Ginseng is one of the traditional wonder herbs that exhibit many positive impacts on human body. Various scholarly studies have concluded that the consumption of ginseng over a certain duration have significant consequences which alleviate a long list of maladies from diabetes to viral infection. Scientifically known as Panax ginseng (‘panacea’ in Greek means a drug that cures all), ginseng is believed to have rehabilitating power for the whole body.

Q. What type of ginseng is recommended?

Originally, ginseng has 3 different varieties: the American ginseng, the Korean ginseng (also known as the Asian ginseng), and the Siberian ginseng. Among them, Korean red ginseng has proven itself to be the proponent among other herbs, and therefore, most thoroughly researched. It contains bioactive components such as saponins and ginsenosides in larger proportion than found in the other variants of ginseng. Most of the effective medicinal substances are present in the fleshy roots of this herb, that is why its roots are used for preparing health supplements. But consumers are generally recommended 6 years old grown ginseng, as younger roots don't contain essential medicinal substances in enough proportion to benefit health. Korean ginseng supplements are most effective because those are prepared from 6-years grown red ginseng roots.

Q. How much ginseng should be consumed daily?

The accurate amount of Korean Red Ginseng consumption must be regulated according to the nature of the ailment. However, according to the New York University Langone Medical Centre, 1 to 2 grams of the raw herb per day is recommended for an average healthy person. Again, if a person is consuming ginseng extract, the amount should be around 200 milligrams daily that has 4 percent to 7 percent ginsenosides.1

Q. How should I consume ginseng?

Ginseng benefits are obtained by consuming its extracts; and also by direct root consumption, either raw or lightly cooked or steamed. Instead of taking out the extract, taking ginseng this way is beneficial as all the important compounds in the herb would remain intact. Another way of consuming ginseng is by preparing ginseng tea.

Q. Is consumption of ginseng safe during pregnancy?

Ginseng is usually safe to consume during pregnancy. Though there have been conducted a number of thorough researches, the effect of ginseng during pregnancy is unclear. The situation is same regarding the matter of breast-feeding as well. Therefore, one should consult a registered practitioner before consuming any type of herbal tea or extract when a matter as sensitive as pregnancy or breast-feeding is concerned. 2

Q. Is ginseng antidiabetic?

Ginseng root has been used to prevent a long list of diseases. The hypoglycaemic effect of the Korean Red Ginseng came to notice in 1980s and since then a number of reports arrived at the conclusion that ginseng can prevent diabetic conditions in human beings. Besides, ginseng reduces cholesterol and blood pressure, thereby indirectly treating obesity which significantly helps in lowering the sugar level in blood.3

Q. What are its effects on viral infection?

Recent studies on mice as well as human specimen have shown that ginseng is a potent antiviral and anti-inflammatory agent. Its regular consumption can prevent viral infections and reduce the expression of genes that cause inflammation.

Q. Does ginseng treat obesity?

Korean red ginseng helps in weight loss by controlling enzymes and hormones that regulate appetite and prevent fat accumulation. People consuming ginseng have exhibited positive results in shedding excess fat, thereby directly treating obesity without any known repercussions.

Q. How does ginseng work on heart disease?

In recent times, the clinical experiments on ginseng to treat cardiovascular diseases have grown popular. The modern medical science has focused on ginseng for research and it has been partially demonstrated that prevention of coronary artery disease, heart failure, cardiac hypertrophy, cardiac contractility, cardiac energy metabolism, and arrhythmia are being unveiled in a rapid rate. However, more researches need to be conducted to unfold the mechanisms how ginseng secures health.

Q. Is ginseng an ergogenic substance?

The significance of Korean Red Ginseng as an ergogenic substance is cardinal. Ergogenic substances are often used for enhancing sports performance. Therefore, ginseng is used as an ingredient in many energy drinks that boost stamina and act as an ergogenic aid. Ginseng alone, or with caffeine at high doses may positively foster endurance.

Q. How does ginseng affect ADHD?

Korean red ginseng is widely recognized for its memory-boosting, sleep improving, and neuroprotective effects and exhibits a high effectivity in treating attention deficit and other psychic disorders. A series of pre-clinical and clinical studies have come to the aforementioned conclusion regarding ADHD, albeit on a theoretical basis.

Q. What are the effects of ginseng on gastronomy?

One of the reasons that Korean red ginseng is counted as a pharmacological wonder among the specialists of alternative treatment for nearly two millenniums is its role as a tonic for hepatic disorders. Liver-related ailments is a major health issue worldwide and they take ninth position among the leading causes of death. Conventional treatment has so far shown limited efficiency, notorious side effects, and a considerable cost of treatment. Conventional treatment of diseases like cirrhosis, fatty liver, and chronic hepatitis has remained problematic, whereas ginseng extracts are shown to have a huge impact on such disorders. 4

Q. Is ginseng an aphrodisiac?

Aphrodisiacs are generally considered to be mere mythical substances that magically induce sexual desires in men and women. Though majority of people do not believe in such stories, there are evidences that ginseng physiologically increases sexual performance. For centuries, this adaptogen-enriched elementary flora has exhibited strong aphrodisiac functions by boosting male libido, secretion of sex hormones, and sperm production.

Q. Does ginseng prevent ageing?

Numerous studies have shown that ginseng delays the ageing process in human beings by working as an antioxidant. Oxidative stress is considered the major cause of aging. Ginseng is naturally ingested with antioxidants, the consumption of it thereby mopping up the free radicals that induce ageing.

Citations:

1. Coffman, Melodie Anne. “Korean Ginseng: How Much Do You Need Daily?”
http://healthyeating.sfgate.com/korean-ginseng-much-need-daily-10548.html
2. Boyles, Salynn. “Early Pregnancy Risk With Ginseng.”
https://www.webmd.com/baby/news/20030924/early-pregnancy-risk-with-ginseng#1
3. Web MD. Ginseng May Help Treat Diabetes (June 16, 2003)
http://www.webmd.com/diabetes/news/20030616/ginseng-may-help-treat-diabetes#1
4. Kim, Young Ho and Yukihiro Shoyama. “ Pharmacological Effects of Ginseng on Liver-Functions and Diseases: A Minireview.” September 2012