Panax ginseng, also called Asian ginseng, Chinese ginseng, or Korean ginseng, is the most commonly cultivated ginseng species grown in the mountains of China, Korea, and Russia. The name ‘Panax’ means “all healing,” which refers to the ancient belief that ginseng can heal all aspects of the body. It is also the most commercial ginseng and is a protected plant in China and Russia.
The roots are harvested when the plant is five to six years old and has been traditionally used in Chinese medicine. In ancient times, Panax ginseng was used in medicine to boost the immune system, increase energy, and build stamina. Today, in addition to herbal medicine, it is used in soaps, cosmetics, and flavoring in beverages.
Panax ginseng contains a number of active substances. Still, the most important ones are ginsenosides and panaxosides, which are a class of natural steroid glycosides found almost exclusively in the plant.
They are known to have a variety of beneficial effects such as anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and anti-cancer effects. Nowadays, supplements that contain Panax ginseng are popular and are taken to improve mental and physical functions.
Panax ginseng may help manage diabetes symptoms. Animal and test tube studies show an enhanced release of insulin from the pancreas and an increase in the number of insulin receptors. Its active components have been found to improve blood glucose control and also decrease complications in type 1 diabetes in animals.
Research shows that Panax ginseng could improve erectile dysfunction. One trial found that 1800 mg of Panax ginseng for three months helped increase libido and maintain an erection in men with ED. This is possible because compounds in it protect against oxidative stress in blood vessels of the penis and help maintain normal function. Studies also show that it may promote the production of nitric oxide, a compound that promotes muscle relaxation and increases blood circulation in the penis.
Panax ginseng could improve brain functions like memory and mood. Test tube and animal studies show that ginsenosides could help protect the brain from damage caused by free radicals.
In one trial, 4.5 gm of Panax ginseng supplements per day for 12 weeks resulted in a 15% improvement in cognitive function. Another study found that taking 400 gm of Panax Ginseng per day for eight days improved math skills and calmness. However, these effects lasted only as long as the Panax Ginseng was administered.
Antioxidant and Anti-Inflammatory
Studies found that Korean red ginseng extract reduced inflammation in skin cells of people suffering from eczema. This is due to the ginsenoside compounds inhibiting inflammation and increasing the functioning of antioxidants in cells.
Another study administered two gm or Korean red ginseng extract three times a day to a group of 18 males for one week. Certain inflammatory markers were tested and found significantly lower than the placebo group for up to 72 hours.
One study found that taking 100 mg of Asian ginseng extract twice a day improved immune function. Another study suggested that people who take ginseng could have a 35% higher chance of living disease-free for up to five years after surgery, along with a 38% higher rate of survival as opposed to those not taking it regularly.
One trial found that administering 200 mg of Panax ginseng per day helped decrease menopausal symptoms such as depression and anxiety. However, it did not decrease physical symptoms like hot flashes and sexual dysfunction. Another trial of red ginseng given on a dosage of 3 gm per day for 12 weeks found that it alleviated hot flashes as well, compared to the placebo trial.
Increased Energy Levels
Panax ginseng could overcome fatigue and tiredness. One study administered one or two grams of ginseng to 90 people suffering from chronic fatigue for four weeks. The results found that they experienced lesser tiredness as well as lesser oxidative stress than those given the placebo. This may be due to components in ginseng, such as polysaccharides and oligopeptides, which could increase energy production in cells.
Panax ginseng could help reduce the risk of cancerous cells. Ginsenosides, which reduce inflammation and provide antioxidant protection, could also prevent abnormal cell production and harmful growth. Many studies showed that individuals taking ginseng have a 16% lesser chance of developing cancer.
One particular study investigated the effects of red ginseng extract in people undergoing chemotherapy for stomach cancer. After three months, it was found that those taking the extract had better immune system markers than those in the placebo group.
> Panax ginseng seems to be safe for about six months but should not be taken longer as it may have hormone-like effects that may be harmful in long-term use.
> A common side effect is insomnia. Some people have also experienced headaches, loss of appetite, diarrhea, itching, increased heart rate, and breast pain, among other effects.
> Lots of skin products contain ginseng, and it is safe to use in these multi-ingredient products.
> If pregnant or breast-feeding, avoid using Panax ginseng as it has been found to cause congenital disabilities in animals.
Panax ginseng extract is easily found in the form of capsules, oils, or powders. Look for one that contains 2-3% of ginsenosides and consume before meals to increase its effects. The supplements should be taken according to the condition to be treated.
For example, 200 to 400 mg of Panax Ginseng extract taken once daily for up to 12 weeks can improve cognitive function. On the other hand, erectile dysfunction can be treated with 1400-2700 mg.
It can also be consumed raw or steamed and made soft before consumption. Making ginseng tea is another way to include it in your diet – simply steep freshly sliced ginseng in hot water.
Panax ginseng has been used medicinally for many years dating back to ancient China, and its benefits are proven. Whether you want to target a certain concern or simply looking to improve your overall vitality, including it in your daily regimen will help you achieve better health and well-being in some form or another.
Thanks for reading!
Leave a comment below!