Ginseng is a very unique and useful herbal remedy for numerous health conditions and has been so widely researched and has gained such popularity that it is almost a natural cure-all. It’s called Panax ginseng and Panax means “all heal.” Benefits of ginseng have been acknowledged for thousands of years and is traditionally a Chinese herb. However, there is a species in America that is also very beneficial and even some of the Chinese now prefer it.
The Many Health Benefits of Panax Ginseng
While the botanical name is Panax ginseng, there are about 50 names it goes by but it is most commonly called Korean, Asian, or Chinese ginseng depending on where it was grown. It is also often called true ginseng to make it easier for people to distinguish it from American or Siberian ginseng. The literal translation of the phrase ‘Panax ginseng’ in English is ‘all healing man root.’ The use of ginseng in Asia dates back over 5,000 years and is one of the most traditional herbs in Chinese traditional medicine. The ginseng root is also shaped like a person.
Ginseng Relieves Stress
Ginseng helps to relax and stimulate the nervous system and has a balancing quality to it. It has been believed to bring wisdom, strength, and long life to those who consume it. That may be true for those who grow it too because 99% of the world’s supply comes from South Korea, Canada, the United States, and Canada. It’s a multibillion dollar industry and in just South Korea alone, over 1,000 researchers have devoted their time to studying and publishing hundreds of research papers on it annually.
By taking a look at the long list of health benefits, we find that ginseng is an adaptogen which is a natural remedy that makes a person more resilient to physical, environmental, and mental stress and helps to strength immunity, the nervous system, and the glandular system. They also work as a person’s thermostat which can help a person’s adrenal functioning by boosting energy but yet calming a person down at the same time without any overstimulation. Ginseng nourishes the adrenals whereas alternatively, caffeine stresses out the adrenals. Ginseng can also prevent stomach ulcers which are often caused by stress.
Ginseng Boosts Mood and Mental Well-Being
Ginseng can elevate mood and overall mental well-being by created a relaxed yet alert state. Studies indicate that people overall have better sleep, sex lives, energy, and personal satisfaction when consuming ginseng. It is also beneficial when treating depression and anxiety. The combinations of this herb are just as effective as some antidepressants because of the ability it has to regular levels of dopamine, serotonin, and norepinephrine. It is also the main ingredient of Kai Xin San which is a Chinese herbal formula.
Ginseng Boosts Energy, Endurance, and Strength
Boost your endurance, strength and energy with ginseng as energy boosting is one of the most popularly known benefits of ginseng. It also helps to increase stamina and strength and great for those who have been coping with disease-related fatigue. It also helps people who want to increase their physical performance. While you think you get a boost from coffee, the energy and mental boosts that you get from ginseng are much different and won’t lead you to become jittery and then cause a crash. Ginseng can also increase energy or reduce fatigue in cancer patients. More than half of the people who use ginseng report a boost of energy from it. It is also a great natural remedy for chronic fatigue syndrome and useful for people who have unexplained chronic fatigue.
Ginseng helps to keep you young and the Chinese believe it promotes longevity. As far as physical appearance, it also can reduce wrinkles and keep skin healthy if taken orally. It increases blood circulation, allowing it to go to multiple organs more efficiently. Ginseng can also be helpful for male pattern baldness if taken internally and applied topically. It can also reduce mortality in men and also protects all major organs such as the kidneys, liver, and heart from damage and aging.
Ginseng Improves Memory and Mental Performance
Ginseng can help protect the brain and improve the memory preventing memory loss and helps to protect against the mental decline that comes from aging. It is a brain booster and helps with mental performance as well as the ability to concentrate. The brain cells are protected from free radical damage due to its antioxidant capabilities. By taking ginseng root daily for 3 months, studies have shown that people with Alzheimer’s have had an improvement of mental performance and it has also improved the memory of people who have suffered strokes. A combination of Ginkgo biloba and ginseng is an amazing supplement for the brain and has a synergistic effect which minimizes symptoms of ADHD and improves short-term memory.
Ginseng Is Nature’s Viagra
Ginseng also acts as a natural remedy to improve sexual functioning and the libido of both men and women. Chinese medicine considers ginseng as a natural aphrodisiac to help restore sexual functioning of men and Korean red ginseng has been proven to be effective for men with erectile dysfunction which helps at least 60% of cases. This natural remedy can also help women with the undesirable menopause symptoms such as insomnia, fatigue, depression, anxiety, and a low libido. Red ginseng is slightly different because of how it has been processed even though it comes from the same plant.
Ginseng Helps Regulate Blood Sugar Levels in Diabetics
Ginseng also helps to regulate blood sugar which can help reduce the onset of type 2 diabetes. It increases sensitivity of insulin which helps both type 1 and type 2 diabetes. Ginseng also protects the pancreas which helps to normalize the production of insulin in type 1 diabetes. Korean red ginseng is the most effective but if you are taking any medication that’s anti-diabetic, you should talk to your doctor or monitor blood sugar levels carefully before adding ginseng to your regimen. If you’re hypoglycemic, note that ginseng typically lowers blood sugar levels of a non-diabetic adult so it’s recommended to take it with food.
Ginseng Boosts Your Immune System
Use ginseng to boost your immunity because it helps to increase the amount of immune fighting cells in the blood. To prevent catching the flu or a cold, you can take ginseng for prevention. However, if you do catch a cold, ginseng can reduce the time you have it and decrease the symptom severity. If ginseng is taken regularly, ginseng improves the effectiveness of vaccines and it also helps increase immunity for people with HIV or chronic fatigue syndrome. Ginseng helps with fibromyalgia by reducing insomnia, anxiety, pain and inflammation. Ginsenosides that are found in ginseng help regulate the immune system’s response.
Ginseng Protects You from Cancer
You can also protect yourself from multiple types of cancer such as liver, pancreatic, lung, stomach, and ovarian. For smokers who take ginseng, it also lowers the risk of smoking related cancer in comparison to smokers who don’t use ginseng. For breast cancer patients, it has been proven to provide a better quality of life and also improves the survival rate. Cancer patients also see a stimulation of their appetite that is typically lost and can also provide more energy.
Ginseng Can Help You Breathe Easy
Ginseng is helpful for respiratory and lung functioning too and is commonly used for health issues related to the lungs. It helps to alleviate asthmatic symptoms and helps to improve symptoms associated with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Taken along with antibiotics for treatment of bronchitis, it helps the antibiotics work better.
If you have an addiction, ginseng can help kick the habit and reduce any anxiety that comes from withdrawing from substances. Ginseng is also a remedy for hangovers.
Ironically though, the Chinese are starting to prefer ginseng found in America. It was surprising for the first European settlers to find it growing in North America. American ginseng is known as Panaxquinquefolius. It has the same genus but different species as Asian ginseng. Native Americans used it as a healing herb and European settlers used to export American ginseng. For over 2 centuries, it was the second most popular export behind the fur trade export.
Why China Prefers American Ginseng
The Chinese are now preferring American ginseng because the compounds in it protect the plant which makes it more effective to our health also. The North American continent used to grow wild ginseng in abundant amounts but it was harshly over-harvested. Now it’s mostly grown and harvested in Canada and Wisconsin which has harsher growing conditions.
However, the plant has adapted which has resulted in a higher concentration of the active ingredients. It has properties very similar to Asian ginseng but it has a more superior quality due to its ability to help provide better brain functioning. Additionally, the Chinese have been growing the healing herb with more contaminants and pesticides which can make it more harmful. So, Chinese are more willing to pay extra for the genuine American ginseng. The standards for growing ginseng in Wisconsin are so tough to meet that it’s considered the best in the world.
American Ginseng: A Proven Brain Booster
A patent-pending ginseng formulation called Cereboost has been created from American ginseng and has numerous studies that can back up the effectiveness of this brain booster. Those who take it have seen greater mental performance just within hours of consuming it. Note that you must pay attention to ginseng products because some of the big box stores such as Target, GNC, Walmart and Walgreens usually have mostly garlic or rice and very little ginseng.
Siberian Ginseng — A Close Cousin
Siberian ginseng is very close but not necessarily a true ginseng. However, it contains different active compounds like eleutherosides rather than ginsenosides. It has its own special characteristics that are helpful. It has been used a lot in Russia and much research has been done on the herb. Athletes in Russia have been using it for physical performance enhancement in the 1950s. Russians also took Siberian ginseng to offset radiation exposure effects after Chernobyl. In the U.S., it cannot be marketed as ginseng because its biological name is eleutherococcuenticosus. It has a different genus and species. However, it has similar health benefits.
Ginseng Benefits: The Bottom Line
Overall, ginseng is a wondrous herb that is helpful for a wide variety of health issues and has been proven to be effective for thousands of years. Siberian ginseng isn’t really ginseng but is so similar in its effectiveness. Due to the brain enhancing properties of American ginseng, it is considered to be the top ginseng in the world to be produced and utilized.