The root that is popularly known as “ginseng” is a potent natural energizer. Although several plants have variants on this name, most medicinal properties are attributed to Korean ginseng (Panax ginseng), American ginseng (Panax quinquefolis) and Siberian ginseng (Eleutherococcus senticosus).
This “superfood” can fight fatigue, improve stress response situations and stimulate concentration. Ginseng also strengthens the immune system, treats diabetes and improves athletic performance. Want to know more about the wonderful properties of ginseng? Read on to find out!
- Ginseng is a root that, although it can be consumed in its natural form, is usually consumed as capsules, tablets, teas or extracts.
- Ginseng is widely recognized for its energizing, “adaptogenic” and stimulating properties for cognitive function. It also improves immunity, improves circulation and lowers blood glucose levels.
- There are several types of ginseng: Korean, American, Siberian, among others. Korean ginseng can be red or white, depending on its collection age and the processing it undergoes.
- To buy a good ginseng product you must choose the correct variety and verify that it contains a high concentration of active ingredients.
- 1 Our Selection: The Best Ginseng Products on the U.S. Market
- 2 Buyer’s Guide: Everything You Need to Know About Ginseng
- 2.1 What are the health benefits of ginseng?
- 2.2 Who can benefit from the properties of ginseng?
- 2.3 What types of ginseng supplements exist and which one is right for me?
- 2.4 Why is ginseng recommended for athletes?
- 2.5 Is ginseng an aphrodisiac?
- 2.6 How do you take ginseng?
- 2.7 How should diabetic people take ginseng?
- 2.8 What is the recommended dose of ginseng?
- 2.9 Does ginseng contain caffeine?
- 2.10 How long does it take until the effects of ginseng are noticed?
- 2.11 What adverse effects can ginseng cause?
- 3 Shopping Criteria
- 4 Summary
Our Selection: The Best Ginseng Products on the U.S. Market
A multitude of products are marketed under the name “ginseng.” However, although several products may contain ginseng, there may be notable differences in their active ingredients and their functions in the body. If you want to make a successful purchase, that will help your health, you can choose from our favorite ginseng supplements:
Best All-Around Ginseng Supplement
This “Amazon’s Choice” Ginseng is only $22.99 for 120 capsules and has a 4.4 out of 5 rating with over 1000 positive reviews, this is a great choice for an all-around ginseng product. These capsules are also vegan, non-GMO, gluten-free, and come in easy to swallow vegetable capsules.
Best High-Potency Ginseng
These 1200 mg supplements come in a package of 60 tablets and are a great value at only $20.00 per package. Unlike caffeine products, every 1200 mg serving of this ginseng root supplement will nourish your body on a cellular level, providing true rejuvenation and energy from the inside out. If you are looking for a higher-potency ginseng formula, this is the one for you.
Best Powder Formula Ginseng
Another Amazon’s Choice Product, with 4.4 out of 5 star ratings, this product is a great value at just $23.95 for 4 ounces. One simple way to take this powder is simply to infuse a dose into a cup of pure hot water. Ginseng powder can also be added to baked items or simmered in the hot water when making rice.
Buyer’s Guide: Everything You Need to Know About Ginseng
Choosing the best ginseng supplement is not a simple task due to the diversity of brands, forms of formulas and combinations with other ingredients. In this section, we reveal the benefits of ginseng, and which is the most recommended variety for you as well as the correct mode of consumption.
What are the health benefits of ginseng?
The active ingredients responsible for most of the benefits of ginseng are ginsenosides (Rg1 and Rb1), which are found in various parts of the plant, but are most concentrated in the root. Ginseng supplements, especially Panax Ginseng, offer the following health benefits:
- They combat exhaustion, weakness and fatigue due to their energizing and revitalizing effect.
- They strengthen the immune system and increase resistance against infectious agents (bacteria and viruses).
- Improve the ability to respond to stressful situations.
- They aid in liver detoxification against various substances, including alcohol.
- They help restore the homeostasis of the body, that is, the body’s overall internal balance.
- They improve circulation and lower total and LDL (“bad”) cholesterols.
- They act as antioxidants (counteract oxidation caused by free radicals) and enhance the effects of Vitamin E, which also has antioxidant properties.
On an aesthetic level, ginseng can promote the health and appearance of skin and hair, whether it is used topically (for example, in creams or shampoos) or if it is consumed orally.
Ginseng improves hydration, smoothness and elasticity of the skin. At the capillary level, it strengthens hair and prevents the breakage of the hair fibers.
Who can benefit from the properties of ginseng?
Despite its recognized energizing, adaptogenic and anti-stress properties, ginseng can be beneficial in various situations. Korean red ginseng (Panax ginseng) is the variety that has the greatest potential to improve people’s health and is indicated in the following circumstances:
- Tiredness or exhaustion
- Memory problems and lack of concentration.
- People who are exposed to situations that demand physical or mental overexertion.
- Individuals who are under a high degree of stress.
- Older adults.
- Individuals with loss of appetite.
- People with insulin resistance or Type II Diabetes–always under medical supervision.
- Individuals who want to prevent flu or colds.
What types of ginseng supplements exist and which one is right for me?
There are different varieties of ginseng and ways to consume it. In the market you can buy capsule, tablets, teas, syrups, chewing gums and ginseng powder extracts. As for botany, there are more than 13 species of plants that are given the name “ginseng” due to their energizing and anti-fatigue properties, but the best are:
- Korean Ginseng (Panax ginseng): This is the “official” ginseng, whose content of ginsenosides and panaxanos make it a “superfood” with enormous potential to improve health. Korean ginseng can be white or red, the latter being the one with the greatest therapeutic effect. It is used as an energizer, adaptogen and stimulant of brain function.
- American Ginseng (Panax quinquefolium): As in the case of Korean ginseng, most of the properties of this variety are due to the ginsenosides it provides. It helps prevent respiratory conditions, such as the common cold and the flu. It also exerts a hypoglycemic effect (reduction of blood glucose) in diabetics and non-diabetics.
- Siberian Ginseng (Eleutherococcus senticosus): This plant belongs to the same family as Korean ginseng and American ginseng, but its active ingredients are different. Instead of ginsenosides and panaxanos they provide eleutherosides and eleutheranos. It increases energy levels, supports immune functions and lowers blood glucose level.
Why is ginseng recommended for athletes?
Both professional athletes and people who practice recreational physical exercise can benefit from consuming ginseng, especially if they participate in aerobic activities, for example, cycling or running. The benefits of Korean and Siberian ginseng for athletes include:
- Improves physical exercise: more resistance and less fatigue.
- Prevents the heart rate from increasing too much during physical exercise.
- Accelerates recovery after physical exertion (training or competition).
- Improves cardiac efficiency by decreasing oxygen consumption by the heart.
Is ginseng recommended for people who practice anaerobic sports activities, for example, weightlifting? In these cases, ginseng supplements offer no significant benefits (nor harm). None of the ginseng varieties are known to be useful for increasing strength or muscle mass.
Is ginseng an aphrodisiac?
Lack of sexual desire can be a response to various causes: mental, emotional or physical. Therefore, some people can increase their libido by consuming ginseng, while in other cases this superfood will have no effect. The aphrodisiac properties of ginseng are attributed to:
- The improvement of blood circulation, which favors the circulation of the genital area.
- In the case of man, ginseng ginsenosides act as vasodilators that facilitate erections.
- Energizing, invigorating and anti-fatigue effect.
- The feeling of general well-being and improvement of mood.
How do you take ginseng?
Ginseng should be taken with food, because if ingested between meals or on an empty stomach it can lower blood glucose (blood glucose level) to below normal and produce hypoglycemia. It is also not advisable to consume ginseng before sleeping because it can make it difficult to fall asleep.
It is also important not to exceed the recommended dose and to use rest periods. For example, you can consume ginseng for 3 weeks and rest one, or consume it for 12 weeks in a row and rest for 1 month. Sometimes people take an excess of ginseng to speed up the results and this results in unwanted side effects.
How should diabetic people take ginseng?
While non-diabetic people should take ginseng along with food, those who have diabetes should consume this root at least 1 hour before meals to produce a reduction in blood sugar. Of course, in these cases a doctor must authorize the consumption of ginseng to prevent adverse effects, for example, hypoglycemia.
What is the recommended dose of ginseng?
The dose will depend on the form of ginseng. In the case of capsules and tablets, it is recommended to take 1 or 2 per day. In relation to the dose of liquid and powder extracts, it is advised not to exceed the daily intake of 1 teaspoon tea size in the case of the former and 2 grams for the latter.
Does ginseng contain caffeine?
No, ginseng does not provide caffeine. It is an excellent replacement for those who wish to increase their energy level or improve their physical and intellectual health without resorting to coffee or other caffeinated beverages. However, it is important not to combine ginseng with coffee because it could cause tremors, high blood pressure, nervousness or insomnia.
How long does it take until the effects of ginseng are noticed?
Some people perceive the effects of ginseng after consuming this product for a few days, while in other cases it takes a couple of weeks to notice the results. Every person’s body is different. In general, the energizing and invigorating properties of ginseng are the first to be noticed.
What adverse effects can ginseng cause?
Although ginseng is considered a product “probably safe for health,” it can cause adverse reactions. If the recommended daily dose is exceeded or if it is consumed without rest, there is a better chance that ginseng will cause some of the side effects mentioned below:
- Elevated blood pressure.
- In women: Breast pain and abnormal vaginal bleeding.
Anyone taking medication or suffering from a chronic illness should consult their doctor before starting to consume ginseng.
Diabetics treated with insulin or oral antidiabetics (for example, metformin) can only take ginseng under medical supervision because there is a risk of severe hypoglycemia.
Once you have identified the most beneficial ginseng variety for you, you should evaluate other aspects inherent to that particular formula and the ingredients of the supplement. The following are the shopping criteria that should not be ignored if you want to purchase a ginseng product of optimum quality:
- Variety of Ginseng
- Age of Plant at the Time of Collection
- Capsule Material
Variety of Ginseng
WE have discussed each variety of ginseng (Korean, American or Siberian). It is essential to choose the right type of ginseng for the desired purpose. For example, to stimulate memory and concentration, Korean ginseng is recommended, while any of the 3 varieties can be effective in increasing energy.
In the case of Korean ginseng, it can be white or red. It is actually the same plant, but the processing and age of the plant differ. As for processing, the red ginseng, of superior quality, is subjected to freeze-drying to concentrate its ginsenosides and increase its stability.
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Age of the Plant at the Time of Collection
As we have seen, the ginseng plant must be at least 4 years old so that its active ingredients are in sufficient concentration to benefit human health. To obtain white ginseng, the harvest is done when the plant has reached 4 years, while, to make red ginseng supplements, the plant must be at least 6 years old.
Most ginseng consumers describe its flavor as similar to that of licorice, that is, bittersweet and somewhat like anise. This taste is noticeable if ginseng is consumed in the form of liquid extract or powder. In contrast, capsules made from extracts have almost no taste at all.
Although ginseng is made of plant origin, the material of the capsules may be animal gelatin and, consequently, said product will not be suitable for vegans or vegetarians. To buy a 100% vegetable ginseng supplement, the capsule material must be “hydroxypropyl methylcellulose” (HPMC) or “modified cellulose.”
Ginseng is much more than a natural energizer. Its effects on brain function, physical performance and resistance to stress make it a supplement that can be very beneficial for students, athletes and people who are facing stressful situations, physically or mentally.
Although toxicity is quite uncommon, ginseng can cause side effects. To ensure safe consumption of ginseng, it is important to take it properly. This implies respecting the recommended dose (depending on the form of presentation) and not taking it for more than 2 or 3 months in a row without alternating consumption with a rest period.
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