Ginseng has been used for many centuries. It is one of the most popular herbal medicines used in the world. There is a wide variety of ginseng health benefits, as ginseng is used to treat a number of medical conditions. Orally-ingesting ginseng is the best way to get ginseng health benefits. Currently, there is not a lot of research on ginseng health benefits, so you must first consult your doctor or healthcare provider regarding ginseng usage and consumption. You may also consult other practitioners as long as they are have training in herbal medicine.
What is Ginseng?
Ginseng is a slow-growing herbal plant commonly found in east Asia and North America and other cool climates. Ginseng can be classified as fresh, white or red, depending on how it was grown. Fresh ginseng is harvested before four years. White ginseng is harvested between four to six years, and is peeled and dried. Red ginseng is harvested after six or more years, and is peeled, steamed, and dried.
The 2 main types of ginseng are American ginseng (Panax quinquefolius) and Korean red ginseng or Asian ginseng (Panax ginseng). There are other types of ginseng such as Indian ginseng, Siberian ginseng (Eleutherococcus senticosus), South China ginseng (Panax notoginseng), and Vietnamese ginseng (Panax vietnamensis), among many others. Not all ginseng varieties contain active components associated with ginseng health benefits– for instance, the Siberian ginseng does not contain ginsenosides. Different types of ginseng have different kinds of health benefits.
Ginseng is used in traditional Chinese medicine. Traditionally ginseng has been used to treat a number of medical conditions and to get ginseng health benefits. While ginseng is commonly used in traditional medicine, clinical medicine has produced inconclusive and sometimes contesting research regarding ginseng health benefits.
What are the Health Benefits of Ginseng?
Ginseng contains ginsenosides and gintonin, which are the main active components responsible for many ginseng health benefits.
Ginseng helps people who feel weak and tired as it can improve both physical and mental fatigue. Taking ginseng can help lower oxidative damage and help increase the cells’ energy production.
Ginseng sharpens cognitive function by improving thinking processes and cognition, such as memory and behavior. Ginseng can help improve mental fatigue and fatigue severity. It may also help boost one’s mood and improve one’s social functioning. Components in ginseng can help protect the brain against damage caused by free radicals. Ginseng health benefits include experiencing the feeling of calmness.
Has Antioxidant and Anti-inflammatory Effects
Ginsenosides may have beneficial anti-inflammatory effects. Ginseng is used to reduce inflammation as it inhibits inflammation and increases the cells’ antioxidant capacity. Using ginseng may help protect against oxidative stress.
Ginseng can reduce your cholesterol levels as well.
Treats Erectile Dysfunction and Improves Fertility
Ginseng may help men treat their erectile dysfunction or improve their symptoms. Because ginseng can protect against oxidative stress in the penis’ blood vessels and tissues, ginseng can help restore the penis’ normal function. As ginseng encourages the production of nitric oxide, taking ginseng can improve the penis’ muscle relaxation and increase its blood circulation. Ginseng can enhance physical and sexual performanc, including sperm quality and quantity.
Plus, it can help improve women’s sexual arousal and help improve menopause symptoms.
Lowers Blood Sugar Levels
Ginseng may lower blood sugar and help treat diabetes, as ginsenosides affect the pancreas’ insulin production, and improves the body’s insulin resistance. It can help improve fasting blood glucose in diabetics and non-diabetics alike. Plus, it can also help improve sugar clearance from the blood.
Improves Heart Health
Ginseng can improve blood flow, improve arteries, help treat heart disease. Ginseng can also help treat high blood pressure.
Boosts and Strengthens Your Immune system
Ginseng can boost your immune system. Taking ginseng can make you less susceptible to getting a cold or the flu. Taking ginseng may also help treat fever.
Helps Prevent and Fight Cancer
Ginseng can have anti-cancer effects. Taking ginseng has shown to reduce one’s risk to developing certain kinds of cancer in some cases, such as colon, esophagus, lip, liver, lung, mouth, and stomach cancers. Taking ginseng may help patients undergoing chemotherapy by reducing their side effects.
Aids in Weight Loss
Ginseng can help you decrease body weight.
Other Benefits of Ginseng
There are many other ginseng health benefits besides those listed down. Ginseng can relieve headaches, treat indigestion, treat Hepatitis C, among many other diseases and symptoms. It is best to consult a practitioner with training in herbal medicine to know how ginseng can personally benefit you.
How Can You Take Ginseng?
There are no standards on how to take ginseng in terms of quantity or quality. If you experience any ginseng health benefits, take ginseng in small amounts as there still needs to be more studies on the effectiveness of ginseng’s health benefits. As a rule of thumb, follow the dosage instructions as directed by the package and do not use more than what is indicated. To get ginseng health benefits, you may take the ginseng orally as a supplement in the form of tablets or liquids. Ginseng is sometimes sold as an ingredient in energy drinks and teas. You may also use the raw herb itself.
If you would like to take ginseng for its health benefits, you may eat the herb raw. You may also steam it to soften it. There are many recipes which use ginseng as an ingredient in dishes. Ginseng may also be taken like tea when it is added to boiled water.
Ginseng Side Effects
If you decide to take ginseng for its health benefits, you may experience side effects.
Here is a list of some side effects of taking ginseng:
- blurred vision
- breast tenderness
- changes in blood pressure
- changes in blood sugar
- convulsions and seizures
- decreased heart rate
- digestive problems
- dry mouth
- rapid heartbeat
- sleep problems like insomnia
- swollen breasts in women
- vaginal bleeding
Stop taking ginseng if you experience any of the following side effects:
- burning in eyes
- severe skin reactions
- skin pain with rashes
- sore throat
- swelling in face or tongue