Ginseng

Although ginseng is one of the most popular herbal supplements today, its history of use goes back thousands of years in Chinese medicine. The name “ginseng” refers to both Asian and Korean ginseng and American ginseng. Although it shares the same name, Siberian ginseng is an entirely different plant. True ginseng is comprised of substances known as ginsenosides, which are believed to be the active ingredients of the plant.

ginsengGinseng is a twisted root resembling the human body with stringy shoots for limbs. In ancient times, herbalists believed that because of its human-like appearance, ginseng could treat a wide range of conditions, from stress and fatigue to cancer and asthma. Modern medicine has studied and confirmed many of these attributes.

Ginseng and Heart Health

One of the reasons ginseng is believed to be effective is that it appears to be an antioxidant. Antioxidants help prevent damage to the body’s cells from something called free radicals. These harmful agents can damage DNA and lead to diabetes, heart disease, and other conditions.

The effects of ginseng upon blood pressure is more complex. While some studies suggest ginseng lowers blood pressure, others have found that it actually raises blood pressure. Many researchers have concluded that it raises blood pressure when it is too low, and lowers it when it is too high. This would tend to confirm the view of herbalists that ginseng functions as an adaptogen, which normalizes bodily processes.

Benefits for Colds and Flu

Ginseng has long been used to boost the immune system to help ward off infections and disease. Studies suggest that it can help lower your chances of contracting a cold or the flu and increase the number of immune system cells, enhancing immune system response.

One study tracking 227 people who received ginseng or a placebo for 12 weeks found that those receiving ginseng experienced two-thirds fewer colds and flu than the placebo group.[1]

Other studies have confirmed this finding and found that those taking 400 mg of ginseng each day had significantly fewer colds. Those who did get a cold while taking ginseng had fewer symptoms and a shorter duration that those who did not.

Mental Performance

Those taking ginseng regularly often report a feeling of increased alertness. Some research has found that it can enhance the ability to think and learn. Research suggests that ginseng can improve performance in areas like memory, concentration, mental arithmetic, and other measures.

Most ginseng studies show an increase in mental performance among those taking ginseng, although different studies define mental performance in different ways.

Stress Benefits

Many herbalists recommend ginseng to counter the effects of physical or mental stress. It is not uncommon to find people who use ginseng for this quality alone, as those taking it report feeling more comfortable and at ease when consuming it regularly.

Precautions

Using herbs is a traditional approach to medicine spanning thousands of years. However, it is important to keep in mind that some herbs can have side effects or negative interactions with other supplements, herbs, or medications.

To prevent low blood sugar, be sure to take your ginseng with meals. Those with high blood pressure should not consume ginseng unless they have their practitioner’s supervision.[2]

Ginseng is packaged individually as well as in multi-supplement solutions like Elimidrol.

[1] http://www.docfoc.com/ginseng-university-of-maryland-medical-center-pdf
[2] http://www.emedicinehealth.com/drug-ginseng/article_em.htm