|Pharmaceutical Name:||Radix Ginseng|
|Botanical Name:||Panax ginseng C. A. Mey.|
|Source of Earliest Record:||Shennong Bencao Jing|
|art Used & Method for Pharmaceutical Preparations:||There are many types of ginseng, including wild and cultivated. Cultivated ginseng from Jilin Province in China is the best quality. The ginseng roots are dug in autumn after being cultivated for six to seven years, and then they are cleaned, dried in the sun, steamed or baked and cut into slices.|
|Properties and Taste:||Sweet, slightly warm, slightly bitter|
|Meridian:||Spleen and lung|
|Functions:||To replenish qi, prevent collapse and strengthen yang
To tonify the spleen and lungs
To promote body fluids and relieve thirst
To calm the heart and soothe the mind
|Chinese Therapeutic Actions:||1. Greatly Tonifies Yuan (Source) Qi
Qi deficiency or depletion, fading pulse: Yuan (source) qi is the basis of all qi in the body. Ren Shen is the best herb to strengthen the body and restore vitality. It tonifies deficiency and restores the collapse of yuan qi , that may have become depleted after profuse perspiration, after excessive loss of fluids in severe vomiting or diarrhea, with excessive loss of blood, or due to other chronic illnesses. Clinical manifestations of such conditions include shallow respiration, shortness of breath, cold extremities, and feeble or barely palpable pulse. In those conditions, this herb can be used alone to greatly tonify and revitalize the body. Qi deficiency is often accompanied by yang deficiency, and qi collapse is often accompanied by yang collapse. As such, when treating cases of deficiency or collapse, interior-warning or yang-tonic herbs are usually added to Ren Shen.
~Collapse of yuan (source) qi: Use Ren Shen as a single remedy
~Qi and yang deficiencies with profuse perspiration and cold extremities: use it with Fu Zi (Radix Aconiti Lateralis Praeparata).
~Qi and yin deficiencies: combine it with Mai Men Dong (Radix Ophiopogonis) and Wu Wei Zi (Fructus Schisandrae Chinensis).
~Qi and blood deficiencies: pair Ren Shen with Shu Di Huang (Radix Rehmanniae Preparata).
2. Tonifies the Spleen
~Spleen qi deficiency: Ren Shen tonifies the spleen and enhances its functions of transformation and transportation. With middle jiao deficiency, food cannot be transformed into energy, and thus, fatigue, lack of energy, nausea, vomiting, poor appetite, sallow complexion, low voice, listlessness, diarrhea, stomach and rectal prolapse and other conditions characterized by qi deficiency of the Spleen and Stomach will manifest.
~Qi deficiency of the Spleen and Stomach: use Ren Shen with Bai Zhu (Rhizoma Atractylodis Macrocephalae).
~Qi deficiency of the Spleen and Stomach with dampness: use this herb with Bai Zhu (Rhizoma Atractylodis Macrophalae), Fu Ling (Poria) and Gan Cao (Radix Glycyrrhizae).
~Qi deficiency of the Spleen and Stomach with loose stools or diarrhea: add Ren Shen to Bai Zhu (Rhizoma Atractylodis Macrocephalae), Fu Ling (Poria), Shan Yao (Rhizoma Dioscoreae), Bian Dou (Semen Lablab Album), Sha Ren (Fructus Amomi) and Chen Pi (Pericarpium Citri Reticulatae).
~Organ prolapse due to qi and yang deficiencies: combine this herb with Huang Qi (Radix Astragali), Bai Zhu (Rhizoma Atracylodis Macrocephalae), Sheng Ma (Rhizoma Cimicifugae) and Chai Hu (Radix Bupleuri).
3. Tonifies the Lung
Lung deficiency: The Lung dominates the qi of the body and controls respiration. The Kidney dominates yuan (source) qi, consolidates jing (essence) and helps pull qi downwards from the Lung. When the Lung and Kidney are deficient, symptoms of shortness of breath, dyspnea, asthma, accelerated or feeble respiration with fatigue, spontaneous sweating and weak pulse, may appear. Ren Shen tonifies the Lung and enhances its repiratory effectiveness.
~Chronic cough due to Lung deficiency: Use Ren Shen with Kuan Dong Hua (Flos Farfarae), Zi Wan (Radix Asteris), Bai Bu (RAdix Stemonae) and Wu Wei Zi (Fructus Schisandrae Chinensis).
~Wheezing and shortness of breath due to Lung and Kidney deficiency: use this herb with Ge Jie (Gecko), Hu Tao Ren (Semen Juglandis) and Wu Wei Zi (Fructus Schisandrae Chinensis).
4. Promotes Generation of Body Fluids and Relieves Thirst
Xiao Ke (wasting and thirsting) syndrome, thirst from qi and yin deficiencies: The production, distribution and elimination of body fluids require poor functioning of qi. Yin and qi deficiencies result in the thirst and related symptoms of xiao ke syndrome. Ren Shen tonifies qi, promotes generation of body fluids and relieves thirst. Should heat also be a factor contributing to thirst, additional symptoms may include heat sensations with thirst that cannot be quenched by water, excessive perspiration, and a big pulse that is revelated upon pressure to be weak.
~Xiao ke syndrome with thirst: combine Ren Shen with Tian Hua Fen (Radix Trichosanthis), Mai Men Dong (Radix Ophiopogonis) and Zhi Mu (Radix Anemarrhenae).
~Febrile disorders with heat damaging both qi and body fluids: use Ren Shen with Shi Gao (Gypsum Fibrosum), Zhi Mu (Radix Anemarrhenae), Gan Cao (Radix Glycyrrhizae) and Geng Mi (Semen Oryzae).
5. Calms the Shen (Spirit), Improves Mental Function
Lack of qi and blood nourishment to the Heart shen: Abundant yuan (source) qi nourishes Heart qi, calms the shen, and improves mental functions. Ren Shen tonifies qi, calms the shen, and improves cognitive functions. It is commonly used alone to treat insomnia, disturbed sleep with excessive dreams, fright, confusion and forgetfullness caused by qi deficiency. When taken for a prolonged period of time, this herb treats neurasthenia involving symptoms of fatigue, headache and insomnia.
~Poor cognitive functions due to Heart and Spleen weakness with qi and blood deficiencies, with chief complaints of fatigue, excessive worrying and insomnia: Use Ren Shen with Huang Qi (RAdix Astragali), Long Yan Rou (Arillus Longan), and Suan Zao Ren (Semen Zizyphi Spinosae).
~Poor cognitive functions due to Heart and Kidney weakness with yin and blood deficiencies: combine this herb with Shen Di Huang (Radix Rehmanniae), Mai Men Dong (Radix Ophiopogonis), Dan Shen (Radix Salviae Miltiorrhizae), and Bai Zi Ren (Semen Platycladi).
~Confusion and forgetfulness: add Ren Shen to Shi Chang Pu (Rhizoma Acori), Yuan Zi (Radix Polygalae), Fu Shen (Poria Paradicis) and Fu Ling (Poria).
6. Tonifies Qi and Blood
Blood deficiencies: Ren Shen tonifies qi and enhances the production of blood. It is commonly used to treat patients with sallow complexion revealing both qi and blood deficiencies.
~Qi and blood deficiencies: use Ren Shen with Shu Di Huang (Radix Rehammaniae Preparata), Bai Shao (Radix Paeoniae Alba), Bai Zhu (Rhizoma Atractylodis Macrocephalae), and Fu Ling (Poria).
7. Treats Impotence
This herb tonifies qi and yang and is commonly used with kidney yang-tonic herbs to treat impotence. Ren Shen may be used singly as herbal tincture, or in combination with other herbs in an herbal formula.
~Impotence: Use Ren Shen with Lu Rong (Cornu Cervi Pantotrichum), Shu Di Huang (Radix Rehmanniae Preparata), Fu Zi (Radix Aconiti Lateralis Praeparata) and Bu Gu Zhi (Fructus Psoraleae).
8. Tonifies Qi in Deficiency Patients with Exterior Conditions
Exterior disorder with interior deficiency: Ren Shen treats deficiency patients who have contracted external pathogenic factors.
~Exterior condition with interior deficiency: combine Ren Shen with Qiang Huo (Rhizoma et Radix Notopterygii), Chai Hu (Radix Bupleuri) and Du Huo (Radix Angelicae Pubescentis).
|Dosage:||5-10 g (for decoction), 1-2 g (for powder), 15-30 g (decoction for severe collapsing). The decoction should be taken in multiple small doses (instead of one large dose) when treating collapse. Due to the high cost of the herb, Ren Shen is usually decocted separately at relatively low temperatures to ensure complete extraction of active constituents.|
|Cautions:||This herb is contraindicated for a person with heat signs or excessive syndromes without deficiency of anti-pathogenic factor. In cases of excess conditions, such as bleeding caused by heat in the blood, red eyes and dizziness due to Liver yang rising, wheezing and cough because of Lung heat, or phlegm accumulation, constipation, parasites, internal accumulation, heat or fire conditions.
- It should not be mixed with Li Lu (Radix et Rhizoma Veratri), antagonized by Zao Jiao (Fructus Gleditsiae) and counteracted by Wu Ling Zhi (Excrementum Trogopteris seu Pteromi) and Lai Fu Zi (Semen Raphani Sativi).
-The effectiveness of Ren Shen may be reduced by concurrent consumption of turnips, daikon radishes, and tea.
Mild over dosage of Ren Shen may lead to side effects such as dry mouth and lips, excitation, fidgeting, irritability, tremor, palpitations, blurred vision, headache, insomnia, increased body temperature, increased blood pressure, edema, decreased appetite, increased sexual desire, dizziness, itching, eczema, early morning diarrhea, bleeding and fatigue. Such patients are advised to discontinue the herb and seek symptomatic treatment if necessary. Gross overdose may lead to such adverse reactions as nausea, vomiting, irritability, restlessness, urinary and bowel incontinence, fever, increased blood pressure, increased respiration, decreased sensitivity and reaction to light, decreased heart rate, cyanotic facial complexion, red face, seizures, convulsions, and delirium. Though the toxicity of this herb is mild, intake of large dosages may cause toxic side effects of pityriasis rosea, itching, headaches, dizziness, sudden rise in temperature, or bleeding. Bleeding is characteristic of acute overdose of Ren Shen.
Allergic reactions to Ren Shen are characterized by burning sensations of the extremities, itching, excitation, insomnia, dizziness, chest congestion and discomfort, nausea, vomiting, pale face, perspiration, cold extremities, low voice, a deep and thready pulse, and urinary and bowel incontinence.