The human body is susceptible to diseases and infections. We often resort to antibiotics to help our body counter such bacterial and viral infections and make our immune system stronger. Antibiotics are powerful medications which can save lives if used properly. These medications either prevent the growth of harmful microorganisms or destroy them completely.

Although antibiotics produce desirable actions while counteracting the effect of harmful pathogens on our body, the medications also come with its own set of side effects, which is typical to all man-made medicines, currently available in the market. Natural antibiotics, on the other hand, come with minimum to no side effects on the human body and are thus preferred over man-made antibiotics. One such natural antibiotic which helps counter a number of ailments in the human body is the Panax Ginseng plant.

Panax Ginseng – An Effective Natural Antibiotic

Korean Red Ginseng or Red Panax Ginseng is one of the many wonders of nature, as it comes with a number of health benefits. It is not a modern-day discovery and has been cultivated and used as a natural remedy for over thousand years.

While there are 11 types of ginseng in the world, the Red Panax Ginseng extract is considered the most beneficial of all the other kinds. The fleshy roots of this much-lauded plant contain ginsenosides saponins in abundance, a strong bioactive compound with significant medicinal properties to benefit health. The phytochemical compounds present in ginseng have immune boosting and anti-inflammatory effects.

As ginsenosides and saponins are found in copious amounts in the Panax ginseng, the plant is considered an excellent and effective natural antibiotic.

Discussed below are a few ailments against which Panax ginseng can work as an effective antibiotic.

Common Cold

With the increase in pollution all over the world, our immune system has taken a major hit. Common cold has become typical among adults and children. Ginseng extract is a widely used natural antibiotic for fighting cold. Studies have suggested that the Panax ginseng, which is found in eastern Asia and is considered the “true ginseng”, acts as a stimulant to our immune system and helps it defend the body against common cold virus.

In 1996, researchers from the Department of Pharmacology, under the University of Milan conducted a study titled "Efficacy and safety of the standardized Ginseng extract G115 for potentiating vaccination against the influenza syndrome and protection against the common cold [corrected]." (1) The researchers involved in the study conducted a three-month-long trial to observe how Panax ginseng stimulates our immune system to protect against cold.

The trial undertook 227 volunteers who were then divided into two groups. The participants of the study were then randomly administered either a placebo or a Panax ginseng supplement during the course of the study. In conclusion, the researchers stated that the Panax ginseng supplement receiving group recorded lower inflictions of catching the cold and flu compared to the placebo-controlled group.

Influenza

Influenza A or seasonally occurring influenza is one of the most common pathogens in the world. Pneumonia, inflammatory bronchitis, as well as viral deaths can all take place due to influenza A infection. Ginseng counters influenza infection by acting as an immune moderator. In a 2014 study conducted by lead researcher San Moo Kang from Georgia State University in collaboration with a South Korean university, the researchers observed the effectiveness of Red Panax Ginseng against the influenza A pathogen (2).

At the end of the study, the researchers concluded that ginseng extract is highly effective for countering influenza A pathogen and can also prevent respiratory syntactical virus from infecting lungs and breathing passages.

Inflammation

Apart from acting as a natural antibiotic for common cold and influenza, Red Panax Ginseng also heals inflammation. Researchers from the Department of Biomedical Science in Hallym University College of Medicine, Korea, in a 2014 study stated that the anti-inflammatory properties of Korean Red Ginseng significantly improved the liver function of people suffering from nonalcoholic fatty liver disease or NAFLD (3).

Eighty patients with NAFLD were randomly administered either placebo or Korean Red Ginseng for a duration of three weeks. At the time of assessment, it was observed that Panax ginseng was effective in lowering proinflammatory cytokine in the participants who were treated with Korean Red Ginseng.

Panax Ginseng, A Free Radical Scavenger

Ginseng has been proven to be effective in killing bacteria, including Bacillus subtilis, Escherichia coli, and Staphylococcus aureus. The oil and extract derived from the root of this plant acts as a radical neutralizer by preventing the attack of reactive oxygen species. In a 2014 research study, oil produced from Panax Ginseng was tested with ABTS and DPPH. Both of these elements are known radical scavenging protocols (4). It was, however, seen that the Ginseng oil and extract were successful in neutralizing the free radicals in the above-mentioned components.

Conclusion

Modern medication has increasingly become dependent on antibiotics for treating infections. Center for Disease Control and Prevention states that increased use of antibiotics over time will lead viruses and bacteria to achieve antibiotic resistance. To prevent such scenario from occurring, it is important that we switch to natural antibiotic alternatives, such as Korean Red Ginseng, which comes with no such side effects. Being a naturally forming adaptogenic herb, Ginseng boosts our immune system significantly and helps our body fight infections. Furthermore, its anti-oxidant properties apart from supporting the immune system also look after our heart health.