also known as Ginnsuu in some regions of Asia (mainly China and Korea),
is any one of eleven distinct species of slow-growing perennial plants
with fleshy roots, belonging to the Panax genus in the family Araliaceae.
It grows in the Northern Hemisphere in eastern Asia (mostly northern
China, Korea), typically in cooler climates.
Both American ginseng (Panax quinquefolius) and Asian ginseng (Panax
ginseng) roots are taken orally as adaptogens, aphrodisiacs, nourishing
stimulants, and in the treatment of type II diabetes, as well as for
sexual dysfunction in men. The root is most often available in dried
form, either whole or sliced. Ginseng leaf, although not as highly
prized, is sometimes also used; as with the root, it is most often
available in dried form.
This ingredient may also be found in some popular energy drinks, often
the "tea" varieties; in these products, ginseng is usually present in
subclinical doses and does not have measurable medicinal effects. It can
be found in cosmetic preparations as well, but has not been shown to
have clinically effective results.
Medicinal Benefits of Ginseng
has been used for thousands of years to improve the overall health of
human being. In the first Chinese book of herbs, the Pen Tsao Ching (The
Classic of Herbs), written by the famous Emperor Shen Nung, to whom the
discovery of tea was attributed, Ginseng was recommended for
enlightening the mind and increasing wisdom. Ginseng was taken as a
tonic for the whole body, and believed to cure lethargy, arthritis,
impotence, senility, and many other conditions.
In terms of modern scientific research, ginseng is known to be an
adaptogen. Adaptogens are substances that assist the body to restore
itself to health and work without side effects even if the recommended
dose is widely exceeded. Ginseng due to its adaptogens effects is widely
used to lower cholesterol, increase energy and endurance, reduce fatique
and effects of stress and prevent infections.
Ginseng appears to help people with diabetes. A limited study performed
in March 2000 at the University of Toronto showed that ginseng could
lower blood sugar 20% more than placebo.
Ginseng is one of the most effective anti-aging supplements. It can
alleviate some major effects of aging, such as degeneration of the blood
system, and increase mental and physical capacity.
Other important benefits of ginseng is its support in cancer treatment
and its effects on sports performance.