Great Herb to Fight the Stress of Menopause
There are many ginseng benefits for women in menopause. This is by far the most popular herbal supplement in the United States.
Asian and American Ginseng (Panax ginseng, Panax quinquefolius) are well known and provenadaptogens. Herbs with this classification can improve your resistance to stress and provide a boost to your immune system, energy level, and mental performance.
Ginseng benefits go beyond the common use as an energy booster. It helps people recover from illness, improves stamina and controls blood pressure. Recent research also suggests that it has anti-cancer and anti-inflammatory effects.
Ginseng Benefits for Menopause
Ginseng is a very important herb for menopausal women because it improves the feeling of overall well-being and fights the impact of stress on your body.
It also helps with the following common menopause problems:
- Fuzzy thinking
- Memory problems
- Inability to concentrate
There have some animal studies that showed that the active compounds in ginseng can help to regulate the body temperature. This would support the claim that it can help with hot flashes.
The estrogen-like effects of ginseng is still under investigation but many women report relief for vaginal dryness and benefits for vaginal lining (which helps to fight of frequent yeast and urinary tract infections).
The estrogenic effect would also explain why it can help with hot flashes and night sweats. But as we have recently seen with Black Cohosh, research could proof that Ginseng benefits come from a very different kind chemical action on the body.
Other Benefits of Ginseng
Here are some of the known ginseng benefits:
- Anti-Oxidant – rids body of free radicals
- Beneficial for Type II Diabetes (lowers blood glucose)
- Controls high blood pressure
- Improves overall health, especially after illness
- Improves immune system response – fights of illness
- Improves mental performance -concentration and memory (especially if used with Ginko Bilboa)
- Energizing and Stimulating
The active substances that are responsible for the medicinal benefits are called Ginsenosides. The concentration of the ginsenosides is highest in the leafs but it is mostly the roots that are dried and formulated for medicinal use.
A lot of energy drinks contain ginseng and it can be found in some herbal teas. In most cases, the amount of ginsenosides in these drinks or teas is too low to provide any medical benefit. But the teas taste great and are a good alternative to sodas or other sugary drinks.
Forms of Ginseng
Ginseng is marketed in different forms and under different names. Some herbs that are marketed under this name are actually members of a different plant family with different health effects. This makes it confusing to buy the right ginseng for your symptoms.
Here are the differences in a nutshell:
Asian Ginseng is often marketed as Chinese, Korean or Asiatic ginseng. To ensure that you get the real thing look for the botanical name Panax ginseng.
American ginseng is another variety from the panax family. Its botanical name is Panax quinquefolius. While both the American and Asian form has Ginsenosides, the ratio and composition of the active compounds varies between the two plants.
Traditional Chinese medicine distinguishes between the ginseng benefits of the Asian and American variety. The Asian herb increases Yang energy and has warm properties, whereas Panax quinquefolius (the American form) boosts Ying energy and has cold properties.
Siberian ginseng is somewhat related to panax but it is actually a different plant family with different effects on the body.
White ginseng is from the dried and unprocessed but peeled root; Red ginseng is from the unpeeled root, which is steamed before drying. It is thought to be more effective and used in most commercially available supplements.
If you use standardized herbs (usually between 5-7% ginsenosides), the recommended dose is 200 – 500mg a day. For all other concentrations or forms (tea, fresh root, tincture, liquid) follow the recommendation of your herbalist or the manufacturer.
Ginseng should be taken in cycles for maximum benefits. In specific circumstances, (i.e. recovery from illness, stressful life-events etc.), use the upper limit of the daily recommended dosage.
The treatment cycle to get the best ginseng benefits depends on the dosage:
- If you use the higher dosage, take it for a month, then stop for a month. Continue this cycle for several months until your symptoms disappear or your energy level improves.
- If you take a lower dose use it for several “2 months on – 2 weeks off” cycles.
Do not take ginseng continuously for the long term.
Side Effects and Drug Interactions
Be cautious when using ginseng with other stimulating herbs or substances (such as caffeine) to avoid irritability and nervousness.
Higher doses can lead to insomnia (because of the stimulating effect). It is recommended to take it in the morning and avoid it right before bedtime.
It is recommended to always take ginseng with food because of the effect on blood sugar levels. For the same reason, people on blood sugar controlling medication have to be careful if they take ginseng to avoid hypoglycemia.
Some studies suggest that ginseng can lower blood pressure but others have found the opposite effect. If you have problems with your blood pressure check with your doctor or monitor your blood pressure carefully when you take this herb.
It can interact with certain blood pressure medications. The effects on the blood pressure may depend on the variety (Asian or American) used.
There are other potential interactions with prescription drugs. It is always recommended to check with your health care professional before taking any supplements, even safe and well tolerated herbs such has ginseng.
There are a lot of ginseng benefits for women in menopause. The Ginsenosides, especially those in Asian ginseng can boost energy and the resistance to the stress your body goes through during menopause.
The benefits for mental symptoms as well as the energy boost makes ginseng a great herb for menopause.
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