Ginseng is a plant that has been adopted as a herbal supplement. As the most medicinally valuable element of the plant, its roots have been used in traditional Chinese medicine for centuries. There are many variations of this plant – most notably red Korean ginseng, American ginseng, and Asian ginseng. The compounds found in the roots complement one another to provide health benefits.
Ginseng health benefits
May reduce inflammation
The compounds found in ginseng – more particularly ginsenoside – may possess anti-inflammatory properties. According to test-tube studies published in the journal Molecules, ginseng compounds can potentially deter inflammation. Another study found improvements in people dealing with skin inflammation.
Boosts cognitive ability
Ginseng root could be the brain boost that you need. It could also be part of Alzheimer’s treatment. According to one study, patients with Alzheimer’s disease showed positive brain improvements once they began consuming the root in conjunction with their other medication. Aside from protecting your brain against free radicals (which can prevent the onset of dementia and Alzheimer’s), studies have also found that the root can help to improve your memory, behavior, and concentration.
Improves sexual performance
Ginseng could be nature’s Viagra. Traditional Chinese medicine has always viewed the root as an aphrodisiac and many have noted its potential to restore sexual function in men. Although more studies are needed in order to draw definite conclusions – the effects of ginseng on erectile health look promising. One study highlights the potential for this root to be used as an alternative form of treatment for men suffering from erectile dysfunction. Additionally, another study found significant improvements in regards to erectile dysfunction symptoms.
In regards to female reproductive health, a study published in The Journal of Sexual Medicine found that the herb can help ease menstrual cramps as well as combat symptoms associated with menopause.
Potential anti-cancer properties
Although more research is needed, there have been some studies that highlight ginseng’s anti-cancer properties. Studies have shown that individuals who include roots in their diet can reduce their risk of developing certain types of cancer. This is likely due to its potential to hinder tumor growth.
Control blood sugar
Ginseng could be used as a remedy in regards to the prevention or control of diabetes due to its ability to control blood sugar levels. A study published in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition saw 10 individuals consume sugary drinks – which are regularly responsible for sudden spikes and dips in blood sugar that can lead to the development of diabetes. Upon consumption, American ginseng managed to help improve their blood sugar levels. Korean red ginseng can also help to increase insulin sensitivity, which is important for diabetics.
Being an adaptogen, the root possesses the properties to help combat mental, physical, and environmental stress. While nourishing and strengthening our adrenal glands, adaptogen also helps to reduce the stress hormone – cortisol. According to one animal study – which was done on rats suffering from chronic stress – ginseng was found to be a potential alternative treatment for stress-induced disorders.
How can you include it in your diet?
The roots can be enjoyed in a number of ways. It can be eaten raw (simply steam it to soften it) or be stewed in hot water to make a refreshing cup of tea. It can also be added to soups and stir-frys. Aside from its whole form, ginseng is available as supplements in the form of capsules, tablets, powders, and liquid extracts. If you intend on taking supplements, limit your dose to 200 to 400 mg daily.