Ginseng refers to 11 different varieties of a short, slow-growing plant with fleshy roots. Ginseng may restore and enhance well-being.
The herb has a light-colored, forked-shaped root, a relatively long stalk, and green leaves in an oval shape.
Both American ginseng (Panax quinquefolius, L.) and Asian ginseng (P. Ginseng) may boost energy, lower blood sugar and cholesterol levels, reduce stress, promote relaxation, treat diabetes, and manage sexual dysfunction in men.
People have traditionally taken ginseng to help with a range of medical conditions.
More research is needed to confirm if it has any benefit as a supplement. Researchers believe that ginsenosides, chemical components found in ginseng, are responsible for any clinical effects of the herb.
Western scientists and health professionals often question the medicinal properties of ginseng. There is no conclusive evidence about its true effectiveness.
Researchers suggest that ginseng may have the following health benefits:
Ginseng may help stimulate physical and mental activity in people who feel weak and tired. One study 21 men and 69 women found that ginseng showed good results in helping people with chronic fatigue.
A 2014 study of people receiving cancer treatment found that ginseng helped reduce cancer-related fatigue. However, researchers only documented the energy-boosting effects of ginseng in people currently undergoing treatment.
Sharper cognitive function
Ginseng may improve thinking processes and cognition. A 2018 report examined the accuracy of this claim. This report concluded that, based on human and aminal studies, ginseng components have the potential to treat some cognitive deficits. These studies showed ginseng could reduce oxidative stress, which could lead to enhancement in cognitive function.
The study involved 14 people, three men, and 11 women, with a median age of 74.93 years old. The patients received 4.5 grams of Korean red ginseng for 12 weeks.
A systematic review tested the effects of red ginseng on erectile dysfunction. The review demonstrated that the number of trials, total sample size, and the quality of the experimental methods were not enough to demonstrate ongoing clinical benefit.
Research on the effects of ginseng on mice suggests a possible link between ginseng and the treatment and prevention of influenza and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV).
Findings of another study suggested that red ginseng extract could improve the survival of human lung epithelial cells infected with the influenza virus.
It is undetermined exactly how the anti-viral mechanisms in ginseng work based on the above study.
Lowering blood sugar
A 2014 study suggests that ginseng may help lower blood sugar and help treat diabetes. Ginsenosides may affect insulin production in the pancreas and improve insulin resistance using other mechanisms.
Another 2014 study showed similar benefits of ginseng on lowering blood sugar. Some participants took 2.7 grams of fermented red ginseng each day, while others took a placebo.
Medical News Today