Panax Ginseng, or Korean Red Ginseng, is a plant that grows extensively in the wilderness of Asia. The plant, and more specifically its roots, has been recognised as a vital part of Chinese medicine for ages now. While there are different variants of this plant based on how long it has been harvested (fresh, white and red), the fleshy roots of each of these variants are used immensely in medicine.
However, the red variant, which has been harvested for more than 6 years, is the most potent of the lot. Today, the Panax Ginseng from Asia is noted for its exceptional pharmaceutical value. It is linked to a large number of health benefits, making it one of the most powerful herbs to be used in various supplements and medications.
Pharmaceutical Value of Panax Ginseng
As mentioned, the root of the Panax Ginseng plant is recognised as a potent herb that is linked with numerous health benefits. In fact, the root of the plant is known as Ginseng. Several studies in Korea have established that the Ginseng (root) is a rich source of ginsenosides (ginseng saponins), chemical compounds that are the main reason behind the functionality of Ginseng. However, it was noted that the efficacy of Ginseng could not entirely be explained by the ginsenosides alone. It was then that a new class of active ingredients known as gintonin was discovered. This new chemical compound is basically a glycosylated ginseng proteins complex that contain lysophosphatidic acids (LPAs). In addition, gintonin helps in triggering the G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs) in accordance with LPA. As a result of these findings, the functionality of Ginseng is now credited to the LPAs and the GPCRs.
Health Benefits of Panax Ginseng
Panax Ginseng is considered one of the most powerful herbal ingredients. Right from its use in ancient Chinese medicine to today’s health supplements, the potential benefits of this root has been widely studied. The following summarises some of the proven health benefits of Panax Ginseng:
As a Nootropic
Panax Ginseng has immense nootropic benefits as it helps in boosting your cognitive functions. Studies have shown the ability of Ginseng in enhancing several brain functions such as memory and behavioural characteristics.
Further research has demonstrated the ability of Panax Ginseng in protecting your brain against damage by free radicals. This is due to the presence of ginsenosides and compound K in the root.
One of the most interesting things discovered about Ginseng is that a lower dose is more effective than a higher one. A recent experiment showed how a number of subjects being administered doses of Ginseng showed variations in results in accordance with the dosage. 200mg is Ginseng proved to be more effective than 400mg of it. It isn’t known why this happened. However, it gets more interesting thereafter.
Another study involved the administration of 200mg of Ginseng to a certain number of subjects. At the end of a month, the subjects showed a significant improvement in their mental capabilities (as expected). However, there was no notable improvement after 2 months. This suggests that prolonged usage of Ginseng does not show any significant benefits.
An antioxidant with anti-inflammatory properties
Ginseng is proven to be a powerful antioxidant with anti-inflammatory properties. In fact, it is so potent that studies have shown Ginseng’s remarkable functionalities even in people suffering from eczema. In addition, it was even evidenced that Ginseng can reduce oxidative stress by triggering the antioxidant enzymes.
Effective in dealing with Erectile Dysfunction (ED)
Several men from all around the world face problems such as Erectile Dysfunction (ED). Thankfully, research has shown Ginseng’s effectiveness in dealing with ED. Several studies have demonstrated how the various components in Ginseng protect the penis and the blood vessels supplying blood to the penile shaft from oxidative stresses. This helps the penis to retain its normal functionality and get harder and stronger erections.
Ginseng has also been found to boost the synthesis of nitric oxide (NO) in the body. Nitric oxide helps to dilate the blood vessels and improve blood circulation. This supplies more blood to the penis and makes it erect.
The most noteworthy point is that a recent clinical study has proved that men with ED taking Panax Ginseng showed a 60% improvement in their ED when compared to only 30% for men taking medication for their ED. Additional studies have also proven Ginseng’s remarkable effectiveness in men with Erectile Dysfunction.
Can potentially help against cancer
Ginseng has been linked to potentially reducing the risk of cancer. In terms of cancer, the ginsenosides have been shown to reduce inflammatory effects and act as a powerful antioxidant.
Recent studies have shown how the ginsenosides assist the cell cycle (the natural growth and division of cells) by preventing the abnormal growth and division of cells, thereby reducing the risk of cancer. In fact, people with a regular consumption of Panax Ginseng show a 16% lower chance of getting cancer. Studies have shown that this reduced risk is applicable for many forms of cancer. Not only that, Ginseng also helps people who are undergoing cancer treatment such as chemotherapy.
Studies have demonstrated how people recovering from ailments had lesser symptoms and a significant boost in their immune system.
Interestingly, a recent study has shown that people regularly consuming Ginseng have a 38% better survival rate than people who do not. In addition, the same people who were taking Ginseng had a 35% better chance of not falling sick for the incoming 5 years.
Ginseng can also boost the effectiveness of vaccines.
Reduces fatigue and improves energy levels
A highly intensive study has shown that the components in Ginseng such as polysaccharides and oligopeptides lowers the levels of oxidative stresses and improves the energy of cells, thereby helping in keeping fatigue away. Further studies have provided evidence of the same.
Experimental tests on subjects have proven that a regular intake of Ginseng helps to reduce mental and physical fatigue considerably when compared to people who do not take Ginseng.
Could potentially lower blood sugar levels
Whether you have diabetes or not, the consumption of Ginseng has been linked to the lowering of blood sugar levels. Studies have demonstrated that intake of Ginseng improves the functionality of the pancreas, boost the production of insulin and facilitate the transport of blood sugar to the tissues. Furthermore, the antioxidant nature of Ginseng helps to protect the cells against damage from free radicals in people with diabetes.
A daily consumption of 1-2 grams of Ginseng root or 200mg of Ginseng extract is recommended.
It is advised to start with low doses in the beginning and gradually increase it later.
There have been no reports of any bothersome side effects from the consumption of Ginseng.
However, if you have diabetes, you should monitor your blood sugar levels before taking Ginseng.
If you are on any other medication, then you should consult your doctor beforehand.
Pregnant and breastfeeding women should avoid Ginseng as there is no research evidence to support the safety of consumption of Ginseng by pregnant and lactating women.
With an impressive range of health benefits to its credit, Panax Ginseng is truly a wonder root. You can have the root raw or have it as tea to reap the benefits of Ginseng. With a well-established legacy in terms of got ancient Chinese medicine and modern health supplements, Ginseng is an ideal herbal ingredient for your health and wellness.