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Chinese medicinal plants: which ones should you take?

Encompassing a wide range of medicinal plants, the Chinese pharmacopoeia offers natural remedies against many day-to-day health problems. Here we focus on five natural remedies!

Ginseng, Chinese medicine’s universal remedy

Ginseng (Panax ginseng) is without doubt the most famous of all the Chinese medicinal plants. It is considered the natural remedy to any everyday ailment, as indicated by the etymology of its botanical genus. The word ‘Panax’ refers to ‘panacea’, the Greek goddess of healing, which today is understood to mean a ‘cure-all’. The reason ginseng is described as a panacea is because of the active principles present in the plant’s root, the many health benefits of which include invigorating, strengthening and immune-stimulant effects.

Why take ginseng? In traditional Chinese medicine, the ginseng root is especially used for combatting fatigue, boosting energy, stimulating the body’s defenses and increasing physical and mental performance.

Ginkgo, the anti-aging secret of the Chinese

In Asia, ginkgo (Ginkgo biloba) is a true symbol of longevity! And with good cause, since this tree has survived numerous disasters including atomic bombs. Today, it is believed to be one of the oldest species of tree in the world. Its incredible resistance also makes it one of the most widely-studied Chinese plants. Scientists believe ginkgo’s longevity is largely due to the composition of its leaves. They contain more than 60 natural antioxidants – compounds that are able to combat damage caused by oxidative stress.

Why take ginkgo? As a result of its antioxidant potency, ginkgo has attracted considerable interest in the field of anti-aging medicine. In tests, it has demonstrated excellent results for protecting the body and preventing a wide range of diseases.

Schisandra chinensis, the Chinese anti-stress plant

Behind the botanical name Schisandra chinensis is a creeping plant that produces small red berries. Sometimes referred to as the ‘five-flavored berry’, these fruits are used in Chinese medicine for their adaptogen properties; in other words, they help the body adapt to various stress factors. Alongside these characteristics, researchers attribute these five-flavored berries with other health-protective effects, including antioxidant potency and an anti-inflammatory action.

Why take Schisandra chinensis? During periods of stress, Schisandra chinensis berries help increase coordination, endurance, concentration and cognitive performance.

Kudzu, the remedy for addiction

Kudzu (Pueraria montana) is a Chinese plant that has been growing in popularity in recent years. Long-used in China, extracts of kudzu are now popular in the West as a natural remedy for hangovers. They are also increasingly recommended for those who wish to use plants to help them stop drinking. A number of studies have also shown that kudzu is a natural aid to quitting smoking. A genuine natural remedy for addiction, this Chinese plant owes its benefits to its isoflavone content. Scientists believe these natural substances offer many effects within the body, including significant antioxidant protection, particularly in liver cells. In addition, kudzu’s isoflavones may exert a relaxing effect which helps people withdraw from drugs such as tobacco and alcohol.

Why take kudzu? Today, this Chinese plant is offered as an excellent natural aid to conquering addictions. In particular, kudzu can be used to ease withdrawal from alcohol or smoking.



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