is a variety of the famous ginseng, regarded as a source of ‘vital energy’ and known for increasing strength and blood flow. Though they sound similar, notoginseng is distinct from classic ginseng. Its exceptional properties have led to the launch of a number of major nutritional supplements.
A species of ginseng root recognised in traditional medicine
Notoginseng is part of the Araliaceae family native to China’s Guangxi and Yunnan provinces where it occupies a special place in traditional Chinese medicine: its benefits manifest primarily in the liver and stomach meridians.
It is used for treating problems related to circulation, bleeding (internal and external haemorrhage), haematomas and coagulation problems (improving blood flow). It often features in first aid kits for healing wounds: when applied as a poultice to the affected area, it can relieve pain and stem bleeding.
It is also one of the ingredients in Zheng Gu Shui, a recognised preparation in the Chinese pharmacopoeia, used for improving the circulation, boosting energy, reducing inflammation, relieving pain, accelerating healing and helping to regenerate damaged tissue.
Exceptionally rich in notoginsenosides and ginsenosides
Historical use of notoginseng has provided empirical evidence of its virtues, but today, its effects can be explained scientifically. They are related to its high content in a specific fatty acid called trilinolein, and in particular, to its ginsenosides and notoginsenosides.
These are saponins unique to the ginseng species. There are several types: ginsenosides Rb1, Rg1, Rd, Re and Rb2. Research has yet to uncover all their secrets but they are thought to act in two ways: by altering cell membrane properties and by potentially binding to steroid hormone receptors. Whichever is the case, scientists have already demonstrated their effects on the cardiovascular, immune and nervous systems (showing remarkable benefits for cognitive decline). Over the last few years, researchers have also observed anti-proliferative, neuroprotective and antioxidant properties.
When should you consider supplementing with ginseng?
While notoginseng has many benefits, some deserve special attention. Notoginseng can thus be effective in the following cases:
- cardiovascular and circulatory problems involving blood stasis – the accumulation of blood as a result of obstruction to blood flow (such as in thrombosis, or a mechanical fault which prevents it from being pumped back in the veins);
- coronary artery damage, history of myocardial infarction and associated consequences;
- raised blood pressure and cholesterol levels;
- retinitis or optic nerve atrophy;
- palpitations, congestion and bronchial pain ;
- haemorrhagic, gastrointestinal, chest cavity, nasal, bladder and uterine problems. Notoginseng can also be combined to good effect with other plants such as ginger, rehmannia or astragalus root;
- trauma of various kinds, in terms of both pain and recovery.
Over the last 20 years, science has also focused on notoginseng’s anti-ischaemia, anti-infarction and lipid-lowering properties. These remarkable effects have given rise to a number of studies and pharmacological trials investigating different areas:
- Blood platelets. Ginsenoside 2A inhibits PAR (platelet aggregation rate) in hypertensive individuals.
- Haemostasis. A double-blind, placebo-controlled study of four groups of rats measured different bleeding and coagulation times, after which some of the animals were given ginsenoside and saponin extracts. Treated rats displayed shorter bleeding times, an effect also noted with external application.
- The immune system. The polysaccharides in notoginseng have a stimulant effect on T lymphocytes, as shown in in vivo and in vitro studies. Other experiments have demonstrated that notoginseng promotes the production of antibodies and interleukins, which has led to their administration in the treatment of auto-immune diseases.
- The nervous system and cerebral cortex. A study on rats highlighted the positive effects of notoginseng’s saponins on pathological lesions affecting cholinergic neurons in Alzheimer’s disease. Treated rats were shown to have fewer such lesions than controls.
Other benefits have been demonstrated for notoginseng, including protection for the liver against ethanol (alcohol). Administration of notoginseng improved levels of certain enzymes within cells: ALAT (alanine-aminotransferase, formerly known as SGPT for serum glutamopyruvate transferase), and ASAT (aspartate-aminotransferase, formerly known as SGOT for serum glutamic oxaloacetic transaminase). Levels of these enzymes increase when hepatocytes (liver cells) are destroyed and particularly in the case of viral hepatitis, alcohol poisoning, excess weight and ageing. It has also been shown in mice to inhibit lipid peroxidation in the liver, a process responsible for tissue damage and free radical-associated ageing.
Finally, scientists have observed analgesic properties for notoginseng with regard to inflammation and pain. This effect is consistent with the conclusions of another study in which daily supplementation with 1350mg for 30 days improved exercise performance in 29 subjects aged 20-35.
What dose is required to obtain the benefits of notoginseng?
Why choose a notoginseng concentrate over a conventional extract? There are three main reasons:
- Panax notoginseng is extremely bitter. It is therefore very hard to tolerate when taken like this internally.
- Fresh sources are rarely commercially available and their quality is often dubious.
- Ginsenosides have relatively poor bioavailability: to obtain maximum benefit, it is essential to take a ginseng supplement standardised in ginsenosides, such as is the case with this notoginseng extract. Offering unrivalled quality, it is also much more concentrated than the majority of commercially-available products, hence its higher cost.
This all shows the tremendous opportunity provided by this extract of Panax notoginseng
to benefit from the effects of notoginsenosides.
It is obtained from the root and leaf and contains 200mg of extract of Panax notoginseng
. Chinese pharmacological studies have shown this dose to be sufficient for all the above-mentioned applications. In terms of its form, studies show that capsules (taken 2-3 times a day) are the most reliable, though it is also possible to use it topically in paste or powder form (to heal wounds).
In short, notoginseng is an invigorating supplement which, with its range of applications and multiple benefits, constitutes a vitally important product. It can be compared primarily with «», a supplement aimed at fighting hypertension and circulation problems, , mainly recommended for peripheral circulation problems such as numbness, and , the ‘king’ of the cardiac protectors.