From China and Korea to the U.S., ginseng is an esteemed herbal remedy. The global market for the root in its many forms was estimated at $6.1 billion in 2020 and is expected to hit $11.7 billion by 2026. Ginseng benefits range from management of health issues such as elevated blood glucose and cognitive decline to improved energy and overall wellbeing. No wonder it is called The King of Herbs.
Asian and American: The 2 Types of Ginseng
There are two main ginseng types, both belong to the genus Panax. The first type is Asian ginseng (Panax ginseng) and is native to Asian countries such as China and Korea. The second type is American ginseng (Panax quinquefolius). It’s native to Eastern Canada and the Appalachian and Ozark regions of the US.
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 ginseng that is peeled, air- and sun-dried 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 anemia, insomnia, gastritis, abnormal blood pressure, and fatigue. Senior Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) Practitioner at Real Health Medical clinic in Singapore, Senior Physician Brandon Yew says you can “slice and slow-boil ginseng root for at least two hours, and use it by itself or together with other food or herbal ingredients. You can also grind ginseng into a fine powder and take a teaspoon of it once a day in the morning, mixed into a glass of warm water.”
You can use ginseng in combination with other herbal remedies. For example, you may pair it with goji berries in herbal tisanes. You can also add it to herbal soups to increase their nutritional value. For tea lovers, why not opt for American ginseng in teabag form? Simply steep the tea bag in a cup of hot water for 2 minutes, and enjoy! Avoid pairing ginseng with radish or with veratrum, also called false hellebore, 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 negative side effects,” physician Yew explains.
Today, ginseng is widely praised for its ability to improve energy levels, prevent fatigue and exhaustion, and assist in a person’s recovery from illness. So let’s take a closer look at various ginseng benefits for your health and vitality.
How Does Ginseng Enhance Your Health and Vitality?
Before identifying the different benefits of ginseng use, you should note that this prized herb in Chinese medicine consists of a unique 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 stamina in people who 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. These liquids 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 a balanced immune system and a stable, balanced interdependence between various bodily systems. This, in turn, helps the body stave off bacterial infections and 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 a health supplement containing 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 as you age. 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, 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. Ginseng is effective because of the anti-oxidative properties of ginsenosides.
5. Reduces inflammation
Ginseng has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, as mentioned above, through its active ingredient, ginsenosides. They can target different immune system pathways and 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. 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 using Korean red ginseng to treat menopausal symptoms. In some cases, you need to pair it with balancing herbs.
Whatever your age, ginseng can help you stay more active, reduce your risk for inflammation-related disorders and diseases such as arthritis and diabetes, help you fight off infections, and generally feel more energetic and healthy. Read up more on ginseng benefits so you can understand why it is the undisputed king of herbal remedies.
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