Ginseng steroid myth debunked.

Newsgroups: alt.folklore.herbs
Subject: ginseng and ovulation
From: (Alexey Danilkovich)
Date: Tue, 23 May 1995 09:17:38 +0000

Does any one know of the affect Siberian Gingseng and ginger have on a women's cycle. I just saw a small blurb in a women's herbal medicine book that mentioned ginseng having steroid properties but they didn't say if it affects fertility. Should someone trying to get pregnant avoid gingseng before ovulation??

Any info. would be greatly appreciated!!

Thanks in advance......

From: Stephanie Goble <>

> Does any one know of the effect Siberian Gingseng and ginger have on a women's cycle.

The efffects of the ginseng would depend on a number of factors:

What type of "steroid" it has. The term covers a wide range of hormones.
Exactly when in the cycle it is taken.
Whether the individual's cycle is well-established or borderline already.

Basically - the less you do to your body, the better off you are. Herbs may be "natural", but so is rattlesnake venom and the botulism toxin. Without good assay texhniques you could be taking nothing or too much, and never know it.


From: (Paul Iannone)

: The efffects of the ginseng would depend on a number of factors:

Nonsense, but familiar nonsense. Ginseng has NO steroidal chemistry. Many, most herbals are mild and are NOTHING like rattlesnake venom or any poison. You can eat tons of many herbals in your lifetime without the slightest risk to your health--quite the contrary. The assay issue is totally overemphasized with little justification. Plant chemistry varies--this is understood by herbalists, and collection practices are designed to account for that. In the 3,000 years of organized herbal practice in what is now India and China (and certainly elsewhere as well), these issues have been amply examined and empirically tested, and there simply isn't any such risk with well-chosen, well-designed formulas. The contrary is of course true--people under competent herbal care have less illness that requires dangerous drug treatment. A dose of OTC cold remedy is vastly more dangerous than the equivalent cold care herbal formula. Many examples of this fact can be given.

More on ginseng: Ginseng chemistry was only really successfully studied in the 1960's. Lots of faulty ideas on the chemistry of ginseng came from before that time. Since that decade, it has been recognized that the primary chemistry of ginseng roots is a wide range of saponins, or soaplike chemicals. In addition to these chemicals, ginseng contains sesquiterpenes, some pyrazine derivatives, and some acetylenic compounds. It is about 5% sugar fraction. Also found are a variety of what are now called panaxans, which are peptide glycans. Overall, ginseng roots contain 89% carbohydrate (80% of that starch, the rest pectin), and 5% protein. There are also three flavones in the stems, but they are not found in the root. (Tang, Chinese Drugs of Plant Origin).

We can certainly put aside this kind of propaganda without hesitation. These facts, at least, are now amply known.

--Paul ||