Ginseng has been used for herbal medicine for centuries. Its use dates way back to the old times of around 196 AD. Yeah, that’s quite a long time ago and today, the use of ginseng for treating medical conditions is rising to the extent that it is sold as dietary supplements.
What is ginseng?
Ginseng is the roots of the slow herbal growing plants in the genus Panax. Ginseng is found in North America and Eastern Asia and has varieties such as American ginseng, Korean red ginseng, Indian ginseng, and Siberian ginseng. The most popular varieties of ginseng are American ginseng (Panax quinquefolius) and Asian ginseng (Panax ginseng).
Ginseng is classified in three different ways depending on how long it is grown. Fresh ginseng is harvested after 4 years, white ginseng harvested between 4-6 years and red ginseng is harvested after 6 or more years.
What are the health benefits of ginseng?
Since the use of ginseng in modern medication has only grown popular in the last few years, research on the health benefits and medical uses of ginseng is still limited. Below are the scientifically proven health benefits of ginseng.
Ginseng has a lot of antioxidants.
In ginseng are antioxidants that make it have anti-inflammatory properties.
From research done by ScienceDaily, the laboratory experiments carried out demonstrated that ginseng has anti-inflammatory effects. Allan Lau who led the team of researchers said “The anti-inflammatory role of ginseng may be due to the combined effects of these ginsenosides, targeting different levels of immunological activity, and so contributing to the diverse actions of ginseng in humans”.
The anti-inflammatory properties in ginseng can help fight inflammatory responses and protects the body against oxidative stress.
We have also written an article on herbs to lower inflammation, get it here.
Ginseng can improve erectile dysfunction in men.
Erectile dysfunction is a common problem for men these days; affecting about 52% and very common between the age of 40 and 70. However, many herbs can help reverse and cure erectile dysfunction and among them is ginseng.
Different studies suggest that ginseng has many active ingredients that can promote proper blood flow to the genitals and protect them against oxidative stress. Ginseng also boosted the production of nitric acid a compound that improves muscle relaxation, blood flow, and functionality of the penis.
In a study done by PubMed.gov, it was discovered that the group that received ginseng improved in early detumescence and erectile parameters such as penile rigidity and girth, libido, and patient satisfaction, compared to groups that took less or no ginseng.
Besides ginseng, there are other herbs that can help you cure erectile dysfunction. Read the article: How to cure erectile dysfunction naturally
The herb may improve brain function.
Ginseng can improve memory and protect the brain against age-related mental decline. It improves symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease too. From a study by Pubmed.gov, randomly chosen patients with Alzheimer’s disease who were treated with ginseng powder began to show improvements after 12 weeks of using ginseng.
The active compounds ginsenosides found in ginseng are responsible for mental health. These compounds in ginseng have antioxidants, anti-inflammatory, and neuroprotective properties that can ensure brain health and immunity against inflammation and other attacks.
Ginseng can also stimulate the release of acetylcholine which are neurotransmitters associated with learning and memory.
A study from Sciencedirect.com shows evidence of ginseng preventing neurodegenerative diseases with the health benefits attributed to antioxidants and ginsenoside components in ginseng.
Ginseng can lower blood sugar.
With the increasing number of people with diabetes and high blood pressure, a natural remedy will save a lot of lives especially people who can’t afford medication.
Ginseng can relieve and prevent diabetes and high blood sugar levels.
The compounds in ginseng can lower blood sugar levels even in people with diabetes. Ginseng has shown to improve pancreatic cell function, boost insulin production, and increase the absorption of blood sugar by body tissues.
A study by Pubmed.gov revealed that ginseng has the ability to reduce blood glucose in type 2 diabetes patients.
Ginseng extracts also help in providing antioxidant protection that reduces free radicals in the cells of people with diabetes.
Ginseng has shown potential against certain cancers.
Several studies show that ginseng has anti-cancer properties and can help fight certain cancers.
From a study carried out by Pubmed.gov, red ginseng which is prepared by steaming or heating has increased anticancer activity due to the production of active anticancer ginsenosides during the steaming process.
From the study, ”The major anticancer mechanisms of red ginseng compounds include cell cycle arrest, induction of apoptosis, and inhibition of angiogenesis. The structure-function relationship analysis has revealed that the protopanaxadiol group ginsenosides have more potent effects than the protopanaxatriol group. ”
Related; 12 Amazing cancer-fighting herbs
Ginseng increases energy.
Ginseng has components such as polysaccharides and oligopeptides which can lower oxidative stress and boost energy production in cells thus helping to fight fatigue. Ginseng can also be used to boost energy levels in patients undergoing treatment especially cancer patients.
In a certain study, when a group of 90 people was given 1 or 2 grams of Panax ginseng, they experienced less physical and mental fatigue. There was also a reduction in oxidative stress after taking ginseng.
Ginseng can boost the immune system.
The antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties in ginseng make it a great immune booster.
In a study was carried out by Pubmed.gov; aimed at determining whether ginseng root could induce a higher immune response in vaccination against influenza, out of 227 patients who took an oral capsule of ginseng, very few of them got influenza and the common cold between 4 and 12 weeks.
Although with limited scientific evidence of ginseng boosting the immune system, the anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties in ginseng make it worth to be included in herbs you should use as it helps fight off infections.
What are the side effects of ginseng?
Although ginseng has health benefits, it has got side effects too. Side effects usually come up when the herb is misused, taken in huge amounts, or taken by a group of people who shouldn’t be using it.
- Stomach and digestive complications.
- Changes to blood pressure and blood sugar levels.
- Nervousness and vomiting.
- Nausea and vomiting.
Who should not take ginseng?
Ginseng can cause complications to these types of people and so they shouldn’t use it.
People on diabetes and blood sugar medications: ginseng can alter blood pressure and diabetes medications making the medication less effective thus worsening the condition.
People before and after surgery: ginseng can increase the risk of bleeding especially when taken with blood thinners such as warfarin and aspirin.
Ginseng may reduce the painkilling effect of morphine. If you are using morphine for pain killers, avoid using ginseng.
Important note: If you are to use ginseng for medical purposes, consult with your doctor first to see if it will not cause negative interactions with your medication and health.
Is ginseng good for tea?
The tea made from ginseng has a lot of health benefits which include; boosting energy, increasing libido in men, boosting immunity, and more.
How to make ginseng tea.
What you will need.
- 1 whole dried or fresh ginseng root.
- Large pot or kettle.
- Sweeteners such as sugar, honey. (optional).
- Put to boil 8 cups of water in a large pot over medium heat.
- Wash the root till completely clean and crush or slice it into pieces.
- When the water boils, put the ginseng room and simmer for about 15 minutes.
- Strain or scoop the tea without ginseng root residues.
- Serve while hot and if desired, add sweeteners for a sweet taste.
The bottom line.
Ginseng has health benefits and is popularly used for medicinal purposes. The information given in this article is correct because I gathered information that was backed by science and research.
However, many of the researches were done on a small group of people or even lab rats. It is therefore not recommended to substitute doctors given medication with the use of ginseng.
When you have to use ginseng to treat conditions and diseases, first get advice from your doctor.
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