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Video: Benefits Of Ginseng: What Effects, Consequences And Interactions?
Since traditional Chinese medicine has exploited the benefits of ginseng for centuries, one wonders what mystical secrets this plant hides. Many reject conventional medicines and rely on centuries-old traditions and experience. Our editorial team has meticulously researched the benefits of cordyceps, the health benefits of clove essential oil, the benefits of moringa, and many other natural wonders. In this article, we will clarify the advantages and disadvantages of ginseng, known as panacea.
When and how were the benefits of ginseng discovered?
Surely, we are not going to look for the etymology of the name because it is simple: it is linked to the shape of the root of the plant which looks like the letter "V". That is, the feet of a person.
According to the father of the concept of biodiversity, Carl von Linnaeus (Carl Linnaeus), the benefits of ginseng were widely used in the distant past as a muscle relaxant. We hear about it for the first time just at the beginning of our era as a superior tonic favoring patients with chronic diseases and those who were in period of convalescence.
During the sixties of the last century, ginseng has been the subject of a myriad of scientific studies. The diversity of pharmacological properties now attributed to ginseng suggests that it has unique and complex biological activities. Ginseng can influence the metabolism of a single individual cell, as well as affect entire organs or body systems. The mechanisms of action of ginseng are therefore diverse and often unclear.
Let's try to learn more about the health benefits of ginseng, including how it can affect your mood, sexual health, energy and more. Among the many compounds of the plant, we have studied the ginsenosides (saponins of ginseng) which vary between different species as well as among different parts of the plant and are the most significant and widely studied. Several pharmacological properties of ginseng have been attributed to its polysaccharides and polyacetylenic alcohols.
This short, slow-growing plant with fleshy roots can be classified in three ways, depending on how long it has grown: fresh, white, or red. Fresh ginseng is harvested before it turns 4, while white ginseng is plucked between 4 and 6 years old, and red ginseng must be 6 years or older. There are many types of this plant, but the most popular are American ginseng (Panax quinquefolius) and Asian ginseng (Panax ginseng). As both vary in their concentration of active compounds and their effects on the body, American ginseng is believed to act as a relaxing agent, while the Asian variety has an invigorating effect.
Powerful antioxidant reducing inflammation
Thanks to Korean, Chinese and American studies, ginseng extracts and ginsenoside compounds are approved to inhibit inflammation and increase the antioxidant capacity of cells. In particular, the skin cells in people with eczema.
The intake of 2 grams of Korean red ginseng extract by 18 young athletes three times a day for a week gave remarkable results proven in a stress test.
Good news for postmenopausal women! During 12 weeks, a targeted group took 3 grams of red ginseng and they measured antioxidant activity and reduced oxidative stress. Obviously, to the list of foods rich in antioxidants and green powdered superfoods, we must add ginseng which can be added to meals.
Benefits of ginseng for brain function
Memory, behavior and mood are the brain functions greatly improved by ginseng. Some animal studies show that components of ginseng, like ginsenosides and compound K, may protect the brain from damage caused by free radicals. The only downside is that the positive effects are not lasting: 8 weeks later, they decrease. So, in depressive disorder, 200 mg of Panax ginseng per day for four weeks will show improvement in mental health, social functioning and mood.
Another study examined how single doses of 200 or 400 mg of Panax ginseng affected mental performance, mental fatigue, and blood sugar levels in 30 healthy adults before and after a 10-minute mental test. On the other hand, the 200 mg dose is proven to be more effective.
Absorption of blood sugar by cells
After figuring out how to lower blood sugar without drugs, it's possible that ginseng could help cells absorb glucose levels, which could have improved performance and reduced mental fatigue. Yet, it is not known why the lower dose was more effective than the higher. American and Asian ginseng have been shown to improve pancreatic cell function, stimulate insulin production, and improve blood sugar absorption into tissues. In addition, other studies have found positive effects on brain function and behavior in people with Alzheimer's disease.
Who would have thought that taking 400 mg of Panax ginseng a day for eight days improved calmness and math skills. It sounds promising to students, but it doesn't have to be.
Stimulation of the immune system
Some studies exploring its effects on the immune system have focused on cancer patients undergoing surgery or chemotherapy treatment. Diagnosed with stomach cancer, they were treated with 5400 mg of ginseng per day for two years.
Interestingly, these people showed significant improvements in immune function and less recurrence of symptoms. It is enough to take red ginseng extract for three months to be able to improve markers and boost the immune system.
In addition, a reliable study suggested that people who take ginseng may be up to 35% more likely to live disease-free for five years after curative surgery, and up to 38% higher survival rates than those taking ginseng. who do not take it. It appears that ginseng extract may also improve the effect of flu shots.
Even though these studies show improvements in markers of the immune system in people with cancer, more research is needed to demonstrate the effectiveness of ginseng in boosting resistance to infections in healthy people. As a result, it was concluded that people who take ginseng may have a 16% lower risk of developing a certain type of cancer, such as cancer of the lips, mouth, esophagus, stomach., colon, liver and lung.
É elimination of fatigue and increase energy levels
Through various experiments with animals, it has been observed that certain components of ginseng, such as polysaccharides and oligopeptides, decrease oxidative stress and produce more energy in the cells, which could combat fatigue.
Men's health benefits
One of the properties of ginseng relates to erectile dysfunction. Through supplementation, increases in serum testosterone have been noticed, suggesting a boost in libido.
Easy addition to feed
Ginseng root can be consumed in several ways. It can be eaten raw or lightly steamed to soften. To make tea, simply add hot water to the freshly sliced ginseng and let it steep for several minutes. Surely, in the form of powder, tablet, capsule and oil, it is good to season soups and stir-fries.
It is recognized that the amount to take depends on the condition you want to improve. Overall, daily doses of 1 to 2 grams of raw ginseng root or 200 to 400 mg of extract are suggested. It is best to start with lower doses and increase over time.
Look for a standard ginseng extract that contains 2-3% ginsenosides in total and consume it before meals to increase absorption and get all the benefits.
Safety and potential side effects
According to research, ginseng appears to be safe and is not expected to produce serious side effects. However, people taking diabetes medication should closely monitor their blood sugar levels when using ginseng to ensure that these levels do not drop too low. Additionally, ginseng may reduce the effectiveness of blood thinning medications. For these reasons, talk to your doctor before including it in your treatment.
Note that due to the lack of safety studies, ginseng is not recommended for children, pregnant or breastfeeding women.
Finally, there is some evidence to suggest that prolonged use of ginseng may decrease its effectiveness in the body. Therefore, to maximize its benefits, you should take ginseng in 2-3 week cycles with a one to two week break in between.
In a nutshell, although ginseng appears to be safe, people taking certain medications should be aware of possible drug interactions.
Whether you want to improve a certain condition or just want to boost your health, ginseng is definitely worth a try.
On what side effects should I expect?
Assuming that not all side effects of ginseng are known and although the plant is considered safe to consume, some patients report:
- sleeping problems
- digestive problems
- changes in blood pressure and blood sugar
- blurred vision
- a severe skin reaction
- a dry mouth
- a decrease in heart rate
Sometimes women may even have swollen breasts and vaginal bleeding.
Interactions of ginseng with other drugs
In general, doctors advise against mixing ginseng with a class of antidepressants called monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs). Taking these antidepressants at the same time as ginseng may cause manic episodes and tremors. Additionally, taking the extract in any form can alter the effects of blood pressure, diabetes, and heart medications including calcium channel blockers such as nifedipine. In this case, you need competent consultation.
If you are taking blood thinners like warfarin or aspirin, ginseng may increase your risk of bleeding. It is not excluded that the effects of caffeine and other stimulants intensify, causing an acceleration of the heart rate and possible sweating or insomnia. It may also negate the pain relieving effects of morphine.