February 25 2021
Ginseng is the dried root of the plant genus, Panax, and has its roots in China and Vietnam, no pun intended. People have used ginseng infused tea for vitality for ages. China is also the leading producer and importer of Ginseng.
Nature of Ginseng
Ginseng thrives well at an average temperature of 50 F and 40-50 inches of precipitation. The correct time to harvest it is between September to November, when the berries turn red.
The Chinese system of medicine mentions Ginseng as an important herb in the book, "Shanghan Lu", which the oldest text ever found containing the medicinal application. It also elucidates the nature of ginseng which is cool when fresh and warm when cooked. The ginseng has a sweet taste when freshly harvested and becomes slightly bitter after some time.
There are mainly two varieties of Ginseng widely used for commercial purposes: Panax ginseng or Korean Ginseng and Panax quinquefolius or American ginseng.
So, what is the difference between American Ginseng and Korean ginseng?
- American Ginseng or Panax quinquefolius has similar uses to those of Korean ginseng.
- Historical texts have reported that American ginseng has a cooling effect by lowering the body temperature whereas Korean ginseng has a warming effect by increasing the body temperature.
- Korean ginseng is suitable for older people for the short term and American ginseng is recommended for a younger and middle-aged group of people for long term usage.
- Korean ginseng is more stimulating than American ginseng.
There are numerous benefits offered by Panax ginseng or Chinese Ginseng owing to its constituents- Ginsenosides or Panaxosides, which are a class of glycoside saponins. For this reason, it is also known as 'the king of herbs'.
- Augment Memory and Cognitive Skills: Research has proven that ginseng is beneficial in improving arithmetic skills in middle-aged persons. When taken along with Gingko, it improves memory in healthy people aged 38-66.
- Pulmonary diseases: In an era where breathing problems affect every other person, ginseng is beneficial in cases of asthma and Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD).
- Prevent Influenza: Ginseng has a role in preventing the incidence of flu. However, it doesn’t seem to affect the length of illness or the severity of flu symptoms.
- Multiple sclerosis: Ginseng doesn’t directly affect the progression of multiple sclerosis, but helps decrease the severity of symptoms including fatigue and pain.
- Erectile Dysfunction: Ginseng has a role in improving sexual function in men with erectile dysfunction.
- Prevent premature ejaculation in men.
- Alzheimer’s Disease: Mental function can be improved by taking ginseng for 12 weeks.
- Ginseng also helps in improving age-related issues memory recall. Taking it daily can help you remember where you put your favorite sock!
- Early Ginseng studies have concluded that it can reduce the pain associated with nerve sensitivity in people with diabetes.
- Taking red Chinese ginseng for ten weeks helps to reduce bad breath. No need to ingest chemical mouth fresheners anymore, a natural remedy is here!
- Ginseng also might be beneficial in cases of temporary hearing loss caused due to loud noise.
- Is work stress depriving you of a balanced life? Research has also established that Ginseng can reduce work stress and improving attention.
- Red ginseng might also be miraculous in improving symptoms of menopause, including fatigue, depression, and sleep difficulties.
- Pre-diabetes- If you’re experiencing borderline high blood sugar, a combination of red Panax ginseng and cheonggukjang, a type of fermented soya bean paste can aid in decreasing pre-meal blood glucose levels. Fermented Panax ginseng has a role in reducing post-meal blood sugar levels.
- Ginseng is instrumental in improving the overall quality of life by boosting immunity.
What is Siberian Ginseng? Siberian ginseng or Eleutherococcus senticosus, commonly known as Eleuthero is a small woody shrub. The root of the shrub is used to make medicine. Eleuthero, however, does not belong to the true category of ginseng. It is native to Eastern countries and Russia.
The constituents are different from Chinese and American ginseng. It primarily consists of Eleutherosides which are saponin and sterol glycosides. Other constituents are polysaccharides which are polymers of sugar molecules bonded together.
Siberian Ginseng is traditionally used in Russia to prevent cold and flu. It is, therefore, called an ‘adaptogen’ that is a substance that increases immunity and promotes vitality.
Benefits of Siberian Ginseng
- Cold and Flu: Research has found that a combination of Siberian Ginseng and Andrographis reduced the severity of symptoms of cold when taken within 72 hours of origin of symptoms. This combination has also proved better when compared to Amantadine- a drug commonly used to treat cold and flu, in terms of length of illness.
- In Herpes Viral Infection: A study has also proven that Siberian ginseng has a significant role in cases of Herpes Simplex Virus (HSV) Type II which causes genital herpes. Intake of Siberian ginseng has shown a reduced outbreak of the disease and in case of an outbreak, the infection was short-lived and less severe.
- Physical Strength: Siberian ginseng improves athletic performance and muscle strength.
- Mental Alertness: One study conducted on middle-aged people increased attentivity and enhanced memory.
- Siberian ginseng improves the overall quality of life by providing a positive physiological that improves mental and social well-being.
Siberian ginseng interacts with Anticoagulants (blood thinners) and increases their concentration in blood, thereby increasing the risk of bleeding. It also synergistically interacts with anti-diabetic medication and lowers the blood glucose levels that can cause hypoglycemia. In such cases, consultation with a medical health care provider is obligatory.
In the case of pregnancy, ginseng is contraindicated.
Ginseng extracts are available in the market as tablets
ALVIZIA’s Triple Ginseng pack of 100 tablets utilizes the benefits of all the three types of ginseng mentioned- Korean Ginseng, American Ginseng, and Siberian Ginseng in quantity 400mg, 200mg, and 200mg respectively. It is to be used as a supplement to boost immunity, normalizing menstrual flow, reducing stress, and overall improving the quality of life. 1-2 tablets per day dosage is advised.