Q. I am under a lot of stress. Is there an herbal medicine that you use to help people cope with stress?
A. Siberian ginseng has been used in Chinese medicine for centuries to help strengthen the body.
Traditionally, it was thought to increase longevity and improve health. Modern science has proven what has long been known in Asia — that Siberian ginseng contains substances that can help your body adapt to stress. I often prescribe Siberian ginseng to help my patients handle stress and enhance their immunity. An extremely safe herb, in numerous studies, Siberian ginseng has demonstrated very few adverse side effects. According to traditional Chinese medicine, it helps to build your qi (vital force). A review of the literature finds the following beneficial effects of Siberian ginseng:
If you are under a lot of stress, it can help you cope by decreasing the release of stress hormones from your adrenal glands. The herb can also help your immune system fight infections because it can increase both the quantity and the activity of your immune cells.
A study published in 1995 by the International Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine found that Siberian ginseng significantly decreased the frequency, duration and severity of herpes outbreaks.
Siberian ginseng also is an excellent herb for those who suffer from either low blood sugar or low blood pressure. According to naturopathic physician, author and educator Dr. Michael Murray, the herb can increase energy, mental alertness and a sense of well-being. Athletes have begun using Siberian ginseng, as reports show that it can increase recovery time after workouts and may also improve overall performance.
Be sure to check with your doctor before taking any supplement; I also recommend that you consult with a qualified physician specifically licensed in the study of herbs and natural remedies.
A note of caution: If you have uncontrolled high blood pressure, or if you are taking the pharmaceutical drug digoxin or barbiturates, do not use Siberian ginseng. Some people have reported insomnia if they take the herb too close to bedtime, and mild diarrhea if they take too much of it. Siberian ginseng is safe for lactating women.
The recommended dose is 100-200 milligrams two to three time per day, containing a standardized extract of 0.5 percent eleutherosid
Article was originally printed in the Honolulu Advertiser, honoluluadvertiser.com