Site hosted by Build your free website today!

A Visit With The Medicine Woman: Caffeine vs Ginseng

Ginseng has a long history of use in the Cherokee nation, being indigenous to our southeastern lands. It is called, a-ta-li-gu-li, or mountain climber. When the priests use ginseng ceremonially, it is called Yunwi Usdi, "Little Man", or Yunwi Usdiga Adawehiyu, "Little Man Most Powerful Magician," the Cherokee sacred term given because of the root's resemblance to the body of a man. It is spoken of as a person, and it is believed to make itself invisible to those who should not gather it.

Traditionally, when hunting a-ta-li-gu-li, the first three plants are passed by. The fourth is taken, after the medicine person gives a prayer, addressing it as the "Great Adawehi", and asking perpission to take a small piece of it's flesh. After digging it from the ground, a bead is dropped into the hole, and the hole is filled, leaving the bead as payment to the plant spirit. The ceremony is not repeated for any other ginseng picked that day.

Cherokees, as well as Chinese and Koreans, have been using A-ta-li-gu-li for hundreds of years. Wild American ginseng, (Panax Quinquefolium, can be used by anyone, though Chinese herbalists have told me that the Siberian ginseng should only be used by those over thirty years of age. If you use Siberian ginseng, it should be in a schedule of three weeks on and two weeks off.



Ginseng is Anabolic. It builds energy in the body at the same time increasing health and vitality. This is a constructive process which breaks down food into natural sugars which can easily be used by the body's cells.


Caffeine is a catabolic. It builds energy in the body at a heavy price. This is a destructive process that involves the breakdown of nutrients stored in the body. In the long run it can wear you out.


Regular ginseng use has been found to help build a resistance to stress. Ginseng can help to relieve the typically overburdened adrenal glands and release the nervous system from tension.


Regular caffeine use can produce anxiety. The symptoms of many coffee drinkers are the same as those of people under continual stress. Irritability, agitation, nervousness, rapid breathing, trembling hand and muscle twitches, all can be the result of too much coffee.


Much hopeful research is demonstrating ginseng's ability to stimulate mental clarity, accuracy and awareness. Results have included fewer errors at work, better focus in school, and a general increase in optimism and activity.


Mising the morning cup of coffee can bring on the typical reaction of dullness and languor. Caffeine generally removes mental awareness by draining nerve energy and causing a crashing energy lag.


The natural benefit of herbs, and especially ginseng, is their ability to help cleanse the blood. The normal function of the kidneys is also to filter the blood. Because of the air, water and food pollution, your kidneys can use all the help they can get.


This is why coffee can make one head for the bathroom. Prolonged use of coffee can agitate the kidneys. Caffeine also contributes to the build-up of toxins in the blood.


Ginseng has been shown to aid in the healing process. Traditionally used as a stomachic and aid to digestion, it can help to restore broken body cells.


Drinking coffee causes an irritation to the stomach lining and can contribute by degree to the destructive pain of gastric ulcers.


Scientists have found that ginseng can help lower blood pressure in people suffering from high blood pressure and increase blood pressure in those withlow blood pressure. Using ginseng regularly can ease nervous tension and the resulting strain on the heart.


Rising blood pressure, higher nervous tension, irregular heartbeats and the increase in blood cholesterol all spell out serious trouble for the heart. All these are stimulated by the regular use of caffeine. One recent study showed a double incidence of coronary heart attacks among people drinking five cups of coffee a day.


Using ginseng has been found helpful for both diabetics and those suffering from hypoglycemia for its ability to help regulate sugar levels in the blood. Thus ginseng works to restore the harmony and balance of good health.


These are both serious and common diseases cused by an inability of the body's natural mechanism to regulate sugar in the blood. Coffee can increase the level of blood sugar in diabetes and lower it in hypoglycemia. this is exactly what is unwanted and can invite a blood sugar crisis.

What You Always Wanted To Know About Health (but were too sick to do the research)

Return: A Visit With The Medicine Woman Homepage
Herb Research Foundation
National Vaccine Information Center
Mad Cow Disease Page
Gary Null's Natural Living (and he's part Cherokee)