Ginseng Remedies For Common Cold Prevention and Treatment
There are many different remedies for common cold symptoms. Some of these have been proven effective in clinical studies of persons with a cold and some are remedies that have multiple uses, such as decongestants and antihistamines. Herbal remedies are increasingly popular. This article focuses on ginseng common cold remedies, with information on the different types of ginseng, their historical uses and scientific research relating to their effectiveness.
Panax ginseng, American ginseng, Siberian ginseng, female ginseng, Indian ginseng, Peruvian ginseng and sometimes simply “ginseng” may be listed as an ingredient in any number of health supplements. All of these were used in traditional medicine in the countries in which they grow. Panax is a term that applies to several different varieties of ginseng, including the Chinese, Korean, American and Canadian plants. It is typically the roots of the plants that are used for medicinal purposes, but for some conditions the leaf is dried and steeped for tea.
The ginseng common cold remedies sold in department, drug and health food stores may contain any form of the plant. It is necessary to read the ingredients label to determine exactly which plant is included. Some of the over the counter remedies for common cold may list a proprietary blend or plant phenols, but if it is unclear which plants are used, it is best to avoid them. Natural does not always mean safe. Some medicinal herbs are known to interact with other prescription and over the counter drugs and unwanted side effects can occur. An herbalist can advise you about side effects and drug interactions, if your physician is unsure.
Native Americans used ginseng for a number of medicinal purposes. The leaf was dried and steeped in a tea to treat coughs, build the blood, increase energy and memory, as well as a sexual stimulant. The root was chewed and eaten raw as a digestive aid, to promote prostrate health and to retard cancer growth. The root was boiled and used in tea to relieve menstrual cramps and combat the effects of radiation poisoning on the system. In the book by Mary Summer Rain which compiles the knowledge of the Native American healer, No Eyes, a number of herbal remedies for common cold are mentioned, but ginseng is not among them, though its other uses are mentioned. Ginseng common cold remedies may have been used by other Native American healers or if a cough was present.
Scientists and some manufacturers of ginseng common cold remedies attempt to isolate the active ingredients, referred to as polysaccharides, eleutherosides or gensenosides depending on the plant used. Other manufacturers crush the roots or the whole plant, purify and encapsulate the powder. Others use alcohol to create a concentrated form of the powder and thus increase the potency. The wild form of the plant is believed to contain more gensenosides than the cultivated varieties, but heavy harvesting has endangered wild growth of the plant and it is becoming increasingly difficult to find.
Siberian ginseng common cold and viral preventatives are sold by some health supplement companies because of their usefulness as an immune system stimulant. Siberian ginseng is not a form of panax ginseng; the active components are called eleutherosides, rather than gensenosides as is the case with panax varieties. The scientific name is Eleutherococcus senticosus. Panax ginseng can cause unwanted side effects, such as nervousness, excitability, increased blood pressure and heart palpitations. Siberian ginseng is not believed to cause these effects. Scientific studies have shown that it can stabilize both blood sugar and blood pressure levels. As with any herb, it is important to follow the manufacturers directions, since both safety and effectiveness have been evaluated for these dosages. For additional research information about Siberian ginseng and other remedies for common cold, please visit the Immune System Booster Guide.
Patsy Hamilton has more than twenty years experience in health care and currently writes informational articles for the Immune System Booster Guide. Visit us at http://www.immune-system-booster-guide.com.
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