Name : Notoginseng
Chinese Name : 三七 ( 田七)
Latin Name : Radix Notoginseng
This herb is the dried root of Panax notoginseng (Burk.) F.H. Chen or P.pseudoginseng Wall of the family Araliaceae. It grows in the Guangxi and Yunnan provinces of China, is collected in autumn, cleaned after the removal of lateral roots, dried in the sun, and sliced or ground into powder for use unprocessed.
According to the ancient Chinese materia medica notoginseng had four uses: (1) it eliminates blood stasis, (2) reduces swelling and inflammation, (3) relieves pain, and (4) stops bleeding. Today, notoginseng is mostly used for the treatment of injuries and soft tissue damages, and as an effective hemostatic agent for both external and internal bleeding. Notoginseng has also been used to treat coronary heart disease and angina pectoris with good results.
Use of Notoginseng in TCM
Sweet and slightly bitter in taste, and warm, it acts on the liver, stomach, heart, and lung meridians.
Effects, Medicinal Uses, and Combinations
- Stops bleeding: for internal bleeding, it is used for such symptoms as spitting blood, vomiting blood, coughing blood, bleeding in the rectum, hematuria, and uterine bleeding. In powder form, notoginseng can be used for external and internal bleeding.
- Promotes blood circulation and resolves blood stasis:
- Notoginseng is used to promote blood circulation and resolves blood clots.
- When combined with salvia and borneol, Fu Fang Dan Shen Pian (R-32) is created and used for the treatment of angina pectoris and other cardiovascular disorders.
- Treats swelling and inflammation, and is an anodyne: for soft tissue injuries, notoginseng powder can be used, either externally or internally, as an anti-inflammatory and hemostatic agent.
Taken orally, 1 to 3 g in powdered form or 3 to 9 g in a decoction. The powder can be used externally.
Pregnant women and people with symptoms of anemia should take notoginseng with caution. For external application, the powdered form is used but not above the suggested dosage.
Side Effects and Toxicity
Under normal conditions, this herb is safe at the suggested oral dose. However, some patients may experience dry mouth, raised skin temperature, nervousness, and insomnia. A few patients have reported nausea and vomiting. Except in severe cases, these symptoms disappear after discontinuing the medication.
Toxicological studies show that intravenous LD50 of the fluid extract of the herb in rabbits was 2.5 to 3.0 g/kg and its intraperitoneal value was 5.0 to 7.5 g/kg in rats. Oral dose of 4.72 g/kg corresponding to 90 g/kg of the crude herb did not produce a toxic reaction.
Notoginseng contains 12 percent saponins and ginsenosides, as in Panax ginseng. In addition, notoginsenoide R1 to R6 and gypenoside were isolated. Notoginsenoside R1 is the major notoginsenoside of the root.
- The herb’s powders or the water decoction decreased blood coagulation time in rabbits. It also was a satisfactory hemostatic for visceral bleeding in the liver and spleen of rabbits.
- As a hemostatic, it shorten blood-clotting time. Effective for both internal and external bleeding. It shortens bleeding time and increases blood platelet count.
- Blood vessel dilation: increases coronary circulation and reduces systemic blood pressure in many animal models, an effect that was not blocked or reversed by multiple antagonists, such as astropine. It increases coronary flow after injection, without a change in heart rate.
- Notoginsng is anti-inflammatory, anabolic, and androgenic. Similar to ginseng, it increases protein synthesis
- Reduces blood lipids and cholesterol levels, and is antiaging
- Antimicrobial against dermatomycoses and Norwalk virus in vitro.
Clinical studies show that notoginseng is effective for angina, arrhythmia, and myocardial ischemia. Notoginseng was as effective as clofibrate in lowering cholesterol levels.