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This classic includes the first written record of ginseng as a medicinal agent.

The use of ginseng in China, and, indeed, throughout Asia, is based largely on the description in this book, one that has been passed on from generation to generation since that time.

Further, research aimed at demonstrating the effectiveness of ginseng for several applications is of varying quality; the results can be misleading if study design and reporting are not critically analyzed before accepting the conclusions offered by the authors.

This article reviews both the traditional use and evolving modern interpretations of ginseng.

Key medical terms: diabetes, hypertension, heart failure, hyperlipidemia Key Chinese medical references: qi, five viscera, hun, po, shen, spleen/stomach Chinese herbs: ginseng, atractylodes, hoelen, licorice, codonopsis, platycodon, gynostemma, eleuthero, tien-chi, American ginseng Active constituents: ginsenosides, saponins, dammarane triterpenes, oleanolic acid Chinese formulas: Lizhong Wan, Guipi Tang, Buzhong Yiqi Tang, Shen Ling Baizhu Tang, Si Junzi Tang Traditional Chinese medical texts: Shennong Bencao Jing, Shanghan Lun, Hejiju Fang, Bencao Gangmu SUMMARY: Ginseng is a popular herb that is frequently misunderstood and usually provided in dosages that are too small to have the desired effects.

Medicinal use of ginseng can be traced back nearly 2,000 years, with reference to cooling and calming properties, treatment of poor nutritional status, and alleviation of digestive distress; quite different from today's recommendations to use it as an energy booster.

Each herb in the Shennong Bencao Jing is described by only a few sentences that, despite their brevity, convey much to the traditional physicians.

In order to understand the section on ginseng, one must be familiar with the two basic descriptive categories for herbs in traditional Chinese medicine-nature and taste.

China Information Service System on Traditional Chinese Medicine10. There is considerable confusion about potential adverse effects of ginseng; many of the warnings may be unjustified.THE NATURE OF GINSENG From Traditional Use to Modern Research by Subhuti Dharmananda, Ph.Thus, the historical basis for consuming ginseng is still relevant. C., during the early Han Dynasty, was excavated from a tomb in 1973 at Mawangdui, the "mounds of the horse emperor," near Changsha, the capital of Hunan Province in central China.The basic framework of the traditional Chinese culture that is of such interest to the West coalesced around a group of ideas and practices that matured during the period 500 B. This record suggests that the traditional Chinese medical system was still forming at that time, and had not yet reached the relatively consistent set of theories and rules that emerged soon after.

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