Ginseng a magical herb trusted for over 5000 years for its ability to promote vigor, nourish the nervous system, enhances hormonal secretion, help 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 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 may help lower sugar level
Conventional drug and herbal medicine may cause potential interactions that lead to adverse events. So get doctor’s consent before starting herbal treatment.
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 tricarboxylic acid cycle. Initial studies have shown that ginseng increases insulin production and reduces cell death in pancreatic beta cells. Also, ginseng can decrease blood glucose in type II diabetes patients.
Ginseng scientific evidence in diabetes treatment
- Ginseng therapy in non-insulin-dependent diabetic patients. Diabetes Care. 1995 Oct;18(10):1373-5. The 200-mg dose of ginseng improved glycated hemoglobin, elevated mood, improved psychophysical performance, and reduced fasting blood glucose (FBG) and body weight.
- American ginseng (Panax quinquefolius L) reduces postprandial glycemia in nondiabetic subjects and subjects with type 2 diabetes mellitus.Archives of Internal Medicine 2000 Apr 10;160(7):1009-13. American ginseng attenuated postprandial gly cemia in both diabetic and nondiabetic subjects.
- Effect of Panax ginseng supplementation on biomarkers of glucose tolerance, antioxidant status and oxidative stress in type 2 diabetic subjects. Diabetes, Obesity and Metabolism 2008 Nov;10(11):1125-7. Ginseng significantly lowered fasting plasma glucose level.
- Korean red ginseng (Panax ginseng) improves glucose and insulin regulation in well-controlled, type 2 diabetes. Nutrition, Metabolism & Cardiovascular Diseases 2008;18:46-56. Korean red ginseng treatment maintained good glycemic control and improved plasma glucose and plasma insulin regulation safely beyond usual therapy in people with well-controlled type 2 diabetes.
Herbal medicines are complex mixtures of bioactive compounds. Season, growing condition, processing method can vary the constitutions of the bioactive compound.
20 Medicinal Uses of Ginseng
The ginseng root has many benefits as listed below.
- Blood sugar - Ginseng appears to have anti-diabetic properties; in type 2 diabetes it lowered blood sugar levels and increase insulin sensitivity in healthy individuals.
- Blood pressure - Ginseng possesses anti-hypertensive effects.
- Heart health - Ginseng protects against heart failure.
- Intestinal gas - it relieves flatulence (gas in the gastrointestinal tract); in infants, it may help in the treatment of colic.
- Anti-Inflammatory Properties - 100 mg of ginseng extract for seven days significantly reduced the inflammation, the root of most diseases.
- Respiratory health - Its expectorant property promotes or facilitates the secretion or expulsion of phlegm, mucus, or other matter from the respiratory tract. Its demulcent property smoothes or softens especially to relieve pain in inflamed or irritated mucous membranes.
- Weight Loss - It is a natural appetite suppressant, boosts metabolism and helps burn fat at a faster rate.
- Enhance stamina, vitalizes, strengthen, and rejuvenate the entire body.
- Erectile dysfunction = it may be beneficial in treating erectile dysfunction and may improve sperm production, sexual activity, and sexual performance.
- Neurodegenerative diseases - Ginseng could be useful for Parkinson's disease, Alzheimer's disease, Huntington's disease, multiple sclerosis, and other neurological disorders.
- Stroke - It can prevent neuronal death from stroke, thus decreases stroke damage.
- Cold & Flu - Older Those who took ginseng extract had a 48 % lower relative risk, and a 55 % lowered duration of respiratory illness.
- Menopausal symptoms - Evidence suggests ginseng help relieve menopausal symptoms, specifically depression and well-being.
- Improve lungs function - it significantly decreases lung bacteria and stops the growth of cystic fibrosis, a common lung infection.
- Immune System - ginseng found to stimulate the immune system, thus help fight off infections and disease.
- Mood enhancing - it has anti-stress properties and thus useful for the treatment of stress-induced disorders.
- Improves Memory - ginseng may improve the performance of mental arithmetic, concentration, and memory.
- Treat ADHD - Ginseng and Ginkgo Biloba combination may improve symptoms of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).
- Protect from Cancer - ginseng is useful for the treatment of several types of cancer, including leukemia, melanoma, and colon, gastric, hepatic, kidney, ovarian, prostate, and pulmonary cancers.
- It is in use for the treatment of debility by old age or illness, appetite loss, insomnia, stress, and shock.
Ginseng may lower heart diseases & 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.
General recommended a 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. Also, you can store it in the 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 congenital disabilities.