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What is Ginseng and What Does it Do?

People all over the world are utilizing natural remedies as an alternative to modern medicine. They prefer them because they tend not to cause side effects. They are also a less expensive solution. People utilize meditation, herbs, and yoga to reach their health goals.

Ginseng is one of the most popular Eastern herbal medicines. It has several potential health benefits, including supporting immunity, cognitive function, reproductive issues, helping with high blood pressure, and more. It’s no wonder its name is derived from the Greek word “panakeia,” meaning “all healing.”

What is Ginseng and What Does it Do?

Ginseng was first discovered in northern China over 5,000 years ago. It grows in cool climates in Korea, Siberia, China, and the United States. It is often nicknamed “man-root” due to its human-like shape.

There are 13 known species of ginseng throughout the world, but the most popular are the main two types: Asian ginseng and American ginseng. The main difference is the amount of ginsenosides they contain. Ginsenosides give the herb its medicinal properties. However, all species of ginseng provide similar benefits.

What are the Benefits of Ginseng?

The benefits of ginseng are not strongly backed by science. However, people have reported health improvements when taking the herb. They include:

Rich in Antioxidants: Some test-tube studies have shown that ginseng is rich in antioxidants that reduce inflammation and oxidative stress that contributes to chronic disease. One human study showed ginseng reduced muscle damage and inflammation in active males. Another showed it reduced oxidative stress in postmenopausal women.

May Improve Cognition: Test tube and animal studies revealed that ginseng can benefit brain functions like memory, mood, and behavior. One study of 6,422 older adults showed it can improve cognitive function later in life. One review revealed it may reduce stress, depression, and anxiety.

May Reduce Erectile Dysfunction: Some research suggests ginseng may be an alternative treatment for erectile dysfunction. It may combat oxidative stress in the blood vessels of the penis to restore function. One review of nine studies showed it can improve sexual performance in males.

May Boost Immunity: The antioxidants in ginseng have been shown to boost immunity. Its anti-fungal, anti-bacterial, and anti-viral properties may also benefit the immune system. Korean red ginseng was shown to increase immune cells in 100 people as compared to a placebo.

How Do You Take Ginseng?

Ginseng can be taken as a supplement in extract, pill, or powder form. It can also be consumed in many forms. You can peel and chew the root raw, you can drink it in tea, or you can soak it in wine to make an extract.

Ginseng Risks

Ginseng appears to be safe for most people for short-term use when taken as recommended. However, no standard dose has been established. There are also questions concerning its long-term safety in regards to the effects of ginseng.

Experts recommend against ginseng root use in infants, children, and women who are pregnant or breastfeeding. Additionally, they advise people not to take it for more than 2-3 months at a time.

Ginseng extract is also not regulated by the FDA so it may not be as pure and potent as advertised. It should only be taken on the advice of a medical provider. Side effects should be monitored. More research is needed to establish how safe and effective it can be.

To learn more, read our blog article about selecting the best ginseng supplement.

Will you add it to your wellness routine?