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Ginseng, the herb for sexual virility

Ginseng is a plant traditionally grown in Southern Asia especially in places like China, Korea, Eastern Siberia and Vietnam. Typically, ginseng thrives in cooler climates. However because of its highly potent curative qualities, the ginseng plant has been cultivated in America, parts of Europe and Africa including Uganda.
The word ginseng comes from the Chinese term renshen which literally means “man root”, referring to the root’s characteristic shape which is like the legs of a man complete with a penis-like structure. Its genetic name pinax ginseng portends its healing properties, for the word pinax means “all heal”, alluding to its power to cure a wide variety of ailments.
The wonder plant is said to act as a stress reducer and energizer for those suffering from fatigue. It is effective in regulating low and high blood pressure, giving mental clarity, physical stamina and generally bolstering the immune system. Scientists have also found the plant to normalise sugar in type two diabetes.
In the Encyclopaedia of Medicinal Herbs, the drug is classified as an aphrodisiac. It has complex compounds that scientists have not yet been able to synthesise yet. These compounds improve sexual performance of both men and women and can even be used to treat frigidity, impotence and erectile dysfunction.
On gardensablaze.com, a website of medicinal plants is a list of ailments ginseng can cure. For example it can clear chest congestion, wheezing, persistent cough and insomnia. Dr. Gerald Luzindana of Kisakye Nutrition and Reflexology Centre says that the herb also strengthens the liver, heart, pancreas, spleen and kidneys, which organs are the most essential for all body functions. Ginseng is not listed as one of the drugs banned by the International sports association. Therefore sports men and women can and do use it to improve their performance. It improves memory and can do wonders for one’s grades in school. However ginseng has to be consumed regularly over a period of at least two months if any tangible results are to be seen.     

How is ginseng consumed?

Ginseng comes in two major forms, the powder and the raw shoot. At Crown Pharmacy in Ntinda they also have it in syrup and capsule form.  It is advised that ginseng like most herbs is best consumed in its unprocessed form. A slice of a fresh or dry ginseng root is chewed directly like a sweet. That way the potency of the active ingredients is maintained and more effective.
Tea can also be made out of ginseng. Boil two cups of water in a non metallic container. Slice a piece of ginseng and drop it in the warm water. Then cover for five minutes. Alternatively, one could use ginseng tea bags available at pharmacies like Crown in Ntinda. The tea can be flavoured with sugar, honey, cinnamon, mint or whatever one may prefer. Two spoonfuls of powdered ginseng can also be added in a glass of juice or water and mixed well. Alternatively three tea spoons should be added to boiling water.

Too Much of Ginseng is bad!

Dr. Luzindana points out that when consumed in large amounts, ginseng could worsen high blood pressure. It is also not good for people with heart diseases or palpitations and ulcers. According to the Sports Nutrition FAQ, other side effects include inability to sleep, nausea, diarrhoea, euphoria, headaches and nostalgia; this however happens in very few cases. Because of its complex composition, and the general lack of research in the area of herbal medicine, it is advisable to seek a professional medical opinion before taking ginseng to avoid any complications.
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