7 Powerful Health Benefits of Ginseng

Капсули от листата на Гинко Билоба[1]Ginseng is the root of plants of the genus[2]Panax</em>such as Korean ginseng (P. ginseng), South Chinese ginseng (P. notoginseng) and American ginseng (P. quinquefolius), usually characterized by the presence of ginsenosides and gintonin.</p>
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Ginseng is a root with an ancient history of medicinal use. Today, scientific research confirms the herb’s potential to improve health and protect against disease. Ginseng is often used today as an exercise performance enhancer, aphrodisiac, and immune system booster. It is usually dried and ground into a powder, then taken as capsules. However, you can also find ginseng tea and ginseng tinctures. The taste of ginseng is bitter and purifying.

Types of ginseng

The two types of ginseng include:

  • Asian ginseng, also called Korean ginseng (scientific name Panax ginseng)
  • American ginseng, or Panax quinquefolius

Asian and American ginseng contain similar compounds, but given that they grow in different climates, they are not quite the same. Although both are adaptogens and have similar health-protective benefits, Asian ginseng is more stimulating and American ginseng is more calming.

Ginseng is most commonly used in the cuisines and medicines of China and Korea.

7 benefits and uses of ginseng

Ginseng has been used in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) and other ancient systems of medicine for good reason. Here are the effects of ginseng that have been reported in today’s scientific literature:

1. Increases brain function

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5. Helps prevent cancer

In addition to providing antioxidant support and reducing inflammation, ginseng also has direct anticancer effects.[10] In a meta-analysis of scientific studies that looked at the impact of ginseng on cancer risk, researchers concluded that regular intake of ginseng can reduce the risk of cancer by 16%.[11]

6. Lowers cholesterol

High cholesterol increases the risk of heart disease because the buildup of unhealthy cholesterol in the bloodstream causes arterial plaque. Anti-cholesterol plant chemicals found in ginseng may help protect against heart disease by lowering high cholesterol levels. Studies show that ginseng supplements lower levels of the bad cholesterol known as LDL cholesterol while increasing levels of HDL cholesterol, which is the healthy fat that helps keep LDL cholesterol levels low.[12]

7. Reduces inflammation

Chronic inflammation is another factor that contributes to the development of heart disease as well as other chronic diseases. Ginseng has been found to have powerful anti-inflammatory effects. In one animal study, ginseng’s ability to lower inflammation was attributed to its ability to repair brain damage.[13] By keeping inflammation at bay, regular ginseng supplementation could potentially help prevent neurodegenerative diseases, heart disease, and even depression—which is also linked to chronic inflammation.

Ginseng dosages and side effects

As with any herbal supplement, you should stick to the recommended daily dose on the product label. Some products may be concentrated in the active chemicals of ginseng, while other products may be powdered in the whole form of ginseng.

For whole powdered ginseng root, you can take up to 2 grams daily. Start with half a gram once or twice a day when you first start using ginseng, as it can potentially cause side effects. Potential side effects include mood swings, blood pressure changes, loss of appetite, insomnia, increased heart rate, palpitations, menstrual irregularities, and more. Any herb can potentially cause an allergic reaction, so be sure to stop taking ginseng if you experience any adverse reactions.

Supplement with ginseng

There are many reasons why ginseng is held in high esteem as a staple in traditional systems of medicine. Ginseng can act as a natural remedy for low sex drive, can help curb high blood sugar, boost mental performance and increase energy. New research suggests that ginseng even protects against cancer. To reap the benefits of ginseng, you can take a capsule supplement, drink ginseng tea, or ginseng tincture.

It is important to remember that even natural compounds can have unwanted side effects. To ensure your safety, it’s always a good idea to talk to a health professional before taking herbal products or other supplements, especially if you have medical conditions, are already taking medications or supplements, or are pregnant.

References:

  1. Panax ginseng improves cognitive performance in Alzheimer’s disease” by Soon-Tae Lee, Kon Chu, Ji-Young Sim, Jae-Hyeok Heo and Manho Kim, July 2008, Alzheimer’s disease and related disorders.
    DOI: 10.1097/WAD.0b013e31816c92e6
  2. “Effect of Omega-3 and Korean Red Ginseng on Children with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder: An Open-label Pilot Study” by Jeewon Lee, Areum Lee, Ji-Hoon Kim, Yun Mi Shin, Seong-Ju Kim, Woo Dong Cho, and Soyoung Irene Lee February 29, 2020 Clinical Psychopharmacology and Neurology.
    DOI: 10.9758/cpn.2020.18.1.75
  3. “Effects of Panax ginseng consumed with and without glucose on blood glucose levels and cognitive performance during prolonged ‘mentally demanding’ tasks” by Jonathan L. Ray, David O. Kennedy, and Andrew B. Scholey, January 9, 2006 . Journal of Psychopharmacology.
    DOI: 10.1177/0269881106061516
  4. “A Review of Ginseng Antidiabetes Studies” by Wei Chen, Prabhu Balan, and David G. Popovich, 9 Dec. 2019, Molecules.
    DOI: 10.3390/molecules24244501
  5. “Ginseng and Diabetes: The Evidence from In Vitro, Animal and Human Studies” by Hai-Dan Yuan 1, Jung Tae Kim, Sung Hoon Kim and Sung Hyun Chung, January 2012. Journal of Ginseng Research.
    DOI: 10.5142/jgr.2012.36.1.27
  6. “Ginseng and Male Reproductive Function” by Kar Wah Leung and Alice ST Wong, 1 Jul 2013, Spermatogenesis.
    DOI: 10.4161/spmg.26391
  7. “Effects of Korean Red Ginseng on Sexual Arousal in Postmenopausal Women: A Placebo-Controlled, Double-Blind Cross-over Clinical Study” by Kyung-Jin Oh, Myeong-Jeong Chae, Hyun-Suk Lee, Hee-Do Hong, and Kwangsung Park, 5 February 2010, Journal of Sexual Medicine.
    DOI: 10.1111/j.1743-6109.2009.01700.x
  8. “Adaptogenic Effects of Panax ginseng on the Modulation of Cardiovascular Functions” By Muhammad Irfan, Yi-Seong Kwak, Chang-Kyun Han, Sun Hee Hyun, and Man Hee Rhee, 28 March 2020. Journal of Ginseng Research.
    DOI: 10.1016/j.jgr.2020.03.001
  9. Ginseng as a Treatment for Fatigue: A Systematic Review By Noël M. Arring, Denise Millstine, Lisa A. Marks, and Lillian M. Nail, 1 Jul 2018. Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine.
    DOI: 10.1089/acm.2017.0361
  10. “Recent Advances in Ginseng as Cancer Therapeutics: A Functional and Mechanistic Review” by Alice ST Wong, Chi-Ming Che and Kar-Wah Leung, 27 Oct 2014, Natural Products Reports.
    DOI: 10.1039/C4NP00080C
  11. “Ginseng consumption and cancer risk: a meta-analysis” by Xin Jin, Dao-biao Che, Zhen-hai Zhang, Hong-mei Yan, Zeng-yong Jia, and Xiao-bin Jia, 2 Sep 2015, Journal of Ginseng Research.
    DOI: 10.1016/j.jgr.2015.08.007
  12. “Adaptogenic Effects of Panax ginseng on the Modulation of Cardiovascular Functions” By Muhammad Irfan, Yi-Seong Kwak, Chang-Kyun Han, Sun Hee Hyun, and Man Hee Rhee, 28 Jun 2020. Journal of Ginseng Research.
    DOI: 10.1016/j.jgr.2020.03.001
  13. “Therapeutic effect of Korean red ginseng on inflammatory cytokines in rats with focal cerebral ischemia/reperfusion injury” by Jong Seok Lee, Han Sung Choi, Sung Wook Kang, Joo-Ho Chung, Hun Kuk Park, Ju Yeon Ban, Oh Young Kwon, Hoon Pyo Hong and Young Gwan Ko, 2011, The American Journal of Chinese Medicine.
    DOI: 10.1142/S0192415X1100866X

The purpose of this article is to provide information and should not be considered medical advice. It should not be used as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. If you have any concerns or questions about your health, it is important to speak with a qualified health care provider. The information provided in this article is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

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