Asian Ginseng has gained the reputation of being able to cure everything from the common cold to cancer. Every health store and many mainstream stores now carry it in one form or another. Either mixed with other herbs or on its own. But is its reputation justified?
The answer to that question largely lies in where the ginseng originates from. Contrary to popular belief, Asian isn’t the only variety of ginseng available. It also grows in North America and the Native American people have known about its medicinal properties for years. Siberian Ginseng is helpful for reducing fatigue in cancer patients.
What is the Ginseng Plant Used For?
The ginseng root is the part of the plant that is most commonly used for medicinal purposes. In traditional Chinese medicine ginseng is thought to improve functioning in the spleen and lungs. It’s also thought to be a powerful aphrodisiac and to have healing effects on a patient’s general energy. Chinese medicine usually involves combining herbs for maximum effectiveness, but ginseng is often prescribed on its own, due to its reputation as a cure-all.
In Western society ginseng is also used for boosting energy levels and as a sexual stimulant but also for improving memory, and for treating gastrointestinal disorders. There are suggestions that it increases life expectancy, but this has not been proven.
Chemicals called saponin triterpenoid glycosides, or ginsenosides are the active ingredients in Asian Ginseng but it also contains glycans (panaxans), polysaccharide fraction DPG-3-2, peptides, maltol, and volatile oil. All of these ingredients add up to a powerful, healing, medicine.
Are There Any Negative Side Effects of Using Asian Ginseng?
A with all medicines, Asian Ginseng should be taken with the advice of your Doctor as certain other medications don’t mix well with it. It is recommended that you keep your caffeine intake low when taking Asian Ginseng and it’s also advisable to take frequent “breaks” from taking it. Here’s a list of the more common side effects that some people might experience.
- Bleeding noses
- High blood pressure
- Headaches or migraines
- Breast pain
- Vaginal bleeding
What Are the Benefits of Ginseng Tea?
Asian Ginseng tea is a pleasant way to take your ginseng if you don’t like to take tablets. Drinking tea also creates a soothing sensory experience which can only add to Asian Ginsengs healing properties. A quick search on the internet will bring up several recipes but really, making Ginseng Tea is a simple process.
- Peel ginseng root and cut into 8 thin slices
- Coat the slices with honey and let sit for 15 minutes
- Pour hot water over the honeyed root and steep for 5-10 minutes. Make sure the water is hot, but not boiling, as this will boil all the goodness out of the ginseng
- Strain your ginseng slices and drink
That’s all there is to it. If you find that the ginseng tea is too strong, you can mix it with green or ginger tea. It may take some trial and error to find the right combination for you, but the healing effects will make the process worth it.
There is some evidence that suggests Asian Ginseng mixed with green tea is good for maintaining a healthy heart by increasing the levels of good cholesterol in your body.
More controversial, is the suggestion that Asian Ginseng and green tea mixtures can help to ease symptoms of cancer. However, this theory has not been thoroughly tested yet so cannot be verified. Asian Ginseng mixed with green tea also may help lower blood sugar levels and boost your immune system.
Is Asian Ginseng Better than Siberian or American Ginseng?
There’s no doubt that wherever your ginseng comes from, it will have a therapeautic effect. Both Asian and Siberian ginseng are known to help boost immune systems, improve mood and reduce stress. Asian Ginseng, however, is the only one that has been known to reduce blood sugar levels or reduce the symptoms of cancer.
American Ginseng appears to be particularly good at fighting bacteria that causes the common cold and some flus. It is also particularly useful for digestive and stomach problems and has even been known to increase the appetite in some people.
With all three types of Ginseng, it is recommended that you don’t take it for longer than two or three weeks at a time. After you’ve had a break of three weeks, it should be safe to begin taking again.