By the digestive system, we accept most adaptogens that have the first opportunity to show their effects. For each phytochemical we immediately ask if and how fast it is absorbed. But some medicinal substances do not need to be absorbed at all, and they already work inside the digestive tract. More often, however, active substances penetrate into the bloodstream and affect the stomach, intestines and other organs of the digestive system only indirectly. The protective effect on the digestive system is one of the different types of protective effects on physiological systems that adapogens can have.
The digestive system is also key in the study of the pharmacokinetics of all drugs, including phytochemicals. Not only are the active substances absorbed through the intestines, but they are also eliminated by the digestive tract: the liver is taken up by the blood, modified, and the bile is secreted back. Liver, which in the broader sense also counts for gastrointestinal glands, is responsible for most of our innate knowledge of phytochemistry represented by BCRP, Pgp, MRP, UGT, and others. So, phytochemicals are often less toxic for us than the fully synthetic molecules with which we did not meet during evolution.
The digestive system is a perfect extractor. It is often more effective to eat a herb than to extract by leaching into tea or herbal elixirs. Virtually the difference can be tested for medicinal cannabis, but the principle also applies to those herbs, the effects of which are not so easily recognizable.
Effects of Natural Medicines on the Digestive System
Although the 20th Century generally looked at natural treatments, digestive problems remained a corner where the healing potential of natural medicines was allowed to a limited extent. This is also evidenced by names like "stomach drops", "stomach liqueur", etc. After long plums against constipation were the only natural remedy that the anti- ministry Ministry of the truth of the EU allowed (EFSA). But what about the effects of digestive problems on adaptogens? It can be said that although gastrointestinal problems for typical indications of adaptogens are not, ginseng right and probably some other adaptogens have certain effects on the digestive system.
Effects of ginseng on the digestive system
The second point of the classic definition of adaptogen says that the adaptogen has a normalizing effect on physiology, regardless of the direction in which the deviation from normal occurs. Such an effect has ginseng on the stress axis , the immune system and the cardiovascular system. (At the molecular level this is explained by the fact that different ginseng panaxosides have opposite effects on these systems .) It is a question whether the normalizing effect of ginseng is manifested in the gastrointestinal system. The answer to this question is not clear.
I would like here as a hypothesis to suggest that ginseng has a double effect on the intestinal muscles and could theoretically help both in constipation (reduced colonic activity) and in disorders caused by increased peristalsis. This hypothesis is not confirmed, but in literature it is possible to find support for the double effect of ginseng on the intestinal muscles:
- According to Hashimoto2003cpg ginseng, it reduced excess carbohydrate-induced small intestine activity.
- On the other hand, Onomura1999egr ginseng increased the activity of intestinal muscle (duodenum) and decreased glucose absorption. Further, according to Suzuki1991 et al. , The extract from the ginseng cell culture increased the motility of the mouse intestine.
- The Kim2007egt study found effects of ginseng saponins on cells that control intestinal muscular activity.
Irrespective of ginseng's effect on intestinal muscles, ginseng leaf polysaccharides and roots in the mouse model have been found to have an effect against gastric ulcer ( Sun1992paa ). Furthermore, the well-known anti-inflammatory effect of ginseng also relates to inflammation of the large intestine , as evidenced by Jin2010ags for P. quinquefolius .