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American Ginseng

The general perception of ginseng is that it has a hot nature, it tonifies qi vigorously and it creates a strong feeling of yang . This is absolutely true for Chinese and Korean ginseng, but, the medicinal properties of American ginseng are quite different from its Asian cousins.
From traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) perspective, all ginseng are qi tonifying. It is no exception in American ginseng. But the strength of qi tonification in American ginseng is relatively mild, that means American ginseng is not as hot as Asian ginseng. It can also nourish yin, clear heat and promote fluid production in our bodies. These special properties make American ginseng an ideal supplement for metropolitan people such as those in Hong Kong.

Metropolitan lifestyles tend to have a common characteristic: "Work hard and play hard". This lifestyle embraces material living, which can have detrimental effects on health. For example, working overtime, stressful work environments, high fat foods, smoking and excessive alcohol consumption can lead to mental and physical exhaustion. Exercise also tends to be minimized. Difficulty climbing stairs with symptoms of panting and sweating heavily can be a sign of qi deficiency. Feelings of excessive thirst, hot flashes, reddish cheeks, deep yellow urine and constipation may indicate a syndrome of "hyperactivity of fire due to a Yin deficiency". Other findings associated with this condition include facial pimples or mouth ulcers. These two syndromes may be found in a higher prevalence among city dwellers, and, American ginseng may be a good choice to combat these symptoms along with lifestyle changes. Even though the effects of American ginseng are mild, it is still regarded as a drug in TCM. Precaution should also be taken with some conditions such as when a cold and flu or any other infection is present. Since ginseng tonifies qi, it will also tonify the qi of the exogenous evil or invading pathogen potentially exacerbating an illness. It is more effectively used after recovery from a cold or flu as a body tonifier to regain energy.

From a Western medicine point of view, American ginseng can lower the blood glucose. Theoretically, concomitant use with diabetes drugs might enhance blood glucose lowering effects and possibly cause hypoglycemia (very low blood glucose). So, if someone's thirst is due to diabetes, American ginseng is not his cup of herbal tea.