Panax Ginseng | Benefits, Facts and Research

Jessica Lewis
August 4, 2016

Ginseng is one of nature’s wonder, due to its remarkable therapeutic effects, appreciated by people all over the world. It is also called the divine root or the root of life and has an impressive history, which dates back about 5,000 years, when it was discovered in the Manchuria Mountains, in China. Ginseng is part of the Panax family of Araliaceae, along with ten other species of fleshy root plants. Generally found in North America and specific cooler areas of Asia, the roots of the plant keep the essential nutrients.

The Ginseng Miracle

People use the Ginseng root orally, but they can use it in various forms, such as supplements, energy drinks, teas, and beverages. It has been used for thousands of years as a rejuvenating remedy near the Chinese mountains. The first documented proof of using Ginseng comes from ancient times, in the ancient Chinese writings that date back to the first century AD. Chinese herbalists described Ginseng in these writings as a remedy for increasing wisdom and enlightening the mind, but also as a miraculous plant for boosting longevity.

Chinese herbalists had noticed other remarkable qualities of Ginseng, such as increasing sexual vitality and aphrodisiac, qualities that made Ginseng extremely popular all over the world. Many of those who studied the plants used the method known as the Doctrine of Signatures. According to this method, they see the benefits of plants depending on their similarity to human organs. Using this method, they noticed that Ginseng resembled a human being and realized that it offers benefits to the entire human body.

The first book in which we see relevant references to some medical application of Ginseng is Shanghan Lun (Treatise on Treatment of Diseases Induced by Cold). This book presents Ginseng as an ingredient in 21 formulas, suggesting the importance that was given to this plant in those distant times. Nowadays, modern science offers us more and more evidence of Ginseng therapeutic effectiveness, with each passing day. As different studies suggest, we can use it to prevent and treat different medical conditions, from cardiovascular problems to obesity and cancer.

Nutritional Facts of Ginseng

Ginseng is rich in essential nutrients, with remarkable therapeutic qualities. The root of the plant contains many amino acids, especially essential amino acids and minerals, including calcium, copper, iron, magnesium, manganese, potassium, phosphor, and zinc. Other vital nutrients present in Ginseng are B vitamins, as follows: B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, B8, B9, and B12. Also, it contains vitamin C and E, triterpenoids and ginsenosides.

Ginsenosides are the most significant components of Ginseng. They are responsible for most of the Ginseng’s therapeutic activities, including anti-inflammation, antioxidation, vasorelaxation and anti-cancer forming.

Scientists have discovered around 40 ginsenosides, each of them having a different chemical structure and possible different pharmacological effects. Researchers believe that these substances have active antioxidant properties

Cancer prevention

Ginseng was proven useful in various ways, including in preventing different types of cancer. Research has shown that it can prevent cancer and inhibits the growth of tumors. Its anticancer properties consist in improving the functions of immunity cells, such as T-cells and Natural Killer Cells, as well as its ability to reduce oxidative stress and induce apoptosis. As shows a study published in the Chinese Medicine Journal, ginsenosides are the essential anti-cancer components from Ginseng root. They raise hope that cancer can be cured easily, because they proved able to produce apoptosis in various types of cancer, including breast, prostate, cervical and ovarian.

Ginsenosides inhibit the tumor growth, but also inhibits cancer metastasis. According to an experimental study published in the Chinese Medical Journal, ginsenosides can inhibit the metastasis in ovarian cancer. Another study, published in Tumor Biology, has shown that these compounds can inhibit cell proliferation and invasion in prostate cancer. A report from the journal Chinese Medicine concluded, after considering some studies, that ginsenosides can inhibit angiogenesis. This represents the growth of new blood vessels from the ones that already exist. If the proliferation doesn’t occur, it is impossible for cancer cells to grow.

Improves skin health

Ginseng has a good effect on improving the skin condition. Drinking Ginseng tea helps to rehydrate the skin and supports skin regeneration because it increases skin cells’ oxygenation. Also, it boosts blood circulation, detoxifies the blood and ensures a better look of the skin. If you want to have a smooth and young skin, you should take into consideration using Ginseng as your exclusive anti-aging ingredient.

Because it can reduce wrinkles, it is the main ingredient in many facial moisturizers. Several studies have shown its effectiveness in reduce wrinkles, due to its property of boosting collagen production.

Ginseng also has the effect of whitening your skin and gives it a brighter appearance. Because it can accelerate the process of skin regeneration, you can use it for a faster healing of wounds and burns, being an excellent ingredient for sunburn creams. According to some medical studies, it can fasten the healing of burns even when it is used in small doses. The rich content of minerals, antioxidants, and vitamins from Ginseng roots are good for overall skin health.

When used topically, the Ginseng leaves keep the skin healthy and glowing. Acts as an excellent toner and facial freshener, it improves collagen formation and reduces black spots on the face. To get all these benefits, all you have to do is to mix ginseng oil with different ingredients, such as honey, water or sunflower oil. Because it is easily absorbed into the skin, Ginseng is effective in relieve eczema, rough skin, and acne.

Reduces stress

Stress is the biggest enemy of a healthy and vigorous body. As much as we try to avoid it, at least once in our life, it happens to be defeated by stress, even for a short period. Whether it’s stress at work or in our personal life, we should find a way to protect ourselves from the harmful effects it can have. Naturally, we can do it by only taking Ginseng, because it is an effective adaptogen. So, it increases our resistance to physical, environmental and mental stress, having the power to reduce the stress hormone cortisol and strengthen the adrenal glands.

Because Ginseng supports the adrenal function, it can calm us down and boost our energy. If caffeine stresses our adrenal glands, Ginseng can nourish them and protect our stomach from ulcers caused by stress. A study from 2004 conducted at the Iwate Medical University in Japan found that a substance contained by Ginseng slows down the stress hormone. Also, it can help relieve the adrenal fatigue syndrome, which causes poor appetite, dyspepsia, anxiety, depression and fatigue.

Individuals that had participated in different studies concerning the benefits of using Ginseng experienced an improving in overall well-being, an increased level of energy, but also better sleep and sex life.

People have used it for thousands of years to increase strength and stamina and today herbalists recommend it for improving physical performance and for fighting disease-based fatigue.

Sexual performance

Ginseng is known as nature’s miraculous Viagra, and it has been used for a long time to improve libido and sexual function in men, as well as in women. Seen as an effective aphrodisiac in traditional Chinese medicine, Ginseng can restore sexual function in men and relieves erectile dysfunction. A study made in Korea found that Ginseng could help patients with erectile dysfunction achieve an erection easier than if they wouldn’t use it. Not only that it increases the chances of achieving an erection in patients with erectile dysfunction, but it can also improve the firmness of the erection and the overall thickness.

Ginseng can improve sexual performance because it increases the production of nitric oxide from the body. By stimulating the hypothalamus, it can enhance libido and improves sexual health, supporting sex organs and promoting cell growth. Due to its effect on increasing blood flow to the entire body, including the sex organs, helps in boosting sex performance.

Other ways by which Ginseng improve sex life include increasing testosterone and increase the level of energy, which is also important. Women who use Ginseng can experience the beneficial effects of the herb, especially women facing menopause symptoms. Therefore, Ginseng can ease symptoms such as depression, insomnia, low libido, anxiety, and fatigue.

Hair health

Having a beautiful and voluminous hair is tightly connected to a healthy body. If you want to have healthy hair, you need to nourish your body with essential nutrients that ensure hair growth. Ginseng can offer all the essential nutrients for stimulating hair growth. It improves hair’s ability to regenerate and increase blood flow to the scalp, which has a positive effect on increasing hair’s volume. Also, it enhances the health of hair follicles and cells, which help us prevent hair loss.

Different health problems, such as a reduced immunity, lead to hair fall. To stop hair loss, we first need to treat its cause. If we lose hair because you have a weak immune system, we can use Ginseng, which will improve blood circulation and the absorption of oxygen in the blood.

These effects make it easier for our body to repair different problems, such as hair growth. According to a study conducted in Osaka, Japan, Ginsenoside Ro carbohydrate from Ginseng helps to fight androgenetic alopecia, known as balding in men.

A high level of stress leads to hair loss, but Ginseng reduces stress and improves the quality of life. Therefore, it can be the perfect home remedy for hair loss. For better results, it helps if you combine Ginseng with a healthy lifestyle and foods rich in nutrients. These will help restore the lost shine and volume of our hair.

Weight loss

Among Ginseng’s many benefits, weight loss occupies a leading position, because it offers an excellent energy boost and helps us fight fatigue. Feeling more active is essential if we want to lose weight, but Ginseng does more than that. It helps us regulate blood sugar by reducing the amount of carbohydrate that our body converts it into fat. If you want to lose weight, using Ginseng is recommended to combine it with a healthy diet and exercise. Only using it is not enough to eliminate the excess of fat in your body.

Ginseng can help you lose weight because it is an effective natural suppressant and it can boost the metabolism. In a clinical, trial researchers discovered that Ginseng could reduce body weight, food intake and waist-hip ratio in obese women. Its effectiveness lies in the ability to influence adiponectin and leptin hormones, which participates in fat and cholesterol metabolism. Ginsenosides from Ginseng extract have anti-obesity effects that help to reduce blood glucose, lower blood lipid levels and reduce the food intake. All these results are important for a healthy and efficient weight loss.

Another significant benefit of Ginseng is the effect of improving intestinal microflora, which inhibits the absorption of fat and promotes a healthy weight loss. Therefore, Ginseng is very complex and can be extremely useful for people who want to eliminate the excess of body fat.

Viral infections

Ginseng is well-known for its immunity boosting properties and ability to protect us from the harmful action of different viruses. As a recent study conducted at Georgia State University shows, Ginseng increases our body resistance to flu and the virus that can cause bronchiolitis and pneumonia in U.S. children, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The virus called the respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), is also the cause of respiratory illness in older adults.

During the study, the use of Ginseng stimulated the production of antiviral proteins that are essential for the immune response and reduced the level of infection, as well as the number of inflammatory cells in the bronchial walls of the mice. Because it is an adaptogen, Ginseng offers protection from stress and lowers the levels of cortisol.

Using it can help us prevent and fight the unpleasant viral infections.
When researchers used the herb on mice for a longer period of 60 days, it showed that it could stimulate anti-viral protein production after flu virus infection. Also, it proved to be able to inhibit the infiltration of inflammatory cells into the lungs of the mice.

Improve type 2 diabetes symptoms

The use of Ginseng reduces sugar levels in blood and is a natural solution for decreasing glucose in patients with type 2 diabetes when nothing else works. Several studies found that it could lower blood sugar levels after and during eating. For instance, people with type 2 diabetes can take Ginseng with a sugar drink, without experiencing a massive increase in the sugar levels in the blood. A study published in the Journal of Medicinal Food in 2013 has shown that the American Ginseng can support the secretion of insulin, which is a hormone vital for regulating blood sugar levels.

Another study published in the same year in Journal of Ethnopharmacology discovered that adding American Ginseng to an anti-diabetic conventional treatment helps prevent and relieve diabetes-related hypertension. A survey carried out on mice and published in Phytotherapy Research in 2013 indicates that using American Ginseng helps prevent diabetes-induced damage to the heart and retina. For a diabetic, it is important to control accurately the levels of sugar and to prevent the complication that may occur. Ginseng seems to be able to help patients protect their health. We need more studies, but the information that is known so far is promising.

Reduces Cholesterol

High levels of cholesterol represent a risk factor for various health problems, including serious cardiovascular conditions, such as hypertension and heart attacks. The saponins from its composition support the transport of cholesterol and the enzymes that participate in the metabolism of cholesterol. Saponins reduce the level of bad cholesterol in the body and increase the amount of good cholesterol.

Improves memory

Ginseng improves memory in both healthy individuals and patients with vascular dementia, which is a memory loss and communication difficulty. According to a study reported at the American Stroke Association’s 28th International Stroke Conference, Ginseng improves memory in patients with mild dementia caused by a stroke. It can improve learning and other cognitive functions, and it is therefore recommended as a healthy alternative to drugs administered to stimulate memory.

Menstrual disorders

Ginseng is helpful for women that experience menopause symptoms, but also is useful for preventing and treating menstrual disorders. Using it as a tea or extract can reduce menstrual cramps and premenstrual tension.

Ginseng Side Effects

Ginseng can be used safely, without having to worry about its possible adverse effects. More than 6 million persons in the United States used it regularly and experienced few side effects. When it is used inappropriately, it can cause breast pain, diarrhea, high blood pressure, skin rash, confusion, depression and insomnia. If used correctly, it produces fewer side effects, which are mild and not worrying.