If you really know about ginseng?
Panax ginseng, a medicinal plant, has been used as a blood-nourishing tonic for thousands of years in Asia, including Korea and China.
Panax ginseng exhibits adaptogen activity that maintains homeostasis by restoring general biological functions and non-specifically enhancing the body's resistance to external stress. Several panax ginseng effects have been reported. Korean Red Ginseng, in particular, has been reported in both basic and clinical studies to possess diverse effects such as enhanced immunity, fatigue relief, memory, blood circulation, and anti-oxidation.
Moreover, it also protects against menopausal symptoms, cancer, cardiac diseases, and neurological disorders. The active components found in most Korean Red Ginseng varieties are known to include ginsenosides, polysaccharides, peptides, alkaloids, polyacetylene, and phenolic compounds.
Depending on the processing method used, ginseng can be broadly categorized into fresh ginseng, white ginseng, and red ginseng. Fresh ginseng is a natural product that takes 4–6 years to mature and is sourced from the earth; the unique ginseng compounds are preserved, and given that the water content is 70–80%, the product can decay and be damaged easily during distribution, so long-term storage is difficult without specialized storage facilities or packaging.
Red ginseng is produced by steam cooking and then drying the fresh ginseng; its water content accounts for ≤15.5% and it can be pale red or red-brown in color. Depending on its quality, red ginseng is divided into chonsam, jisam, and yangsam. In the process of steaming and drying fresh ginseng to make red ginseng, there are changes in the types and concentrations of unique compounds found in ginseng known as ginsenosides. There are also physical and chemical changes in polysaccharides, the most abundant compounds in Korean Red Ginseng; notably, starch gelatinization enables long-term storage. Korean Red Ginseng contains a high concentration (60–70%) of carbohydrates, including starch, but also includes a number of specific compounds that are not found in other plants, including ginsenosides, proteins that are nitrogen-containing compounds, peptides, alkaloids, polyacetylenes that are liposoluble, and polysaccharides as well as flavonoids and fatty acids.
Several questions about eating ginseng
1. What kind of ginseng is right for me?
People know what ginseng is available, but they don’t know what ginseng is suitable for them, what should I do with which ginseng? Ginseng is warm in the properties of Chinese medicine, American ginseng is cool, and red ginseng and raw sun-dried ginseng are heat-processed, so they are hot. Therefore, when we choose, we can choose according to our physique. For example, summer is relatively hotter, we can properly eat some American ginseng to reconcile it; or some people with yang deficiency physique can take some garden ginseng and forest ginseng to nourish yang. If the body is cool, you can take some red ginseng in the autumn and winter to adjust it.
2. Can ginseng help me lose weight?
Ginseng is not a weight-loss medicine. It can regulate and improve your physical condition by eating ginseng. If you want to lose weight, you must insist on exercise, reasonable diet and good living habits.
3. Can children and pregnant women take ginseng?
Most children are not suitable for eating ginseng. Children are like the rising sun. They are in the process of continuous growth and development. They are full of vitality. Normally, there will be no deficiency. However, it is very rare that children who are weak and need ginseng to supplement their health due to the influence of other diseases must also be taken carefully and strictly under the guidance of a doctor.
Pregnant women take ginseng according to the stage, early pregnancy, you can take a small amount of red ginseng, remember that a small amount can improve self-immunity, increase appetite, can enhance myocardial contractility, and have a certain promotion effect on the normal development of the fetus; but in the period of neutralization and delivery, It is not advisable to consume ginseng and ginseng-related products to avoid postpartum hemorrhage, headaches, and few methods.
4. How does the body feel when eating ginseng?
In the early stage of regimen, the body will not have any obvious sensations. You need to insist on eating. After a period of time, you will feel the changes in all the organs of your body. If you are too eager to nourish your body, taking large doses of ginseng may cause dizziness, headache, irritability, insomnia, dry nose, dry mouth, diarrhea, and increased blood pressure.
5. How much ginseng is suitable for one day?
As a health product, the amount of ginseng is about 3 grams or ginseng wine is about 30 ml. According to clinical studies, if the amount of ginseng taken per day does not exceed 3 grams, it usually does not produce heat or get angry.
The Benefits Of Ginseng
Ginseng has effect on innate immunity and adaptive immunity
Innate immunity is the first line of defense in opposition to various pathogens and antigens. Adaptive, or acquired, immunity is a defense system that provides a more tailored repository of remembrance for both self-antigens and extraneous antigens. Multiple studies confirm that panax ginseng exhibits immunomodulating consequences on innate as well as adaptive immunity, indicating adaptogenic behavior.
Antibacterial effects of ginseng
Antibiotic resistance can occur naturally, but overuse of antibiotics is accelerating the process. A novel antimicrobial agent, especially from a herbal source, may present opportunities to address this problem, and numerous studies have revealed that ginseng extract or its components possess bactericidal properties.
Anti-viral effect of ginseng
many vaccines that control viruses have yet to be approved, and few viruses can be controlled by antiviral drugs. Herbal medicines are considered novel antiviral alternatives. Ginseng extract may be an effective modulator for both natural and acquired immunity regarding viral infection. Influenza virus is the most common human respiratory pathogen, causing both seasonal, endemic infections and periodic, unpredictable pandemics.
Antifungal effects of ginseng
Skin, nail, and hair are usually infected with fungi, over 150 million people around the world experiencing serious cases, and this infection can be fatal. Most of the fungal infections are caused by yeasts or dermatophytes. However, the opportunistic fungal organism Candida albicans can cause disease during immunosuppressive conditions. Multiple investigations have described the consequences of ginseng or ginseng derivatives usage in case of fungal infections.
Ginseng and its various constituents showed significant pharmacological and therapeutic effects against viruses, bacteria or other microorganisms, indicating its potential adaptogenic behavior.
Anticancer effect of ginseng
Medicinal herbs and the phytocompounds originated from them are considered as beneficial complementary treatments for cancer, the leading cause of death around the globe. Studies have revealed that ginseng and its extracts,have anticancer properties. KRG can reportedly repress the viability of RMA cells in a dose-dependent pattern and can suppress inflammatory cytokines factors. In addition, ginsenoside Rd can suppress the phosphorylation of extracellular signal-regulated kinase and, in liver cancer, ginsenosides Rd and Rh2 can inhibit tumor migration and metastasis. Ginseng administered long-term may decrease the incidence of cancer.
Effect of ginseng on autoimmune disease
In case of multiple sclerosis and other diseases related to chronic inflammation, oral- or vehicle-administered aqueous extract of North American ginseng decreased the clinical symptom of autoimmune encephalomyelitis.
Red Panax Ginseng, known as the “King of Herbs”, has been used for centuries for its many incredible benefits. It is known to improve vitality, mental and immune health, promote energy and increase the body's ability to respond to stress.
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Hyun SH, Kim SW, Seo HW, et al. Physiological and pharmacological features of the non-saponin components in Korean Red Ginseng. J Ginseng Res. 2020;44(4):527-537.
Ratan ZA, Youn SH, Kwak YS, et al. Adaptogenic effects of Panax ginseng on modulation of immune functions. J Ginseng Res. 2021;45(1):32-40.