Ginseng is considered one of the most important trading items even back in the day. It has the capacity to boost one’s immunity as well as increase mental and physical performance. This wonder herb has been used in ancient China, and wars have been fought over this prized commodity.  Even in today’s market, a single root of the wild Panax ginseng can easily fetch a hefty price—something around $50,000.

Ginseng comes in different variants, but among the popular ones are the Asian (Panax Ginseng)/Korean ginseng and the American ginseng (Panax quinquefolius), both of which are referred to as “true” ginseng.  The Russian/Siberian (Eleutherococcus senticosus) ginseng is somewhat like a distant relative.  And the uses of these three ginseng variants are based primarily on ginseng’s ability to help people enhance their mental, physical and immune performances.

How does this herb work?

Ginseng’s been subjected to numerous studies—all exploring its mechanisms of action. Apparently, the active components in ginseng are called ginsenosides, which tend to act on the body’s central nervous system. When utilized, ginseng can kickstart the production of antibodies that can help resist a horde of infections such as the common colds, flu, and a bunch of respiratory dilemmas. In fact, Asian ginseng have shown properties that can help protect the body from cancers and also includes healing properties for to make way for a speedy recovery post-treatment. The Siberian ginseng on the other hand has eleuthorosides–substances that can improve the performance of the immune system which enables it to produce more of those protective T-cells.

Other sets of studies have shown that ginseng contains ginsenosides Rb1 and Rg1, components that are linked to improved cognitive functions which include memory and concentration. Ginseng can also fight male impotence by lessening the blood levels of prolactin—a protein that causes erectile dysfunction.  Asian ginseng is recommended for increasing sperm levels and motility, as well as improving sex drive for men, while Korean ginseng is said to be effective in increasing the libido of women.

How is ginseng used?

Ginseng is available in many forms of preparation. It can be sold in whole root, powder, extract, capsule and tablet forms. There are also ginseng teas being sold in the market.  Though considered as generally safe, a consult with a doctor is recommended prior to the therapeutic usage of ginseng. Also, Panax ginseng may interact with medications for diabetes, depression and may counter the effects of warfarin and other flu vaccines. Ginseng has not been generally tested for pregnant women and those who are breastfeeding so it’s best to stay off the product or use only under strict medical supervision.

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A Breakdown of Ginseng’s Health Benefits

  1. Improves the immune system
  2. Boosts the body’s inflammatory response.
  3. Helps in controlling type 2 diabetes by lowering blood sugar levels in the body.
  4. Increases insulin sensitivity in healthy persons.
  5. Aids in weight loss/management.
  6. Improves working memory in young individuals as well as middle-aged adults.
  7. Helps fight cancer by suppressing tumour growth. Ginseng has shown particular promise especially in the treatment of colorectal cancer.
  8. Fights colds and flu.
  9. Improves the symptoms of ADHD in children and teens.
  10. Induces mood improvement, relaxation and stress relief.
  11. Promotes heart health with its anti-hypertensive properties.
  12. Helps treat erectile dysfunction.
  13. Helps relieve certain menopausal symptoms.
  14. Improves overall mental performance.

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