The effectiveness of Tienchi Ginseng has earned it the title “King of Ginsengs” with many practitioners of modern Traditional Chinese Medicine. You might have also encountered it under one of its other common names: notoginseng, sanchi, or scientifically as Panax notoginseng. Regardless of what it’s called, tienchi ginseng has incredible benefits for your heart health.
Science agrees. Over the last two decades researchers have studied its active compounds, heath conditions it helps and how it works. Much of the study has confirmed tienchi ginseng’s popular use as a heart tonic – and found even more health benefits! However, since February is Heart Month, let’s specifically look at the way tienchi ginseng keeps the heart strong and healthy.
A Safe Blood Thinner
Tienchi ginseng improves blood flow throughout the body. Researchers have explored its blood thinning capacity in animal studies and report it decreases the factors that cause clotting.[i] Like aspirin, this promotes blood flow and cardiovascular health without the potential adverse effects linked to aspirin.
Protects Against Atherosclerosis via an Antioxidant Response
Plaque build-up in the arteries is a primary cause of heart disease. Oxidation of LDL cholesterol leads to the formation of plaque. Research shows tienchi ginseng reduces the presence of oxidized LDL cholesterol. Other studies have shown it offers protection by reducing inflammation.[ii] One study indicated it could reverse the damage though more research is needed.[iii]
Lowers Blood Pressure
High blood pressure, aka hypertension, stresses the heart. Reduced flexibility in the arteries and veins increases the pressure of blood against artery and vein walls. This puts pressure on the heart as it pumps. Research has shown several active compounds in tienchi ginseng act on different factors that regulate blood vessel flexibility, improving blood flow with the potential to lower blood pressure.[iv]
Regulates Cholesterol Levels
One way tienchi ginseng supports the heart is through better metabolism and regulation of cholesterol. Its antioxidant effect reduces the presence of plaque-causing oxidized LDL molecules (noted above). One study tested tienchi against a statin in animal subjects. The tienchi produced the same results as the statin in reducing cholesterol and triglycerides.[v]
Additional research suggests its cholesterol-lowering effect involves improved metabolism of cholesterol, specifically in making more energy available to the heart. This improves its overall health and function.[vi]
Relieves Symptoms of Angina
When your heart doesn’t get enough blood flow and oxygen, it may create a squeezing pressure in the chest. Called angina, this pain may indicate a more serious problem like heart disease and deserves medical attention. In looking to help patients who suffer from angina, researchers reviewed 16 studies and found across all of them tienchi ginseng eased the pain with the heart showing improved performance when measured on an ECG.[vii]
Supports the Heart Muscle
Reduced blood flow due to clogged arteries also reduces oxygen to the heart. Without enough oxygen, the cells of the heart muscle fail and die. This puts additional strain on the heart due to muscle breakdown as well as the formation of scar tissue that interferes with the hearts job, pumping blood.
One way it supports the heart muscle is through the formation of new blood vessels.[viii] This helps improve blood flow from the heart around blockages. It also ensures a constant flow of blood and oxygen to heart cells.
Otherstudies have shown that tienchi ginseng keeps muscle cells going strong. It keeps heart cells alive and limits the development of scar tissue.[ix] Researchers report certain active compounds called ginsenosides may reduce heart cell death even in the case of heart attack based on animal studies.[x] Its antioxidant effect even keeps heart cells healthy and going strong even in an aging heart.[xi]
How to Use Tienchi Ginseng
It’s no surprise that today tienchi ginseng is popular around the world. It offers effective and natural support for the heart and many heart conditions. It is generally safe, although anyone currently on cholesterol drugs, anti-coagulants or other any other heart medicines should speak with their doctor before supplementing with it. Pregnant women should not use it.
Although it may be possible to find tienchi ginseng in a supplement on its own, it is most often combined with other herbs that support heart health like danshen or astragalus. When evaluating a supplement, set your standards high. At a minimum, look for the “GMP” badge. GMP is a global standard for quality and stands for Good Manufacturing Practice.
Finally, if you take tienchi ginseng, always follow the directions on a supplement, unless otherwise directed by your doctor.
[i] Lau AJ1, et al. Antiplatelet and anticoagulant effects of Panax notoginseng: comparison of raw and steamed Panax notoginseng with Panaxginseng and Panax quinquefolium. J Ethnopharmacol. 2009 Sep 25;125(3):380-6. doi: 10.1016/j.jep.2009.07.038. Epub 2009 Aug 7.
[ii] Y. Liu, H. G. Zhang, Y. Jia, and X. H. Li. Panax notoginseng saponins attenuate atherogenesis accelerated by zymosan in rabbits. Biological and Pharmaceutical Bulletin, vol. 33, no. 8, pp. 1324–1330, 2010.
[iii] J. H. Qin, L. Q. Zhu, and W. Cui. Effects of panax notoginseng saponins on expression of intercellular adhesion molecule-1 in human umbilical vein endothelial cells injury induced by oxidized low-density lipoprotein. Zhongguo Zhong Xi Yi Jie He Za Zhi, vol. 28, no. 12, pp. 1096–1099, 2008.
[iv] Xiaochen Yang, et al. Protective Effects of Panax Notoginseng Saponins on Cardiovascular Diseases: A Comprehensive Overview of Experimental Studies. Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine. Volume 2014 (2014), Article ID 204840, 13 pages. http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2014/204840
[v] Cicero AF1, et al. Panax notoginseng (Burk.) effects on fibrinogen and lipid plasma level in rats fed on a high-fat diet. Phytother Res. 2003 Feb;17(2):174-8.
[vi] Wang Q, Li C, Zhang Q, et al. The effect of Chinese herbs and its effective components on coronary heart disease through PPARs-PGC1? pathway. BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine. 2016;16:514. doi:10.1186/s12906-016-1496-z.
[vii]Song H1, et al. Panax notoginseng Preparations for Unstable Angina Pectoris: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis.Phytother Res. 2017 Aug;31(8):1162-1172. doi: 10.1002/ptr.5848. Epub 2017 Jun 20.
[viii] Yang BR1, et al. Amelioration of acute myocardial infarction by saponins from flower buds of Panax notoginseng via pro-angiogenesis and anti-apoptosis. J Ethnopharmacol. 2016 Apr 2;181:50-8. doi: 10.1016/j.jep.2016.01.022. Epub 2016 Jan 19.
[ix] Liu L1, et al. miR-29c is implicated in the cardioprotective activity of Panax notoginseng saponins against isoproterenol-induced myocardial fibrogenesis. J Ethnopharmacol. 2017 Feb 23;198:1-4. doi: 10.1016/j.jep.2016.12.036. Epub 2016 Dec 22.
[x] Yang BR1, et al. Amelioration of acute myocardial infarction by saponins from flower buds of Panax notoginseng via pro-angiogenesis and anti-apoptosis. J Ethnopharmacol. 2016 Apr 2;181:50-8. doi: 10.1016/j.jep.2016.01.022. Epub 2016 Jan 19.
[xi] Zhou Z1, et al. Panax notoginseng saponins attenuate cardiomyocyte apoptosis through mitochondrial pathway in natural aging rats. Phytother Res. 2017 Nov 12. doi: 10.1002/ptr.5961. [Epub ahead of print]