Ginseng Benefits: Exploring an Energizing Medicinal Plant
Food as Medicine
Ginseng has been a prized medicinal root for thousands of years. Due to the numerous ginseng benefits, the herb is often considered a ‘cure-all’. From increasing energy levels and improving memory, to boosting sex drive and encouraging vascular health—this is truly a healing plant worth talking about.
As reported by our friends at NaturalNews, not all “ginsengs” are created equal. Generally, when we speak of the ginseng plant in research studies, we are talking about Panax Ginseng. While there are others—Siberian, Korean Red and Korean White—Panax is the most well-researched and most frequently discussed. Still, some herbalists believe Siberian ginseng is closely related enough and an adaptogen, delivering many of the same benefits of its more deeply researched cousin.
- 1. Ginseng for Longer Life – One study starting in 1985 looked at 6282 subjects ages 55 and up, both men and women, ginseng users and non-users. The researchers found within an eight year study period that the male ginseng users had a significant reduction in death from all causes when compared with men who didn’t take ginseng. The same couldn’t be said for women, though they did experience a reduction in cancer-specific mortality.
- 2. Ginseng for Dementia Prevention – Adding further to ginseng benefits, another study, published in a 2009 issue of the American Journal of Chinese Medicine looked at the effects of ginseng supplementation on the aging and longevity of mice. Among other things, the researchers found that ginseng inhibited something called malondialdehyde (MDA) compound produced from oxidative stress and present in older populations with dementia.
- 3. Ginseng and Diabetes – Researchers also found that ginseng has significant ability to increase insulin production and decrease pancreas beta-cell death, also reducing blood sugar levels in patients with type 2 diabetes.
Other Ginseng Benefits
In addition to these studies, research has shown ginseng benefits to include improvement for:
- Vascular health
- Cancer protection
- Stress reduction
- Memory enhancement
- Increased energy levels
- Boosted libido
- Enhanced sperm health
Unlike other energizing herbs, you won’t necessarily feel the effects of ginseng supplementation within the hours following your dose; the effects are slow. Instead, it can take hours or days to have any effect. Many herbalists recommend only taking ginseng for a period of three weeks or so and taking time off before restarting any supplementation.
Ginseng can be found in supplements and occasionally in whole form in specialty markets. The quality of ginseng is said to vary widely, and supplements often include other filler herbs to mask the low-quality ginseng. For this reason, it’s wise to not take a ginseng supplement with other herbs included.