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Infestation of natural drugs with fungi or other microorganisms

... I have two questions: Can I ginseng and chew or suck? I did so with a ginseng from Thailand on a friend's advice that brought it to me and it was OK. And yet another: How do I know that ginseng remains untouched by molds or other microorganisms ... in other words, it is fresh, unsweetened? ... Ondřej z Varnsdorfu

Dear Mr. Ondrej,

1.) Chewing and sucking ginseng of course you can. It is slightly bitter but very aromatic.

2.) It is wise to be concerned about mold, because molds and mycotoxins (aflatoxin, ochratoxin, fumonisin, zearalenon, moderate patulin from rotten apples, etc.) in food and dried natural materials are a huge problem.

He was warned by prof. Váňa from the Department of Botany of the Faculty of Science of the Charles University (see pdf ), who had the habit of classifying their lesser planting experience with the molding of moldy goods after the Czech and Slovak Republics. If my memory served, he said that mycotoxins are virtually everywhere. The most dangerous food is said to be peaches (and roasted!), Then coffee (even roasted and instant!), Grain and bakery products ... Prof. Váňa talked about the case when they called him to the full force of the "grafted" grain, and when he asked them to destroy the question, "so can not" the answer. Soy beans and soy products such as tofu often suffer. And neither dried herbs, including ginseng, are spared.

I have read many publications dealing with the mycotoxin risk in ginseng roots ( Trucksess2008mbd , etc.). Compared to common foods, mycotoxin findings in herbs are relatively less, but they occur. In ginseng, red ginseng ( radix ginseng rubra , prepared) is slightly more resistant than white ginseng ( radix ginseng alba , sun dried) . But when choosing herbs, you need to follow the advice of a doctor or a practitioner of the TCM, not by thinking about the likelihood of mycotoxins. Dial a reliable source , though quite frankly, absolute certainty does not exist. Ginseng and other herbs should be stored in a sealed container after purchase or self-suction to avoid moisturizing.

If I look away from mycotoxins, I can see the words "fresh" and "unspoiled" in your query. Goods are not only spoiled by microorganisms but also by mere storage. The main problem is the oxidation of unsaturated fatty acids (hence the yellow butter) and the main defense is the minimization of storage time. In particular, ginseng is particularly resistant to other herbal products. Due to their chemical structure (steroid skeleton + glycosidic sugars), ginseng's active substances ( panaxosides ) are naturally resistant to both temperature and oxidation - so the ginseng drug retains virtually full effect after a long time.

-boris-

| 4.11.2008

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