Ginseng refers to eleven different varieties of a short, slow-growing plant with fleshy roots. Ginseng is believed to restore and enhance wellbeing. It is one of the most popular herbal remedies. The herbs consist of a light-colored, forked-shaped root, a relatively long stalk, and green leaves with an oval shape.
Both American ginseng (Panax quinquefolius, L.) and Asian ginseng (P. Ginseng) are believed to boost energy, lower blood sugar and cholesterol levels, reduce stress, promote relaxation, treat diabetes, and manage sexual dysfunction in men.
Ginseng is reported to have multiple health benefits. However, further research is required to confirm these. Ginseng has traditionally been taken to aid a range of medical conditions. More research is needed to confirm its benefit as a supplement. However, it is claimed that ginsenosides, chemical components found in ginseng, are responsible for the clinical effect of the herb.
Western scientists and health professionals often question the medicinal properties of ginseng. There is no conclusive evidence that determines its true effectiveness.
Ginseng products can vary in their quality and medicinal properties. Checking the ingredients of ginseng products before a purchase is strongly recommended. Some products have been found to contain a small or negligible amount of ginseng, and some contain other substances.
Researchers suggest that the following health benefits are linked to ginseng:
Ginseng may help stimulate physical and mental activity in people who feel weak and tired. One study revealed that ginseng showed good results in helping cancer patients with fatigue.
However, the energy-boosting effects of ginseng were only seen in people currently undergoing treatment. Ginseng did not show statistically significant improvements in people who had already finished cancer treatment.
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 suggested that red ginseng extract could improve the survival of human lung epithelial cells infected with the influenza virus. However, many studies of the preventive actions of ginseng against viruses were later discredited as unreliable.
Lowering blood sugar
Several studies suggest 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.
More clinical studies and standardization of ginseng root are needed to consider ginseng as a possible complementary therapy for diabetes. This is so that researchers can investigate what specific doses are effective.
Ginseng can cause headaches as a side effect. Not all side effects of ginseng are known. Although ginseng is considered safe to consume, the following side effects have been reported:
- Sleep Problems
- Digestive Problems
- Changes to Blood Pressure and Blood Sugar
- Blurred Vision
- A Severe Skin Reaction
- A Dry Mouth
- A Decreased Heart Rate
- Convulsions and Seizures
Women may also experience swollen breasts and vaginal bleeding.
Doctors advise not mixing ginseng with a class of antidepressants called monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs). Taking these antidepressants at the same time as ginseng can cause manic episodes and tremors.
Ginseng can alter the effects of blood pressure, diabetes, and heart medications, including calcium channel blockers such as nifedipine. Never mix ginseng and heart medications without first consulting a doctor. The herb can also increase the risk of bleeding when taken with blood thinners, such as warfarin or aspirin.
Ginseng may intensify the effects of caffeine and other stimulants, leading to a rapid heartbeat and possible sweating or insomnia. It could also cancel out the painkilling effects of morphine 🙂 🙂