Ren Shen (Ginseng Root)

Ren Shen (Ginseng Root)

Herb 9 of 13 in Herbs that Tonify Qi

Slightly Warm Ren Shen (Radix Ginseng)
Sweet, Slightly Bitter, Slightly Warm
Radix Ginseng
Tone Marks:
rén shēn
Man root
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Chinese Herb Actions

  • Strongly Tonifies Yuan (primal) Qi
    For collapse of Qi and abandonment situations with symptoms such as shortness of breath, shallow breathing, cold limbs, profuse sweating, and a minute or imperceptible deficient pulse. Ren Shen can be used alone for these symptoms, which can occur after blood loss or other conditions that involve fierce fluid loss, such as severe diarrhea and vomiting, or chronic illness.
  • Strengthens and tonifies the Spleen and Stomach
    Used for Spleen Qi Deficiency with lassitude, poor appetite, nausea and vomiting, diarrhea, generalized weakness, low or soft voice, abdominal distention, and in severe cases stomach or rectal prolapse.
  • Tonifies the Lungs
    For Lung Qi Deficiency with symptoms such as asthma, wheezing, dyspnea, shortness of breath, and weak and labored breathing
  • Generates body fluids and alleviates thirst
    For Wasting and Thirsting (Xiao Ke) syndrome. Also for injury of Qi and Yin from symptoms such as profuse sweating and high fever causing thirst and other associated symptoms of 'Xiao Ke'.
  • Calms the Spirit and Clears the Mind
    For Heart Qi and Blood Deficiency due to insufficient Yuan Qi with symptoms such as insomnia, forgetfulness, mental restlessness or mental confusion, palpitations, and dream-disturbed sleep.
  • Tonifies Qi and Yang and benefits the Kidneys
    For Qi and Yang Deficiency causing impotence.

Chinese Herb Contraindications & Cautions

  • Do not use in Excess conditions
  • Do not use in cases of Liver Yang Rising with symptoms such as high blood pressure, red eyes, or dizziness
  • Do not use with bleeding due to Heat in the Blood
  • Do not use with cough or wheezing due to Lung Heat, or with Phlegm Accumulation
  • Do not use with constipation, parasites, internal accumulation, or in Heat or Fire conditions.
  • Do not take this herb with stimulants such as caffeine (especially coffee)

Herb-Drug Interactions

  • It is suggested, but not documented that Ren Shen (Radix Ginseng) may induce mania in depressed patients that mix this herb with phenelzine antidepressants. 12
  • An in vitro study suggests that an herbal preparation of Ren Shen (Radix Ginseng), Yuan Zhi (Radix Polygalae), Shi Chang Pu (Rhizoma Acori), and Fu Ling (poria) ameliorates the impairment effect of ethanol on learning and memory processes. 12
  • Because Ren Shen may reduce fasting blood glucose levels, hypoglycemia may occur when this herb is combined with drugs for diabetes mellitus. 12

Chinese Herb Toxicity & Overdose

  • This herb has low toxicity.
  • Overdose of Ren Shen may lead to symptoms such as dry mouth, jitters, irritability, palpitations, hypertension, insomnia, headache, morning diarrhea, itching, eczema, and other skin problems. In severe cases of overdose, there may be nausea, vomiting, and bleeding.
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Chinese Herb Dosage

  • 5-10 grams in decoction, 0.5-1.0 grams in powdered form 12
  • 3-9 grams in decoction, 0.5-1.0 grams in powder 13

Chinese Herb Notes

  • For maximum extraction, decoct separately from other ingredients (or in a double boiler) at low heat.

This Herb Appears in the Following Formulas:

This herb antagonizes or is antagonized by:

This herb is incompatible with:
  • Li Lu (Radix Et Rhizoma Veratri)

References Used

The TCM information presented here has been referenced from numerous sources; including teachers, practitioners, class notes from Five Branches University, the following books, as well as other sources. If you have benefited from this information, please consider supporting the authors and their works by purchasing the books below.

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