Ginseng is a traditional Chinese herbal remedy from the Asian ginseng plant. The ginseng root contains active compounds called ginsenosides which provide unique medicinal benefits.1 Ginseng is often described as an “adaptogen herb”, which means that it helps support adrenal function in order to help reduce the impacts of daily stress.2
There are three types of ginseng which differ in their health and medicinal benefits. There is American, Asian and Siberian ginseng which can be used as herbal remedies.3
Ginseng Uses and Health Benefits
The ginseng health benefits are numerous and continue to grow as more research studies produce findings on new medicinal uses for ginseng.1,4
Here are some of the ginseng health benefits:
- May help to reduce blood glucose levels
- Possible immune function benefits
- Improves mood and reduces stress
- Improves physical endurance, including using ginseng for energy
- Helps treat ADHD and behavioral conditions
- Improves cognitive function
- Anti-inflammatory benefits
- Helps with weight loss
- Improves lung function
- Anticancer properties that inhibit tumor growth
- Treats sexual dysfunction
Because of these various ginseng health benefits, this herbal remedy can be used to treat several conditions. The following are some of the most common ginseng uses:3
- Heart Disease - Because ginseng acts as an antioxidant, it can help to clear the body of free radicals, which can accumulate and over time cause heart disease, diabetes and other conditions.
- Memory Loss - Ginseng can be taken to improve cognitive function and alertness, including the ability to recall memories and improve thinking and learning.
- Schizophrenia - Due to its natural stress-relieving benefits, ginseng can help to ease symptoms of schizophrenia and other mood disorders.
- Menopause Symptoms - Ginseng can be used to help treat menopausal symptoms including improving sense of wellbeing, lowering mood swings and reducing depression.
- Panic Attack - Because ginseng is natural adaptogen herb, it can help balance out adrenal function and reduce instances of panic attacks or lessen panic symptoms.
- Depression - Ginseng can help to improve sense of wellbeing and reduce stress and feelings of depression.
There are other uses for this herbal remedy including ginseng for hair and ginseng for colds due to antioxidant health benefits.
Ginseng Side Effects and Precautions
Ginseng can be taken in several formats including a brewed tea, or in capsules, tablets, powder or liquid extract supplements. 3 For most people, small doses of ginseng is safe. 1 However, there are some precautions to consider.
The following are potential ginseng side effects when taken in higher doses or with pre-existing conditions:1
- Sleep problems
- Gastrointestinal problems
- Potential allergic reactions
- Potential breast tenderness and irregular menstrual cycles
- Possible increase in blood pressure
- Reduction in blood sugar levels, which can possibly impact patients with diabetes taking
other medications to control blood sugar levels
Always tell your physician if you are using or plan to use ginseng as an alternative medication for any condition.