In the plant world there is a great diversity of plants , many of them coming from Asia, whose uses are both culinary and also in medicinal fields. In this sense, many of these plants have been talked about, but not so much about one in particular called ginseng.

For this reason, this article seeks to know and describe what ginseng is, as well as explore its properties and health benefits.

What is ginseng?

Ginseng ( Panax ginseng ) is a herbaceous type plant , part of the Panax families , it cannot be said that it is uniquely Asian because it is divided into three types , American ginseng ( Panax quinquefolius ), Korean ginseng and Siberian ginseng (although this The latter only has similarities with the other types).

Ginseng was ideal since its cultivation in ancient times, being of medicinal and ethnomedicinal use, even working in part as a promoter of gastric secretions and a means to prevent alterations of different kinds in the body.

Note: Regarding what is said about Korean Ginseng, a study mentions that: “Ginseng is a perennial plant that sprouts every spring , whose stem and leaves dry up and are renewed in autumn . ” (1)

Ginseng properties

For now we will explain the most important properties of ginseng roots, which are very strong to provide the best benefits to the human body:

1. Vitamins and minerals

Regarding vitamins, ginseng defaults to vitamin A , B complex vitamins such as vitamin B1 and vitamin B2, as well as certain levels of vitamin  D.

To highlight: Regarding minerals, ginseng can provide an abundance of iron , phosphorus, potassium , calcium, silicon, copper, sulfur, magnesium and also manganese, which is why it is a very nutritious plant.

2. Other compounds

Ginseng has interesting compounds such as ginsenosides in abundance, these are natural chemical substances that have nootropic , glycosidic and saponin effects, which provide benefits that we will learn about later.

Among other existing elements in its structure, there are proteins , tannins, anaxanes ( polysaccharide substances ), essential amino acids, oleanolic acid, trace elements and also panoxyl (panoxine).

Important: One of the few studies on ginseng explains that: “Ginsenosides are triterpene saponins, present in the ginseng root , also known as panaxosides and are derived from oleic acid . ” (two)

What are the benefits of ginseng?

Having an interesting base on the nutritional value that this herbaceous plant contains, we can then explore in depth its most outstanding benefits in the human body . These are the best benefits of panax ginseng:

1. Boosts the immune system

Ginseng or American ginseng considerably increases the defenses of the immune system, mainly by promoting phagositosis and chemotaxis , important processes where white blood cells destroy eternal substances and the way in which cells react to them.

Note: Ginseng can enhance lymphocyte production and has many antiviral effects for the immune system.

2. Protects cardiovascular health

Ginseng, or American ginseng, is important for maintaining proper heart health, as it helps reduce bad cholesterol that builds in the blood, along with dilating blood vessels to promote as much blood circulation as possible. .

You should know: Cardiovascular health is favored because taking ginseng releases nitric oxide, which in turn increases blood flow.

3. Controls blood sugar levels

Compounds such as ginsenosides are important for blood glucose control, especially because they boost insulin , level insulin sensitivity, and make cells have a better receptor role for said substance.

To highlight: Taking ginseng indirectly improves the functions of the pancreas in relation to the secretion of insulin or glucose in the blood.

4. Stimulates cognitive functions

The stimulation of cognitive functions is possible thanks to the ginsenoside elements of ginseng, which have the ability to promote the improvement of visual memory and even better prepare the brain to act in stressful situations.

5. Increases energy and physical performance

Ginseng proteins are essential to increase body energy, taking into account that by generating better insulin resistance, the burning of sugar as body energy becomes even greater, also giving better physical performance.

Important: A study examines ginseng as a placebo, stating that: “Our results provide the first evidence of the anti-fatigue effects of P. ginseng in patients with idiopathic chronic fatigue and we affirm that these changes in antioxidant properties contribute in part to its mechanism ”. (3)

6. Decreases inflammation

Ginseng also has certain antioxidant values, which together with insulin resistance, helps to reduce a certain level of inflammation . In fact, it is estimated that it is very necessary to alleviate muscle damage that occurs during exercise, which is why it is consumed in the form of a supplement.

7. Helps reduce stress and anxiety

Taking into account that it is a great food for the nervous system, ginseng can improve neurotransmitters and itself offers relaxation at the brain level , which is ideal for relaxing the body against states related to anxiety and stress.

8. Improves male sexual performance

Panax ginseng is highly recommended regarding male sexual problems, especially erectile dysfunction, taking premature ejaculation into account. On the one hand, this benefit is due to the increase in energy that ginseng provides.

But on the other hand, it is due to increased blood circulation and greater muscle contraction, the result of nitric oxide.

Note: One study mentions that: “Korean ginseng and mountain ginseng (Panax ginseng CA Meyer) are traditional herbs whose ginsenosides are generally accepted to enhance sexual functions, such as penile erection . ” (4)

9. Prevents some types of cancer

How panax ginseng influences the development of cancer has been studied a lot, in fact it has been proven that it decreases the increase in tumors in lung, stomach, colon, liver and even lip cancer to a great extent.

You should know: An analysis highlights that: “Smokers with ginseng intake had a lower probability of suffering from lung cancer compared to smokers without ginseng intake . ” (5)

How to take ginseng?

Panax ginseng can be taken in different ways, one of the main ones is in powder form to be used in different types of food , as well as it can also be consumed as a hot tea infusion without abusing more than 3 cups a day.

To highlight: Another mode of consumption is through supplements or capsules, where it is strongly recommended not to abuse 3 capsules a day, it is also used in other ways such as shampoo and exfoliating creams against acne.

What are the risks of ginseng consumption?

It is very important not to abuse panax ginseng, since there are certain risks or side effects such as the appearance of hypertension , as well as causing nervousness, headaches and can even cause very frequent allergies and itching.

Important: For the reasons mentioned above, panax ginseng or American ginseng is contraindicated as a supplement in people taking antidepressant medications , pregnant and lactating women, as well as people with blood circulation problems being treated with other medications.

Key Findings

  • Ginseng or panax ginseng is a food that is considered an aphrodisiac but actually has great medicinal uses 
  • It contains mostly ginsenosides, vitamins, antioxidants and essential minerals. 
  • It is ideal for boosting the immune system , controlling glucose and can be consumed both in powder form and in supplements. 
  • In excess this food can cause irritability, nervousness , increased blood pressure and even gastrointestinal irritation.

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