The Wonders of Ginseng
Ginseng is a perennial plant which was originally found in Northern China 5000 years ago. It can be found in places with cooler climates such as in North America as well as in Eastern Asian countries such as Siberia, Korea and China. Ginseng has been originally consumed as food but other than that Ginseng has also been utilized for medicinal treatment and improvement of health conditions. This plant has fleshy roots which are being used as natural remedy even centuries ago. Ginseng roots are utilized as a natural remedy because it contains steroid glycosides called ginsenosides which are active compounds behind ginseng’s efficacy specifically its anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidant, and anti-cancer properties.
History of Ginseng
In ancient times, all of ginseng products are completely made from ginseng’s whole roots. The Chinese originally used ginseng for medicinal purposes 5000 years ago. The term ginseng was derived from the Chinese term which means “man plant” because of its root’s likeliness to the human form. Its botanical name Panax was derived from the Greek word Panacea which means Healing for all or Cure for All.
Both Asian and Native Americans herbalist has used ginseng since ancient times in similar fashion: through utilizing its roots. Even in ancient times, healers have already then claimed and believed that ginseng can keep the mind and body in balance. Ancient healers have already used ginseng for improving general physical and mental health, improve general health condition, and treat some common illness.
Types of Ginseng
Ginseng can be found in various parts of the world, hence, the difference in the kinds of the plant. Although these plants share common similarities, each of these types of Ginseng has distinct characteristics which are different from the other types.
Oriental Ginseng- Oriental ginseng refers to Korean ginseng and Chinese ginseng. These plants are known as panax ginseng. Red ginseng, a processed product, is derived from these Oriental ginseng plants through steaming for 8-10 hours and then transformed into tea, powder, extract, capsules or slices. This type of ginseng is claimed to give warmth to the body and tonifies the yang in the body hence, it is effective in boosting people’s memory, stamina, sex drive, treating prolapse and toning one’s energy.
American Ginseng- This type of ginseng refers to the ginseng plant found in the North Hemisphere, or specifically in the eastern part of North America. American ginseng or panaxquinqefolius is commonly found in Southern Ontario, to Georgia and even in West Wisconsin. This type of ginseng has been claimed to have a cooling effect on the body which is suitable for increasing energy, reducing acne, boosting one’s immune system and improve blood circulation. Even if you are not ill, this type of ginseng can increase your vitality and improve your overall health. American ginseng in comparison to Oriental ginseng has lower potency thus; it is suitable for all types of people of different ages with varied health conditions. It is a normal tendency for our bodies to accumulate heat; hence, American ginseng is the perfect natural remedy for clearing body heat and irritability.
Benefits of Ginseng
Consuming ginseng is significantly good for anyone because aside from being a natural remedy to illness, it can also improve one’s general health condition. The Chinese for example has believed that ginseng gives warmth to the body hence daily intake of it is an efficient long-lasting energy booster. On the other hand, American’s uses their ginseng as a cooling natural remedy used for relieving stress, fatigue and as well as increasing physical and. mental endurance.
Clinical Research Claims
Although ginseng is still under preliminary research for its medical effects, these researches have already indicated that ginseng can be a powerful element in reducing cholesterol, an anti-aging natural remedy, preventing cancer, easing menstrual cramps, improve gastrointestinal system and liver regeneration, hot flashes in menopausal women, reduce fever and cough, alcohol effects and alleviate hang-over regulating menstrual flow, treating Alzheimer’s disease, diabetes, gout as well as male fertility.
Side Effects of Ginseng
Based on University of Massachusetts-Amherts’s Sport’s Nutrition FAQ, ginseng’s most usual side effect is trouble in sleeping. Other common side effects include nausea, diarrhea, nose bleeds, low blood pressure, high blood pressure, and headaches. These side effects are usually called ginseng abuse syndrome. For patients who take anti-depressants, taking ginseng may lead to the induction of mania.
Although ginseng can relatively safe if taken in large amounts, overdose is still possible. The most common symptom of overdose of ginseng is generally bleeding. Other mild effects of overdose include irritability, tremor, palpitation, vomiting, blurred vision, dizziness and lack of appetite. Sever symptoms include restlessness, urinary and bowel incontinence, sensitivity to light, blue facial complexion, red facial complexion, seizures, convulsions, deliriums, increased respiration and decreased heart rate.
For those who take ginseng as preventive, experts suggest to 500-1500 milligrams of ginseng to see long term effect. On the other hand, for those who take ginseng as a therapeutic natural remedy, limit you intake to 2000 milligrams on a daily basis. Take note that take the wrong amount of dosage could lead to ginseng abuse syndrome.
For pregnant women, children, breast-feeding women, high-blood pressure patients, diabetes patients, those who are going to take or have taken dental extraction, dermatology and abdominal surgery, it is best to seek a doctor first before consuming ginseng or any other products that contain ginseng components.
Other Uses of Ginseng
Ginseng as a natural remedy is not only used for its medicinal properties, ginseng is also utilized in cooking in cosmetics. As mentioned before, ginseng has anti-aging properties thus it is used in cosmetics specifically in combating wrinkles and aged skin. In Asia, ginseng is also processed into ginseng tea. Aside from that ginseng is also utilized in cooking. The roots are sliced and added into soups, and sometimes mashed, and boiled to be added in stir-fry dishes. Sometimes, it is even added to boiling water when cooking rice. Using ginseng is cuisine is widely common in China and Korea.