Ginseng is one of the world’s most popular herbal remedies that can be chewed, brewed, swallowed or stewed for its medicinal purposes. The multitude of ginseng benefits, which include the ability to manage various health disorders and improve a person’s overall well-being, is the reason why this popular herb is called “The King of Herbs”.
Understanding Different Types of Ginseng
It is important to note that there are only two main ginseng types. These belong to the Panax genus. The word Panax classifies 13 types of ginsengs and comes from the Greek word ‘panakeia’, which means ‘all healing’. The first type is Asian ginseng (Panax ginseng) and is native to Asian countries like China and Korea. The second type is American ginseng (Panax quinquefolius). It’s native to the Appalachian and Ozark regions of North America and Eastern Canada.
Panax ginseng is sold commercially as fresh ginseng, white ginseng or red ginseng.
Red ginseng refers to ginseng that turns reddish-brown after undergoing a traditional process of repeat steaming and drying.
White ginseng, on the other hand, refers to peeled, air- and sun-dried ginseng to prevent decay.
The Many Uses of Ginseng, Past and Present
People consumed ginseng in the past to replenish energy levels. They also used ginseng to help with health problems like anaemia, insomnia, gastritis, abnormal blood pressure and fatigue. “(You can) slice and slow-boil for at least 2 hours, can be by itself or together with other food or herbal ingredients,” says Real Health Medical TCM physician Brandon Yew, on the best way to consume ginseng. “Grind into a fine powder. Then, take a teaspoon of the powder once per day in the morning (and mix) together with warm water.”
Ginseng is also a versatile herb. You may pair it with a variety of other herbs, such as goji berries in herbal tisanes. You can also add it to herbal soups to increase their nutritional value. However, you should avoid pairing ginseng with radish or veratrum — a species of vigorous herbaceous perennials with highly poisonous black rhizomes.
“According to TCM pharmacology, radish can reduce the efficacy of ginseng. While veratrum (li lu), when used together with ginseng, can produce potent side effects,” physician Yew explains.
Today, ginseng is a widely used ingredient in many health supplements. Many consume these supplements to improve energy levels, prevent fatigue and exhaustion, and assist in a person’s recovery from illness. In that regard, let us take a closer look at the different ginseng benefits for your health and vitality.
How Does Ginseng Help to Enhance Your Health and Vitality?
Before identifying the different benefits of ginseng use, you should note that this prized herb in Chinese medicine is made up of a unique yet significant active ingredient; ginseng saponins ― also known as ginsenosides.
1. Increases energy levels
One of the most notable Panax ginseng benefits is its ability to improve physical and mental activity in people who constantly experience chronic fatigue. In addition, research finds that ginseng is capable of reducing fatigue in cancer survivors and people undergoing treatment for cancer.
Working adults can benefit from consuming essence of chicken, herbal soup, or tea containing ginseng regularly to reduce fatigue. They are also suitable for patients who are recovering from illnesses and people who are prone to sleeping late.
2. Strengthens the immune system
Ginseng use may help facilitate the maintenance of immune homeostasis ― a stable, balanced interdependence between the different human body systems ― and, in turn, help the body stave off bacterial infections or illnesses.
Similarly, regular ginseng consumption can also help boost immune system functions, thus reducing the risk of recurring symptoms in people who were previously treated for cancer.
3. Lowers blood sugar levels in people with type 2 diabetes
Studies have also shown that both Asian and American ginseng can help regulate blood sugar levels in patients with type 2 diabetes.
Maintaining blood sugar levels within the target range is important for enhancing a patient’s quality of life, boosting their mental health and making them feel more energetic. In the long run, this can also activate a self-reinforcing cycle of healthy habits. An example of these healthy habits includes consuming health supplement with ginseng, which can help to increase vitality and improve overall well-being.
4. Improves cognitive function
Research shows that consistent use of ginseng can help improve cognitive function in elderly people. For long-term consumption, please consult with your TCM physician and doctor.
Ginseng may also aid in preventing the early onset of Alzheimer’s disease through the anti-oxidative effects of ginsenosides. Alzheimer’s disease is an incurable degenerative disease that progressively destroys a person’s memory and thinking ability, as well as the ability to perform even the simplest of tasks.
5. Reduces inflammation
Interestingly, ginseng has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. The active ingredient in ginseng – ginsenosides – can target different immune system pathways that reduce inflammation.
Those who have an active lifestyle may benefit from a herbal supplement containing American ginseng that they can consume as needed.
6. Improves sexual function in men and women
Taking Korean red ginseng regularly can help treat erectile dysfunction and improve sexual desire and intercourse satisfaction in men. Alternatively, another study shows that Korean red ginseng can improve sexual arousal in menopausal women. It can also reduce the severity of menopause symptoms and potentially lower a post-menopausal woman’s risk of cardiovascular disease. For best results, you need to consult a professional TCM physician before perusing Korean red ginseng to treat menopausal symptoms. In some cases, you need to pair it with balancing herbs.
The many ginseng benefits make it the perfect supplement for your health. If you want to start consuming ginseng to improve your well-being, you can read more articles related to it, so you can understand why it’s the undisputed king.
- ScienceDirect. Ginseng. [Accessed 1 June 2021]
- U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service International Affairs. American Ginseng. [Accessed 1 June 2021]
- ScienceDirect. Ginsenoside. [Accessed 1 June 2021]
- National Library of Medicine. 2008. A comparison of the ancient use of ginseng in traditional Chinese medicine with modern pharmacological experiments and clinical trials. [Accessed 1 June 2021]
- National Library of Medicine. 2013. Antifatigue effects of Panax ginseng C.A. Meyer: a randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial. [Accessed 1 June 2021]
- US National Library of Medicine. Ginseng, the ‘Immunity Boost’: The Effects of Panax ginseng on Immune System. [Accessed 1 June 2021]
- KoreaMed.Org. 1998. The Effect of Ginseng on the Nutritional Status and the Immune Functions after Curative Operations on Gastric Carcinoma Patients. [Accessed 1 June 2021]
- US National Library of Medicine. Review of Ginseng Anti-Diabetic Studies. [Accessed 1 June 2021]
- Diabetes Spectrum. Diabetes and Quality of Life. [Accessed 1 June 2021]
- BioMedCentral. Effects of lifetime cumulative ginseng intake on cognitive function in late life. [Accessed 1 June 2021]
- US National Library of Medicine. 2008. Red ginseng for treating erectile dysfunction: a systematic review. [Accessed 1 June 2021]
- MDedge. Korean red ginseng effective for treatment of erectile dysfunction. [Accessed 1 June 2021]
- ResearchGate. The effect of ginseng on sexual dysfunction in menopausal women: A double-blind, randomized, controlled trial.[Accessed 1 June 2021]
- The Journal of Pharmacy and Pharmacology. 2013. Potentiation of antioxidative and anti-inflammatory properties of cultured wild ginseng root extract through probiotic fermentation.[Accessed 1 June 2021]