Ginseng is a herb that originated in northern China more than 5,000 years ago. Medicinal use of the herb began over 3,000 years ago. Its use spread to North America among Native American tribes who used ginseng for its healing abilities. Ginseng's many reputed health benefits are derived from the root. Ginseng is said to boost immunity, improve stamina, relieve stress and enhance memory, among other health benefits. Eating ginseng root raw, steamed, or lightly cooked is the best way to ingest all the beneficial compounds of the herb. You can also take it as an extract, powder or capsule, and there are three major types of ginseng. Always consult a doctor before using ginseng or any medicinal herb to treat yourself for any condition.
American or Panax quinquefolium L. ginseng originated in southern Ontario, spreading to Georgia and Wisconsin. It is current cultivated in China. This type of ginseng produces a cool, calming effect that alleviates stress.
Asiatic or Panax ginseng is red in color and originated in North Korea and China. It is processed and made by steaming Panax white ginseng and then drying it. It is usually made into a tea, slices or capsules. Panax ginseng warms the body.
Siberian ginseng, also known as eleutherococcus centipoises, is not a true ginseng despite belonging to same plant family as the other ginseng types. It originated in east Russia and Japan. Its root lacks the ginsenosides other ginseng types possess but it does contain eleutheroside, which is believed to be imitation ginseng.
Ginseng reduces blood sugar and controls blood pressure. It protects the liver from the effects of alcohol and drug use. It can help to relieve headache, colds, backache and gout. It has anti-clotting properties that can beneficial in preventing blood clots. It reduces cholesterol and is an anti-oxidant. Ginseng has been used in Asian cultures as cure for impotence and is believed to restore virility. Today it is used as a sexual stimulant and is believed to enhance sexual performance. The NIH reports, however, that most of ginseng's reputed benefits have not been proved in large, peer-reviewed scientific research.
Ginseng is an adaptogen, which restores emotional and mental balance and improves the body's ability to adjust and adapt to every situations. It improves mental clarity and increases energy and stamina.
Ginseng vitalizes the skin and helps to maintain skin tone. It controls the production of oil and improves skin texture. It is a common ingredient in many lotions, toners and skin creams, according to all4naturalhealth.com.
Ginseng use at recommended dosages for a short time is relatively safe. Long-term use may cause side effects that include allergic reactions, gastrointestinal issues, menstrual irregularities and sleep problems, advises the NIH. Persons with diabetes should use Asian ginseng with caution if they are taking glucose-lowering medication. Ginseng may have an adverse interaction with or may reduce the effectiveness of certain drugs. People who have congestive heart failure, chronic depression or who are using blood thinners should consult their doctor before taking ginseng.