The Wonderful Health Benefits Of Ginseng

October 12, 2023

Ginseng is a plant with fleshy roots the Chinese have used as medicine for generations. There are many species of ginseng with the most commonly used being Asian or Korean ginseng (Panax ginseng) and American ginseng (Panax quinquefolius). The two species contain different concentrations of active compounds and thus have different effects. Asian ginseng, for example, is a stimulant, while American ginseng makes the user feel more relaxed. Ginseng is classified by how long it was allowed to grow before being harvested. Fresh ginseng is harvested anytime before four years; green ginseng is harvested after growing between four to six years; red ginseng is harvested after six years.

Scientists have been studying ginseng, especially Asian ginseng, and they have found it does have health benefits, including the ones described below.

Reduces Inflammation

Ginseng contains compounds called gintonin and ginsenosides, and the latter reduces inflammation. In 2009, the Journal of Translational Medicine published a study in which scientists identified nine ginsenosides and tested their effects on human cells. They found seven of the nine had anti-inflammatory effects.

Two years later, The American Journal of Chinese Medicine published a study in which they tested the effects of extracts derived from Asian ginseng on muscles inflamed by exercise. The researchers worked with two groups of male athletes; one group was given ginseng while the other was given a placebo. The groups drank their ginseng (or placebo) both before and after running on a treadmill with an uphill incline of fifteen degrees. The scientists found the group who got the ginseng showed less inflammation in their muscles than the group that got the placebo.

Learn more information about the health benefits of ginseng now.

Boosts Energy Levels

Ginseng boosts energy levels. The open-access science journal PLOS One published a study in 2013 that involved ninety otherwise healthy patients with idiopathic chronic fatigue. They were given either ginseng or a placebo. The researchers took blood samples and asked the participants about the amount of fatigue they felt. At the end of the four-week trial, the researchers found the patients who had been given ginseng showed far more energy than the patients who had been given the placebo.

Also, in 2013, researchers in Brazil conducted a twelve-week study involving thirty-eight patients with fibromyalgia, who were divided into three separate groups. The first got a placebo, the second got a conventional medication called amitriptyline, and the final group got ginseng. Interestingly, all three groups showed improvement during the twelve weeks. By the end of the twelve weeks, the group given ginseng showed a 46.5 percent decrease in fatigue, along with improvements in sleep, anxiety, and pain.

Continue reading to reveal more ways in which ginseng is beneficial to health.

Improves Immunity

There’s evidence ginseng improves immunity. In 1998, researchers at the College of Medicine of Seoul National University tested ginseng’s effects on patients with gastric cancer. They administered capsules containing 5400 milligrams to some of the patients for two years. Those patients showed both improved symptoms and strengthened immune systems.

The International Journal of Molecular Medicine described a study in 2014 in which researchers tested the effects of ginseng on human lung cells infected with respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), which can cause a serious infection in children, seniors, and individuals with weakened immune systems. The researchers also worked with juvenile female mice. They found exposing the infected lung cells to a ginseng extract killed many of the viral cells. Similarly, they found the lungs of the mice who had been given ginseng showed fewer signs of viral infection than those who had not.

Get to know the next major health benefit of ginseng by reading more now.

Benefits Brain Function

Ginseng benefits brain function and can thus improve mood, memory, and behavior. The Journal of Pharmacology published a study in 2005 involving thirty healthy young adults. The volunteers took a ten-minute test and repeated the test after getting a dose of ginseng or a placebo. The researchers also measured the volunteers’ blood glucose levels. They found the volunteers who had taken ginseng showed less mental fatigue and earned higher scores than those who had gotten the placebo. Curiously, the participants who had taken two hundred milligrams of ginseng did better than the individuals who had taken four hundred milligrams. The reason for the diminishing returns is not yet clear.

In 2011, the Journal of Ginseng Research described a study that suggested Asian red ginseng could help patients with Alzheimer’s disease. The researchers chose sixty-one participants over fifty and showed symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease. The patients were given varying doses of ginseng for twenty-four weeks. The researchers checked their cognitive function every twelve weeks for two years to determine the long-term effects of the ginseng regime. The patients as a whole showed the most improvement around the twenty-fourth week. Even better, many of them retained their gains during the two years of monitoring.

Keep reading to discover more ginseng health benefits now.

Cancer Prevention

The ginsenosides in ginseng have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties that help cells stay healthy. Some of those properties also aid in cancer prevention. In 2016, the Journal of Ginseng Research published a study in which scientists searched six databases for information on ginseng’s effect, if any, on cancer cells. They identified nine studies that involved a total of 334,544 participants. The scientists found ginseng can slow the growth of cancer through several different mechanisms, including killing cancer cells. Ginseng also has the advantage of being safe to use, for it does not harm normal cells. The researchers found individuals who used ginseng had a sixteen percent lower cancer risk than those who did not.

In addition to preventing cancer, ginseng can ease fatigue in patients with cancer. In 2012, a study in which researchers gave American ginseng or a placebo to 340 patients found while the patients given the ginseng showed little improvement for the first month, they had markedly more energy by the end of the second month.

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