Ginseng is a healthy extract from a flavourful plant of the same name. The most common types are American ginseng and Asian ginseng. They differ based on how concentrated they are in active compounds. Studies show that American ginseng is relaxing while the Asian gingseng is a stimulant. It can also be classified by colour. There is fresh, white, or red ginseng. This is determined by the period of harvest. Fresh ginseng is harvested within four years while white is between four and six years, and red after six years.
It’s rich in antioxidants and other nutrients that have been highly beneficial. Not only is it a popular additive to energy drinks, but it is also commonly used in traditional Chinese medicine. The most potent active compounds are ginsenosides and gintonin. These are the compounds that have proven benefits listed below.
1. Low blood sugar
Studies show that ginseng can help lower blood sugar in people with diabetes. It can help improve fasting glucose levels which is the blood sugar levels after a period of no eating. However, it doesn’t change blood sugar levels after eating.
2. Reduce inflammation
Research shows that ginseng has anti-inflammatory benefits. Ginsenoside compounds inhibit oxidative damage to cells which contribute to chronic illness like cancer. Ginseng can also reduce exercise-induced muscle damage. It also increases antioxidant enzyme activity. 5 Easy Anti-Inflammatory Recipes To Try
Health And Nutrition: Foods That Fight Inflammation
3. Improve brain function
Brain functions like memory, mood, and behaviour can be improved by ginseng. Studies show that ginsenosides and compound K also protect the brain from free radicals that increase the risk of chronic illness. Regular consumption of American ginseng, for at least five years, can also improve cognitive function. Taking 200mg can also improve memory after three hours. American ginseng can also help reduce stress and improve depression symptoms. Further research found that it can also be beneficial for patients with Alzheimer’s.
4. Treat erectile dysfunction
One of the causes of erectile dysfunction is the oxidative stress of blood vessels and tissues in the penis. As mentioned earlier, ginseng can reduce oxidative stress after consistent consumption. If you have ED, the compound can work as an alternative treatment. Asian ginseng also works as a nitric booster which increases nitric oxide in the blood vessels which makes them increase in size. This boosts blood flow which is beneficial for penis function. More research is needed to confirm the total efficacy in patients with ED.
What Is Erectile Dysfunction And The Best Ways To Treat It
5. Immune booster
Ginseng contains anti-microbial effects. This helps boost immune function. Studies show that black red ginseng increases the number of immune cells in the liver.
Lifestyle: 6 Immune Boosting Foods You Should Eat More
Ginseng can help deal with fatigue and increase energy levels. This is why it’s a popular additive in energy drinks. It also leads to higher energy production in cells. Both types of ginseng can also help cancer patients dealing with cancer-related fatigue. Taking supplements can also improve athletic performance.
Feeling Tired? Try These Healthy Energy Boosters
7. Reduce the risk of cancer
Lifestyle and genetics are the most common risk factors for cancer. Smoking cigarettes is one of the riskiest habits that can lead to cancer. However, some foods reduce the risk of cancer. Ginseng is one of them. Ginsenosides can reduce the growth and production of abnormal cells. This means it can help people get cancer treatment. A review found that people who regularly take ginseng have a 16% lower chance of developing cancer.
8. Lower bad cholesterol levels
Ginseng can help lower bad cholesterol levels which increases the risk of plaque buildup in blood vessels. However, it only works for low-density lipoprotein levels (LDLs). There is no evidence to suggest it reduces high-density lipoprotein levels (HDLs). HDLs are considered beneficial cholesterol which also helps reduce LDLs (bad cholesterol).
9 Natural Ways To Lower Your Cholesterol Levels
9. Improve libido for women
Red ginseng can help improve sex drive for women. Taking 3g each day can help boost libido. This is because it promotes nitric oxide production, which improves blood circulation. Boosting blood flow makes it easier to achieve and maintain arousal. Korean red ginseng can also improve sex drive in women experiencing menopause. Can You Still Have Sex After Menopause? Here Is What You Need To Know
Low Sex Drive In Women – Causes, Symptoms, And Remedies
How to take ginseng safely
It comes as a powder, tablets, supplements, and extracts. Ordinarily, people take two capsules a day with food. You can also dissolve the powder in water, juice, smoothies, or herbal tea. You can also chew on the raw root, soak the peeled raw root in wine, boil it to make tea, and boil the dried root to make an extract.
The safest amount to take for adults is 100-3000mg of American ginseng, and 200-3000mg of Asian ginseng daily. The American variant is safe for up to 12 weeks while Asian is safe for up to 6 months. You may experience side effects such as headaches and increased heart rate just like a stimulant. Asian extract can also act like oestrogen if taken for more than six months.
Children and pregnant mothers should avoid it. You should also not take it if you suffer from insomnia, blood clotting disorders, oestrogen-sensitive conditions, high blood pressure, schizophrenia, and autoimmune disorders. Avoid it if you are on anti-depressants, immunosuppressants, diabetes medications, and blood thinners.
8 Benefits Of Maca Root You Should Know
Health: 5 Benefits Of Ginger
Health: Foods For Managing High Blood Pressure
How Cinnamon Improves Memory And Mood
The Benefits Of Tea
Health: Foods That Are Beneficial For People Undergoing Chemotherapy