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History and present of ginseng research

In areas of its natural occurrence, ginseng has been used by humans for a long time. As a cure, ginseng was first described around 200 AD. in Sheen-Nong's Book of Herbs (Shen-Nong Pen Cao Jing), and has retained its position in the TCM until today.

History of adaptogen research:

Soviet Researchers - A combination of national military research and charitable efforts, an attempt to use the eastern position and contact with China

Japanese, later Chinese researchers - after the Soviets demonstrated that the research of herbs by the methods of contemporary science is publishable, their traditional specifics began to be applied in research by the Japanese and then by the Chinese. They were motivated by the effort of their own application in science and the original publication which is rewarded in the current scientometric system

The third phase is commercial when researchers are motivated by their links to vendors of herbal preparations.

Modern ginseng research began in the 1950s

Our ginseng medicine was not paying much attention until the 20th century. Pioneers of modern ginseng research were Soviet scientists N. Lazarev and I. Brechman. The beginnings of ginseng research can not be separated from the newly introduced concept of adaptogen as a generalization of ginseng, which remembers the persistent tendency of dealers to mark a variety of unrelated adaptogens by the word "ginseng" . Brechman and his followers first approached Eastern European Pharmacopoeia ( Brekhman1954egr , Brekhman1957pgi , Brekhman1965gus , Brekhman1966opi , Brekhman1969pig , Petkov1977aee and many others). Around this time, the chemical structure of panaxosides ( Shibata1965sss , Tanaka1966cso , Shibata1966cso , Elyakov1968pst , etc.) was also clarified.

It is worth mentioning that although in the United States the American ginseng was gathered and grown in large quantities since the 18th century for exports to Asia, scientists there mostly did not pay attention to it. Exporting ginseng to Asia was also dealt with by George Washington himself. Little is known that the United States (1775-83) United States Separation War mainly financed ginseng ( Youngsik2004bhu ).

In the 1970s, the stimulant and healing effects of ginseng were considered to be proven

Soviet research soon became inspiration for scientists around the world. The chemical composition of ginseng ( Fujita1962csg , Kitagawa1963psp , Kaku1975css , etc.) and its rough pharmacology ( Takagi1972psp , etc.) were clarified . In the early 1970s, the effects of ginseng against fatigue were considered "well documented" ( Takagi1974epg ). Since the 1960s and 1970s, multiple gypsies have been published, well-known for its effect on high blood pressure ( Hah1978epg ), hypoglycaemic and antidiabetic effects ( Ng1985hcp ) and other effects. This "honest" phase of ginseng research sums up well the Chong1988gtu , which speaks of a clear effect against fatigue, hypothalamic pituitary, hypoglycemic, anti-inflammatory , antitumour and antiviral effects. It even describes the contradictory effects of panaxosides on the nervous system (the excitatory effect of panaxoside Rg 1 in contrast to the reassuring effect of Rb 1 ).

90s - From Objectivity to Propaganda

On the one hand, new molecular methods have enabled a detailed, sometimes even quantitative, description of ginseng active substances. On the other hand, however, there has been an unprecedented influx of biased articles directed against ginseng and herbs in general. However, deviations from objectivity also appear in publications that sympathize with herbal therapy. Suspicious are some Korean publications, as well as Western research, directly or indirectly funded by ginseng vendors and other herbs. These studies mostly focus on the efficacy of specific commercial herbal products or brand names. It can be said that uninterested research has become a minority in the topic of herbal therapy.

In medical journals, counterfeit and generally anti-grassroots propaganda appears most recently

In publications of negative herbal treatment in general and in particular ( Pugh2008mvm , Vogler1999egs , Koren1990mgu , Wilkie1994grj , Miller1998hms ...), suspects are many things: they suddenly began to appear in the mid-1990s when the herbs began to compete seriously with conventional drugs; appearing primarily in medical journals (eg, Journal of the American Medical Association); ignore or disparage most of the scientific results that have been made so far ... However, the intention is difficult to prove. Ginseng has contradictory, mutually balancing effects on physiological parameters, and it is not easy to distinguish between honest and necessary scientific skepticism from negative propaganda, especially when written intelligently. That's why I was glad to discover the article Messina2006hsf (published in the Journal of Perianesthesia Nursing, 2006), which clearly demonstrates that at least some articles negatively evaluating herbal therapy

  1. are written with a demonstrably misleading intent,
  2. deliberately ignore most of the results so far,
  3. they are 100% incorrect in the statements about their main topic, although they are written as articles clear,
  4. are shy to use false references to fictitious statements,
  5. the authors and editors of the relevant scientific journals are published with complete impunity.

On a strange page, I take a look at the word of the word Messina2006hsf, which was made possible by the author's unguided approach to falsification of science. (I repeat, my critique does not concern skeptical publications in general - for all I mention, for example, Wilkie1994grj , who, despite his skeptical attitude, is acting honestly.)

The other side of the coin: the exaggerated enthusiasm of commercial research

After science opened the door to the official acceptance of ginseng as a medicine, its commercial potential woke up a wave of well-motivated scientific interest headed by Korea. The Korean Research Institute for Tobacco and Ginseng and other Korean institutions spoke positive and enthusiastic results about the ginseng's medicinal properties, which they call the "

Finally, inadequate enthusiasm in adapogenic research is often not associated with lively interests - researchers sometimes fall in love with their subject, or feel that a negative result is not a result, and that it must at all costs produce optimistic interpretation. So when it detects the activation effect of a herb on some kind of white blood cells, it will interpret it as " enhancing immunity, " while the suppressive effect will interpret not as a "weakening of immunity" but as a "potential effect against autoimmune reactions." Specifically for ginseng, the immunomodulatory effect is a particularly challenging topic.

Current status

Panaxosides and other ginseng content are more closely researched at the molecular level. Serious ginseng research is currently not concerned with speculating whether the effects of ginseng are a myth or reality, but has shifted to their precise quantitative analysis.

Regarding the clinical effect, we are not, and for a long time, we will not be able to derive it from the properties of the panaxosides. But this is a problem, which, surprisingly, suffers from drugs that have the so-called main effect. Their main, short-term effect is significant and predictable, but in the long run, the overall situation in the body is getting worse (whether we are talking about analgesics, sedatives or antibiotics ). The ambition of adaptogens is to improve the overall situation in the body without emphasizing the "main" effect.

I'm thinking about creating a ginseng dosing calculator and its panaxosides due to the effects that have been quantitatively described so far. But before I finish it, it will continue to apply that the most acceptable system for the clinical use of ginseng is the traditional Chinese medicine system. Since ginseng is completely harmless , another acceptable system is self-regulating treatment, ie ginseng use "under emotion" under the supervision of MUDr. physicians who are knowledgeable about adaptogens.

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