What is Ginseng
What is Ginseng Root? Ginseng isn’t actually just one individual species of plant or root. It doesn’t even belong to a particular common plant family. It is a collection of plants that have similar appearances and health benefits, but there are specific difference that make them work even better as a combination than individually. They can all be referred to generically as Panax Ginseng plants. American Ginseng is the most commonly used type of panax ginseng.
Red Ginseng is another that is grouped in the panax type because of similar health benefits. The other types of ginseng plants are called Korean Ginseng, Siberian Ginseng, Wild Ginseng, Asian Ginseng and Eleuthero Root. There are many more varieties, but these are by far the most common and easy to find. The ginseng roots are used and ground into an extract (ginseng extract) or used in a liquid tonic. Ginseng’s main benefit is that of an energetic and adaptogenic herb, one that help you cope with stress, physical or mental.
What are Adaptogens? Adaptogenic Herbs are natural herbs that help your body adapt to stress, they give your body extra oomph that it needs when you are dealing with physical, emotional and mental stressful conditions. Physical conditions like being ill, performing intense workouts or sports competitions and adapting to extreme heat or cold; Emotional stresses like difficult relationships, breakups, job losses and relocations, Mental stresses like exam stress, job stress, overthinking, and brainstorming. Adaptogens can help you through them all.
Adaptogenic herbs make up a nice little list because they cross different types of plants, not just one family. Ginsengs are the most common type of adaptogen (American ginseng, Siberian ginseng, Red ginseng, suma, ashwaganda extract, astragalus, maca root, schisandra and jiaogulan (gynostemma pentaphyllum). The mushrooms reishi, shiitake and maitake are also potent adaptogens with powerful immune boosting properties that can zap deadly virus infections as well as be effective against most cancers, without the side effects of chemotherapy or radiation. See: Mushroom Health Benefits.
Benefits of Ginseng
What are the most common benefits of ginseng? Ginseng is a very important adaptogen that can save your body from the negative effects of stress and chronic fatigue in numerous ways Here are the most common ginseng benefits you should know about:
- Anti-Aging Supplement (Stops stress hormones from damaging your cells)
- Brain Booster (Helps prevent exam stress; promotes enhanced cognition & clarity)
- Cardiovascular System Booster (Improves blood and oxygen circulation in body)
- CFS (Chronic Fatigue Syndrome)
- Depression (Natural mood elevator)
- Diabetes (and Prediabetes blood sugar control)
- Digestive Disorders
- Energy Booster (Caffeine free sustained energy boost)
- Erectile Dysfunction (60% improvement within 18 weeks)
- Improves Hemoglobin Levels (Red Blood Cell Count)
- Liver Function (Helps against hepatitis, cirrhosis and liver failure)
- Stress Relief (From Physical, Emotional & Mental Stress; Stops stress hormones from damaging your body)
- Weight Loss (Stops your body from excess cortisol production that leads to fat storage)
- And much, much more!
Ginseng is a natural whole body tonic that protects you from the negative effects of stress on your heart, cells and from damaging elevated stress hormones that cause premature aging and fat storage.
Panax Ginseng (Asian ginseng) is considered in TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine) as a yang chi tonic. The best form is Korean Red Ginseng, it is an active form of ginseng that is great in improving energy levels, strengthening muscle tone, improving vocal tone in more passive type personalities. It has mild androgenic properties that gives natural inner and outer strength boosts. Numerous studies demonstrate Panax ginseng’s effectiveness at improving a person’s ability to withstand stress, improve work performance and quality, and enhance cognitive function (mental clarity.)
It has also been shown to increase adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH), which stimulates an increase in adrenal hormone secretion for a powerful boost in energy, strength and stamina. It also can counteract the shrinkage of the adrenal gland caused by prescription corticosteroid drugs. At Okayama University Medical School, Japan, researchers from the department of pathology discovered that Asian ginseng extract inhibited hydroxyl radical formation. This makes Panax ginseng a powerful antioxidant as well.
The medical researchers confirmed that ginsengs antioxidant effect may be responsible for ginseng’s wide range of medicinal uses. In a double-blind controlled study, 36 noninsulin-dependent diabetes patients were treated with Panax ginseng for eight weeks. Patients were administered either 100 mg or 200 mg of Panax ginseng or a placebo. The ginseng extract lifted the moods of the patients, improved their physical activity participation and performance, improved hemoglobin levels, reduced fasting blood sugar levels and lowered body weight mass, and adipose (fat) tissue.
American ginseng (Panax quinquefolius), is a close cousin of Asian ginseng. However it is considered a yin tonic rather than a yang tonic. Therefore American ginseng is most helpful for active types that want to get a boost, or improve performance. It contains similar ginsenosides (the active ingredients in ginsengs) as the Asian ginsengs and has similar health benefits too. It is somewhat similar to the natural body types of people living in Asia compared to people living in the Americas.
The majority of people living in Asia and following the customs there are smaller framed or of “yin” body constitution. The majority of people living in the Americas that follow the customs, and diets there generally have larger body structures. It’s appropriate that these two main types of ginsengs match the cultures they are named after. If you are smaller framed, than the Asian ginseng would be good for you. If you are more full figured, then the American ginseng is good for you.
However, the best overall strategy for ginseng usage is not a magic bullet approach (where one thing fixes it all.) Rather achieving optimum balance gives you well rounded strength and flexibility that keeps you healthy and active for the long haul. Using a blend of ginsengs (American, Asian, Siberian, etc) can help you get experience the best of all worlds.
Siberian ginseng (Eleutherococcus senticosus), is not actually a ginseng, as you can tell by its Latin name but has ginseng like effects on human health, so it got included as a ginseng by botanists. It can be found natively in Russia, Asia, northern China, Japan and Korea. Russian scientists consider it to be the “gold standard” for ginsengs because of its energy boosting properties and stress reducing benefits.
It is part of what helped the Russian athletes train and compete in extreme cold temperatures and be almost unstoppable. They and many other people still use it today for its immense health protecting benefits and natural energy and performance boosting without caffeine jitters. Russian botanists consider it to be even more effective than Asian ginseng in allowing people to perform under extreme stressful conditions.
I have tried all of the major types of ginsengs, and they are all highly beneficial in their own right. I get the most sustained energy boost and balanced stress relief by taking a blend of adaptogenic herbs that include at least 3 types of ginsengs. It is powerful natural medicine that really works. I can go out in colder temperatures for longer now with just a tank top, than I ever could before. I can say in the sauna longer. I can exercise longer and notice an improvement when I lift weights too. It is a natural stress reliever and anti-aging tonic that everyone should benefit from regularly.
You can get ginseng as an individual ginseng, like the Panax Ginseng in the section above, which comes in capsules. If you want an organic ginseng supplement that is a blend of natural ginsengs combined with other adaptogenic herbs because they work on different channels in the body. And give you a caffeine free energy boost that can help you get through the most stressful of times and make it through without damaging your body with stress hormones like cortisol that age you prematurely, cause heart conditions and pack on excess weight like Jaba the Hut.
For more information on where to get a great organic adaptogen blend see: Ginseng Extract.