Common Uses . Ginseng is used as a stimulant and aromatic bitter, stomachic and demulcent, and is considered alliterative, carminative, tonic, expectorant and antipyretic. It is used as a masticatory. It is reputed to have a sedative effect on the cerebrum and a mildly stimultating action on the vital centers. It is also a gonadotrophic agent containing little toxic substance. Ginseng has a deep influence on metabolism and prevents the development of atherosclerosis. It has the capacity of reducing high blood pressure and raising low blood pressure to the normal level. For this reason, it is admininstered in cases of hypertension and hypotension.
Similar crude drugs P. ginseng Mey., P. quinquefolium Linn. and P. japonicus Mey. are the principal sources of Chinese (Asiatic), American and Japanese ginseng, respectively. Four different plant species related to the commercial ginseng, commonly found in India are: P.bipinnatifidus, P. burkillianus Bennet&Viswanathan, P. pseudoginseng Wall. and P. sikkimensis Banerjee. Of these, P. pseudoginseng provides the Chinese wonder drug, "Sanchi" used to cure a number of diseases including cancer.
Chemical Constituent Indian pseudoginseng has been found to be a rich source of oleanolic acid saponins while dammarane saponins are present in minor quantities. Saponin fraction of pseudoginseng displayed adaptogenic, immunostimulant and anti-inflammatory activities comparable with Korean ginseng. The saponins also inhibited carrageenin-induced oedema. Macrophage migration index was raised by treatment with these saponins.
The active principles present in ginseng have not been clearly characterized. The drug from both the Chinese and Amercian sources was reported to contian a glcoside, panaquilon, besides a saponin (0.75-1%), a bitter substance, resin, tannin, volatile oil (contaning a terpene, panacen), sugars, starch and mucilage. Chinese ginseng was reported to contain also vitamins of the B group, colonin (a spermine like base), a phytosterol, and a steriod hormone with a pronounced estrogenic activity.
Comments A small genus of perennial herbs distributed in the north temperate zone in East Asia and North America. Two species, P. quinquefolium and P. schinseng, supply the drug, Amercian and Chinese Ginseng Root respectively. They do not occur in India but ginseng roots are probably imported; data relating to their import are not available.
P. schinseng Nees syn. P. ginseng Mey. (ASIATIC or CHINESE GINSENG) is a perennial herb indigenous to the forests of eastern Asia and cultivated in northern China, Korea and Japan. It was previously the only source of the drug in China but the supply has become so limited that it is now largely met by the import of ginseng root obtained from P. quinquefolium of America. P. quinquefolium Linn. (AMERICAN GINSENG) is a glabrous herb, 15-45 cm. high, indigenous to eaten U.S.A. and Canada. The root is collected from plants growing wild and also cultivated. The plant can be propagated from seeds. Roots are dug from 5-6 year old plants, washed carefully and dried. Most of the roots gathered in U.S.A. and Canada are exported to China.
P. ginseng Mey., P. quinquefolium Linn. and P. japonicus Mey. are the principal sources of Chinese (Asiatic), American and Japanese ginseng, respectively. Four different plant species related to the commercial ginseng, commonly found in India are: P.bipinnatifidus, P. burkillianus Bennet&Viswanathan, P. pseudoginseng Wall. and P. sikkimensis Banerjee. Of these, P. pseudoginseng provides the Chinese wonder drug, "Sanchi" used to cure a number of diseases including cancer. American ginseng, with almost identical properties as the Asiatic ginseng, is now being used to a large extent in modern medicine. India imports true ginseng mainly from Indonesia and Singapore.