Tuesday, 29 April 2014

Herbal Ginseng and Infertility

Kyle J. Norton

Ginseng, the King of Chinese herb, according to the literature in Chinese medicine may be the next  single herb in enhancing fertility in both sexes. According to the statistic from Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), approximately 7.3 million women of childbearing age (between 15 and 44) in the US are likely to have impaired fecundity with 11% of population in the US alone were infertile.

Beside improving general well-being, the herb has been used in traditional Chinese medicine to treat sexual dysfunction as well as enhanced sexual behavior(1).

Recent animal studies and confirmed in human case control studies, ginseng had shown a positive effects  in enhancing libido, and copulatory performances(1). Ginsenosides, an active chemical compound extracted from ginseng was found not only to improve the sperm quality and count of healthy individuals and patients with treatment-related infertility(2), but also facilitate penile erection through directly inducing the vasodilatation and relaxation of penile corpus cavernosum(3).

In treatment of sexual dysfunction, ginsenoside also induced Nitric oxide (NO) function in the process, involving psychogenic and hormonal input, and a neurovascular nonadrenergic, noncholinergic mechanism(3).

Dr. Murphy LL and Lee TJ. at the Southern Illinois University, School of Medicine, told PubMed, "Treatment with American ginseng also affects the central nervous system and has been shown to significantly alter the activity of hypothalamic catecholamines involved in the facilitation of copulatory behavior and hormone secretion"(3)

In 30 male rats randomly allocated into three groups of 10 rats each: 1. controls, 2. diabetes (D) and 3. diabetes + ginseng (DG) study, oral administration of ginseng extract showed a significant improvement of fertility parameters and testicular antioxidants together with a decrease in malondialdehyde, production of lipid peroxidation and prostaglandin biosynthesis and testicular pathological signs including degenerative changes of the seminiferous tubules(4). In infertile women with Polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), Korean red ginseng extract (KRGE), lowered the high numbers of antral follicles and increased the number of corpora lutea in the polycystic ovaries(6).

Ginseng is a slow-growing perennial plants with fleshy roots, the genus Panax, belonging to the family Araliaceae. Depending to the climate where it grows, ginseng can be classified mainly into Panax ginseng Asian ginseng (root), Red ginseng, wild ginseng, American ginseng (root).
The Asian herb has been used in traditional and Chinese medicine to promote yang and to improve cardiac function, short of breath, blood pressure. Panax ginseng can generates fluids and reduce thirst, to treat anxiety, insomnia, dizziness/headache, forgetfulness, impotence, diabetes, bleeding in the vagina not during period, etc.

The composition of  carnitine, acetyl carnitine, L-arginine and ginseng in treatment of men with asthenopermia promoted the improvement of sperm motility and enhanced libido and sexual performance(7).

Its nutrients and chemical constituents including koryoginsenoside, ginsenoside, ginseng saponins, ginseng oils and phytosterol(4), carbohydrates and sugars, organic acids, nitrogenous substances, amino acids and peptides, vitamins and minerals(5), may hold the power of enhancing immunity through stimulating antiviral cytokine IFN-γ production, improved survival of human lung epithelial cells upon influenza virus infection, vascular dysfunctions, such as hypertension, atherosclerotic disorders and ischemic injury, etc.(8) These findings with the diverse pharmacological activities may be the reasons for ginseng to be named the king of all herbs in improved general well-being.

Taken altogether, ginseng, especially Panax ginseng and its major chemical compound ginsenosides
may be effective in enhancing the chance of fertility in both sexes, through vary mechanisms. Overdoses may cause nausea, diarrhea, high blood pressure, low blood pressure, breast pain, tremors, nervousness, headache, vomiting, insomnia, nose bleeding, etc.. As always, all articles written by Kyle J. Norton are for information & education only, please consult your Doctor & related field specialist before applying.

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(1) Ginseng and male reproductive function by Wah Leung K, Wong AS.(PubMed)
(2) The role of nitric oxide in erectile dysfunction: implications for medical therapy by Burnett AL.(PubMed)
(3) Ginseng, sex behavior, and nitric oxide by Murphy LL, Lee TJ.(PubMed)
(4) Effect of ginseng extract supplementation on testicular functions in diabetic rats by Sawiress FA, Ziada MS, Bebawy WS, Amer HA.(PubMed)
(5) The chemical constituents of ginseng plants by Hou JP.(PubMed)
(6) Therapeutic effect of korean red ginseng extract on infertility caused by polycystic ovaries by Jung JH, Park HT, Kim T, Jeong MJ, Lim SC, Nah SY, Cho IH, Park SH, Kang SS, Moon CJ, Kim JC, Kim SH, Bae CS.(PubMed)
(7) [Treatment with carnitine, acetyl carnitine, L-arginine and ginseng improves sperm motility and sexual health in men with asthenopermia].[Article in Italian] by Morgante G, Scolaro V, Tosti C, Di Sabatino A, Piomboni P, De Leo V.(PubMed)
(8) Immunomodulatory activity of red ginseng against influenza A virus infection by Lee JS, Hwang HS2, Ko EJ3, Lee YN4, Kwon YM5, Kim MC6, Kang SM(PubMed)
(9)Pharmacogenomics and the Yin/Yang actions of ginseng: anti-tumor, angiomodulating and steroid-like activities of ginsenosides by Yue PY, Mak NK, Cheng YK, Leung KW, Ng TB, Fan DT, Yeung HW, Wong RN(PubMed)
(10) Popular Herbs - Ginseng, Asian (Panax ginseng) and Ginseng, North America by Kyle J. Norton

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