Ginseng is an herb that grows in East Asia. People often incorporate ginseng herbal medicines into their daily routine for the benefits it provides. Its active ingredients, ginsenosides, provide it with wellness-boosting effects.
There are 12 known types of American and Asian or Korean ginseng. They vary in the amount of ginsenosides they contain. But they provide similar benefits.
This article will look at some of the ways ginseng improves quality of life.
Ginseng Health Benefits
Ginseng’s potential health benefits may include:
1. May Support Blood Sugar
Ginseng is often used to support blood sugar levels already in the normal range. The herb’s extracts have antioxidant characteristics that may protect against free radicals in cells. Studies suggest it may also improve insulin sensitivity and decrease fasting blood sugar. One study showed it to be effective in improving hemoglobin A1c, a marker of long-term blood glucose control.
While any type of ginseng may be worth trying, fermented red ginseng may be the best for blood sugar support for healthy adults. The live bacteria in the fermented products make the ginsenosides more absorbable.
A 2014 study showed that 2.7 grams of red ginseng per day helped to lower blood sugar and insulin levels after meals. However, further clinical trials are needed, so talk to your healthcare provider about what your body needs.
2. May Support Against Cholesterol
Ginseng is said to lower low-density lipoprotein (LDL), also known as bad cholesterol. It may also be effective in maintaining cardiovascular health.
One meta-analysis revealed that ginseng did not yield an improvement in cholesterol. But a closer look at a group of people who took higher doses of ginseng for a longer amount of time saw some changes.
A 2012 study showed red ginseng was particularly effective in reducing cholesterol in postmenopausal women. It also decreased carotid intima-media thickness, which is used to measure heart disease risk. Study authors found it to be a suitable dietary supplement for menopausal women and a possible replacement for HT.
3. Supports Against Inflammation
Ginseng is rich in antioxidants that may help protect against inflammation. It may also reduce oxidative stress.
One study of 12 active males showed ginseng to be effective in reducing inflammation and muscle damage.
Another study revealed that it may lower inflammatory markers interleukin-6 (IL-6) and tumor necrosis.
The study did not show ginseng to affect C-reactive protein (CRP). However, other studies showed it could reduce CRP in people with elevated CRP levels.
4. Supports Cognitive Health
Ginseng may improve vital cognitive functions like memory, mood, and behavior. Some test tube and animal studies reveal it could protect the brain from free radicals. A human study of 6,422 older adults found that regular ginseng doses could improve brain function later in life.
A small study showed taking 200 milligrams of American ginseng improves working memory after three hours. One review showed it could reduce anxiety and depression. Other studies show it can be beneficial to people with memory loss due to aging.
5. Supports Immune System
Research reveals that ginseng, an adaptogen, has anti-bacterial, anti-viral, and anti-fungal properties. An animal study showed a black red ginseng extract boosted immune cells and antioxidant levels in the liver. A third study of 100 people showed that taking 2 grams of Korean red ginseng every day for eight weeks increases immune cells.
Many studies suggest ginseng’s health benefits. However, more research is needed to establish if it’s as effective as many studies reveal.
Moreover, the herbal market is highly unregulated. It can be difficult to find ginseng as pure and potent as advertised. It is also not recommended for pregnant and breastfeeding women. No standard dose has been prescribed.
Studies have shown ginseng root can do wonderful things. More clinical studies are needed to determine its effectiveness and potential side effects, but it seems promising so far. Will you add it to your dietary routine to support your well-being
To learn more, read our blog article about selecting the best ginseng supplement.