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Xi Yang Shen – American Ginseng – Radix Panacis Quinquefolii

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Xi Yang Shen

English Name: American ginseng

Pharmaceutical Name: Radix Panax Quinquefolii

Medica Category: Qi-Tonifying Herbs

Properties: Xi Yang Shen enters the Heart, Kidney, and Lung channels; it is sweet and bitter in nature and cold in temperature.

What is Xi Yang Shen?:

The Chinese Herb Xi Yang Shen (or American Ginseng) is the dried root of an herbaceous plant in the ivy family named Panax quinquefolium. It grows wild primarily in the deciduous forests of the Ozarks, Appalachian, and Catskill mountains but does range across the eastern US and Southeastern Canada in full-shade environments (under rocks, in thickets, often “hidden away” to some degree). It is widely cultivated in the US and China for commercial use.

American Ginseng root differs from Asian (or Korean) ginseng in that is much cooler in its thermal nature. So while it does offer many of the same type of benefits of Asian ginseng (e.g. immune modulation, improved concentration, improved endurance), it is much better suited for those with heat in their overall patterns (e.g. red face/ruddy complexion, irritable, high-energy, high blood pressure etc…); in fact, it can help balance these issues out and clear heat from the body.

The actions of Xi Yang Shen in terms of TCM are discussed below.

Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) Therapeutic Actions of Xi Yang Shen:

Xi Yang Shen nourishes the qi and yin of the Lung and Kidneys to address yin-deficient fire that may present clinically as cough with scanty sputum (possibly blood-streaked), wheezing, and loss of voice. It is also used to address long-term qi and yin deficiency from chronic disorders.

Xi Yang Shen clears fire from yin-deficiency and generates body fluids that have been damaged by this yin-deficiency fire. Common clinical presentations for this are irritability, thirst, and fatigue. Xi Yang Shen is also useful for addressing xiao ke (“wasting and thirsting syndrome).

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