imports the wild roots direct from Siberia as they are the best quality.

Soil requirements

Being a woodland plant, Siberian Ginseng prefers leaf mould and humus-rich soils, where its webbing rhizomes can make easy networks in the soft, fertile earth. In China, commercial farms favour loamy to acidic soils, with leaf mould added if necessary. When providing the plant with a suitable soil, it is important to remember that it needs plenty of year-round moisture to flourish. Where possible, choose land next to woodland, because it will retain moisture easily.

A History of Healing

Although Siberian Ginseng is an ancient herb, widespread in the East, it was only classified botanically in the mid 19th century.

Traditional uses

Siberian Ginseng has been used in Chinese and Asian traditional herbal medicine for over 2,000 years, and can be traced back much further in many ancient herbals. These herbals suggest that it has been known for as long as 5,000 years.

In a great Chinese book called the Pen Ts’ao, which represents over 4,000 years of Chinese medical knowledge, Siberian Ginseng was noted to be helpful for promoting energy and the treatment of rheumatism, and was used as a tonic. It was also used to treat sexual debility, lumbago, and excessive urination as well as to strengthen the skeleton and tendons, and prevent ageing.

Common names

The word 'Ginseng' derives from the ancient Chinese Jen Shen, which means 'man root'. In 1980, Zaricor and Kweibin, two Chinese researchers, referred to it as Chi Wu Cha and Wa Cha Seng, but the most common name is Ciwujia.

In Russia it is sometimes called the Free-Berried Shrub. Other names include Wild Pepper, Russian Root, Devil's Bush and Touch-me-not; the last two names no doubt refer to the plant's intimidating thorns!

Siberian Ginseng is often referred to as Eleuthero (a Latin abbreviation). It was also known by its now-obsolete Latin names Acanthopanax senticosus, Hedera senticosa and Aralia Manchurica.

Russian botanist Carl Ivonovich Maximovich 'discovered' Siberian Ginseng in 1854 in a remote area in south-east Russia. Four years later, the Russians gave the herb its Latin name.

Recent history 

Chinese Communist Party leader Chairman Mao (1893–1976) furthered research into Siberian Ginseng by expressing a desire for Chinese traditional medicine to be fused with Western methods.

In 1959 the Ministry of Health in what was then the USSR authorised clinical tests, which sparked a huge interest from the scientific community and the public. The Soviet Government then officially approved the herb's use as a tonic stimulant and commercial production of the plant followed. Olympic athletes, miners, divers, climbers, soldiers, mountain rescuers, explorers, and cosmonauts began to use Siberian Ginseng. All this use and information was made possible by Professor Brekhman, the foremost recognised scientist and writer on this plant in former Soviet Russia.

As a result, Siberian Ginseng has been officially recognised and used by the Russian Government and its people for more than 30 years.

To date, over 1,000 articles have been published worldwide about Siberian Ginseng.

Siberian Ginseng's revival

With the world evolving at a faster pace, humans need adaptogenic herbs more than ever.

The pace of modern life means that many of us can barely keep up and while this can encourage a stimulating lifestyle, it is all too often an exhausting process.

The ability of Siberian Ginseng to help us deal with stress, physically and emotionally, has led to its current popularity. As one of its many actions, it helps our immune system to cope with the constant stream of pollutants encountered in everyday life.

Anatomy of Siberian Ginseng

While both the roots and leaves of Siberian Ginseng can be used in the preparation of remedies, the roots and rhizomes of this plant tend to dominate the commercial market.

Roots

Siberian Ginseng roots are thick at the top, but they soon spread and turn into rhizomes that extend across the soil rather than going down into it. This usually happens in leaf mould and humus-rich woodland soil and the growth eventually becomes profuse and webbed. Through each rhizome is quite thin, approximately 1.5 cm (5/8 inch) in width, and only thickens a little at the base, it is in general round, woody and pliable.

Shelf life of roots

Dried whole root lasts 1–2 years; dried root, cut or shredded, lasts about a year; powdered root lasts 6 months; fresh root lasts 2 weeks.

Leaves

The leaves are used less than the roots, but are invaluable because they can be harvested and used medicinally while leaving the mother plant intact. They are bright green and borne on a long stalk in groups of three, four or five small leaves about 14 cm (5–6in) long. The leaves have two types of underside: one is smooth, the other is covered with short, fine, brown 'fur'.

Shelf life of leaves

Whole leaf lasts 6–12 months; shredded leaf lasts 6–9 months.

Chemical constituents

The chemistry of Siberian Ginseng is complex, and while it remains much the same in the root as in the leaf, the root is a little more potent. The main chemical impact is due to the plant’s glycosides, which are often called eleutherosides; sixteen are known to date. There are also six senticosides. These chemical compounds are responsible for a range of hormonal and immune system activities and act as plant steroids that support and fuel the adrenal glands. Siberian Ginseng also has many other chemical components, which instigate hormonal activity and other basic processes.

Siberian Ginseng in Action

Siberian Ginseng is special because it balances all the many different types of cells in the body and therefore has an impressively wide and diverse range of positive effects on the body and its well-being.

Siberian Ginseng is a stimulating tonic. In this context, 'stimulating' means the ability to increase the work capacity of the entire body after only a single dose. The 'tonic' effect maintains its impact over a prolonged period of time, keeping the energies revitalised without overworking the body. It even continues working for a period of time after you have stopped taking it. Herb stimulants that are not equally balanced with toning effects can be destructive, ultimately diminishing output and even becoming detrimental to health; happily, this is not a problem with Siberian Ginseng.

Caution

The powerful Ren Shen (Red Ginseng) can also quickly make a person feel energised and revived, but if the body is weak and depleted, Ren Shen will ultimately make things worse – even to the point of collapse. Siberian is the safest and most effective Ginseng, and in 25 years of using it in a clinical and over-the-counter setting, we have never come across any unpleasant side effects or adverse reactions.

Adaptogenic herb

Siberian Ginseng is known as an adaptogen because it heals and energises the whole body without any unpleasant side effects. The term was introduced (because of this herb and subsequently others) by the Russian Professor A. P. Golikov. He suggested that an adaptogenic herb should meet three criteria, and cited Siberian Ginseng to set the standard because it:

  • Produces an overall normalising action on the body, irrespective of any particular illness or imbalance.
  • Produces a non-specific but positive action that ultimately increases resistance to a range of potentially adverse influences, whether these are of a physical, chemical or biochemical nature.
  • Causes no side effects – or at least only minimal – in the physiological functioning of a human being or animal.

Stress and Siberian Ginseng

The body systems, organs and chemicals involved in the stress response include neurotransmitters, neuromodulators, hormones, the adrenal glands and the immune system. The way in which these work and how well they adapt to stress is often genetically pre-determined. Our ability to adapt to situations is therefore also genetic. If this variable capacity is used up, the adrenal glands enlarge, the thymus gland becomes unbalanced, and the immune system plummets. Siberian Ginseng helps us to accept a range of adverse circumstances by balancing the alarm reaction of the adrenal glands, nervous system, and other related areas of the body, a response that can be mild, moderate, or so severe that it may eventually lead to serious illness. Sometimes stress simply continues at a relentless (if not life-threatening) pace, but should long-term exposure to stress continue, the body can become totally exhausted and even collapse under the pressure. Siberian Ginseng will support the body if it is introduced at this stage or can even prevent this stage from being reached if taken in time.

How Siberian Ginseng affects the body

  • Increases the body’s ability to resist infection.
  • Helps to prevent cardiac pains, and pains in and around the neck and head such as headache.
  • Improves cerebral corticoid (steroid hormone) function and the speed of the brain.
  • Alleviates neuro-dynamic disturbance, and supports neurological movement and growth, by helping neurotransmitters to function efficiently.
  • Aids nerve centres and message conduction to the brain, and helps neurological pathways to work better. This can support general memory retention, as well as being helpful for conditions including dyslexia, autism, cranial cerebral injury, fits and epilepsy.
  • Enhances liver protection and lessens liver cell degeneration.
  • Increases semen output and heightens both male and female fertility.
  • Increases oxygen consumption and improves respiratory effectiveness.
  • Breaks down and clears the body of drug residues.
  • Helps the body resist and may even prevent tuberculosis.
  • Assists the body to maintain cellular homeostasis (maintaining a constant condition despite external changes).
  • Helps the treatment of skin inflammations, dandruff, acne, hair falling out, and all general skin and hair problems.
  • Improves hearing and sight.
  • Helps prevent ageing.

Siberian Ginseng is also antidiuretic (prevents excessive release of water from the body), antiedemic (prevents retention of water in the body), and antioxidant (prevents the body’s cells from damage by free radicals).

The herb works effectively at many different levels in the body and assists the various body systems and organs to function effectively. These include brain, hearing, sight, metabolism, thymus, arteries, heart, lungs, spleen, blood, liver, muscles, nervous system, fertility, immune system, cell homeostasis, and even skin and hair.

Ginseng and the blood

Siberian Ginseng is able to produce a profound effect on the blood. It can:

  • Balance blood pressure (but is not recommended for people with a reading of 180/90 mmHg or higher).
  • Reduce cholesterol and triglyceride levels.
  • Normalise blood protein levels.
  • Help balance blood sugar levels. Siberian Ginseng helps diabetics and hypoglycaemics, partly by helping glucose to be taken into the cells, and aiding synthesis of glycogen and phosphorus compounds that store energy. By helping to store glucose in this way, it also prevents an increase of adrenal function, which goes into action to counter stress when glucose cannot be retained.
  • Positively influence RNA synthesis.
  • Restore haemoglobin levels in cases of blood loss.
  • Normalise arterial pressure, increase arterial wall elasticity, and help treat hardening of the arteries, including arteriosclerosis.
  • Prevent too many white blood cells from developing.
  • Normalise circulation and cerebral haemodynamics (the dynamics of blood movement).

Ginseng as an anti-inflammatory

Siberian Ginseng is noted for its anti-inflammatory properties. When the immune system is no longer capable of working in a balanced way, it goes into overdrive, inflammation increases and a variety of counterproductive symptoms and effects can result. While a little inflammation protects damaged tissue, an excessive amount impedes the healing process, blocking adequate circulation and the passage of nutritional components. Siberian Ginseng can help to balance this response.

Ginseng and the mind

In cases of neurosis, chronic abnormal fatigue, hysteria, loss of appetite, moderate depression, inability to concentrate, insomnia or psychosis, Siberian Ginseng is able to stimulate and activate inhibitory processes as required, thus re-establishing balance. It allows better concentration, better mood, and better sleep.

Ginseng and aftercare/recovery

Siberian Ginseng can be used post-operatively or for general recovery. It can: 

  • Assist recovery from chronic illness.
  • Reduce any increase in size and weight of the thymus and spleen following cortisone medication.
  • Decrease adverse reactions to vaccines and antibiotics.

Ginseng and everyday problems

Siberian Ginseng increases resistance to any negative, stress-induced reactions – physically, chemically, biologically, and psychologically. It reduces irritability, aids work capacity, lessens neurotic behaviour, and alleviates general anxiety.

Caution

Current investigation into the chemical composition of Siberian Ginseng suggests that it might not be appropriate for people with very high arterial blood pressure, so consult your doctor first.

Consult your doctor if you are taking medication for diabetes.

Other effects

Siberian Ginseng increases anabolic activity and carbohydrate and protein metabolism, producing an increase in strength and endurance and providing protection against hypothermia. The herb is therefore very useful for divers, climbers, mountain rescuers, soldiers, explorers and even cosmonauts. It also counteracts the effects of sore muscles after muscular activity so it is good for all types of athletic activity. Siberian Ginseng’s reputation for aiding male sexuality has made it a traditional favourite with older men in the East and recently in the West. Its claims to fame include stronger sex drive, increased semen output, and heightened fertility – all accomplished without decreasing energy levels at any point. But it is no male preserve: the herb also helps women to become more sexually active and fertile.

Radiation and toxins

Siberian Ginseng helps protect against radiation and was used in the aftermath of the Chernobyl disaster in the Ukraine in the 1980s. It generally helps reduce the toxic effects of chemicals and increases the absorption of food, vitamins, and minerals.

The claims for Siberian Ginseng are not exaggerated – this herb really is known as the ‘King of Adaptogens’. But it is usually seen more in terms of background support and is often added to patients’ herb programmes, especially if they show signs of tiredness, immune system deficiency, hormonal complications, nervous system weakness, or stress. Siberian Ginseng is the perfect tonic to help all of us in today’s hectic world, and can be complemented by other good food and helpful herbs.

When to avoid Siberian Ginseng

This herb is one of the least toxic herbal agents known. However, Professor A.P. Golikov suggested in the 1960s that Siberian Ginseng should not be used for those with certain conditions, including tachycardia, extrasystole (a heart condition), hypertonicity, high arterial blood pressure and certain types of insomnia. As yet, no evidence has been found to support this theory, and at the time minor side effects were found in only two out of a thousand studies. These may have had other causes. In the author’s long experience, and that of many colleagues, there has never been a case of adverse reaction to this herb.

Case study: flu

Tom had a bout of flu and took a long time to recover. A 29-year-old manager in a busy firm, he suffered two months of fatigue. At the end of each day, he felt worse: even if he was getting ready to go out, he would suddenly feel exhausted, shivery, and weak, and lose his appetite. A herbalist recommended to him by a friend prescribed a programme of good food, plenty of rest, moderate exercise, and initially high doses of Siberian Ginseng. After two weeks on 5 ml (1 tsp) of tincture five times a day, he felt his old self returning: he had more energy and no longer experienced the evening symptoms. He felt stronger, livelier, and more interested in life. The herbalist then lowered the dose to 5 ml (1 tsp) three times a day, and within weeks Tom had bounced back to a complete recovery.

Energy and Emotion

Siberian Ginseng can help strengthen the mind via its positive effects on the physical body. It boosts stamina and encourages a real zest for life. It can also enable you to clarify your thoughts and become more decisive and better balanced emotionally.

Siberian Ginseng is bittersweet with a warming, acrid flavour. This taste strongly supports the body. According to traditional Chinese medicine, it enters primarily through the kidneys and secondarily via the spleen, pancreas, and liver. People who lack energy in these organs may sometimes feel like being alone and may not wish to relate to people; they can also have a fear of the cold and feel timid and exhausted. Siberian Ginseng’s flavours can help to change some of these distressing mental states and treat a wide variety of physical symptoms.

Energy and the mind

Through its taste, energy, and chemistry Siberian Ginseng can make a huge difference to your thoughts, feelings and actions via the adrenals, kidneys, liver, stomach, pancreas and spleen, and create a positive chain reaction in the mind. Taking Siberian Ginseng can sometimes feel like wearing glasses after being nearsighted for a long time. Unhappiness and fatigue can slip away, and a zest for life – either missing for a long period or never felt at all – can become apparent.

Personal growth

Any form of stress or crisis, with or without long-term exhaustion, can create negative chain reactions. If these are allowed to remain and fester, they can produce bitterness, defeatism, ‘victim’ states of mind, fearfulness, and a lack of confidence. Stress and crisis situations also create the possibility that there will be less love to go around (for yourself as well as others) because of the emotionally exhausting negative chain reactions they induce.

Siberian Ginseng can support and energise you both physically and mentally. It can help in situations that are noncritical but where life may lack excitement. Its far-reaching chemistries tone the hormone system, support all the major organs, trigger positive immune system reactions, and balance the nervous system and the mind.

Schizophrenia

Scientific evidence from the 1950s proved that many schizophrenic patients suffered from very low adrenal function (adrenal burnout), probably genetically inherited. Schizophrenia is an illness of the body as well as the mind inasmuch as organs and systems can create body chemistry that adversely affects the mind. Siberian Ginseng can help in the treatment of schizophrenia by alleviating some of the stress and negative emotions associated with this condition.

Flower Remedies

When in flower, Siberian Ginseng provides a striking and beautiful sight. Its cream or pastel-coloured umbrellas of star-like clusters punctuate the darkness of the woodlands it inhabits. It is as if little moons are radiating in the forest and whispering their gifts of harmony, balance, and sanity. For those individuals who have a tendency to float off mentally like passing clouds, or who find it hard to think, remember, or focus, this remedy will solidify and ‘ground’ them. For all of us, this flower remedy can help to illuminate our thoughts and balance our emotions.

To make a flower essence – standard quantity

  1. Use approx. 350 ml (1½ cups) each of spring water and brandy, and 3–4 Siberian Ginseng flowers, carefully chosen and freshly picked.
  2. Submerge the flowers in a glass bowl of spring water. Cover with clean white cheesecloth and put in the sunshine for at least three hours. If the flowers wilt sooner, remove them earlier.
  3. Use a twig to lift the flowers from the bowl. Measure the remaining liquid, add an equal amount of brandy, them pour into dark glass bottles. Label clearly.

Recommended dosage:

Adult: 4 drops under the tongue 4 times daily, or every half hour in times of crisis.

Children: Over 12 years, adult dose; 7–12 years, half adult dose; 1-7 years, quarter adult dose.

Plant spirit energies

This shrub inhabits the ‘middle height’ in the canopies of woods and forests: it neither stays close to the ground nor reaches the tops of the trees. It grows in harmony with all that surrounds it, giving and receiving shade and nutrition. Siberian Ginseng is a great survivor, and as a young plant its thorns protect it and keep predators away while its procreative abilities enable it to diversify and survive.

Adaptive, creative, and beautiful, Siberian Ginseng has a spirit that wants to survive and achieve, but not at the expense of its own or the energy of others. It shares its gifts with a generous spirit. This particular spirit is much needed, given the various environmental problems now facing the earth and its inhabitants. Siberian Ginseng can help us all to adapt and can give us the strength and endurance to meet everyday obstacles. Meeting these problems with enthusiasm will help the solutions to be more creative and positive.

Growing, Harvesting and Processing

Whether you decide to grow your own from seed or purchase a seedling from a commercial source, Siberian Ginseng is easy to cultivate and worth the effort because it can be put to a variety of uses.

Growing Siberian Ginseng

Although it is a long process, there should be no problems growing your own Siberian Ginseng as long as the soil is loam-based, rich in humus (leaf mould) – with a little grit if you mix your own – and has good moisture content. While this shrub cannot tolerate relentless heat that dries out its roots, it will grow well in full sun if it is always kept moist. Plants growing in the sun will produce a lot of top foliage and reach heights of 3 m (10 ft) in 10–15 years, but they may reach only 1 m (3 ft) in the same time if grown in shaded conditions, where they will instead produce more roots. Woodland clearings are suitable for planting a small grove, but growing a single plant in a tiny backyard is equally feasible. Make sure you keep the plants well watered, especially in full sun. You can either purchase a seedling or young plant from a nursery, or germinate your own from seed.

Germination

The key to successful germination is to bear in mind the plant’s cold origins: it needs frost to mobilise its procreativity. Put seeds in a clay pot with a suitable soil mix and leave outside for 18 months with only a glass covering, in order to break their dormancy. In the colder parts of Europe and North America, this process is only necessary for 6–12 months in order to break dormancy. 

To do this, choose a mixture of good quality loam, leaf mould, and grit for your clay pot.  Bury a few seeds in the soil, halfway up the pot. Cover with soil to within 2.5 cm (1 in) of the pot’s rim to allow for watering. Bury the pot in sand up to the rim. Cover with a sheet of glass.

Ideally, this should be done in October or November – giving it the following winter, summer, and second winter in this state. The following spring should give rise to an emerging seedling. Once they are large enough, re-pot the seedlings or plant them out in a seedling bed.

Seeds available commercially will have been obtained by collecting the whole black berries in October; these are then dried and rubbed to reveal the individual seeds. You will eventually be able to collect your own seeds in this way. If planting out bought or self-germinated seedlings, you will need to provide exactly the right soil and moisture requirements. Repeat the soil mix of loam, leaf mould, and grit each winter to renew the ability to retain water and nutrients.

Harvesting

Some leaves and large amounts of the rhizome can be harvested at the plants' peak. Harvesting continues throughout the season as long as enough plants are left to ensure their continuation. 

Leaves

Harvesting the leaves can be done at any time during the spring and summer. There will be small variations in chemistry, with spring leaves slightly more potent, but these differences are almost insignificant. 

Roots

Roots and rhizomes are harvested in October, but timing varies from area to area. The determining factor is when the top foliage has begun to die, indicating that growth has ceased for the season. Plants grown in shaded or woodland conditions produce less top growth and more root; the opposite is true if they grow in open fields.

When the shrubs are at least five years old, the roots are lifted from the soil either using machinery or by hand using a five-pronged fork. No harm must come to the roots in any way. Once raised, the roots are collected and kept in a cool, shady spot until they can be processed, preferably on the same day. 

Processing

Leaves

Use the leaves as fresh as possible, either chewing them or brewing them as a tea. To dry the leaves for winter use, lay them on drying racks or cake racks, above a stove or radiator, or place a few in paper bags and suspend them from string in the driest room you have available. Turn or shake the leaves regularly to prevent spoiling and to keep moisture from collecting. When you think they are dry, put a few leaves in a glass jar, tighten the lid, and place it in full sun: if droplets of water appear, repeat the process until they are completely dry.

Roots

Within a few hours of digging up the roots, lay them out on wooden or wire table screens and then spray them with water or submerge them in water. Either way, dirt clinging to the roots needs to be loosened without the force of the water harming the skin. You do not have to clean off every last speck of dirt. It is actually better to leave the skin of the root intact and dirty rather than lacerated and open to microbial invasion.

After washing, lay the roots in the shade to drain for a couple of hours before drying begins. Because wet roots will eventually start to rot, air drying must follow draining. While large roots can take up to six weeks to dry out, smaller ones may take only a few days. Air temperature is vital, so use a well-insulated room with good heat retention. Electricity, wood, gas, and oil can all be employed to generate the heat needed. The room temperature should be kept at around 20°C (70°F), though this may be raised slightly after a few days. Overheating can dry the outside of the root too quickly – this will cause hardening while still leaving the inside moist. While drying, check closely for signs of excess moisture returning and spoilage by mildew.

The sign of properly and thoroughly dried roots is that they will not bend but will break with a clean ‘snap’. They will then be ready to store in dry, well-ventilated conditions in wood or thick cardboard containers. It is important that the roots do not reabsorb water by being stored in the wrong conditions. For export, they are often packed into woven burlap bags, labelled, and then sent as quickly as possible to their destination.

Preparations for Internal Use

Whether you use root or leaf, Siberian Ginseng is confined to internal use. The choice is wide: tincture, decoction, infusion, wine, soup, tablets, and capsules.

Tincture

This is an excellent way of extracting the medicinal effects of Siberian Ginseng. If you buy it ready-made from a supplier, a tincture requires no further preparation and can be kept for up to 3 years. Siberian Ginseng tincture is made by soaking the pre-chopped or shredded root, root rind (or bark), and rhizomes in alcohol and water. You can also use powdered root, but it must be fresh because powders in general deteriorate much more quickly than the shredded root. Alcohol is poured onto the roots in order to kill any germs, and the water is added 2 days later, once any undesirable microbes are dead. Commercially, Siberian Ginseng tincture is made with good quality, high-percentage 80 per cent proof alcohol with a combination of 45 per cent alcohol and 55 per cent water. Home-made tinctures have the advantage of your personal handling and care. Tinctures are often made at the new moon, and strained and bottled at the full moon.

Note: Always use utensils cleaned in boiling water – and for good results add one or two drops of lavender, thyme, or tea tree essential oil to the water.

To make a tincture – standard quantity

  • Use 225 g (8 oz) of dried roots or 310 g (11 oz) of fresh roots, chopped into small pieces or bought shredded, with a total of 1 litre (4 cups) of vodka and water mixture. For the vodka, standard 45 per cent proof is effective, but 70–80 per cent proof is better. Proportions of vodka and water used will depend on the strength of the vodka: if using 45 per cent proof, you will use 80 per cent vodka and 20 per cent water; if using 70–80 per cent proof, you will use 40–50 per cent vodka and 50–60 per cent water. 
  • Put the fresh or dried Siberian Ginseng roots and rhizomes into a liquidiser and cover with the vodka (the correct proportion of 1 litre, as above). Liquidise the ingredients – the mixture will be stiff and hard, but persist.
  • When smooth, pour the mixture into a large dark glass jar with an airtight lid. Shake well, label the jar carefully, and store in a dark place.
  • After 2 days, measure the contents and add the water to make up the rest of the litre of liquid. Shake well.
  • Leave the mixture for at least 2 weeks, but preferably up to 4 weeks. Shake the jar daily to aid the extraction process.
  • At the end of the allotted time, strain the tincture through a jelly bag, preferably overnight, until you have the very last drop. For best results you can use a wine press.
  • Pour the thick liquid into dark jars and label clearly. Store in a cool, dark place. For personal use, decant into a 50 ml (2 fl oz) tincture bottle.

Recommended dosages for tinctures:

Everyday use: The adult standard dose is 5–10 ml (1–2 tsp) twice daily, diluted in approximately 25 ml (5 tsp) of water or fruit juice. When you are trying to resolve a situation rapidly, use a total of 20–40 ml (4–8 tsp) per day. This can be reduced to 15 ml (3 tsp), taken as 5 ml (1 tsp) 3 times daily, once the condition is calmer and symptoms are less severe. Long-term support is then the aim (see below).

Long-term use: Adults can take 5–10 ml (1–2tsp) daily for 6–9 months, and it will continue to exert its beneficial effects for a few months after this point. It may be necessary to begin use again after a break should stress levels remain high, perhaps over years rather than months. Resuming in this way is perfectly acceptable and can protect the body from long-term damage and stress.

Children’s dosages: Over 16 years, adult dose. For use in children under 16, consult a qualified herbalist. 

Root quality

Fresh Ginseng root is always the best choice, although it may be hard to obtain except for those close to an available source, for example Japan, Mongolia, China, or Russia. However, good quality, well harvested, and carefully dried roots also make excellent quality medicines.

Decoction

This is an ideal way to prepare the root and seed of Siberian Ginseng. Fresh or dried root and seed may be used, although fresh is always the best choice. Decoctions preserve all the qualities and chemical components of Siberian Ginseng very efficiently. It is best to make the decoction fresh each day, although you can make it in bulk quantities if time is short. You can keep the decoction in the refrigerator for up to 3 days, but no longer.

To make a decoction – standard quantity

  • Use 20 g (¾ oz) dried roots or 40 g (1½ oz) chopped or shredded fresh roots to 750 ml (3 cups) cold water.
  • Place the chopped or shredded roots with the water in a saucepan (a double boiler is ideal). Bring to a boil, and then simmer on a low heat for about 20–30 minutes. The liquid should reduce by about one third. Remove the pan from the heat.
  • Let the liquid cool and then strain it into a pitcher, keeping a little aside for your first cup. Put the remainder in a cool place, or refrigerate it if you are going to store the decoction for longer than a day.

Recommended dosage:

Adults: 500ml (2 cups) daily.

Children: Over 12 years, adult dose. Under 12 years, consult a qualified herbalist. 

Herbal tea (infusion)

While the roots are better extracted in water using a decoction or simmering process, making Siberian Ginseng leaf tea from your own plants is an ideal and very popular way of using the plant’s leaves, and is a useful way of taking this herb to maintain general good health.

To make an infusion – standard quantity

  • Use 2–3 g (2 tsp) of crumbled, dried leaf or 4–6 g (2 tsp) of fresh chopped leaf, to 250 ml (1 cup) of boiling water.
  • Put the herb in a tea sock and place in a cup or teapot. Pour on the boiling water and leave to stand for about 7 minutes.
  • Remove the tea sock and, if desired, add half a teaspoon of organic, cold-pressed honey to the tea (although teas are usually best without added sweeteners).

Recommended dosage:

Adults: 500 ml (2 cups) daily for recovery from illness, or 125–250 ml (½–1 cup) daily for general good health.

Children: Over 12 years, adult dose. Under 12 years, consult a qualified herbalist. 

Capsules

Capsules can be made simply by using commercially powdered Siberian Ginseng. Make sure you ask about the shelf life of the powdered herb that you are buying: it should be no older than a year when you receive it, and preferably less than 6 months to ensure maximum potency. The root should have a sweetly bitter flavour – not fierce in either direction but pleasantly harmonious and earthy. Any blandness means it is an old powder and should be returned: Ginseng root starts to lose its saponin content after powdering, which can be detected in the change of taste. Powders do not last as long as whole, chopped, shredded or crumbled herb because the larger surface area exposes the herb to more oxygen and thus deterioration. Capsules seal in the powder and prevent further loss, however.

To make capsules – standard quantity

  • Approx. 500–600mg of powdered herb fits into an average size capsule.
  • Put a little dried, finely powdered Siberian Ginseng in a saucer.
  • Open the capsule ends. Using the ends as shovels, push them together until they are full. Slide the capsule ends together carefully.

Recommended dosage:

Adults: 2–3 capsules twice daily.

Children: Over 16 years, adult dose. For use in children under 16, consult a qualified herbalist.

Tablets

If you prefer tablets to capsules, you can make your own tablets quite simply by using finely powdered root. They should be made up just prior to use, but can be stored in the refrigerator for up to a day in airtight containers. Although you can sweeten the tablets, you do not necessarily need to do this because Siberian Ginseng has a very pleasing flavour of its own, which in itself stimulates beneficial digestive reactions.

To make tablets – standard quantity

  • Use 2–4g finely powdered root to 5 or more drops of bottled water.
  • Mix a little water with the powder and roll into tablets of convenient size. For added sweetness, you can add a little maple syrup or honey. The overall consistency should be like pastry.

RECOMMENDED DOSAGE:

Adults: 2–3 tablets twice daily.

Children: Over 16 years, adult dose. For use in children under 16, consult a qualified herbalist. 

Note: When buying ready-made tablets, check on the label or with the manufacturer that there is as little additional material in the pill as possible in order to get as much of the real root and leaf as you can.

Chewing the root

A small piece of good quality Siberian Ginseng root can be slowly chewed for 10–15 minutes 2–3 times a day. A piece the size of a baby’s fingernail is adequate. Once all the flavour has disappeared, the resulting woody roughage can be discarded – or swallowed for useful fibre intake.

Siberian Ginseng soup

This is a lovely way of giving medicine to people who are convalescing after illness. It can be cooked with other fortifying roots like yams, potatoes, and carrots, and seasoned with herbs and shiitake mushrooms together with a little sea salt and garlic – all of which will further boost the immune system.

To make Siberian Ginseng soup

  • Ingredients: 1–1.25 litres (4–5 cups) distilled or bottled water; 25 g (1 oz) dried Siberian Ginseng root, shredded; 250 g (9–10 oz) potato, yam, or carrots, chopped (or use any combination of these); a handful of Shiitake mushrooms; 1–2 garlic cloves; pinch of sea salt; fresh or dried thyme or marjoram, chopped, to taste.
  • Bring the water to a boil in a pan. Add the Siberian Ginseng and root vegetables and simmer for 20 minutes until they are soft.
  • Puree the liquid and the vegetables, and then add the finely chopped mushrooms, garlic, salt and herbs.
  • Warm the soup for a further 7–10 minutes on low heat, and then serve.

Root wine

Root wine is an ancient Chinese treatment for the elderly. Old people who suffered from rheumatism would make and drink this wine on a daily basis, because it was as pleasant as medicine could get! It will help to reduce swelling, poor circulation, coldness, dampness, and other symptoms associated with rheumatism. It is an ideal remedy for those with long-term debilitation rather than those with acute conditions. Home brewing and wine-making suppliers can provide the yeast culture and necessary equipment for you to make your own Siberian Ginseng wine. You will need to buy sterilising tablets to make sure all the equipment is clean – this is of paramount importance because contamination can easily result in a spoiled brew. The wine is made by first making a tea or decoction of the root, dissolving sugar or honey into it, and then, when it is cold, adding live yeast culture. This slowly ferments, and when the fermentation is almost complete, the brew is strained and bottled.

To make Siberian Ginseng wine – standard quantity

  • Use 2.25–4.5 litres (5–9 pints) of Siberian Ginseng decoction, 1.5–2.5 g (3–5 lbs) organic sugar, 1 sachet of wine-making yeast (follow instructions on pack).
  • Mix the decoction with sugar or honey by warming the liquid in a saucepan and then stirring in sugar until it is completely dissolved.
  • Remove from the heat, let it cool to about 18°C (65°F), and then add the yeast.
  • Let it ferment in a wine demijohn with a suitable neck lock so the carbon dioxide can escape freely. Fermentation takes up to 6 weeks and is complete when bubbles have stopped rippling through the brew and all the sugars have been utilised.
  • When the fermentation process is complete, use a jelly bag to strain the wine. 
  • Bottle the wine, label it clearly, and then store it in a cool place.

Note: Hurried and incomplete fermentation will produce an unpleasant wine. While fermentation is taking place, the demijohn should be left in a warm but shaded area.

Natural Medicine for Everyone

Unlike other species of Ginseng, Siberian is believed to be completely safe for most people, even those groups in society who are considered to be most vulnerable, such as pregnant women, children, invalids, and the elderly.

Pregnancy and breastfeeding

Siberian Ginseng is renowned for encouraging better fertility in both men and women, and it is a wonderful herb for use during pregnancy because it maintains energy, reduces stress, and assists the balanced working of all organs and systems. It will also work safely to support the body through any microbial infection. Research in Russia has proved that the herb helped reduce neonatal disorders, especially newborn infants with defects in intracranial blood circulation. The incidence of stillborn babies also appeared to be lower in the trials. It has also been used successfully as an antibiotic agent for young babies. It is also safe to take while breastfeeding – it encourages milk production too, resulting in calmer, happier breastfeeding mothers and their babies.

Caution: Siberian Ginseng supports mothers-to-be, but it is vital that the correct herb is taken. Other Ginseng varieties can be dangerous in pregnancy, so purchase the root from a reputable supplier and make sure you ask for Siberian Ginseng; check its Latin name, Eleutherococcus senticosus.

Children

Children benefit from Siberian Ginseng because it helps form brain components, helping them to become more alert and able to concentrate more effectively. It is also good for children who are hyperactive or who have memory or learning difficulties. It makes a wonderful remedy for many minor ailments, physical or mental. Low-weight children have successfully gained weight with Siberian Ginseng, and good general development has followed. Siberian Ginseng will help children of all ages play, rest, and work in a more balanced way, regulating and helping both physical and mental growth. 

Follow the guidelines given on the 'Preparations for Internal Use' and 'Herbal Combinations' pages regarding suitability of the different Siberian Ginseng preparations for children. For children of ages below those given, consult a qualified herbalist prior to use.

Elderly people

Siberian Ginseng is particularly suitable for older people because of its ability to help a wide variety of problems associated with advancing age or even senility.

  • Increases self-confidence and alleviates depression.
  • Helps to maintain the brain and its blood supply, and aids memory.
  • Encourages sound sleep and generally strengthens the body, enabling the elderly to feel more physically capable.
  • It is a natural antioxidant that can slow down the effects of the aging process in older people.

Caution

If you are taking prescribed medication, or have any long-term or serious health conditions, consult your doctor or a qualified herbalist before using Siberian Ginseng.

Case study – energy

Rosemary, 63, felt that her energy levels were waning fast – and she wished they would return. A chance conversation with a friend led her to start taking Siberian Ginseng bought from a herb shop. After 10 days of taking just 5 ml (1 tsp) of tincture twice a day, she noticed a growing difference in her overall energy levels. This led to a renewed zest for life and unprecedented patience with previously frustrating everyday situations.

Herbal Combinations

Herbal combinations are used where the effect of a single herb needs to be complemented in a particular way. However, if you are pregnant, breastfeeding, have a serious medical condition or are taking prescribed medication, you should consult your doctor or a qualified herbalist because some of these herbs may be unsuitable.

Anti-stress formula

This herbal combination used as a tincture helps to build energy and specifically aims to put back the building blocks required by the adrenal glands, which are usually in short supply during times of stress.

Formula: 3 parts Siberian Ginseng root, 2 parts Chamomile flowers, 2 parts Saw Palmetto berries, 2 parts St John’s Wort flowers and leaves, 2 parts Rehmannia root, 1 part Wild Yam rhizome.

RECOMMENDED DOSAGE:

Adults: 5 ml (1 tsp) 3–4 times daily.

Children: Over 16 years, adult dose. Under 16, consult a qualified herbalist.

Saw Palmetto, Rehmannia, Siberian Ginseng and Wild Yam help the adrenal glands. St John’s Wort supports the mind and helps to raise ‘happy hormone’ levels. Chamomile supports a run-down nervous system.

Caution: The anti-stress formula must not be taken during pregnancy. Also, individuals taking drugs for depression or other mental disorders, or those with light sensitivity, should omit St John’s Wort from the herbal formula.

Autoimmune formula

The immune system is not just involved with defence and healing; it affects many other systems in the body. A poorly functioning immune system will affect our hormones, nervous system, and much more. The herbs in this formula, which should be taken as a tincture, aim to restore, tone, and balance the organs and body systems while motivating a positive and focused response from the immune system.

Autoimmune conditions arise out of an ‘all systems down’ situation, where the body is so low that it has to work on overdrive. This formula avoids herbs that over-stimulate the immune system even more and instead focuses on gentle and broadly based immune system herbs, producing a climate in which the immune system may be able to recognise that it does not need to work on overdrive, yet at the same time empowering it.

Formula: 3 parts Siberian Ginseng root, 2 parts Burdock root, 2 parts Schisandra berries, 2 parts Marshmallow root, ¼ part Cayenne pods.

RECOMMENDED DOSAGE:

Adults: 5 ml (1 tsp) 3 times daily (boil off the alcohol) or, if using capsules, 2 capsules (of size 00) 2–3 times daily.

Children: Over 16 years, adult dose. For use in children under 16, consult a qualified herbalist. 

Siberian Ginseng gives all-round support to the body, and Burdock complements it by stabilising blood sugar levels, cleansing the bloodstream, neutralising toxins, and helping the liver, gallbladder, kidneys, and lymph system to work efficiently. Schisandra and Marshmallow boost digestive, nutritional, and energy levels when they are low. Cayenne helps the other herbs and encourages good circulation.

Diabetes or hypoglycaemia formula

These herbs are predominantly sweet, warming, and slightly bitter, and they strengthen and energise in a sustained and balanced way. This formula, taken in a tincture form, will build stamina over a long period of time, supporting the spleen, pancreas, stomach, and liver. This formula was created to balance sugar levels, and will support and help those in the early stages of diabetes or who are experiencing hypoglycaemia. However, you should consult your doctor or qualified herbalist if you have, or suspect you have, diabetes or hypoglycaemia.

Formula: 4 parts Siberian Ginseng root, 4 parts Fenugreek seeds, 3 parts Elecampane seeds, 2 parts Burdock root, 1 part Astragalus root, 1 part Schisandra berries, ½ part Liquorice rhizome, ½ part Stevia leaves.

recommended dosage:

Adults: 5 ml (1 tsp) 3–4 times daily (boil off the alcohol).

Children: Over 16 years, adult dose. For use in children under 16, consult a qualified herbalist. 

Burdock root, Fenugreek seeds, and Elecampane seeds will help to regulate insulin levels. Fenugreek is one of the oldest of both Western and Eastern plants, and is a favourite in India for the treatment of diabetes. It is particularly helpful for stabilising blood sugar levels.

Energy support formula

Siberian Ginseng is one of the finest, safest stimulants known in herbal medicine. Another herb similar in action, but with slight variations, is Pfaffia, sometimes known as Suma or Brazilian Ginseng. In Brazil, Pfaffia is held in high esteem and is used as a cure-all; much like Siberian Ginseng is valued as a panacea. Put Pfaffia and Siberian Ginseng together and you will have a potent combination. If it is difficult to find Pfaffia root, then use Schisandra berries, another very safe, supportive cure-all from China.

Formula: Equal parts of Siberian Ginseng root and Pfaffia root (or Schisandra berries), or 2 parts Siberian Ginseng root, 1 part Pfaffia root (or Schisandra berries).

recommended dosage:

Adults: 5 ml (1 tsp) of tincture 2–4 times daily, depending on the state of energy and the level of support required.

Children: Over 16 years, adult dose. For use in children under 16, consult a qualified herbalist. 

Caution: Women with oestrogen-encouraged cancer should avoid Pfaffia because it can fortify hormones in the female reproductive system, especially oestrogen.

Heart and artery regulation formula

This formula combines classic heart and circulatory herbs – Hawthorn, Ginkgo, and Cayenne – with the less traditional and yet superb heart-supportive herbs Siberian Ginseng and Dong Quai. 

Formula: 3 parts Siberian Ginseng root, 4 parts Hawthorn berries, leaves, and flowers, 2 parts Ginkgo leaves, 1 part Cayenne pods, 1 part Dong Quai root.

recommended dosage:

Adults: 5ml (1 tsp) of tincture 3–4 times daily.

Children: Consult a qualified herbalist.

All the herbs in this formula will calm the mind (so often agitated in heart disorders) and will also nourish the blood. Tachycardia, angina, and high blood pressure may be eased with this formula, with safe and positive results. These cases can be as diverse as heightened cholesterol count, blood platelet stickiness which can lead to clumping, and lack of oxygen. However, if you need, or suspect that you may need, heart or artery regulation, you should first consult your doctor or another qualified medical practitioner before taking this formula or any other course of treatment. Also, as previously mentioned, Siberian Ginseng is not recommended for people with a blood pressure reading of 180/90 mmHg or higher.

Rheumatism, arthritis, aching joints and bones formula

These combined herbs, taken as a tincture or in capsule form, will help to stimulate the circulation, ease inflammation, and provide support for a range of organs and body systems.

Formula: 2 parts Siberian Ginseng root, 2 parts Black Cohosh root, 2 parts Devil’s Claw root, 2 parts Angelica root, 2 parts Prickly Ash berries or bark, 1 part Cayenne pods, 1 part Dong Quai root.

REcommended dosage:

Adults: 5 ml (1 tsp) 2–4 times daily or, if using capsules, 2 capsules (of size 00) 2–3 times daily.

Siberian Ginseng, Black Cohosh, Devil’s Claw, Dong Quai, and Angelica can all help to ease the discomfort of the inflammation created by the immune system overworking. The Prickly Ash and the Cayenne will help circulation. Siberian Ginseng will also generally support the immune system and help to pace and balance activity while mobility returns so that undue stress is not placed on newly working joints, bones, and tissue.

How Siberian Ginseng Works

The overall chemistry of Siberian Ginseng produces an effect that is milder and less stimulating than the ‘regular’ Ginsengs such as American and Chinese, but this means the herb is safe for use by a far wider range of people of all ages.

Siberian Ginseng is a true adaptogen – an invigorator of the body with no proven unpleasant side effects. Although Siberian is not a true Ginseng, its action is very similar. The genuine Ginsengs contain ginsenosides – which among other effects help nerve regeneration and stimulate various balanced hormonal functions. Like other Ginsengs that are not botanically the same but have many similar actions, Siberian contains many powerful glycosides, including eleutherosides and senticosides, which are reflected in its Latin name. It also contains saponins, coumarins, steroids, sterols, triterpenes, a polysaccharide, and lignans. These chemicals have a pharmacological action in the body, which means that the plant will affect all the processes of the body in a unique way. The glycosides – each of them individual in its behaviour – dominate the chemistry of Siberian Ginseng. Among many other functions, they help hormone and immune activity, pain control, inflammation processes, prevent damage by free radicals, and aid in the reduction of excess water in the body. Part of their role is to give the adrenal glands extra fuel to work with when in crisis, and then to prevent them from using up any more once the crisis is over. They enforce energy conservation, allowing the same amount of energy to be used for better results, and thus the adrenal glands are less stimulated. The saponins (and other chemical components) affect the pituitary gland and will therefore balance all the hormonal functions of the human body in both males and females. The steroid constituents of the glycosides also provide vital components. They have painkilling abilities, help endurance, and enhance the ability of the human body to cope with physically difficult situations.

Research results

In 1964, during clinical testing at the Institute of Biochemistry and Medicine at Khabarovsk, in the former USSR, blood donors were given 4 ml of Siberian Ginseng daily. Their haemoglobin levels returned to normal within 13 days, while without the use of Siberian Ginseng this restoration took up to a month.

In 1977, clinical trials of Siberian Ginseng’s effect on factory workers were conducted in an area of the Soviet polar region: 1,000 adults were given 4 ml of Siberian Ginseng daily for five months. The results, over a year-long period, showed a 40 per cent reduction in days lost from work and a 50 per cent reduction in general sickness.

Case study: allergies

Mary, 35 had a range of allergies that periodically debilitated her. Symptoms ranged from sneezing and a runny nose to raised glands in the neck and ‘overheating’. After seeing a herbalist, she changed several aspects of her lifestyle, including her diet, and was prescribed a combination of herbs, with Siberian Ginseng as a prominent component. Her allergies gradually abated and became less frequent and eventually disappeared altogether.

Glossary

Adaptogenic

Herb that empowers the whole body in a non-specific way, and with no unpleasant side effects.

Amphoteric

In herbal terms, a herb that has a balancing or regulating effect.

Antioxidants

Understood in current models of immunity, these substances (found particularly in high-chlorophyll foods) protect the cells from damaging free radicals, which themselves have been created through oxygenation. In simple terms, it is rather like preventing metal from rusting.

Arteriosclerosis

Hardening of the arteries.

Burlap

Universally used type of herb storage bag that allows the contents to breathe.

Cholesterol

A fat-like substance in the blood and most tissues, especially nervous tissue. Cholesterol is synthesised in the body from acetate, mainly in the liver.

Cortisone

Drug that mimics the action of corticosteroids – a class of hormones produced in the cortex of the adrenal glands.

Coumarins

Blood-thinning agents.

Extrasystole

Common irregularity of the heart (dropped beat).

Free Radicals

Highly reactive particles that damage cell membranes, DNA, and other cellular structures.

Germination

When the seed has produced a primordial root below and has emerging leaves.

Homeostasis

Process of maintaining constant physical and emotional conditions despite external changes – the primary function of most organs in the body.

Humus

Organic matter (e.g. leaves) that has decayed and broken down to a point where it can break down no further. See also LEAF MOULD.

Hypertonicity

Maintaining vascular system tone and elasticity.

Hypoglycaemia

Low blood sugar, causing muscle weakness, confusion and sweating.

Immunity

Capacity and function of the body to fend off foreign bodies (fungi, viruses, bacteria), and/or disarm and eject them.

Lactation

Breastfeeding.

Leaf Mould

Leaves that are collected in the autumn and allowed to decay in order to provide nutrition and bulk to growing plants in pots or flower beds; sometimes referred to as ‘leaf litter’.

Leucocytosis

Increase in the number of white blood cells in the blood (leucocytes), a characteristic of many infections and disorders, including leukaemia.

Lignans

Woody parts of the plant.

Lymphocyte

Type of white blood cell.

Metastasis

Migration of disease, such as with bacterial infection or cancer.

Neonatal

Concerning newborn babies; conventionally limited to the first 4 weeks of life.

Neuralgia

Pain originating in any nerve.

Neurasthenia

Inflammation of a nerve.

Neurotransmitters

Molecules released into the synapse (the gap between a nerve cell and another cell) in response to a nerve impulse and that carry messages between these cells. 

Oestrogen

Female reproductive system hormone; production in the body decreases during the menopause.

Pancreatitis

Inflammation of the pancreas.

Pathogen

Microbe capable of causing disease.

Photosynthesis

Process by which green plants utilise energy from the sun to produce food from carbon dioxide and water.

Physiological

Functions and phenomena of living organs and their individual parts.

Platelets

Disc-shaped fragments enclosed in cell membranes that flow through the blood and promote clotting.

Polysaccharides

Groups of sugars.

Psychosis

A general term for mental disorders involving loss of touch with reality.

Rhinitis

Inflammation of the lining of the nose.

Rhizome

Underground stem (root) that grows horizontally.

RNA synthesis

Process of making ribonucleic acid.

Saponin

Chemical plant component, characteristically producing foam, that is a frequent part of plant hormone activity.

Schizophrenia

Type of psychosis or mental derangement that is characterised by delusions and hallucinations, as well as a disintegration of the process of thinking, of contact with reality, and of emotional responsiveness.

Senticoside

A glycoside found in Siberian Ginseng that modulates and regulates hormonal activity in both the plant and the human body.

Steroids

In the case of Siberian Ginseng, plant chemicals similar to those that are formed naturally in the adrenal glands.

Tachycardia

Unduly rapid heartbeat.

Triglycerides

Three-chain carboxylic or fatty acids that are important energy storage molecules. Triglycerides are formed from digested dietary fat and are the form in which fat is stored in the body. 


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