According to MayoClinic.com, ginseng is the term used to refer to several species of the root Panax. Panax has been used for thousands of years in herbal and traditional medicines for a variety of medicinal and health uses. Korean ginseng is a popular herbal supplement that is purported to boost your energy levels and promote mental clarity.
The use of Korean ginseng dates back to the Chien Hen era, which occurred between 33 and 48 B.C. According to authors Sir Ghillean Prance and Mark Nesbitt in their book, "The Cultural History of Plants," 3rd-century China developed a large demand for Korean ginseng, which helped to open up trade routes between China and Korea, where the plant was originally grown. Korean ginseng was traded to Europe in the 1600's and it has been widely used for a variety of health purposes in both Eastern and Western cultures since this time.
Korean ginseng was most likely originally used as a food supplement. According to authors Prance and Nesbitt, however, it was quickly recognized that Korean ginseng had strength-giving and rejuvenating powers, and became valued by herbalists and traditional healers to alleviate a variety of complaints such as low energy levels, fatigue, headaches, reduced sex drive and memory problems.
Korean ginseng and other varieties of Panax are said to have a number of health benefits. Traditional and herbal medicines use ginseng to improve levels of energy and concentration. According to authors Prance and Nesbitt, it is used in the West to stimulate the central nervous system and increase your resistance to stress and fatigue. According to MayoClinic.com, a preliminary study showed that ginseng can alleviate fatigue and improve stamina, although further research is required to fully validate this claim.
According to MayoClinic.com, ginseng is available in capsule and tea form. Typical dosage is 100 to 200 milligrams of standardized ginseng extract by mouth twice daily for no longer than 12 weeks. Higher doses may be used but should be taken only under the supervision of a physician or qualified herbalist. You can also buy commercially-prepared tea made from Korean ginseng. You can also make a tea by soaking several thinly-sliced pieces of Korean ginseng in boiling water for five minutes, then straining.
Always consult your doctor before taking any herbal supplement. According to MayoClinic.com, people with allergies to the Panax species should avoid using Korean ginseng. Long-term use may cause numerous side effects. Avoid using ginseng if you are pregnant or breastfeeding, unless you are under medical supervision.