Ginseng, also known as Korean ginseng or panax ginseng, is an adaptogen, stress reliever and an energizer. The majority of people use ginseng to relieve stress and ease fatigue. It is sold as a tonic that can help re-energize both the body and mind.
Ginseng has been used for centuries in Asia. It was first used as food and then it was realized that the root had many health benefits. Over the years, ginseng has become a national symbol of good health for the chinese. Considered to the be ultimate tonic, Ginseng is now one of the most popular supplements used by people all over the world.
Ginseng is classified as an adaptogen, a substance that can increase tolerance to both physical and mental stress. Additionally it has the ability to rejuvenate the entire body. Unlike many other herbs, panax ginseng is most effective when the roots are at least 6 years old. In general, the older the root, the most effective it is. Coincidentally, the older the root, the higher the cost of the herb. Even though Ginseng is commercially grown, it appears that the wild variety is more potent.
Ginseng is not a one shot deal and needs to be taken regularly to derive the health benefits.
The extracts from the root of ginseng are rich in many minerals, vitamins, calcium, manganese, iron, phosphorus, sodium, magnesium and potassium. In addition, one may also find substances called ginsenosides and panoxides. It is these two saponins that are responsible for the actions of ginseng. Laboratory work has shown that these saponins can enhance the immune system, slow down tumor growth, stabilize blood pressure, stimulate the bone marrow and decrease blood sugars. Further, it appears that these saponins may also act on the adrenal gland and be responsible for their testosterone like activity.
Besides rejuvenating the body, ginseng has the following health benefits:
- It lowers stress
- It can decrease levels of blood cholesterol
- Boosts energy
- Can reverse or reduce the symptoms of depression
- Improve cognitive function
- Can lower blood sugar levels
- Improves memory
1. Ginseng can be used to prevent health disorders or it can be used to treat some medical problems. It is very useful for people who have chronic disorders like arthritis, high blood pressure, cancer or diabetes. Not only can it improve these medical disorders it also reverses the fatigue that is associated with these disorders.
2. There is preliminary evidence that ginseng can also act as an antiviral and antibacterial agent . It has been shown to reduce the frequency and duration of the common cold.
3. Individuals with lung disorders like COPD or asthma may also breathe easier after using ginseng because it opens up the airways.
4. Ginseng is widely taken by college students because it has been shown to improve memory and concentration.
5. Ginseng is often consumed in high amounts during the winter months because it produces a warming effect.
6. Finally, there is new evidence suggesting that Ginseng can delay the onset of dementia. People who take ginseng for long periods are at a much lower risk for memory loss and behavioral problems.
Ginseng is widely available in most health food stores. It is also sold as oriental ginseng, Asian ginseng, root of immortality or Asiatic ginger. The majority of ginseng is grown in the Korea and southern China. The roots of the plant are dried and then extract is purified to produce Korean ginseng.
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Ginseng can be consumed in several ways. Some people eat it raw but the most common method is to boil it in water and ground up the soft root. The powder can then be added to any beverage, like tea or coffee.
1. Ginseng should not be used by pregnant females or those who are breastfeeding because it has not been studied in this population.
2. Large doses of Korean ginseng should be avoided as it can lead to toxicity.
What are side effects of Korean ginseng?
Short-term use of Korean ginseng is very safe. When taken for prolonged periods some individuals may develop the following side effects:
- High blood pressure
- Menstrual issues
- Increased heart rate
Korean ginseng has proven the test of time. It is safe, readily available and can be used for a long time. For most people, Korean ginseng helps restore energy and reduces the risk of many chronic disorder. Finally if you take prescription medications, always let your healthcare provider know that you are also taking Korean ginseng- this is to avoid any potential interactions.
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