Ginseng a magical herb trusted for over 5000 years for its ability to promote vigor, nourish nervous system, enhances hormonal secretion, lower blood sugar & cholesterol, and increases immunity.
What is Ginseng?
Ginseng is a slow growing perennial plant with fleshy roots of the genus Panax family Araliaceae. Ginseng is suitable for cooler climates, found in the Northern Hemisphere, in North America and in eastern Asia (Korea, north China, and eastern Siberia).
Ginseng is one of the most highly regarded medicinal plants gained the reputation of being able to promote health, general body vigor and prolong life. Ginseng can also be useful to treat diabetes and cholesterol.
Ginseng lower sugar level
The hypoglycemic activity of ginseng may be due to the enhancement of aerobic glycolysis through stimulation of beta-adrenoceptor and increase of various rate-limiting enzyme activities related to tri-carboxylic acid cycle. Initial studies have shown that ginseng increases insulin production and reduces cell death in pancreatic beta cells. In addition, ginseng can decrease blood-glucose in type II diabetes patients.
Ginseng lower heart diseases and strokes risks
Ginseng decreases endothelial cell (line the inside of blood vessels) dysfunction; it means disturbance to these cells lead to a heart attack or stroke. Thus, ginseng can provide protection against heart attack or stroke. Ginseng possesses blood-thinning property. Therefore, should use blood-thinning medication under the supervision of your doctor.
Ginseng is considering raising blood pressure in the beginning days of treatment, thus you need to be extra careful when start taking this herb at least for first few days.
Medicinal uses of Ginseng
The ginseng root has many benefits as listed below.
- Lowers blood sugar and cholesterol, thus helps in diabetes and high cholesterol treatment.
- Enhance stamina, vitalizes, strengthen, and rejuvenate the entire body. It promotes mental, physical well-being and enhances immunity against diseases.
- Its carminative property prevents or relieves flatulence (gas in the gastrointestinal tract); in infants, it may help in the treatment of colic.
- Its expectorant property promotes or facilitates the secretion or expulsion of phlegm, mucus, or other matter from the respiratory tract. Its demulcent property soothes or softens especially to relieve pain in inflamed or irritated mucous membranes.
- It stimulates as well as relaxes the nervous system. It promotes the secretion of hormones.
- It is in use for the treatment of debility by old age or illness, appetite loss, insomnia, stress, and shock.
General recommended daily dosage of ginseng is 1 g to 2 g of raw herb, or 200 mg daily of an extract. Do not suggest ginseng for pregnant women. The length of treatment for ginseng is around three weeks. Excess dosage can cause headaches, restlessness and raised blood pressure, especially when taken with caffeine, alcohol, turnips, and spicy foods.
Ginseng is available as liquid extracts, solid extracts, powders, capsules, and tablets, and as dried or cut root for tea. The quality of many ginseng supplements can vary widely, so purchase it from reputable manufacturers.
How do you take Ginseng?
Boil ginseng root powder with water, steep it for 5 to 10 minutes and separate the extract. If you require sweetened with stevia, flavor with coriander and have a nice medicated energetic tea. In addition, you can store it in fridge and have cold tea flavored with natural vanilla instead of coriander.
Bioactive constituents of Ginseng
The dried roots and rhizomes of ginseng contain many important constituents, includes ginseng saponins, ginseng oils, phytosterol, carbohydrates/sugars, nitrogenous substances, amino acids & peptides, organic acids, vitamins & minerals, and certain enzymes. Among these, ginseng saponins are the most active constituents.
Possible side effects of Ginseng
Ginseng appears to be nontoxic, both in the short and long-term, according to the results of studies in animals. There are rare reports of cases of breast tenderness, postmenopausal vaginal bleeding, and menstrual abnormalities associated with ginseng use. Chinese’s tradition suggests pregnant or nursing mothers should not use ginseng. Animal study shows that ginseng use by a pregnant mother may cause birth defects.
Ginseng scientific evidence in diabetes treatment
A small 2008 study from Nutrition, Metabolism, and Cardiovascular Diseases showed that Panax ginseng might aid in diabetes management. The study involved 19 people with well-controlled type 2 diabetes for 12 weeks, members who took Panax ginseng supplements for the same time experienced greater improvements in blood sugar control.
A clinical study titled “Ginseng therapy in non-insulin-dependent diabetic patients” by E A Sotaniemi, E Haapakoski and A Rautio at Department of Internal Medicine, University of Oulu, Finland. This study shows, Ginseng therapy elevated mood, improve psychophysical performance, reduced fasting-blood-glucose and body weight. The 200-mg dose of ginseng improved glycated hemoglobin, serum, and physical activity. Ginseng may be a useful therapeutic adjunct in the management of type 2 diabetes.