What Is Ginseng?

Ginseng is an herbal root plant that grows naturally in cooler climates in North America and eastern Asia (specifically, Korea, Northeast China, Bhutan, and eastern Siberia).
Ginseng Harvest

Photo by Priya Jaishanker / CC BY-ND 2.0

Ginseng is one of the oldest and most popular herbal remedies in the world. It’s considered a cure-all and has been used for at least 5,000 years. Today, it’s a multi-billion dollar industry, with 80,000 tons being produced annually. In America alone, approximately six million people use it for all the health benefits it provides.

What Is Ginseng?

Ginseng is an herbal root plant that grows naturally in cooler climates in North America and eastern Asia (specifically, Korea, Northeast China, Bhutan, and eastern Siberia). It’s been used for medicinal purposes for centuries by both Asians and North Americans. Because of its popularity, it became endangered in the wild and is now mostly grown on farms.

The older the plant, the more effective it’s considered to be. In 1976, one 400-year-old Manchurian ginseng root sold for $10,000 per ounce! Ginseng is harvested when it’s between four to six years old. If it’s harvested before it’s ready, it doesn’t produce the desired benefits.

Natural health practitioners, such as Dr. Axe and Dr. Mercola, extol the nearly endless benefits of ginseng.

  • It’s an adaptogen, which means it helps to relieve stress. Ginseng reduces cortisol, the stress hormone, and at the same time, strengthens the adrenal glands.
  • It’s an antioxidant, which means it supports the immune system and wards off infections and diseases.
  • It’s a natural stimulant, which means it boosts energy, strength, and endurance. Some speculate that the Russians dominated in sports during the 1970s and 1980s because of their use of Siberian ginseng!

It is considered to prevent or reduce symptoms in the following conditions and diseases:

  • Aging: Ginseng keeps your skin healthier and reduces wrinkles. It has also been said to reduce male pattern baldness if taken both orally and topically and to reduce the male mortality rate. It aids circulation, which supplies more blood to organs, and supports the health of major organs, such as the heart, liver, and kidneys.
  • Memory loss: Ginseng functions as a brain booster and protector and has been shown to improve mental performance and memory in Alzheimer’s patients, stroke patients, and people suffering from ADHD.
  • Colds & flus: Ginseng increases the number of white blood cells, which are the disease-fighting cells. It works to prevent infections as well as reducing their symptoms and duration. It’s also been shown to improve the immune function of those suffering from chronic fatigue syndrome or HIV.
  • Diabetes: Ginseng combats diabetes by promoting weight loss, reducing blood sugar levels in type 2 diabetes, increasing insulin production by the pancreas, supporting the health of the pancreas, and increasing insulin sensitivity (a good thing).
  • Cancer: Ginseng has shown potential for preventing cancer, reducing tumor growth, lessening DNA damage, repairing and reversing cell differentiation, and treating various types of cancer, including leukemia, and lung, stomach, liver, kidney, ovarian, colon, prostate, and skin cancers.
  • Addiction: Ginseng can help you kick your substance addiction! It is said to reduce withdrawal symptoms, such as anxiety and depression.

The list goes on, but already ginseng combats some of the most plaguing conditions and diseases encountered by mankind. There are three types of ginsengs: Panax ginseng, American ginseng, and Siberian ginseng and each of them brings unique benefits.

Panax GinsengPanax Ginseng

The original ginseng falls under the Panax ginseng genus. “Panax” is a Greek word that means “all-healing” and comes from the same root word as “panacea”. This ginseng is also referred to as Asian ginseng or Korean ginseng and is considered to be the “hot” or stimulating, energy-producing, fatigue-fighting, and mental-health-boosting ginseng. This makes it more effective for neurodegenerative diseases (such as Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, and multiple sclerosis), fibromyalgia, and common respiratory problems.

American GinsengAmerican Ginseng

Like Panax ginseng, American ginseng contains ginsenosides, but in different levels. American ginseng is considered the “cool” or calming ginseng, and as such, is the one recommended for stress reduction, ADHD treatment, and immune system support. It’s also said to improve memory, suppress tumor growth (particularly in colorectal cancers), combat diabetes, soothe intestinal irritations, and support muscular endurance and health.

Siberian GinsengSiberian Ginseng

Siberian ginseng is technically not a ginseng, but it’s in the same family—like a first cousin—and provides many similar benefits as the true ginsengs. It has a different set of active compounds, called eleutherosides, rather than ginsenosides. In addition to being used by Russian athletes since the 1950s, it was also used to treat radiation symptoms after the Chernobyl disaster. It’s been shown to have antiviral properties and to stimulate the immune system, decrease stress, and increase physical endurance.

How Can You Get Ginseng into Your Diet?

Now that we’ve established the nearly endless benefits of ginseng, you’re probably wondering how you can get it into your diet. Ginseng can be purchased in dried, powdered, tablet, or capsule forms, but because demand sometimes outweighs the supply, there are numerous fake or adulterated “ginseng” products on the market. Prices can also be high, due to the high demand. Additionally, if you purchase ginseng in a dried or powdered form, you’ll need to watch your dosage levels, as too much of it can cause stomachaches, headaches, and dizziness.

The best way you can get the powerful benefits of ginseng is through food supplements, such as our signature drink, Uncorked Original. Our drink includes all three ginsengs in just the right dosage amounts in an affordable price. Get started on your journey to better health today!

Disclaimer: This blog is intended for informational purposes only and is not to be construed as medical advice. See a medical professional for advice concerning your situation.