If you walk into any health and wellness store, chances are you are going to see some form of ginseng supplement. Ginseng an adaptogenic root that has been used in the Chinese tradition for centuries. It is one of the most popular herbal remedies in the world. Ginseng gained popularity for its ability to boost energy levels and improve cognitive brain function, amongst other benefits. It is always best to consult your doctor before incorporating anything new into your routine, but if you are interested in learning more about this ancient root, keep reading for all the benefits of ginseng.
Benefits of Ginseng
Ginseng is an extremely powerful antioxidant that can help reduce inflammation and stress in your body.
If you want to swap out the energy drinks and coffee for a more natural option, look no further. Ginseng is a great way to boost your energy all day while avoiding jitters or a caffeine crash. Ginseng supplements have been studied for their ability to lessen chronic fatigue and improve physical activity.
Boosts Immune System
Especially in today’s world, it’s good to do anything that will boost your immune system. Ginseng is considered an immune agent due to the presence of ginsenosides, an exclusive compound. Studies of post-chemotherapy cancer patients have shown that red ginseng helped their immune system recover and increased their survival rate.
Regulates Blood Sugar Levels
Ginseng has been used as a means for treating type 2 diabetes. It is believed that ginsenosides have the ability to increase insulin production that occurs in the pancreas and enhance the absorption of sugar in cells.
Improves Focus and Attention
It has also been studied as a way to boost memory and mood, as well as your ability to sit down and focus on something. A few studies have also found improvement in mental function in people with Alzheimer’s disease.
Thought To Help With Erectile Dysfunction
Ginseng has been used as an herbal remedy to treat erectile dysfunction in men for centuries. A 2002 Korean scientific study showed that 60% of men who took ginseng to improve their erectile dysfunction noticed an improvement after incorporating the herb into their lifestyle. Ginseng is thought to promote muscle relaxation and blood circulation and inhibit oxidative stress.
How to Take Ginseng
Ginseng can be taken raw, in a tea, or in a supplement form. Take ginseng before a meal to increase its absorption and maximize its effect. Start with a small dose. Most physicians recommend a daily dose of 200 mg in supplement form or half a gram of the dried root. Proper dosage varies from person to person, though, so consult your doctor about the dosage and form that works best for your needs.
Ginseng may lose its effectiveness if taken regularly for long periods of time. While it is generally thought to be a harmless supplement, long-term users taking large amounts of ginseng daily also report more serious side effects. To maximize its benefits and avoid negative effects, take ginseng in 2 week cycles with a week or two break in between.
Reported Side Effects:
- Trouble sleeping
Reported Side Effects from Extended, High Dosage:
- Digestive issues
- Low blood pressure
Types of Ginseng
Asian Ginseng (Panax Ginseng)
Asian Ginseng, also known as Chinese or Korean Ginseng is a perennial root that is grown in the mountains of East Asia. Ginseng is classified in three ways, depending on how long it is grown: fresh ginseng is grown for less than 4 years, white ginseng is grown for 4-6 years, and red ginseng is grown for more than six years. This long maturation process is what makes the plant a bit expensive. Red ginseng has the most potent chemical compounds and as such, was the type of ginseng used in most studies of the root’s benefits.
American Ginseng (Panx Quinquefolius)
American Ginseng has been used by American native tribes such as the Ojibwa, Cherokee, and Delaware tribes for hundreds of years. This root mostly grows in the midwest—about 80% of American Ginseng is grown in Wisconsin. The plants mature for three years to guarantee their potency and benefits. Although many say that American Ginseng isn’t as stimulating as Chinese Ginseng, it still has plenty of benefits.