This herb comes from the plant family called Panax.
There are different types of ginseng and they are classified according to where they are grown from.
Real ginseng contains ginsenosides – a unique compound found in Panax plants. This compound mainly works as an anti-inflammatory.
Because of ginseng’s anti-inflammatory benefit, it is sometimes referred to as adaptogenic. Adaptogens are herbs that help the body adapt or recover from stress.
Also known as the Panax Quinquefolis, American ginseng originates from Canada and North America. This type of ginseng is a popular herb in America for its various health benefits, mainly for its ability to improve memory.
It is also a powerful calming herb and a stress reliever.
American ginseng is now currently being cultivated in northern China.
Oriental (Asian) Ginseng
Red Panax, also referred to as Korean ginseng and Asian ginseng is the most powerful. This type of ginseng is found in Korea, China, and Russia.
It is used as a general well-being medication for its countless health benefits and is labeled as the “true ginseng”.
Other types of Oriental ginseng include:
- Panax Notoginseng: These types grow in China. It is locally known as San Qi and Tienchi.
- Panax Vietnamensis: Ginseng from Vietnam.
- Panax Japonicus: These are the ones that are found in Japan.
These herbs are also called “ginseng”. However, they do not have ginsenosides, so most are not considered adaptogenic. Notice that these herbs do not have “Panax” in their names.
- Siberian ginseng: Also called Eleutherococcus senticosus, this herb contains eleutherosides as an active compound.
- Indian ginseng: More popularly known as Ashwagandha.
- Peruvian ginseng: Also known as Maca Root
- Brazilian ginseng
- Prince ginseng
Note that throughout this article, we will only be discussing about Panax ginseng.
Panax Ginseng Benefits
Panax ginseng is proven effective and is commonly used for the following:
- Anti-inflammatory and antioxidant: A study performed on rats showed that Panax ginseng has the ability to suppress oxidative stress, therefore, restoring the antioxidant capacity.
- Boosting the immunity and for fighting off allergies: Panax ginseng has been proven to relieve nasal allergic reaction as well as prevent flu. However, it doesn’t seem to treat the virus causing flu or relieve the symptoms associated with it.
- Regulates mood and enhances concentration and memory: Panax ginseng is one of the most popular herbs in boosting memory and concentration.
- Muscle gain and exercise: Improves stamina and increases the ability of muscles to quickly recover from physical activities.
- For improving men’s health: A natural remedy for treating multiple sexual health issues in men.
Panax ginseng is also used to treat the following although there is not enough evidence to prove its effectiveness.
- Cancer of the breast, liver, ovary, and lungs
- Swine flu
- Depression, anxiety, fatigue, insomnia
- Diabetes and prediabetes
- Gastritis, vomiting, intestinal problems
- Fever and colds
- High blood pressure
- Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease
- HIV and AIDS
- Multiple male sexual issues
- Bleeding disorders
- Loss of appetite
- Joint pains
- Symptoms accompanied by menopause
This powerful herb is also taken by those who want to slow down the aging process as well as improve their quality of life.
When applied on the skin as a cream, Panax ginseng is safe for long-term use.
However, this herb can be dangerous when taken by mouth in an extended amount of time. A study suggests that taking Panax ginseng for longer than 6 months can alter the hormones in a negative way.
Common side effects when taking Panax ginseng by mouth include:
- Rapid heartbeat
- Altered blood pressure
- Loss of appetite
- Menstrual problems, breast pain, and vaginal bleeding
- Dizziness and headaches
- Rash and itching
- Mood changes
Serious but uncommon side effects include developing a rash that is called Stevens-Johnson syndrome, severe allergic reactions, as well as liver damage.
- Must not be used by pregnant women. A study reveals that Panax ginseng can cause birth defects in animals. Because there are not enough studies on using Panax ginseng by breastfeeding women, it should be avoided while breastfeeding.
- Panax ginseng can be fatal when used by infants as it can cause poisoning. Avoid giving this herb to children and babies.
- It was observed that the consumption of Panax ginseng can increase the activity of the immune system. This can be dangerous for individuals who are suffering from auto-immune diseases like lupus, multiple sclerosis, and rheumatoid arthritis.
- This herb can slow down blood clotting. It is advised not to take this herb if you have a bleeding condition. Do not take Panax ginseng 2 weeks before and after surgery to avoid blood loss.
- Panax ginseng can be dangerous for people who have diabetes as it can lower the blood pressure.
- Hormone-sensitive conditions like cancer of the breast, uterus, and ovary can worsen when taking Panax ginseng. This herb has a chemical called ginsenosides that act like estrogen.
- Do not take Panax ginseng if you have insomnia or schizophrenia. Trouble sleeping and agitation are linked with Panax ginseng in people with schizophrenia.
Panax ginseng cannot be combined, or taken at the same time with the following:
- Caffeine: Panax ginseng may speed up the nervous system – similar stimulants such as caffeine. For this reason, taking them together may result in jittering, high blood pressure, and rapid heartbeat.
- Furosemide (Lasix): This is an oral medication usually prescribed to alleviate the symptoms of heart failure, kidney disease, and liver scarring. It is also sometimes used to treat high blood pressure. Panax ginseng can lessen the effectiveness of this medication.
- Medications that are processed by the liver: Medications like Elavil and Clozaril are processed by the liver. Taking these along with Panax ginseng can increase the risk of side effects of the medicine.
- Medications for Depression (MAOIs): MAOIs stimulate the body the same way Panax ginseng does. Taking them together may stimulate the body too much. Side effects of too much stimulation include insomnia, anxiousness, and headache.
- Antidiabetes Drugs: Panax ginseng can decrease the blood sugar. Taking it with medications for diabetes can make blood sugar dangerously low.
- Anticoagulants: These are medications that slow blood clotting. Ginseng can also slow down clotting so taking them together can cause bleeding and bruising.
These are the recommended dosage of Panax ginseng when taken by mouth. Please note that Panax ginseng must not be taken for longer than 12 weeks.
- Alzheimer’s Disease: 4.5 to 9 grams for 12 weeks.
- Mental Function: Up to 400 milligrams once a day, or twice a day by dividing the dose. This dose is also sometimes taken as a multivitamin for maintaining a healthy immune system.
- Erectile Dysfunction: Up to 2700 milligrams per day divided into three doses.
- Flu: 200 milligrams per day. It is recommended to take Panax ginseng 4 weeks before getting a flu shot and continuing for 8 more weeks after.
- Fatigue caused by multiple sclerosis: 250 milligrams every day for 12 weeks.
- For boosting the libido: 3 grams every day for 8 weeks.
Panax ginseng has also been used to treat premature ejaculation by applying directly to penile skin an hour prior to sexual contact. The penis must be washed before intercourse to avoid transfer to the partner.
Ginseng has a reputation for being used as a natural aphrodisiac. There have been numerous studies to prove the herb’s effectiveness in aiding with men’s health. The tests performed on both animals and humans show that it can improve the libido and sperm quality.
In addition to that, Panax ginseng is also commonly added to male enhancement supplements to treat the following sexual issues:
- Erectile dysfunction
- Low libido
- Low sperm motility
Panax ginseng is also sometimes used in creams to treat premature ejaculation. Studies show that this method of using the herb is generally safe even in long-term use.
Use in Nootropics
There are different ways panax ginseng affects how the brain works. However, the main nootropic benefit from this herb is its ability to improve mental and physical ability.
It was found that just taking 200 milligrams or 400 milligrams of the herb helps reduce mental fatigue in healthy young adults. Other research shows that ginseng can also improve mental performance and memory.
Like other nootropics, ginseng can improve energy levels and is effective in overcoming chronic fatigue. However, this stimulant-like effect is relaxed and doesn’t have negative side effects as the herb wears out.
Ginseng has always been a part of Asian medicine. Nowadays, it has become a common ingredient to a number of different supplements in order to increase the overall effectiveness of the product.