Ginseng is a perennial plant that is of the Araliaceae family. It is found commonly in the cooler regions of North America and Eastern Asia. The ginseng found in North America has different properties than those found in Eastern Asia. Eastern Asian ginseng, referred to as panax ginseng, is distinguished from other ginsengs by the presence of gintonin and ginsenosides, active ingredients. Subsequently, panax ginseng is considered more stimulating than the American or Siberian ginseng.
Discovered in the mountains of China over 5000 years ago, ginseng’s medicinal properties are used all over the world for treatment of a number of health issues.
Health Benefits of Ginseng
The fleshy root of ginseng and sometimes the leaf is used to make medicine. Panax ginseng can be used as a stimulant, as it improves concentration, memory, productivity, physical endurance and stamina. There is possible evidence that ginseng, when given to Alzheimer’s patients, improves mental performance.
Ginseng is also considered an adaptogen; it improves the adrenal system’s hormonal response to stress and therefore, improves mood and a person’s general well-being.
Taking into account ginseng’s mood boosting properties, consumption of panax ginseng is used as a remedy for depression and anxiety. It helps fight chronic fatigue and boosts the immune system to fight off infections and diseases like cystic fibrosis. Some evidence suggests it can prevent certain types of cancers, like breast, ovarian, lung and skin cancers.
Other uses include to relieve symptoms of menopause, intestinal problems, and to treat erectile dysfunction. It is taught to slow down aging processes, as well.
How to Use Ginseng
Ginseng is consumed orally.
To make at home, cut a small portion of the root—the size of an almond—and brew it to make tea. It can also be simmered into your favorite soup, or the root can be chewed on raw to reap in the benefits.