Is Ginseng the Adaptogen "Herb of Immortality"?
Panax ginseng is arguably the most well-known adaptogen herb in the world.
And for good reason.
It’s long history as a natural healer is simply incredible!
Most often simply called “ginseng”, this ancient herb has been used for almost everything from boosting energy and reducing inflammation to treating diabetes and high blood pressure!
If this is all ginseng did for one’s well-being, it really would be a "miracle herb".
But ginseng does much, much more to promote wellness and longevity.
Let’s dig deeper and find out more.
Used in Ancient Greece and Eastern Medicine
For centuries, natural healers have believed this amazing herb deserves a place in everyone’s wellness plan.
Initially ginseng was found to boost energy and stamina and was most commonly used to treat fatigue and weakness.
As time went on, after adding the ground ginseng root to food and tea, people started to notice other positive changes in their well-being: less aches and pains, better sleep, increased libido, and an improvement in overall health.
These benefits and others are why health practitioners looked to ginseng as a staple in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM).
Ancient Chinese healers categorized ginseng as the top grade herb in China because it’s amazing ability to treat a wide variety of health conditions while improving strength and stamina, reducing inflammation, and anti-aging and longevity benefits (1).
These time-tested benefits of ginseng have helped men and women for hundreds of years stay younger both physically and mentally.
Panax Ginseng as a Powerful Adaptogen Herb and Natural Healer
Historically, the ginseng plant has been easy-to-find for the locals who knew where to look in the shaded, moist mountainsides of China, Russia, and Korea.
The unique, slow-growing ginseng plant grows to about 24 inches in height, has fleshy roots with oval-shaped dark green leaves and is easily spotted with it’s red berry clusters.
Once the plants were gathered and after the roots were dried, often ground into a powdered form, this powerful plant became a healing medicine. For natural healers, it became known as a trusted remedy to treat a host of maladies including:
- high blood pressure
- low blood pressure
- nervous exhaustion
- mild depression 7
Today, there are more evidence-based health benefits of ginseng.
With over 500 scientific records available on ginseng globally, different ginseng root varieties have been used as traditional treatments in Asia and North America for centuries. (1) Some of these studies show the following benefits of ginseng:
Improvement in Memory, Communication and Problem Solving Performance
A large European study group discovered that Panax ginseng enhances cognitive performance, particularly short-term memory. (2)
Additionally, researchers with Alzheimer's Research & Therapy discovered that supplementing with ginseng for over five years has a significant impact on older people’s cognition. (3) This improvement in cognition is thought to be due to the antioxidant properties of ginseng.
Reduction of Inflammation and Improved Anti-oxidant Capacity
Researchers with The Journal of pharmacy and pharmacology found that Ginseng has beneficial anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. Studies also reveal that powerful compounds in ginseng can prevent inflammation and enhance antioxidant capacity in cells. (4)
Another study determined that compounds in ginseng decreased inflammation and enhanced antioxidant activity in skin cells from people with eczema. (5)
Overall, Panax ginseng has been proven to lower inflammatory markers and protect against oxidative stress.
Natural Treatment for Erectile Dysfunction
Ginseng can also be a natural alternative for the treatment of ED (Erectile Dysfunction) in men. The compounds available in ginseng may protect against oxidative stress in tissues and blood vessels in the penis and restore normal function. (6)
A Korean study also found that 60% of men who consumed ginseng noticed an improvement in their ED symptoms. Also, researchers published in the British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology reported that ginseng provided an effective treatment of ED. (7)
Ginseng may improve ED symptoms by lowering oxidative stress in tissues and increasing blood flow in penile muscles.
Reduction in Blood Sugar
Scientists with Evidence Based Complement Alternative Medicine show that ginseng may help reduce blood sugar and treat diabetes. (8) Powerful compounds in ginseng (ginsenosides) may impact insulin production in the pancreas and enhance insulin resistance in the body using other mechanisms. (10)
The active component (glycosides) in ginseng is responsible for ginseng's medicinal value. These compounds have been shown to improve muscle metabolism, reduce inflammation and support balanced glucose levels. It is possible that ginseng creates an anti-hyperglycemic effect, which also aids the pancreas. (8)
Boosts the Immune System and Reduces Stress, Anxiety and Depression
Ginseng effectively regulates the immune response and supports a healthy immune system. In addition, ginseng supports the hormonal changes due to stress, thus maintaining the body’s healthy response to stress (a.k.a. homeostasis). Ginseng also empowers the body to reduce anxiety and depression, thereby reducing stress-associated physiological diseases. (9)
Truly panax ginseng has earned its reputation as a "miracle herb"!
- Adaptogens in Medicinal Herbalism, Donald Yance, CN, MH, RH (AHG)
- Panax ginseng as a Source to Enhance Cognition Performance: https://www.mdpi.com/2072-6643/11/5/1041
- Effects of Ginseng Intake on Cognitive Function in Late Life: https://alzres.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s13195-018-0380-0
- Potentiation of anti-inflammatory and antioxidative properties of cultured wild ginseng root extract through probiotic fermentation: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23356855
- Anti-inflammatory and Anti-oxidative Effects of Korean Red Ginseng Extract in Human Keratinocytes: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21494373
- Korean Red Ginseng in the Treatment of Erectile Dysfunction: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16855773
- Red Ginseng for Treating Erectile Dysfunction: A Systematic Review - https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2561113/
- Ginseng on Hyperglycemia: Effects and Mechanisms - https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2781779/
- Effects of ginseng on stress-related depression, anxiety, and the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis - https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5628357/
- An Overview on Asian Ginseng - https://nccih.nih.gov/health/asianginseng/ataglance.htm
- A Review of Ginseng Clinical Trials Registered in the WHO International Clinical Trials Registry Platform - https://www.hindawi.com/journals/bmri/2018/1843142/
- Chemical Diversity of Ginseng Saponins from Panax ginseng - https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26869820