Ginseng is a root that has been used for thousands of years in traditional medicine, primarily for fatigue. Now, we have a better scientific understanding of why Panax ginseng is beneficial to our health and it’s certainly proven to be an all-compassing root for wellbeing.
What Is Panax Ginseng?
There are many different names for ginseng, which can make it confusing. Panax Ginseng (or P Ginseng) is also called Asian Ginseng, Korean Ginseng, Chinese Ginseng, and a few other names too. Panax Ginseng is not the same as American Ginseng or Siberian Ginseng (Eleuthero).
The word Ginseng is derived from a Chinese term, which means “man root.” It resembles the limbs of a person (see picture above). Panax shares the same origin as “panacea” meaning “all heal”. Put it all together and you get the “all-heal man (person) root”.
In 2007, a buyer paid $400,000 for a 300-year-old ginseng root that weighed less than a pound. Some say that ginseng is worth the money. You be the judge.
All types of ginseng have a similar property. They are adaptogenic, meaning they help us cope or adapt to mental and physical stressors. For example, you might experience an extremely stressful day that leaves you exhausted and depleted. But if you take ginseng during the same stressful day, you might not feel as exhausted by the end.
Using ginseng for its adaptogenic effects is just one of many ways in which ginseng can be used medicinally. There are many other health benefits of Panax ginseng. The active compounds in ginseng are called ginsenosides, which have anti-inflammatory, anti-cancer and antioxidant effects, and more.
Here are my top 10 favourite health benefits of ginseng.
10 Reasons to Take Panax Ginseng
A large body of research shows that ginseng can reduce both physical and mental fatigue, especially in those with chronic illnesses. It can help improve mental energy, cognition and performance, as well as boost exercise endurance.
Panax Ginseng has been shown to help with lung capacity and respiratory endurance in Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) patients, plus it inhibits the inflammatory processes and oxidative stress that leads to developing the disease.
Blood Sugar Balance and Diabetes Prevention
Ginseng helps to stabilize fasting blood sugar, improve insulin sensitivity and blood sugar control, and improves post-meal insulin levels in patients with Type 2 diabetes.
As a bonus, ginseng can help lower body weight, which is often an issue for patients with T2D.
Central Nervous System and Neurological Health
Ginseng enhances cell replication and function of nerve cells, and is beneficial to the nervous system. Evidence indicates ginseng can help inhibit neuroinflammation, clear beta amyloid plaque from the brain and protect against a wide variety of neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, ALS and Huntington’s. The ginsenoside compounds can also aid symptoms of anxiety, depression and addiction.
If you’re prone to infection and colds, ginseng boosts the immune system. On the other hand, if your immune system is overactive and you have an autoimmune condition, ginseng calms the immune response. Ginseng also has strong anti-bacterial and antiviral properties to protect us from infections.
Panax Ginseng promotes the death of both slow-growing and fast-growing tumors and it significantly reduces the risk of cancers throughout the body – ginseng doesn’t just target one organ system. In patients who have cancer, it can reduce fatigue levels and boost quality of life.
Cardiovascular Disease Prevention
Ginseng’s strong antioxidant properties are beneficial to the cardiovascular system. It reduces blood pressure, serum cholesterol and triglycerides, and raises HDL (a beneficial fat in the blood). Ginseng also improves circulation, cardiac function and prevents platelets from sticking together.
Liver Function and Detoxification
Ginseng helps the liver clear harmful chemicals promotes liver repair. It has anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant effects for those dealing with alcoholic liver disease, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, and hepatitis. It also lowers the risk of liver cancer.
Erectile Dysfunction and Sexual Health
Several clinical trials found that Panax ginseng “significantly improved erectile function compared with placebo”. Scientists speculate that ginseng’s additional benefits mentioned above, such as its ability to lower fatigue, and improve circulation and blood flow, also contribute.
Living to 100 and Beyond
Ginseng lengthens the lifespan of cells. In this study, ginseng intake reduced the risk of overall mortality.
How to Take Panax Ginseng
There are various ways to take the herb, and you don’t have to spend $400K to get the good stuff. Although, when it comes to ginseng, you get what you pay for.
For quick absorption, take a Ginseng tincture. For ease, you may take capsules. Or, if you want to experience the full flavour and essence of the herb, make it into a tea – just simmer it in hot water for 20 minutes. Use about 1 Tbsp of the herb per 1 cup of water.
The effects of Panax Ginseng are cumulative. Try it for about 3 months to really experience the full benefit!