* image from oncologynurseadvisor.com *
I feel like we often hear of ginseng in the health world…but what does it really do?
Ginseng is a spice root. There are various kinds of Ginseng, two of the main kinds are American and Asian ginseng. They both share a lot of the same properties and benefits because they both contain the active ingredient of ginsenoside. What makes the two strands different is the different levels of the active ingredient.
Benefits of Ginseng Include:
- Anti- inflammatory
- Shown to reduce blood sugar by regulating the intake of glucose (good for diabetes)
- Anti Oxidant (prevents damage of free radicals)
- Anti oxidant property also helps the body keep pathways clear of free radicals towards the brain
- Traditionally considered an aphrodisiac (recommended for men with erectile dysfunction)
- Helps reduce menstrual cramps (anti inflammatory property)
- Helps strengthen the hair follicle and prevent hair loss
- Stimulates blood flow throughout the body- improving the skin cells especially (Anti aging)
- Boosts the immune system
- Boosts energy
- Helps detox the body
- Stimulates the metabolism
- Reduces stress + anxiety
- Considered an adaptogenic – which is a natural toxic free substance that improves the body’s ability to adapt, particularly to stress, physically and mentally.
As we said earlier the main difference between Asian and American Ginseng is that Asian Ginseng (also called Panax) contains a higher percentage of ginsenoside while the American strain has a lower percentage. Keep in mind they are both part of the Ginseng umbrella and both will help the body in a number of ways! They are very similar, don’t stress over trying to get one more than the other and don’t think you wont receive the benefits of Ginseng if you consume one strain and not the other. Below the strengths are listed for each kind but don’t think that the other one cannot necessarily offer the same thing.
- Colds + Flus
- Improves immune function
- Helps digestion
- Relieves nervousness
- According to Traditional Chinese Medicine: contains the Yin energy
- Associated with improving over all memory and mental health
- Alleviates the mood
- According to Traditional Chinese Medicine: very warming and promotes Yang energy
The most common way to have Ginseng is by Ginseng tea. Depending on how you get your Ginseng, if you purchase the root, chop it into little pieces and leave it steeped in your hot water. The longer it steeps the better (even if you let it steep over night and drink it in the morning!). If you purchase it in the dried root form, it works the same way, let it steep for as long as you can in hot hot water, and then drink!
*Keep in mind Ginseng can be a strong root to consume. Some people may have negative side effects/symptoms such as headaches, nausea, upset stomach. When you first start to consume Ginseng start off with a small quantity and slowly work your way up to a desired amount*