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Fitoterapia. 2000 Aug;71 Suppl 1:S1-5.

The aphrodisiac and adaptogenic properties of ginseng.

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Department of Experimental Pharmacology, University of Naples Federico II, via D. Montesano 49, Naples, Italy.


Ginseng is the root of the perennial herbs of Panax quinquefolium and Panax ginseng which contain a series of tetracyclic triterpenoid saponins (ginsenosides) as active ingredients. It is considered a tonic or adaptogenic that enhances physical performance (including sexual), promotes vitality and increases resistance to stress and ageing. The adaptogenic properties of ginseng are believed to be due to its effects on hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis, resulting in elevated plasma corticotropin and corticosteroids levels. When used appropriately, ginseng appears to be safe. Nevertheless, documented side effects include hypertension, diarrhoea, restlessness, mastalgia and vaginal bleeding.

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