The most impressive health benefits of ginseng include its ability to stimulate the mind, reduce stress, prevent aging, increase sexual potency, help with weight loss efforts, manage diabetes, ease menstrual discomfort, boost hair health, and protect the skin.
What is Ginseng?
Ginseng is actually a broad term that incorporates nearly a dozen different species of plants belonging to the Panax genus. This highly valued plant, which has large fleshy roots (their main source of nutrients), is typically found in North America and certain cooler areas of Asia. However, due to the global demand for this beneficial plant, it is exported throughout the world. There are different types of genus, as mentioned, some of which have woody roots, while others are fleshy. The root is the most medicinally valuable element of the plant and can be purchased in dried, whole, or sliced form. The leaves of ginseng are used on a far more limited basis, but they do have some uses. Many distributors claim false plants as being a part of the ginseng family, so always be sure to know exactly from which plants your ginseng supplements are derived.
Ginseng root can be consumed orally, or it can be included in supplements, energy drinks, beverages, teas, and other forms. Ginseng tea is also a widely known and used beverage. It is perhaps best known for its adaptogenic qualities, which means that the body is able to adapt to more stressful situations when ginseng is present. It makes the metabolism and immune system more flexible, which is why the root is so widely prized in various cultures.
Health Benefits of Ginseng
Ginseng has many health benefits. Now, let’s take a more in-depth look at its health benefits.
There is a wide body of research on diabetes management and prevention, but one of the most promising herbal remedies for the veritable epidemic of diabetes in recent years is the use of ginseng. It has been shown to reduce blood sugar levels. By regulating the intake or absorption of glucose, ginseng is able to protect the body from sudden spikes and drops in blood sugar that can lead to a development of diabetes or can make the disease lethal if already present.
Prevents Premature Aging
All over the world, ginseng is valued for its ability to reduce the signs of aging. Primarily, it is used as an antioxidant, which can prevent the negative effects of free radicals throughout the body, which are the dangerous by-products of cellular metabolism that can damage healthy cells. Antioxidants found within it can prevent chronic diseases like heart disease, as well as certain types of cancer. Furthermore, it has been linked to preventing the formation of maltol, another dangerous substance produced by the body that can exacerbate medical conditions.
Improves Cognitive Ability
Everyone from students to the elderly turn to ginseng for its cognitive abilities. Consuming it not only stimulates your cognitive abilities but can also stimulate neural activity that can be difficult to achieve in older ages. The activity of antioxidants also stimulates these pathways to prevent the accumulation of plaque and free radicals in the brain, effectively preventing the onset of dementia, Alzheimer’s, and other cognitive disorders.
The powerful combination of chemicals found within ginseng has a wide range of effects, including the suppression of appetite. When dried or powdered ginseng is consumed, it can quickly suppress the “hunger hormones” from triggering any cravings, thereby helping people in weight loss, while delivering a range of other health benefits at the same time.
Improves Sexual Performance
One of the most common traditional uses of ginseng was as an aphrodisiac. Powdered ginseng was believed to increase male sexual performance and boost libido; in modern applications, it is commonly recommended for men suffering from erectile dysfunction as a natural solution.
Treats Menstrual Discomfort
As a soothing and anti-inflammatory substance, ginseng is often prescribed for women suffering from extreme menstrual discomfort and cramps. It can also help reduce the mood swings commonly associated with menstruation and the menopausal change in middle-aged women.
Improves Hair Health
One of the natural carbohydrates found in ginseng has been directly connected with the prevention of alopecia and male pattern baldness. Applying ginseng salves or consuming the spice directly can improve the health of hair follicle beds, prevent dandruff, and reduce hair loss significantly.
By stimulating blood flow throughout the body, particularly to the skin cells, ginseng makes the skin looking young and hydrated. This falls under the category of anti-aging properties but ginseng is also linked to detoxifying the skin and boosting the immune response in the largest organ of the body.
Prevents Colorectal Cancer
According to extensive ongoing research on other cancers, the most promising oncological area for ginseng is in colorectal cancer; research has shown a direct decrease in colorectal cancer spread and symptoms with the regular inclusion of ginseng in one’s diet. Early research on other types of cancer show anti-tumor properties, but these studies are still in their early stages and debate still exists on the true medicinal benefit of ginseng in terms of cancer.
Ginseng affects the body’s nervous system in various ways, including stimulating the metabolism and boosting energy levels. Both of these effects can help to reduce stress and anxiety in the body. Additionally, and perhaps more importantly, the adaptogens found within ginseng have been shown to alter the hormonal levels of the body, which can also help lower stress hormone levels and achieve a better balance of mood in the body.
Word of Caution: Ginseng is a very powerful spice and can cause negative reactions in the body like stomach upset, headaches, sleep issues, and allergic reactions. While the side effects are usually mild, you should still consult a medical professional before adding it to your regular diet or supplement regimen.