Ginseng panax (also known as Asian ginseng) and ginseng quinquefolius (American ginseng) are perennial plants that produce fleshy roots. Ginseng plants must grow for at least six years before the root is ready to be harvested, which can make this herb expensive to produce. The gnarled root of the ginseng plant is used in supplements. White ginseng is produced from dried, peeled roots, while red ginseng is produced from unpeeled, steamed roots.
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Asian ginseng is sometimes referred to as Chinese or Korean, depending on where it was grown. Asian and American ginseng contain active ingredients known as ginsenosides. Siberian ginseng has different active chemical components than Asian and American ginseng Siberian ginseng produces woody roots, which do not contain ginsenosides. The active chemicals in Siberian ginseng are known as eleutherosides.
What Are Adaptogens?
Asian, American and Siberian ginseng are regarded as adaptogens. Adaptogens are herbs that help the body cope with day-to-day stresses and strains, such as lack of sleep, exertion, trauma and low-level infections. Adaptogens help to keep the body in balance. Historically, asian ginseng has been used for thousands of years as part of traditional Chinese medicine, in which it was often combined with other herbs. In Chinese medicine, ginseng was used to calm the spirit, improve digestion and increase energy levels.
Does Ginseng Have Antioxidants?
The Asian, American and Siberian varieties of ginseng have antioxidant properties and may boost the immune system. Numerous clinical studies have shown that American and Asian ginseng can boost the performance of cells playing a role in immunity. A healthy immune system is key to warding off the germs and viruses that occur in everyday life.
Is Ginseng Good For Colds?
Some studies carried out on Asian and American ginseng found that it might reduce the frequency and severity of colds. In separate studies, Siberian ginseng was shown to improve symptom of the common cold when started within 72 hours of the onset of symptoms. However, these studies commonly used Siberian ginseng in combination with other herbs, so researchers are unclear if the herb used alone may have the same positive effect.
Is Ginseng Good For Diabetics?
Asian and American ginseng has been researched for its effects on lowering blood sugar levels in people with type 2 diabetes. This positive lowering effect was seen both on fasting blood sugar and on blood sugar measured after a meal. One study found that people with type 2 diabetes who took American ginseng before or together with a high sugar had less of an increase in blood glucose levels. Yet, more research is needed to support its use in diabetes.
Ginseng Supplement Options
drugstore.com offers Asian, American and Siberian ginseng in a range of formats, including capsules, tablets and liquid extracts. Consult with your physician first before incorporating any supplements or herbs into your diet. Because of the potential for side effects and interactions with medications, herbal and dietary supplements should be taken only under the supervision of a knowledgeable health professional. You should read product labels and discuss all therapies with a qualified healthcare provider before adding ginseng into your diet.