Ginseng: Benefits, Uses and Side Effects
December 23, 2021
December 23, 2021
Ginseng is one of the most popular natural medications. For ages, it has found its application in traditional Chinese medicine. It is a small, slow-growing plant with bulbous roots. Ginseng has the potential to replenish and promote well-being. It is known as man-root as it provides benefits to the whole body. Ginseng benefits range from boosting immunity to improving memory. In addition, this medicinal root offers an umbrella of health benefits and culinary uses.
Ginseng is a medicinal plant with thick roots. Its plant is short and has sluggish growth. Ginseng is light in colour with fork-shaped roots. The stalk of the ginseng plant is tall and has oval green leaves.
There are several species of this plant. The most common types are American ginseng (Panax quinquefolius) and Asian ginseng (Ginseng P.). American ginseng and Asian ginseng both offer similar benefits. Both increase energy, decrease blood sugar and cholesterol, reduce stress, induce relaxation, and manage sexual dysfunction in males.
Ginseng is available in fresh, red and white variants. The harvesting of red ginseng is at least five years after its plantation. Red ginseng is thus, a mature ginseng variety. e
Supplements in the markets use red ginseng root as natural medicine. However, it typically signifies that high-quality red ginseng is expensive.
White ginseng is the dried yet unprocessed root. The steamed and dried root is known as red ginseng.
Red ginseng offers multiple health benefits. It may heighten alertness and may also help with erectile dysfunction. In addition, red ginseng may help prevent colds. It may also reduce the severity of the symptoms of heart disease.
Ginseng is rich in antioxidants and is anti-inflammatory. One tsp ginseng provides:
It also contains some amounts of vitamin C. In addition, it has other vitamins like vitamin B1, B12, B2 and folic acid. However, these are present in minute quantities.
Ginseng has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects.
Ginseng may treat erectile dysfunction in men. In addition, it appears that the substances in it may protect against oxidative stress in blood vessels and tissues in the penis. Hence, it may aid in the restoration of normal function.
Study results show that ginseng extract enhanced sexual performance in 119 men. It was an eight-week trial on men having mild-to-moderate erectile dysfunction. The results were promising.
Various reviews discuss the benefits of red ginseng on erectile dysfunction. However, the number of studies, overall sample size, and experimental method quality were insufficient to establish continued therapeutic benefits. Hence, more research is required to evaluate whether Ginseng is a safe and effective therapy for erectile dysfunction.
Ginseng is rich in two compounds- ginsenosides and gintonin. These substances work together to provide health benefits.
Ginsenosides in ginseng appear to control inflammation, offer antioxidant protection, and preserve cell health. Consequently, it lowers the risk of certain cancers.
Ginseng may also help improve the health of chemotherapy patients. It works by reducing the adverse effects of the treatment. In addition, ginseng may increase the effectiveness of some treatment medications. Overall, these properties may be beneficial for cancer patients.
While research on the effect of ginseng in cancer prevention has shown some promising results, it remains equivocal.
According to a study, ginseng may help decrease blood sugar and manage diabetes. Ginsenosides may influence insulin synthesis in the pancreas. It reduces insulin resistance through different pathways.
However, there is a need for more clinical trials to evaluate whether supplemental use of ginseng for diabetes treatment. The doses for the same must also be derived.
Ginseng may help relieve exhaustion and boost energy. Some components in ginseng deliver this benefit. Polysaccharides and oligopeptides are two of them. These are said to decrease oxidative stress. It also leads to an increase in energy synthesis in cells. Thus, it may aid in fatigue management.
Ginseng may also support the stimulation of physical and mental activity. This effect was notable in weary and weak volunteers. In one study involving 21 men and 69 women, ginseng was effective in helping people with chronic fatigue.
Ginseng may improve brain functions and boost mood. These effects were visible in both healthy and Alzheimer’s patients. Additionally, there is some preliminary evidence that ginseng may improve focus and short-term memory.
A study was on 30 healthy volunteers proves the above. They were given 200 mg of Panax ginseng daily for four weeks. The results show improvement in their mental health, social functioning, and mood at the end of the trial. But these benefits ceased to be substantial after eight weeks. Therefore, it may suggest that the effects of ginseng may diminish with long-term usage.
While these studies are fascinating, many experts believe that additional data is required.
A study shows the plausible effects of ginseng on flu in mice. Ginseng is a reliable source for the treatment and prevention of flu. It may also work against the respiratory syncytial virus (RSV). It is a virus that causes lung and respiratory infections.
However, based on the current findings of the studies, it is unknown how the anti-viral mechanisms in ginseng function.
Ginseng is a root herb. Hence, one can prepare in multiple ways and add to different dishes.
Here are some culinary uses of ginseng:
Currently, there are no guidelines for ginseng dosages for any condition. In addition, the quality of active substances in supplements might vary between manufacturers. Therefore, it makes establishing a standard dosage difficult.
Always purchase ginseng from a reputable source. Ginseng is a valuable root. Hence, there is a possibility that untrustworthy producers would sell it with other ingredients or with less than what the bottle displays.
Generally, ginseng does not have many side effects. But, some adverse effects are usually mild. For example, it may lead to anxiousness and sleeplessness. Long-term or high-dose ginseng consumption can cause headaches, vertigo, abdominal discomfort, and other side effects.
Women who use ginseng daily may have menstrual irregularities. Additionally, ginseng may cause allergic responses.
There is a lack of data concerning the safety of ginseng use by children and during pregnancy or nursing. Hence, it is safer to avoid ginseng consumption in such cases.
Ginseng may interact with medicines. For example, it may potentially interact with warfarin and several antidepressant medications.
Caffeine may enhance the stimulating effects of ginseng.
Note: To minimise the side effects of ginseng, some experts recommend not using it for longer than three months. Or even a few weeks at a go. Hence, avoid the long term use of ginseng.
The Chinese have been using ginseng as a herbal supplement for generations. It is well-known for its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. It may also improve blood sugar levels and may be beneficial to treat some cancers.
Furthermore, ginseng may help boost the immune system, improve cognitive function, combat weariness, and alleviate the symptoms of erectile dysfunction.
There are a variety of ways to use ginseng in food. For example, you can have it fresh or mildly steamed. Or you can add it to soups and porridges. You can also include extract, pill, or powder in your diet.
However, the risks of consuming ginseng should be kept in mind. People with diabetes and those on medications should talk to their health care provider before consuming this root.
Ginseng is worth trying as it helps address a specific ailment and enhance your health.
A. Ginseng has lots of antioxidants and is great for flu. It contains qualities that improve immunity and boost energy levels. In addition, studies state that it may be beneficial for cancer patients.
A. Ginseng may cause anxiety and sleeplessness. Long-term or high-dose ginseng consumption can cause headaches, dizziness, stomach discomfort, and other side effects. Women who use ginseng daily may have menstrual irregularities. Ginseng may also lead to an allergic response in some people. Therefore, it is not recommended for kids, pregnant and breastfeeding women to use ginseng.
A. Side effects of ginseng may cause insomnia, dizziness, headache and rapid heartbeats.
A. Ginseng has no linkages to liver injury. However, it does have the potential to cause severe herb-drug interactions that can lead to liver injury.
A. Ginseng may treat erectile dysfunction in men. It may also increase the libido in men. However, more study is imperative to evaluate whether Ginseng is a safe and effective therapy for erectile dysfunction.
A. Ginseng may stimulate estrogen signalling. Thus, it may regulate estrogen levels.
A. Ginseng is rich in antioxidants and is anti-inflammatory. One tsp ginseng provides:
A. Ginseng contains some amounts of vitamin C. It also has other vitamins like vitamin B1, B12, B2 and folic acid. But these are present in minute quantities.
A. Ginseng may act as an adaptogenic for females. It will fight fatigue and boost energy levels. However, women who use ginseng daily may have menstrual irregularities. In addition, pregnant and breastfeeding women should avoid it due to a lack of evidence regarding its safety.
A. Ginseng is typically safe for the general healthy population. However, avoid using it in large quantities or for the long term. Doctors do not recommend the use of ginseng for an extended time. Therefore, you should avoid using Asian ginseng for more than three months at a go.
A. No, ginseng does not cause weight gain. On the contrary, ginseng inhibits weight gain in animal models.
A. Ashwagandha and ginseng are different plants. However, both are anti-inflammatory and may cure the flu.