1- What is Ginseng?
Ginseng is an herb that has been used for almost 2000 years in traditional Chinese medicine and is, in fact, one of the most popular herbal supplements worldwide. The common part of the plant to use in supplements is the root, though some traditional formulas include the stems and leaves. The active compounds are ginsenosides and gintonins, though saponins, dammarane triterpenes, and oleanolic acid are also stated to contribute to the overall effect of ginseng.
There are two main kinds of ginseng: American ginseng and Asian ginseng. While these two varieties are related, they actually have different concentrations of the active ingredients, and therefore different effects. American ginseng is believed to have a relaxing effect while Asian ginseng is believed to have an uplifting and energizing effect.
2- What do Ginseng Supplements Do?
According to Traditional Chinese Medicine, ginseng is used to:
- Increase strength
- Increase blood volume
- Promote energy and appetite
- Quiet the spirit
- Boost wisdom
- Eliminate evil qi
In Western terms, people take ginseng supplements to:
- Boost the immune system and enhance resistance to illness
- Prevent colds and decrease severity of cold symptoms
- Improve your mood
- Support concentration and mental performance
- Help treat cancer, heart disease, and hepatitis C
- Treat erectile dysfunction
- Lessen fatigue
- Improve high blood pressure
- Prevent insomnia
- Lower blood sugar
- Sooth menopause effects
3- Are Ginseng Supplements Safe?
Always consult with a traditional Chinese medicine practitioner before starting a ginseng supplement regime.
There are some contraindications of ginseng, specifically:
- Avoid ginseng if you have a yin deficiency with heat signs
- Avoid ginseng if you have heat due to excess yang
- Avoid ginseng if you have very high blood pressure
Poison control states that ginseng is generally tolerated well and not a risk to consumers.
4- Are There any Side Effects to Taking Ginseng Supplements?
Ginseng supplement side effects are usually mild. When used as a stimulant, it can sometimes cause nervousness or insomnia. High doses can sometimes cause headaches, dizziness, and/or upset stomach.
5- Is Ginseng Supported by Science?
There have been several studies of ginseng by Western medicine and scientists. As always, there is so much more to study, but so far, we’ve had results on:
Enhance Immune System
Studies show ginseng can strengthen the immune system in healthy people and patients with cancer. It has also been shown to enhance the effectiveness of certain vaccines.
Studies show that ginseng reduces inflammation markers and serves as a powerful antioxidant.
Boost Brain Function
Studies show that ginseng can help people feel calm, boost their mood, and activate mental functions in healthy people as well as patients with Alzheimer’s disease.
Improve Erectile Dysfunction
Studies show that ginseng improves erectile dysfunction by stimulating blood flow to penile muscles and lowering oxidative stress.
Studies show ginseng is effective when fighting fatigue and tiredness. Along the same lines, it has shown to lower oxidative stress and boost energy production on the cellular level.
Lower Blood Sugar
Studies show fermented red ginseng helps increase insulin production, promotes the uptake of blood sugar in cells, and protects against oxidation.
6- How Can I Take Ginseng Supplements?
7- How much Ginseng Should I Take?
Again, always consult with a TCM practitioner to know the correct dosage of ginseng to take. Typical dosages are usually between 3 - 9 grams. However, there is some evidence that traditional dosages in TCM are much higher than recommended by non-TCM herbalists.
8- What does Ginseng Taste Like?
Ginseng is bitter sweet.
9- Can I Cook with Ginseng?
Yes! You can find many recipes for incorporating ginseng into your food routine, especially in soup format.
10- Where Can I Buy Ginseng Supplements?
Find several different preparations of ginseng right here at Herbal-Inn, including tea, oral liquid, and capsules.