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7 Useful Health Benefits of Ginseng

What is Ginseng?

Ginseng is an antioxidant herb that offers many health benefits including improving brain health, immune function, and blood sugar control.

Ginseng has been used in traditional Chinese medicine for a long to treat diseases. This plant is a slow growing short plant with fleshy roots. It is classified into three types and the classification depends on the time of harvest:(1)

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  • Fresh ginseng is the type of ginseng that is harvested in 4 years
  • White ginseng, which is known to be harvested between 4-6 years
  • Red ginseng is harvested after 6 years or even more.

Among the various varieties, American and Asian ginseng are very common. Both these varieties vary in their concentration of active compounds and their effect on the body. American ginseng works as a relaxing agent and Asian ginseng has invigorating effects.(2)

Ginsenosides and gintonin are the two compounds present in ginseng that complement one another and provide health benefits.(3)

7 Useful Health Benefits of Ginseng

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The health benefits of ginseng are as follows:

  1. Help Reduce Inflammation

    Ginseng is known to have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.

    A few test-tube studies showed that ginseng extract and ginsenoside compounds help in inhibiting inflammation and reducing oxidative damage that may be contributing to the cause of the disease.(45)

    A study done on 12 active males found that supplementing ginseng for the short term reduced exercise-induced muscle damage and decreased inflammatory markers.(6)

    One more study was performed on 71 females in their postmenopausal stage. They were given 3 grams of red ginseng or a placebo daily for 12 weeks. It was observed that there was an increase in the antioxidant enzyme activity reducing oxidative stress in those taking ginseng.(7)

  2. Benefits Brain Health

    Ginseng can be helpful in improving memory, behavior, mood, and in short, brain functions.(8)

    Compounds in ginseng including ginsenoside and compound K can be helpful in protecting the brain against damage caused by free radicles.(9, 10)

    A study was done on 6422 older adults. It was observed that regular consumption of ginseng was associated with improved cognitive function later in life.(11)

    Another study found the effectiveness of ginseng in improving working memory after 3 hours, compared with a placebo.(12)

    Studies also show its positive effects on the brain function of people with Alzheimer’s disease.(13)

  3. Can be Helpful in Improving Erectile Dysfunction

    Research suggested ginseng to be useful in treating erectile dysfunction.(14) There are certain compounds present in ginseng that can be effective in reducing oxidative stress in the blood vessels and tissue of the penis and help in restoring function.

    Ginseng may also promote the production of nitric acid. A compound that may be helpful in improving muscle relaxation in the penis and increasing blood circulation.(15)

    A study showed the effectiveness of ginseng in improving intercourse in males.(16)

  4. May be Helpful in Boosting the Immune Function

    Ginseng has potent antibacterial, antifungal, and antiviral properties that may enhance the function of the immune system.(17)

    A study done on animals found that black and red ginseng extract helped in increasing the number of immune cells and enhanced the antioxidant levels in the liver.(18)

    Another study found that those taking 2 grams of Korean red ginseng per day for 8 weeks had significantly increased levels of immune cells.(19)

  5. Benefits Against Cancer

    Ginseng can help in reducing the risk of certain types of cancer.(20) Ginsenoside present in this herb has been known to reduce inflammation and provide antioxidant protection. It could be helpful by preventing abnormal cell production and growth.(21) It could also be effective in people undergoing chemotherapy by reducing its side effects.

    A review of several studies found that people who took ginseng had a 16% lower risk of developing cancer.(22)

  6. May be Helpful in Fighting Tiredness and Increasing Energy Levels

    Ginseng can be helpful in easing fatigue and increasing energy levels. Various animal studies showed that oligopeptides and polysaccharides present in ginseng lowered oxidative stress and promoted energy production in cells thereby decreasing fatigue.(23)

    A review of 10 studies concluded that ginseng could improve the symptoms of chronic fatigue syndrome compared with a placebo.(24)

    Another review of 155 studies suggested that ginseng could be effective not only in reducing stress but could also help improve physical performance.(25)

  7. Lower Blood Sugar

    Ginseng can be beneficial in controlling blood sugar levels. American and Asian ginseng improves pancreatic cell function, boosts insulin production, and enhances the uptake of blood sugar in tissues.(26)

    Ginseng extract can provide antioxidant protection helping in reducing free radicals in the cells of those with diabetes.

    Ginseng supplementation can be helpful in decreasing the blood sugar level and improving insulin sensitivity in people with type 2 diabetes.(27)

How to Use Ginseng?

Ginseng is extremely beneficial. It can be easily consumed in many ways. It can be eaten raw and can also be consumed after softening it a little. It can be added to tea, soups, and stir-fried dishes.

Ginseng is a herbal supplement that has been in use for several years in Chinese Medicine. It is well extremely popular for its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. It is easy to consume. For anyone wanting to improve health or wanting to give health a boost, it is surely worth a try.

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