Ginseng is known as one of the most effective natural supplements and ingredients, and it has been used by many different cultures throughout its history. In this short guide, we’re going to explore what ginseng is in the first place, some of the most common ginseng benefits, as well as the various types of ginseng you’ll find available.
What is Ginseng?
Ginseng is a root harvested from plants in the panax genus, which consists of a wide range of different plants, though some of the more common ones include Korean ginseng, American ginseng, and South China ginseng. These plants all share a few common active ingredients.
For example, ginseng features gintonin as well as ginsenosides, which are both largely responsible for many of the reputed medical effects of the root. One thing to consider is that ginseng has been used in traditional medicine for centuries, but the amount of concrete research about what it can do is still lacking.
One thing to consider is the source of your ginseng, as that may affect its quality and the additional substances that it contains. Some illicit sources of ginseng sell ginseng that has a large concentration of fillers or potentially even toxic chemicals, so it’s always a good idea to get your ginseng from the right source.
As we mentioned earlier, ginseng has been used in traditional medicine for centuries, specifically in traditional Chinese medicine. There are three maturities of ginseng, and they are identified based on the colour of the root, as it changes over the course of the ficus ginseng care process.
Fresh ginseng is the youngest harvest of the ginseng plant, and it means that it has been harvested before the root reaches the age of four years. White ginseng is in the middle of the age bracket, and it means that the ginseng has been harvested between the ages of four and six years old. Finally, red ginseng has been harvested after the root has reached an age of six years old.
What is Ginseng Good For?
Ginseng’s Antioxidant Effects
One of the most commonly mentioned Siberian ginseng benefits is its ability to reduce oxidative stress. Studies have shown that ginseng is likely an effective antioxidant that helps sweep up free radicals that are responsible for both the development of diseases as well as the negative effects of ageing.
While most of the studies that have been conducted in-depth about ginseng’s antioxidant abilities have been focused on animal testing, human tests are growing more and more common. This study showed a pretty substantial reduction in inflammation in athletes who had taken ginseng.
Ginseng Benefits Sexually
In traditional Chinese medicine, one of the main Korean ginseng benefits that are touted is the ability to improve sexual performance. While the verdict is still out on whether ginseng can directly make you more virile and improve your libido, some studies have determined that ginseng can help treat erectile dysfunction.
The studies have shown that ginseng’s antioxidant properties help contribute to its ability to undo erectile dysfunction by reducing the damage that oxidative stress causes to penile tissues over time. This study also showed that ginseng increased nitric oxide levels in the penis, which is responsible for dilating blood vessels.
Ginseng Cognition Benefits
Ginseng has also been shown to help improve higher brain functions over the course of several studies that focused on cognition and memory. One study showed that panax ginseng use could improve mental health, mood, and social functioning, though it also noted that continued use of it made the effects wear off over time.
Another study was conducted to determine whether ginseng doses could improve the mental fatigue, mental performance, and blood sugar levels of 30 adults who were otherwise healthy. The results of the ten-minute test showed that the participants had improved mental performance after taking a 400 mg dose of ginseng.
Types of Ginseng
Ficus microcarpa ginseng isn’t a form of ginseng that is typically used as a supplement but rather cultivated as a bonsai tree. Despite the fact that you don’t usually consume the roots, ficus ginseng plants can help act as a natural air filter in your home, still providing you with health benefits in spite of their unsuitability as a supplement.
Siberian ginseng originates in Siberia, and it offers many of the same health benefits as other kinds of ginseng, commonly being used as an adaptogen. Other purported benefits of Siberian ginseng include its ability to help reduce high blood pressure by dilating blood vessels.
Korean ginseng is the panax ginseng genus, which is the most commonly-used one. It is also known as Chinese ginseng or Asian ginseng. Confusingly enough, this kind of ginseng also grows in Siberia, but it is not the same species as Siberian ginseng, in spite of the similar effects.