Ginseng Benefits and Side Effects

The plant Ginseng is a safe herb that takes over 5-6 years to grow but the roots can live for over 100 years. It is a perennial that grows between 7 to 21 inches in height when wild. The root is creamy yellow or white and it has rootlets that branch off sometimes in the shape of a person, thus giving it the Chinese name. It grows naturally on the slopes of ravines and in shady hardwood forests. Ginseng root is the most widely used herb in the Orient. 

There are three types of ginseng. Korean or oriental ginseng is the most widely used ginseng in the world. American ginseng grows from Quebec to Minnesota and to the south to Georgia and Oklahoma. Some claim American ginseng has a cooling quality on the body but oriental ginseng a heating effect. Siberian ginseng is a cousin of oriental ginseng, not a true ginseng. The Chinese named it ginseng meaning “Man Plant” for the roots frequently resemble human form.

The value of this herb has been known for thousands of years. These start with its ability as andaptogen, that is, something that balances the body chemistry. In this way it can be used both to lower high blood pressure and also to raise low blood pressure. Ginseng contains 27 ginsenocides that enable ginseng to balance the effects of stress. At the same time ginseng increases performance and energy levels in people who are constantly exhausted. It benefits those recovering from an illness, experiencing a heavy work load, or who just feel run down all the time. 

The presence of vitamins A, B-6 and Zinc strengthen the immune system. Ginseng also increases estrogen levels in women and treats menopausal symptoms. By increasing circulation, ginseng improves memory as well.

Ginseng is used in a wide variety of treatments. These include headache, insomnia, ease in childbirth, strengthening teeth, treating fatigue without caffeine, reducing blood sugar levels, treating rheumatism, gout, neuralgia, and double vision.

Ginseng promotes the production of sex hormones and thus is used to enhance sexual desire. It is also used to slow the aging process. Ginseng is used in cures but its main value, when taken over a long period of time, is as a preventative. 

Consider these ideas for ingesting ginseng. First, make a tea with root slices brewed slowly in a silver or glass tea pot for one hour. Generally the more bitter it is, the stronger it is. Second, root slivers can also be added to soups or other dishes. As a powder, it can be used in meals or simply placed under your tongue where it is absorbed directly into the blood stream. Also, if you soak a dried root in boiling water for five minutes, you can chew it like a piece of hard candy. Recommended dosage is two or three grams a day. As mentioned above, it may take up to six months of daily use before the benefits of ginseng are noticed.

Ginseng is a safe herb but it is possible to overdose on Korean ginseng, the most potent of the three types. Overdose symptoms might include dizziness, nervousness, mood changes, headache insomnia, and loss of appetite. Some say women shouldn’t take ginseng if they are pregnant or nursing but others say it is safe for everyone. This might depend on the type and quantity taken. Check with your physician in such cases.

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This entry was posted on Monday, March 16th at 5:55 am and is filed under Bulk Herbs. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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