Korean Red Ginseng is considered an ergogenic substance. The term stems from the Greek word for work, ‘ergon,’ and born, ‘genes’. The word literally stands for an energy enhancing aid. A wide understanding of the ergogenic value of ginseng may bring forth a revolution in sports medicine as well as pharmacology.

Actoprotectors have a major role to play in fundamental theory of pharmacology as well as practical administration of numerous phytochemicals for three reasons:

  1. 1. It significantly increases vitality and intellectual efficacy

  2. 2. It restores human body after exhaustive physical load

  3. 3. It improves memory  [1]

Korean Red Ginseng is an adaptogen as well as an actoprotector with wide plethora of sustenances for human body and mind. It is confirmed by the World Health Organization as “a restorative agent for enhancement of mental and physical capacities, in case of weakness, exhaustion, tiredness, and loss of concentration and during convalescence.” [2]

Important Facts on Ginseng

Korean Red Ginseng is a wonder herb known to have a number of positive impacts on the human body. Studies have shown that consumption of ginseng over a long period will give way to a healthy and make your body strong. Various actants that the root of the plant consists of, help alleviate a long list of ailments such as diabetes, viral infections, obesity, and erectile dysfunction to name a few. The earliest therapeutic use of the plant dates back to the concept of ‘Doctrine of Signature’. Ginseng roots resemble human body and probably that is why they’re called ‘jen shen’ in Chinese, which literally means ‘the little man’ and thus is believed to have rehabilitating power for the whole body. Much research was conducted on the effects of ginseng, which stated also that the adaptogenic property in ginseng exhibits actoprotective characteristics.

Actoprotectors are preparations that enhance physical as well as intellectual efficacy. They provide stability against excessive physical load and mental stress without inhaling more oxygen or heat production. Actoprotectors are substrata of adaptogens that significantly increase performance on both levels.

The current research on the pharmacological genre of active actoprotectors dates back to the 70s. Its chief exponent was Dr. Vladimir Vinogradov. The research led to the genesis of first and most popular actoprotector, bemitil. Studies on the pharmacological properties of phytochemicals suggest that plants like Panax ginseng and Eleutherococcus senticosus exhibit actoprotective abilities.

What are Actoprotectors?

Fatigue and lack of motivation are common troubles in daily living, and modern human beings opt for psychostimulants such as caffeine, tannin, nicotine etc. Actoprotectors are different in nature from psychostimulants to the extent that the former are agents of non-exhaustive type and also consume less oxygen and produce less heat. Actoprotectors differ in class from nootropic agents, for they increase both physical and mental agility. However, the difference between Actoprotectors and adaptogens is not so obvious and simple, because often they exhibit certain similar characteristics as well. According to the researches made by Dr. Vinogradov, he was apprehensive that the background for theoretical demarcation between adaptogens and actoprotectors are not developed enough to provide actoprotectors a solid pharmacological classification. A later study suggests: “Our opinion about this connection is that the actoprotectors are considered synthetic adaptogens with strong positive influence of physical work capacity. This is the most logical reasoning regarding the classification of actoprotectors.” [3]   Therefore we can say that synthetic adaptogens which highly increase human physical and mental performance may be deemed as actoprotectors; however, all synthetic adaptogens do not belong to the class of actoprotectors.

The classic example of pharmacological actoprotector is bemitil, which along with bromantane is the only authorised agent for medical administration. Adaptogenic herbs are more useful in this context because of their actoprotective nature, especially in case of occupational medicine such as firefighters, military service men, athletes, crew members, night shift doctors and nurses, and computer operators.

Ginseng as actoprotector: A fatigue fighting adaptogen

Korean Red Ginseng is the most popular and most thoroughly researched natural adaptogen and is used not only as a palliative to ailments but also as a dietary supplement worldwide. The steroid-like phytochemical ginsenoside is the major factor behind the adaptogenic behavior and their biological and pharmacological characteristics. Ginsenosides are found exclusively in Korean Red Ginseng—its roots, leaves, stems, fruits, and flower buds are rich in the aforementioned phytochemical. The molecular structure of ginsenosides nearly replicates human hormones and helps determine hormonal activity and regulate nervous mechanism. [4]  These chemicals are also responsible for the efficacy to counter the negative impact of stress and fatigue.

Fatigue in human body often stems from the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis (HPA), which is the control center that alleviates stress and regulates many neuroendocrine pathways. When this HPA axis is slowed down, fatigue manifests. In case of chronic stress, the HPA function gets dysregulated. The stress hormone in human body is known as cortisol, and hypothalamus is the regulatory organ for the hormonal release. It is also necessary for inflammatory responses, appetite, energy, and blood sugar regulation. The glycosides found in ginseng stimulate the adrenal gland that helps to prevent adrenal hypotrophy and excess cortiasteroid production in response to excessive stress. Ginseng also helps in protein synthesis, activates neurotransmission in brain, and helps fight diabetes and obesity. Except for ginsenosides, ginseng contains other nutrients such as carbohydrates, organic acids, microelements, polysaccharides, vitamins and alkaloids, fat-soluble components, which increase its pharmacological value in respective fields of nutrition. Other than that, unlike many other supplementary herbs, ginseng does not interfere with cytochrome p450 and exhibits no side effects.

Summing Up

The aforementioned studies focusing on Panax ginseng have shown its impact on human body in enhancing physical and intellectual work capacities and the data suggest that ginseng is a natural actoprotector. A daily diet with red panax ginseng supplements or extracts can build a strong immune system – a shield against many chronic diseases.

Citations:

1. "Natural Remedy: Ginseng for Energy and Focus" - http://www.besthealthmag.ca/best-you/energy/natural-remedy-ginseng-for-energy-and-focus/

2. Thompson Sophie, "Panax ginseng: A Fatigue-Fighting Adaptogen" - https://sanescohealth.com/panax-ginseng-a-fatigue-fighting-adaptogen/#_edn16

3. Oliynyk Sergiy and Seikwan Oh, "Actoprotective effect of ginseng: Improving mental and physical performance." - https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3659633/

4. Brawn Amy, "Ginseng To Boost Energy" - http://www.myvitamins.com/articles/abcs-of-good-health/ginseng-to-boost-energy/