Ginseng may help men in several ways: protecting against heart disease, improving erectile dysfunction, preventing premature ejaculation and lowering blood sugar levels, according to MayoClinic.com. Green tea may help men lose weight, particularly around their mid-sections, and help them live longer. Although ginseng and green tea have been used in Chinese medicine for thousands of years, modern research regarding their effectiveness is limited and has met with mixed results.
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Types of Ginseng
Asian ginseng—also known as panax ginseng—and American ginseng are the two most common types of the plant and have similar properties. A different type, Siberian ginseng, has been used to treat colds, flu and herpes. Also used to promote alertness and mental clarity, Siberian ginseng is an ingredient in some weight loss supplements. Asian and American ginseng both contain ginsenoside and are the types most studied for their potential for improving men’s health.
Erectile Dysfunction and Premature Ejaculation
E. de Andrade (SIC) and other researchers at Brazil’s University of Sao Paulo tested the effects of Korean red ginseng—a variety of Asian ginseng—on 60 men with mild or moderate erectile dysfunction. The men received either 1,000 mg of ginseng extract three times a day or a placebo, according to the study published in the March 2007 issue of the “Asian Journal of Andrology.” Two-thirds of the men taking ginseng reported improvement in their erectile dysfunction, while none of the men in the control group did. Ginseng cream, applied directly to a man’s penis, has been used to treat premature ejaculation, according to MayoClinic.com.
Dónal O'Mathúna, author of “Alternative Medicine: The Christian Handbook,” says research does not support ginseng’s reputation, as little evidence supports its use as treatment for specific conditions. Gingseng is generally safe to use, according to Mathúna, who has a PhD in pharmacy. Some ginseng users suffer intestinal problems and “ginseng abuse syndrome” may occur among people who consistently take high doses of ginseng. In high doses, ginseng may cause high blood pressure, diarrhea, and nervousness and may interfere with some blood-thinning medications.
Green Tea and Belly Fat
Men, more prone than women to storing fat in their stomach area, may get some help from green tea in reducing their paunches. In a study by United States researcher Kevin Maki, men who drank tea lost significant amounts of fat around their waists. Maki, president of a private research firm, led the study in which men who drank green tea lost 5.4 lbs. in 12 weeks, compared to the 2.9 lbs. lost by men who drank black tea. The green tea drinkers consumed 660 mg of catechins—antioxidants—while the black tea drinkers consumed 22 mg of catechins daily while also following a moderate exercise program and restricting their caloric intake, according to the study published in the “Journal of Nutrition” in February 2009.
Green Tea and Longevity
A study that looked at the health of 40,000 Japanese for 11 years found that those who drank five or more glasses of green tea daily lived longer and were less likely to suffer heart attacks and strokes. Shinichi Kuriyami, lead author of the study published in the September 2006 issue of the “Journal of the American Medical Society,” said green tea consumption may explain why Japanese live longer than any other people in the world and are 30 percent less likely than North Americans to die from strokes or heart attacks.