Medicinal Plant #9: The Wonders of Ginseng

Updated: 6 days ago


Background


Ginseng has been used in traditional Chinese medicine for centuries. This slow-growing, short plant with fleshy roots can be classified in three ways, depending on how long it is grown: fresh, white, or red.


Ginseng can increase the resistance to environmental stress and is used as a general tonic to improve health. For many other reasons, Asian ginseng is also promoted as a dietary supplement: improve physical strength, concentration, and memory; stimulate immune function; slow down the aging process; and relieve various other health problems, such as respiratory and cardiovascular diseases, depression, and anxiety And menopausal hot flashes. The topical (applied to the skin) of Asian ginseng is promoted as part of a multi-component preparation for premature ejaculation.


Effectiveness of Ginseng:


1. May improve brain function

Memory and thinking ability (cognitive function). Taking ginseng may improve the abstract thinking, mental arithmetic skills, and reaction time of healthy middle-aged people, but it will not improve young people. Ginseng alone does not seem to improve memory. But there is evidence that the combination of ginseng and ginkgo biloba extract can improve the memory of other healthy people between 38 and 66 years old.

Studies have shown that Ginseng has been shown to benefit mental functions, feelings of calmness, and mood in both healthy people and those with Alzheimer’s disease.


2. Can improve erectile dysfunction

Erectile dysfunction, or ED, refers to the inability to achieve or maintain an erection suitable for sexual intercourse. Causes include medications, chronic diseases, poor blood flow to the penis, drinking too much alcohol, or being tired. Ginseng can improve the symptoms of erectile dysfunction by reducing oxidative stress in tissues and improving blood flow in penile muscles.


3. May boost the immune system

Several studies investigating the effects on the immune system have focused on cancer patients undergoing surgery or chemotherapy. Studies show that people who took ginseng had a higher than 35% chance of living without illness for five years after radical surgery, and a higher survival rate of up to 38% than those who did not. (link)


4. Can increase energy level

Ginseng has been found to help relieve fatigue and promote energy. In various animal studies, some components of ginseng, such as polysaccharides and oligopeptides, are associated with lowering cellular oxidative stress and increasing energy production, which can help combat fatigue. (sample study)

Ginseng can help reduce oxidative damage, increase cellular energy production, relieve fatigue and improve physical activity. Taking ginseng daily for 3 months reduces fatigue in women with multiple sclerosis and improves the quality of life.


5. Could lower blood sugar

One study evaluated the effectiveness of 6-gram ginseng plus over-the-counter diabetes medications or diet in 19 people with type 2 diabetes. Interestingly, they were able to maintain good glycemic control during the 12-week study period. In addition, blood glucose levels increased by 11 degrees, fasting insulin increased by 38%, and insulin sensitivity increased by 33%. (link)

Ginseng, especially fermented red ginseng, can help increase insulin production, improve the absorption of blood sugar by cells, and provide antioxidant protection.


Avoid consuming Ginseng if you are:

1. Pregnant or breastfeeding mom

2. Infant and children

3. If you have an existing autoimmune disease such as lupus

4. A patient with diabetes

5. People with existing heart conditions


Traditionally, ginseng is consumed in a form of tea. You may follow the recipe below.


Korean Ginseng Tea Recipe

Ingredients:

  • 10 slices dried ginseng root, peeled

  • Honey, to taste

  • 5 cups water

Directions:

  1. Prepare all the ingredients.

  2. Coat the ginseng with a generous amount of honey, stir, and let sit for 15 minutes.

  3. In a small pot, heat the water over high heat until it is very hot, but do not make it to the point of boiling. Pour the hot water in the ginseng and honey and let it sit for 5 to 10 minutes.

  4. Strain out the ginseng slices.

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