Ginseng is any one of eleven distinct species of slow-growing perennial plants with fleshy roots, belonging to the Panax genus in the family Araliaceae.
It grows in the Northern Hemisphere in eastern Asia (mostly Korea, northern China (Manchuria), and eastern Siberia), typically in cooler climates; Panax vietnamensis, discovered in Vietnam, is the southernmost ginseng found. This article focuses on the Series Panax ginsengs, which are the adaptogenic herbs, principally Panax ginseng and P. quinquefolius. Ginseng is characterized by the presence of ginsenosides.
Siberian Ginseng (Eleutherococcus senticosus) is in the same family, but not genus, as true Ginseng. Like Ginseng, it is considered to be an adaptogenic herb. The active compounds in Siberian Ginseng are eleutherosides, not ginsenosides. Instead of a fleshy root, Siberian Ginseng has a woody root.
Benefits of Ginseng
Ginseng benefits the body by strengthening the immune system, as well as the nervous system and the heart. It helps ensure that essential vitamins and minerals are properly metabolized by stimulating the endocrine glands that do the work of assimilating these into the body. As a result, the body is more resistant to disease and enjoys renewed and continuous physical and mental vitality. Ginseng is also great for the heart as it normalizes arterial pressure levels. The immune system is made much stronger and more effective by encouraging the production of the antibodies that combat disease. An added benefit is that it helps the intestine absorb the nutrients we found in the food that we eat. For those who also have problems with sexual desire and capacity, ginseng is an acknowledged solution. It promotes the production of sex hormones that give that much-needed “life” to flailing desires and organs, imbibing the person with virility and the capacity to act on his desire.
- Ginseng is good for low blood pressure.
- Ginseng decreases weakness and fatigue and treats poor appetite.
- Ginseng is also recommended for people whose activities subject them to physical and mental stress on a daily basis.
- Ginseng is good for treatment of diseases joints and skeletal system problems.
- Ginseng is an effective antidote for arthritis and rheumatism.
- Ginseng not only eases the pain but it also fights the causes of diseases caused by accumulation of fats in the body.
- Ginseng is a powerful aphrodisiac and sexual stimulant.
- Ginseng has become very popular because it is a central nervous system stimulant.
- Regular use of ginseng has shown positive effect on reducing cholesterol levels, blood triglycerides, and blood sugar levels.
- Ginseng is also good for treatment of anemia as it favors formation of blood corpuscles that makes it a very good ally for people with anemia, cholesterol, and diabetes.
- Ginseng also helps in stimulation of white blood cell formation.
- Ginseng helps strengthen the immune system.
- Ginseng is good for prevention of viral and bacterial diseases.
- Ginseng is a natural elixir of longevity.
Ginseng is also a great way to treat insomnia, headaches, backaches, gout, coughs and colds, anemia, gout and neuralgia. Women also use it to ease pains in menstruation and childbirth. Ginseng also helps to ward off the negative effects to the liver brought about by toxins and radiation, as well as the ravages produced by alcohol and drugs in the body. It also combats periodontal disease, as well as some cancers.
The ginseng plant, when mature, has compound leaves, a single stalk, some fruit, flowers and seeds. Ginseng extracts and supplements are to be sourced from the pure whole root.
There are a different types of ginseng – the red one (Asiatic ginseng) and the white or gold one (American ginseng). Asiatic ginseng or Panax Ginseng is usually found in China and Korea. Red ginseng is actually made from panax white ginseng that is steamed for half a day and then dried. These are usually sold in the form of capsules, tea or ginseng slices. Meanwhile, American Ginseng usually is found in Eastern North America and gives a cooling effect to the body.
The best way to take ginseng is to take the actual dried root. The roots or root slices may be made into a tea, by steeping it in a tea pot for one hour (be sure to use a glass or silver teapot and not a metal teapot). You can also throw some dried roots onto your soup, or add ground bits of it into your food.
The recommended dosage of ginseng really depends on one’s experience with it. However, the average is about two or three grams daily (although some herbalists think that it is best taken every other day).
Safety: Panax ginseng is a mild herb and is considered safe.The recommended daily dose is small and large doses of ginseng are not recommended or necessary. Taking large doses of ginseng in combination with stimulants, including caffeine, is also not recommended.
Side effects associated with taking Panax ginseng are generally mild and temporary. They usually diminish after a few days and they may include: Blood pressure changes, Breast pain, Diarrhea, Dizziness, Headache, Heart rate changes, Insomnia, Itching, Loss of appetite, Mood changes, Nervousness.
Studies recommend that ginseng should not be used continuously for periods of time longer than three months. The recommended period of use is one month followed by a rest period of two months.
Ginseng is best avoided by those with high blood pressure or anxiety conditions and during pregnancy.
Panax ginseng has been shown to increase the time blood needs to clot. When it is taken with antiplatelet or anticoagulant drugs, the effect of the drug may be increased, possibly resulting in uncontrolled bleeding.
It is important to know that taking ginseng is not a substitute for other medical interventions. Always ask for your doctors approvable if you are planning to take other herbal remedies.
Disclaimer: This website is for information purposes only. By providing the information contained herein we are not diagnosing, treating, curing, mitigating, or preventing any type of disease or medical condition. Before beginning any type of natural, integrative or conventional treatment regime, it is advisible to seek the advice of a licensed healthcare professional.