The root that is popularly known as "ginseng" is a potent natural energizer. Although several plants have variants on this name, most medicinal properties are attributed to Korean ginseng (Panax ginseng), American ginseng (Panax quinquefolis) and Siberian ginseng (Eleutherococcus senticosus).
This "superfood" can fight fatigue, improve stress response situations and stimulate concentration. Ginseng also strengthens the immune system, treats diabetes and improves athletic performance. Want to know more about the wonderful properties of ginseng? Read on to find out!
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- 2 Key Facts
- 3 Weekly newsletter with the best personal finance tips
- 4 Our Selection: The Best Ginseng Products
- 5 Buyer's Guide: Everything You Need to Know About Ginseng
- 5.1 What are the health benefits of ginseng?
- 5.2 Who can benefit from the properties of ginseng?
- 5.3 What types of ginseng supplements exist and which one is right for me?
- 5.4 Why is ginseng recommended for athletes?
- 5.5 Is ginseng an aphrodisiac?
- 5.6 How do you take ginseng?
- 5.7 How should diabetic people take ginseng?
- 5.8 What is the recommended dose of ginseng?
- 5.9 Does ginseng contain caffeine?
- 5.10 How long does it take until the effects of ginseng are noticed?
- 5.11 What adverse effects can ginseng cause?
- 6 Shopping Criteria
- 7 Summary
- Ginseng is a root that, although it can be consumed in its natural form, is usually consumed as capsules, tablets, teas or extracts.
- Ginseng is widely recognized for its energizing, "adaptogenic" and stimulating properties for cognitive function. It also improves immunity, improves circulation and lowers blood glucose levels.
- There are several types of ginseng: Korean, American, Siberian, among others. Korean ginseng can be red or white, depending on its collection age and the processing it undergoes.
- To buy a good ginseng product you must choose the correct variety and verify that it contains a high concentration of active ingredients.
Our Selection: The Best Ginseng Products
A multitude of products are marketed under the name "ginseng." However, although several products may contain ginseng, there may be notable differences in their active ingredients and their functions in the body. If you want to make a successful purchase, that will help your health, you can choose from our favorite ginseng supplements:
Buyer's Guide: Everything You Need to Know About Ginseng
What are the health benefits of ginseng?
- They combat exhaustion, weakness and fatigue due to their energizing and revitalizing effect.
- They strengthen the immune system and increase resistance against infectious agents (bacteria and viruses).
- Improve the ability to respond to stressful situations.
- They aid in liver detoxification against various substances, including alcohol.
- They help restore the homeostasis of the body, that is, the body's overall internal balance.
- They improve circulation and lower total and LDL ("bad") cholesterols.
- They act as antioxidants (counteract oxidation caused by free radicals) and enhance the effects of Vitamin E, which also has antioxidant properties.
On an aesthetic level, ginseng can promote the health and appearance of skin and hair, whether it is used topically (for example, in creams or shampoos) or if it is consumed orally.
Ginseng improves hydration, smoothness and elasticity of the skin. At the capillary level, it strengthens hair and prevents the breakage of the hair fibers.
Who can benefit from the properties of ginseng?
- Tiredness or exhaustion
- Memory problems and lack of concentration.
- People who are exposed to situations that demand physical or mental overexertion.
- Individuals who are under a high degree of stress.
- Older adults.
- Individuals with loss of appetite.
- People with insulin resistance or Type II Diabetes--always under medical supervision.
- Individuals who want to prevent flu or colds.
What types of ginseng supplements exist and which one is right for me?
- Korean Ginseng (Panax ginseng): This is the "official" ginseng, whose content of ginsenosides and panaxanos make it a "superfood" with enormous potential to improve health. Korean ginseng can be white or red, the latter being the one with the greatest therapeutic effect. It is used as an energizer, adaptogen and stimulant of brain function.
- American Ginseng (Panax quinquefolium): As in the case of Korean ginseng, most of the properties of this variety are due to the ginsenosides it provides. It helps prevent respiratory conditions, such as the common cold and the flu. It also exerts a hypoglycemic effect (reduction of blood glucose) in diabetics and non-diabetics.
- Siberian Ginseng (Eleutherococcus senticosus): This plant belongs to the same family as Korean ginseng and American ginseng, but its active ingredients are different. Instead of ginsenosides and panaxanos they provide eleutherosides and eleutheranos. It increases energy levels, supports immune functions and lowers blood glucose level.
Why is ginseng recommended for athletes?
- Improves physical exercise: more resistance and less fatigue.
- Prevents the heart rate from increasing too much during physical exercise.
- Accelerates recovery after physical exertion (training or competition).
- Improves cardiac efficiency by decreasing oxygen consumption by the heart.
Is ginseng recommended for people who practice anaerobic sports activities, for example, weightlifting? In these cases, ginseng supplements offer no significant benefits (nor harm). None of the ginseng varieties are known to be useful for increasing strength or muscle mass.
Is ginseng an aphrodisiac?
- The improvement of blood circulation, which favors the circulation of the genital area.
- In the case of man, ginseng ginsenosides act as vasodilators that facilitate erections.
- Energizing, invigorating and anti-fatigue effect.
- The feeling of general well-being and improvement of mood.
How do you take ginseng?
It is also important not to exceed the recommended dose and to use rest periods. For example, you can consume ginseng for 3 weeks and rest one, or consume it for 12 weeks in a row and rest for 1 month. Sometimes people take an excess of ginseng to speed up the results and this results in unwanted side effects.
How should diabetic people take ginseng?
What is the recommended dose of ginseng?
Does ginseng contain caffeine?
How long does it take until the effects of ginseng are noticed?
What adverse effects can ginseng cause?
- Elevated blood pressure.
- In women: Breast pain and abnormal vaginal bleeding.
Anyone taking medication or suffering from a chronic illness should consult their doctor before starting to consume ginseng.
Diabetics treated with insulin or oral antidiabetics (for example, metformin) can only take ginseng under medical supervision because there is a risk of severe hypoglycemia.
Once you have identified the most beneficial ginseng variety for you, you should evaluate other aspects inherent to that particular formula and the ingredients of the supplement. The following are the shopping criteria that should not be ignored if you want to purchase a ginseng product of optimum quality:
Variety of Ginseng
WE have discussed each variety of ginseng (Korean, American or Siberian). It is essential to choose the right type of ginseng for the desired purpose. For example, to stimulate memory and concentration, Korean ginseng is recommended, while any of the 3 varieties can be effective in increasing energy.
In the case of Korean ginseng, it can be white or red. It is actually the same plant, but the processing and age of the plant differ. As for processing, the red ginseng, of superior quality, is subjected to freeze-drying to concentrate its ginsenosides and increase its stability.
Age of the Plant at the Time of Collection
As we have seen, the ginseng plant must be at least 4 years old so that its active ingredients are in sufficient concentration to benefit human health. To obtain white ginseng, the harvest is done when the plant has reached 4 years, while, to make red ginseng supplements, the plant must be at least 6 years old.
Most ginseng consumers describe its flavor as similar to that of licorice, that is, bittersweet and somewhat like anise. This taste is noticeable if ginseng is consumed in the form of liquid extract or powder. In contrast, capsules made from extracts have almost no taste at all.
Although ginseng is made of plant origin, the material of the capsules may be animal gelatin and, consequently, said product will not be suitable for vegans or vegetarians. To buy a 100% vegetable ginseng supplement, the capsule material must be "hydroxypropyl methylcellulose" (HPMC) or "modified cellulose."
Ginseng is much more than a natural energizer. Its effects on brain function, physical performance and resistance to stress make it a supplement that can be very beneficial for students, athletes and people who are facing stressful situations, physically or mentally.
Although toxicity is quite uncommon, ginseng can cause side effects. To ensure safe consumption of ginseng, it is important to take it properly. This implies respecting the recommended dose (depending on the form of presentation) and not taking it for more than 2 or 3 months in a row without alternating consumption with a rest period.
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(Source of Featured Image: Joannawnuk: 101905964/ 123rf.com)