What Does Ginseng Do?
The health benefits of ginseng are numerous, including ginseng benefits for the mind, immune system, sexual function, and energy levels.
But What Does Ginseng Do?
- Increases endurance, both mentally and physically
- Provides an energy boost
- Normalizes bodily functions
- Improves cholesterol levels
- Helps to prevent cancer
- Enhances sexual desire by improving sex hormone production
- Fights fatigue and strengthens the nervous system
- Is helpful in treatment of memory loss
- Helps balance blood sugar levels
- Improves immune function
- Slows the aging process
- Helps normalize menstruation
- Helps ease childbirth
- Is an effective antioxidant
- Protects the liver from toxins
- Increases absorption of nutrients
The benefits of ginseng have been known to include the effective treatment of…
- Double vision
- Periodontal disease
- Alzheimer’s disease
The benefits of ginseng are reported to be mostly preventative in nature, and its benefits are heightened with long-term use. Optimal benefits are said to be reached with a dosage of between 500 and 1500 mg per day.
Since ginseng is an adaptogen, it helps balance and off-set the effects of stress on the body.
Types of Ginseng
Korean Ginseng (Panax, Chinese, Asian)
Korean ginseng benefits cover a wide variety of conditions, including cancer, anxiety, colds, flu, and lowering blood levels of sugar and cholesterol.
Panax ginseng is known most commonly as an adaptogen, meaning that it helps the body adapt to excess stress.
Other benefits of Korean ginseng include treating heart and lung conditions as well as enhancing overall health. As ginseng has a relaxing effect on the muscles in the lungs, this in turn may help to calm asthma symptoms and other airway-constricting lung conditions.
Some studies indicate that panax ginseng can increase memory and improve thought process.
Taking panax ginseng may also enhance male fertility by increasing sperm count, quality, and movement.
Siberian Ginseng (eleuthero)
Siberian ginseng is able to stimulate physical and mental activity. It has been known to regulate basic metabolism, normalize sleep, lower blood pressure, and enhance the amount of red corpuscles and hemoglobin in the blood.
Potential benefits of Siberian ginseng also include reducing blood sugar and cholesterol levels, improving memory and concentration, and boosting immune system function. Studies also show antiviral and anticancer properties.
Precautions: Those with diabetes should avoid large doses of eleuthero because it can potentially lower blood sugar too low, causing hypoglycemia. Taking eleuthero for more than two months continuously is not recommended. Those with heart disease can experience rapid heart beat or high blood pressure
American Ginseng (quinquefolium)
American ginseng is known to be effective for organ health and in fighting infections. May help control the blood sugar surge that generally occurs after eating. Research has shown that diabetics have experienced a significant reduction in blood glucose two hours after treatment with ginseng.
American ginseng is believed to fight mental and physical fatigue and stress by supporting the adrenal glands. Other benefits of ginseng include improving immune system response and occasional overactive behavior.
Ginseng Side Effects & Precautions
Since ginseng is a stimulant, caution should be exercised if you use other stimulants such as caffeine. Ginseng can cause nervousness and restlessness in some people, particularly if taken at high doses. It also may cause insomnia, especially if taken close to bedtime.
Those with hypertension should use ginseng with caution and consult with a physician before use. In some people it can cause hypertension (high blood pressure), and in others it can cause hypotension (low blood pressure).
As ginseng tends to lower blood sugar levels, those with diabetes should consult with their physician prior to using ginseng.
Other possible reactions can include anxiety, euphoria, diarrhea, vomiting, headache, nosebleed, breast pain, and vaginal bleeding.
As you can see, the benefits of ginseng are many, but use caution and check with your healthcare practitioner or herbalist before using any new herb, especially if you’re pregnant or have an existing health condition.
If you experience symptoms such as breathing problems, tightness in the throat or chest, chest pain, skin hives or rash, the use of ginseng should be discontinued.
Many excellent ginseng supplements are available over the counter. Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) practices typically recommend doses of Asian ginseng between 2 to 8 grams as a tonic or preventive measure and 15 to 20 grams for acute issues.
For treatment of diabetes, researchers have found 1 to 3 grams of American ginseng taken 40 minutes before each meal to be effective in reducing blood sugar levels.
When using Siberian ginseng, the recommended dosage is 1 to 2 grams daily in capsule form, which should be divided into two or three doses throughout the day. For liquid extract, the recommended dosage is 1 to 2 milliliters twice daily.