Ginseng, we often come across this word on the packages of homeopathic medicines. It is a popular health benefiting substance, but few of us actually know about this ingredient. Ginseng is basically a nutritious herb belonging to the 11 species of slow growing perennial plants of the family Araliaceae.
Types of Ginseng
Broadly there are three varieties of ginseng on the basis of the place of origin.
- American Ginseng: American ginseng or Panax quinquefolium L.ginseng has its origin in southern Ontario from where it spread to Georgia and Wisconsin. It is commercially cultivated in China. It is known for its calming effect that helps in alleviating stress.
- Asiatic Ginseng: Asiatic or Panax ginseng has its origin in North Korea and China. It is red in colour and is prepared by processing and steaming Panax white ginseng and drying it. This is mostly made into tea, slices or capsules and is known for its warming effect on the body.
- Siberian Ginseng: Also known as eleutherococcus centipoises, it is not a true ginseng but belongs to the same family as the other ginseng types. It has its origin in Russia and Japan. Its root is devoid of ginsenosides found in other ginseng types. Instead they contain eleutheroside, which is considered an imitation ginseng.
Healing Elements Of Ginseng
What is ginseng tea good for? Well, it is a rich source of naturally occurring antioxidants called ‘ginsenosides’ that have medicinal properties. The health benefits of ginseng tea are far too many, including relieving menstrual problems, digestive issues, asthma, arthritis, and sexual dysfunctions.
And, how do you brew ginseng tea? The tea is made by brewing the perennial ginseng root like green or white tea and served. Ginsenosides also called panaxosides, these compounds are the most active ingredients with curative properties in a ginseng root. They are the most sought-after natural saponins in nature that can penetrate cells to improve resistance to stress and enhance cellular balance. You can combine other spices along with ginseng root like cinnamon, ginger, and apple cider to make your tea more flavorful and potent.
Top 24 Incredible Benefits of Ginseng
Ginseng is a health benefiting ingredient and has been used in traditional Chinese medicine for thousands of years. Now it has been widely adopted in many western countries due to its medicinal properties. In fact, ginseng tea is the latest fad when it comes to health drinks. It is also available in powdered form in capsules, root extracts and honeyed root in medical stores. Ginseng tea is, however, considered more effective as it helps the ginseng to get into the bloodstream faster while it is absorbed by the stomach lining. This herb can influence your health and beauty in various ways.
1. Relieves Menstrual Problems
Ginseng can also help relieve pain and discomfort during menstrual cycles. American wild ginseng tea is popular for its cooling and soothing effects. It contains micronutrients that support estrogenic activity, easing stress from vaginal muscles, thus providing relief from menstrual cramps.
2. Lowers Blood Pressure and cholesterol
Ginseng tea is also an effective remedy to counter fluctuating blood pressure. Asian ginseng tea, also known as Korean ginseng tea, has a calming effect. It helps lower blood pressure and provides relief from diseases like hypertension . Certain studies have proved that ginseng lowers bad LDL cholesterol level in the body. This quality can be attributed to the presence of ginsenocides in ginseng.
3. Helps In Weight Reduction
Obesity is increasingly becoming a life-threatening health issue. If you are trying to lose some weight, try including ginseng tea in your diet. Ginseng herbal tea is known to facilitate weight management. Daily consumption of this health drink can help melt those extra layers of fat from your body since it is a natural appetite suppressant (3). It increases the metabolic rate of the body and burns away fat. Unlike other ‘miracle’ weight loss methods, ginseng tea does not cause any side effects and helps you to lose weight safely. But remember, ginseng tea alone cannot help you lose weight. Combine it with a healthy diet and an appropriate workout regimen for best results.
4. Reduces The Risk Of Cancer
Certain substances in ginseng have been found to possess anti-cancer properties. Research conducted by the Chinese Medicine Journal found that ginsenosides have anti-tumour effects and can damage the prostate cancer cells, ovarian cancer cells, neurobastoma cells and lung adenocarcinoma cells. It can also inhibit cell cycle progression, thus slowing down the growth of cancer cells. A study by Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer researchers found that consumption of ginseng after breast cancer diagnosis improved chances of survival and quality of life.
5. Brain Revitalizing Agent
It can also help make you more attentive and enhance your cognitive abilities. Ginseng is believed to be extremely helpful for students. Ginseng tea acts as a stimulant to the brain cells, thus improving the powers of concentration and cognitive abilities. With increased retentive capabilities and alertness, no examination can be too daunting.
6. Treats Sexual Dysfunction
Ginseng root tea benefits include treating sexual illnesses. Ginseng root tea is known to be a prosexual herb that helps treat sexual problems like erectile dysfunction. It has been clinically proven to contain phyto (plant) testosterone that can effectively increase sperm count in men.
7. Improves Digestion
If you suffer from digestive distress, a cup of ginseng tea can ease your problems. Ginseng tea helps the healthy secretion of pepsin that facilitates the process of digestion. It relieves constipation, bloating, and flatulence. It also helps provide relief from the symptoms of Crohn’s Disorder.
8. Has Anti-Aging Properties
Ginseng has been promoted as an anti-ageing treatment. It contains a large amount of phytonutrients, which can stimulate and activate the skin’s metabolism. It rids your skin of the free radicals that gets accumulated when your skin is regularly exposed to sunlight and environmental pollution. It also contains certain ingredients that can increase the production of collagen in the middle layer of the skin known as dermis, making your skin firmer. This collagen makes your skin more elastic and toned, thereby diminishing wrinkles or fine lines on the face and other body parts.
9. Clears The Respiratory System
It can also soothe respiratory problems. American and Siberian ginseng teas help to clear blocked sinuses and bronchial passages as well as reduce inflammation. They offer effective treatment for patients suffering from severe cough, asthma, cold, and pneumonia.
10. Boosts the Immune and Nervous Systems
It also helps keep you away from colds and flu. Ginseng tea helps in strengthening the immune system. It also enhances the efficacy of the stress adapters of the immune system and helps you steer clear of common ailments like cold and flu. Ginseng is used in herbal medicine to boost the body’s immune system. It strengthens the immune system and is particularly beneficial for patients suffering from chronic bronchitis, when taken along with antibiotics. Its adaptogenic properties can keep you young while restoring damaged cells in elderly people. It also enhances the effectiveness of flu vaccines.
11. Stabilizes The Sugar Levels
Ginseng tea helps regulate sugar levels in the blood. According to a research, the ginsenosides in American ginseng tea help control the blood sugar levels in the body, maintain proper functioning of the pancreas, and also enhance the response power of the body to insulin.
12. Reduces Chronic Pain
It also helps reduce effects resulting from chronic pain. Studies have revealed that Siberian ginseng tea has anti-inflammatory properties. Herbalists recommend its use to cure conditions related to inflammation like arthritis and other chronic pains.
13. Cure For Radiation
Ginseng tea has been found to be an effective prophylactic against the effects of radiation treatment. The ginsenosides present in ginseng tea have been found to preserve the cells by boosting immunity and providing protection against radiation therapy.
14. Rehydrates The Skin
Ginseng tea is particularly great for refining and rehydrating your skin and regenerates skin cells by increasing oxygenation. It acts as a skin cleanser as well as refreshes your skin. Add herbal ginseng tea to your bath, as it helps in rehydrating and refining your skin by maintaining the fluid balance in your body and increasing elasticity.
15. Helps In Blood Detoxification
Ginseng tea helps in blood circulation and purifies it as well. Clinical experiments have found that ginseng tea helps lower toxicity levels in your blood that otherwise exert pressure on your liver. It is also mildly diuretic. All of these contribute towards detoxifying blood.
16. Improves Complexion
Ginseng roots and leaves are rich in vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, which are good for overall skin health. They metabolise skin cells and facilitate the elimination of dead skin cells to produce healthy new skin. Ginseng tea is particularly great for refining and rehydrating your skin. It regenerates skin cells by increasing oxygenation. It also improves blood circulation and is a great blood detoxifier. All these factors contribute to a healthier and brighter complexion. Topical use of ginseng leaves can keep your skin healthy and glowing.
17. Great Toner
Ginseng is also a great toner and facial freshener. Not only does it improve collagen formation but also helps reduce black spots on the face. You can prepare your own ginseng mask by mixing ginseng oil with other ingredients, like sunflower oil, honey or water. This should be applied twice a week for best results.
18. Treatment of Skin Diseases
Incomplete skin metabolism contributes to skin problems like acne, eczema and rough skin. Ginseng is effective in this regard as it gets absorbed by the skin very quickly and improves subcutaneous vascular circulation. Regular intake of ginseng can help you get rid of these problems, making your skin bright and cheerful.
19. Treatment of Dark Circles
Another noteworthy benefit of ginseng is that it helps in reducing puffiness of the eyes and lightens under-eye dark circles. You can try using a ginseng mask for this purpose and get freedom from those dark circles.
20. Stimulates Hair Growth
Panax ginseng is an anti-apoptotic which means that it improves the proliferation of dermal papilla cells. Hence, its topical application improves hair’s regeneration ability. It encourages hair growth by stimulating blood flow to the scalp. It also improves the health of hair follicles and cells, thus preventing hair loss.
21. Combats Hair Loss
Hair fall is often associated with a weak immune system. A Healthy immune system enables your body to fight off infections and diseases, thus promoting overall health including hair health. But when your body is busy repairing itself, it becomes unable to perform other functions such as hair growth which ultimately results in hair loss. Ginseng facilitates proper blood circulation as well as optimum oxygen absorption by the blood. By improving the health of the internal body parts, it automatically combats hair fall.
22. Improves Mental and Physical Health
Ginseng can stimulate physical and mental health of people who often feel weak and tired. It is a great tonic that can boost your stamina and energy levels. It improves mental alertness and changes the mood by relieving fatigue. Excessive stress causes the adrenal hormones like cortisol, adrenaline and noradrenaline to flow out, leading to a host of health problems. Ginseng helps in balancing the level of adrenaline in the body. Ginseng tea is considered a great stimulant for brain cells and improves concentration and thinking ability.
23. Anti-inflammatory Properties
Ginseng comprises of seven constituent ginsenocides, which possess immune-suppressive effects. Its anti-inflammatory properties can be attributed to the combined effects of the ginsenocides, which target different levels of immunological activity in the body.
24. Improves Endurance
Ginseng is particularly beneficial for athletes as it enables them to use oxygen more effectively and regulates metabolism, resulting in more energy. Because of its ability to improve stamina, it is a popular stimulant tonic among athletes. Athletes require high levels of stamina in order to be consistent during practise and ginseng can very well serve that purpose.
Precautions While Using Ginseng
Though ginseng can be beneficial for your skin, hair and health in various ways, it should be used carefully as it is associated with many side effects. In fact, this herb is not suitable for everyone. While it is known to lower fatigue in some people, it might increase nausea, dizziness, and migraine headaches in others. Though, it is considered an herbal medicine, some people might experience allergic reactions from using white and red ginseng. Diabetics undergoing insulin or similar medications may experience a hypoglycaemic reaction from the usage of American ginseng. It has been found to increase episodes of hypertension and rapid heartbeat. Hence, those with uncontrolled high blood pressure should avoid it. Ginseng has been found to inhibit a blood thinning drug used during surgery so its usage should be stopped at least 7 days prior to surgery. Though ginseng can lower blood pressure and blood sugar levels in the body, using it can increase the risk of anaemia. Ginseng is not recommended for pregnant women and nursing mothers as it may cause contraindications. It can also affect the reactions of drugs like aspirin, warfarin, heparin and other diuretics. Anything in excess can harm your body. The same rule applies to this particular tea. Here are some things you need to keep in mind while drinking ginseng tea:
- 1. Gastrointestinal Problems: Excess doses of ginseng tea have been found to render a feeling of nausea, vomiting, other gastric problems and headache.
- 2. Insomnia & Nervousness: Ginseng tea can sometimes be overstimulating and can cause a few sleepless nights along with anxiety.
- 3. May Cause Blood To Clot: Korean ginseng tea has been found to intervene with the blood clotting behavior of platelets according to a study by the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center.
- 4. May Cause Hypoglycemia: Ginseng tea helps control blood sugar levels, but if you are diabetic, you need to be extremely careful. The effects of your medication coupled with the effects of ginseng tea can cause you to experience insulin shock or, in other words, hypoglycemia.
- 5. Hormonal Imbalances: Prolonged consumption of ginseng tea produces an estrogen-like effect and may depress the central nervous system, causing post-menopausal vaginal bleeding. Owing to the excess estrogen in the blood, pregnant women and lactating mothers should avoid ginseng tea.
Ginseng has rightfully earned its way to the top of the health herbs list. There is a reason health enthusiasts swear by ginseng tea. It can help you rejuvenate as well as lead a healthy life— now isn’t that something to aim for? With so many amazing benefits, Korean red ginseng tea should definitely be a part of your healthy diet. Just make sure that you consume this tea not more than two to three times a week.
In order to reap the maximum benefits of ginseng, it is advisable to consult your physician regarding the correct dosage. Some researchers are of the view that it can affect your hormones when taken for a prolonged period. So it should not be taken for a period of more than 3 months. Use ginseng wisely to stay away from ginseng side effects and thus live a healthier life!