Wild American ginseng (Panax quinquefolius) is a medicinal herb that’s used for its roots. Ginseng has been used for centuries in treating an array of ailments, and medical researchers have found that ginseng can be beneficial to the body in many ways. Wild American ginseng root can provide an anti-inflammatory effect, help to regulate blood glucose, fight cancer cells and support the immune system. The peeled ginseng root is eaten fresh or dried, taken as an extract, consumed in a tincture or taken as a fluid extract.
Boosts the Immune System
Several clinical studies have found that American ginseng improves cell function related to boosting the immune system, helping the body resist or fight diseases and infections, says the University of Maryland Medical Center (UMMC). Taking American ginseng may also help to fight colds and flu, the UMMC says, citing two studies that found that people who took a product containing American ginseng for four months contracted fewer colds and experienced shorter durations of cold symptoms than people who took the placebo. Ginseng seems to stimulate the immune system by increasing the amount of white blood cells in the blood.
Lowers Blood Sugar Levels
American ginseng can be beneficial to people with Type 2 diabetes by lowing blood glucose levels, the UMMC says. The UMMC cites a study that found that Type 2 diabetics who took American ginseng with or before a high-sugar drink experienced less of an increase in blood sugar levels. Similarly, studies have also discovered that American ginseng can boost carbohydrate tolerance in diabetics. The network points out one study where diabetics’ blood alcohol levels were 32 to 51 percent lower after taking 3 grams of ginseng along with alcohol. Studies have also shown benefits for Type 2 diabetics in taking ginseng along with insulin, according to Wilkes University.
Inhibits Cancerous Tumor Growth
American ginseng has anti-cancer properties and can inhibit tumor growth, as illustrated in a plethora of medical studies. One laboratory study found that American ginseng displayed extreme anti-cancer effects on colorectal cancer cells, notes the UMMC. The ginsenosides contained in ginseng can prevent certain cancers, especially gastric cancers, by stopping tumor cell growth, says Wilkes University. The ginsenoside “Rg1” has displayed estrogen-like effects in human breast cancer cells, ceasing the growth of these cells. According to MedlinePlus, studies in China suggest that American ginseng may benefit breast cancer patients, but more research is needed to confirm these findings.
American ginseng offers many neurological benefits, including helping to treat attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), mental and emotional stress, as well as cognitive diseases and conditions. One study found that taking American ginseng along with ginkgo biloba can help to treat ADHD, the UMMC says. Another clinical study found that taking ginseng can improve memory and cognitive function in people with Alzheimer's disease, Wilkes University notes. American ginseng may also modulate cerebroelectrical activity in the brain, and studies have found that chronic ginseng use in animals spurred improvements in relieving stress and fatigue, as well as in learning abilities.