Six million Americans take ginseng on a regular basis today. One of the most popular herbal remedies in the world, ginseng has been widely used as a stimulant, stress reliever, and an energy booster. It has a host of other benefits as well, which is why you can consider taking it. Read on to know more about the benefits of ginseng.
Table Of Contents
- What Is Ginseng? How Does It Work?
- What Are The Benefits Of Ginseng?
- What Is The Nutritional Profile Of Ginseng?
- How To Take Ginseng Root
- What Are The Side Effects Of Ginseng?
What Is Ginseng? How Does It Work?
Ginseng is an herb that belongs to the genus Panax and the family Araliaceae. There are 11 species of ginseng in total, and the roots usually taste bitter-spicy with an earthy undertone.
There are five important types of ginseng, namely Asian Ginseng, American Ginseng, Siberian Ginseng, Indian Ginseng, and Brazilian Ginseng.
In this post, we largely cover the benefits of Asian and American ginseng as they contain the largest amounts of ginsenosides, which are the beneficial compounds in ginseng responsible for the important properties.
How ginseng actually works is quite interesting. After ingestion, ginseng comes in contact with gastric acids, microflora, and other enzymes, which is where its constituents are chemically transformed. Following absorption into the bloodstream, the constituents of ginseng are dispersed throughout the body – thereby providing the corresponding benefits. And yes, we will discuss them now.
What Are The Benefits Of Ginseng?
1. Improves Energy Levels
Ginseng has been long associated with improved energy levels and reduced fatigue. The herb can help stimulate mental and physical activity in individuals who are tired. One study showed that ginseng could help cancer patients with fatigue (1).
Ginseng supplements were also found to improve fatigue and physical performance, although we need more studies to substantiate this (2). The findings are encouraging, though.
2. Improves Sexual Dysfunction
Ginseng is also called the herbal Viagra, and for a reason. Research supports its effectiveness in the treatment of erectile (or sexual) dysfunction (3).
Another way it might improve sexual dysfunction is by increasing the levels of nitric oxide, which relaxes the penis and promotes blood flow. As a result, the herb enhances libido too (4). Ginseng might also boost testosterone levels in men, but we need more research on this.
3. Aids Weight Loss
Ginseng has been found to affect the way your body metabolizes carbohydrates, and this can contribute to weight loss. Additionally, in certain cases, loss of appetite is one of the side effects of the herb.
Ginseng also boosts your metabolism, and this is another reason it works well for weight loss. One animal study also showed how ginseng could reduce body weight in mice (5). Other studies have also substantiated the anti-obesity effects of ginseng (6).
4. Aids Diabetes Treatment
There are several studies that show how American ginseng can lower blood sugar levels in patients with type 2 diabetes (7). Another UK study threw light on the glucoregulatory properties of ginseng, which can also help enhance associated cognitive performance in individuals (8).
Ginseng was also found to improve insulin sensitivity – and this further proves the fact that the herb can help people with diabes manage their condition quite well (9).
5. Ginseng Improves Lung Function
Studies found that ginseng supplementation could decrease lung bacteria and even prevent cystic fibrosis, a common lung function (10).
There is research that also supports ginseng’s ability to treat COPD, or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease – a debilitating lung condition characterized by poor airflow (11). The herb even improves exercise capacity in the patients.
6. Helps Fights Cancer
Ginseng’s ability to inhibit tumor growth can make it a potent preventative for cancer. Ginseng improves cell immunity by enhancing the functioning of T cells and NK cells (natural killer cells). It also fights oxidative stress and promotes cancer cell death (12).
Other studies have also shown how the ginsenosides in the herb can help prevent lung cancer and also the cancers of the kidney, ovaries, stomach, skin, and cervix (13).
7. Enhances Brain Function
Studies have also confirmed ginseng’s ability to improve mood and reduce stress (16).
8. Boosts Immunity
Studies have shown how ginseng can boost immune levels and thereby decrease the severity and frequency of colds in adults (17). Another Korean study showed how ginseng regulated the different types of immune cells – including the macrophages, natural killer cells, T cells, B cells, and dendritic cells. This property of ginseng can help prevent inflammatory and other microbial issues (18).
Ginseng has also been used as an immune stimulant in people suffering from chronic illnesses. Other trials have shown that healthy volunteers that take ginseng can have more number of certain immune cells (19).
9. Ginseng Fights Inflammation And Related Issues
Laboratory experiments have shown that ginseng exhibits anti-inflammatory effects. These effects, as per experts, can be attributed to the role of ginsenosides (20).
Ginseng extract was also found to lessen arthritis symptoms, and those can include inflammation of the joints and joint pains as well (21).
Another study points out the ability of ginseng to reduce abdominal pain in patients with irritable bowel syndrome, which also is caused by inflammation (22).
10. Can Boost Skin Health
Thanks to the herb’s anti-inflammatory properties, you can use it to treat inflammatory skin issues like rosacea and the associated lesions (23).
Ginseng also works as an anti-aging ingredient, as per research. The herb can boost collagen, which firms the skin and helps delay the onset of wrinkles. The whitening properties of the herb give your skin a bright appearance.
The herb also encourages skin regeneration, and its healing properties accelerate skin healing.
11. Can Enhance Hair Growth
Several studies state how ginseng can promote hair growth. This is especially true with ginseng extract, which has been found to strengthen hair follicles and help prevent hair loss (24).
The immune-boosting properties of ginseng might also improve scalp health and protect hair as a consequence.
That’s about the benefits of ginseng. And apart from what you saw, there are other nutrients that make ginseng what it is.
What Is The Nutritional Profile Of Ginseng?
|NUTRIENT||VALUE||RDI (Recommended Daily Intake)|
|Calories from fat||0||0%|
|Total Fat||0.0 g.||0%|
|Saturated Fat||0.0 g.||0%|
|Dietary Fibre||0.0 g.||0%|
|Vitamin A||0.0 g.||4%|
Great. But how do you take ginseng?
How To Take Ginseng Root
The best way to consume ginseng is in the form of tea. Yes, you can buy the tea bags from your nearest store, but preparing the tea from the root offers the most benefits. Here’s how:
- Start by peeling the root. You can use powdered or dried root as well.
- Take a tablespoon of the root shavings or the powdered root and put into a metal filter.
- Bring to a boil and turn it off – allow the water to cool for about 2 to 3 minutes.
- Pour the water into a teacup and allow the filter to sink into the cup. Steep for about 5 minutes.
- After taking the tea, you can also eat the ginseng shavings or powder.
And talking about dosage, you might want to check this out:
- For dealing with type 2 diabetes, the dose is 200 milligrams a day.
- For treating erectile dysfunction, take 900 milligrams of ginseng thrice daily.
- For stress or fatigue, take 1 gram of ginseng daily.
For any other queries on dosages, please consult your doctor. Also, ginseng shouldn’t take more than 24 hours to show effects.
Though ginseng is wonderful and comes with great benefits, we also need to know its side effects.
What Are The Side Effects Of Ginseng?
- Issues In Infants And Children
Ginseng can be unsafe for infants and children. Ensure they stay away from it.
- Issues During Pregnancy And Breastfeeding
Certain components in ginseng might cause miscarriage. And not enough is known about the safety of ginseng during breastfeeding. So, avoid its use if you are pregnant or breastfeeding.
- Heart Conditions
Ginseng might affect the heart rhythm or blood pressure. People with heart issues must consult a doctor before consuming it.
Ginseng might lower blood sugar way too much in people already taking blood sugar medications.
Ginseng might cause insomnia, especially if taken late in the evening. Avoid it if you have sleep troubles.
- Issues During Organ Transplant
Since ginseng can boost the immune system, it might reduce the effectiveness of medications given to decrease the functioning of the immune system temporarily.
- Bleeding Issues
Ginseng can interfere with blood clotting. Avoid it if you have a bleeding condition.
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