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Ginseng - The Uses and Benefits of Ginseng

Updated on June 9, 2015

Ginseng in a Market in Korea

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What is Ginseng?

Ginseng is an herbal plant which produces fleshy therapeutic roots.

There are many varieties of ginseng with the common ones being Panax ginseng, American ginseng, Siberian ginseng and Panax pseudoginseng. Each holds similar healing properties although the Panax genus of ginseng is used more often.

In ancient China ginseng was looked upon as an herb which helps to improve the flow of chi throughout the body. This is one reason why some call it an energy stimulating herb.

Namdaemun Market

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What is Panax Ginseng?

Panax ginseng also known as Asian, Chinese and Korean ginseng was first discovered growing in China and towards the 20th century it was also cultivated in Korea.

Panax ginseng is found to strengthen the immune system and heart, lower the risk of certain types of cancer, lower blood sugar, increase mental clarity and treat male impotency including premature ejaculation. More of the healing benefits of panax ginseng can be read here.

Korean Ginseng

What is American Ginseng?

American ginseng also called Panax quinquefolius is an ancient herb which was first discovered in North America and was highly valued and used by the Native Americans in traditional times to treat a wide range of illnesses including headaches and fever.

The American ginseng was first introduced to other parts of the world by ancient traders who discovered the herb while passing through North America and took some of it along with them on their journeys. More of American ginseng and its healing properties can be read here.

What Type Of Ginseng Do You Take Regularly?

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Ginseng

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What is Siberian Ginseng?

Siberian ginseng is native to China and Russia and is also known as eleuthero.

In Russia this type of ginseng is mainly used in bringing relief to colds and to treat both physical and mental stress.

In China Siberian ginseng was commonly used to improve memory especially in the elderly, bring relief to headaches, stomach aches, certain cardiovascular problems and impotency. The Chinese call this wonder herb ci wu jia.

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What is Panax Pseudoginseng?

Panax pseudoginseng also called notoginseng is native to China and Japan.

This variety of ginseng is used mainly to treat blood disorders including bleeding and promote the efficient movement of blood flow throughout the body.

Difference Between Red Ginseng and White Ginseng

Ginseng roots are processed before it’s used by steaming or drying.

The Panax ginseng roots produce two colors when it’s processed. A Panax ginseng root which is steamed and then dried turns red and is known as red ginseng.

A Panax ginseng root which is sun dried is white in color and hence called white ginseng.

Ginseng and Ginsenosides

Ginseng’s healing power is mainly attributed to the ginsenosides contained in it. Ginseng plant varieties which have high levels of ginsenosides in it are of far better quality.

The Panax varieties of ginseng are rich in ginsenosides whereas the Siberian ginseng is not. Due to the lack of ginsenosides some people do not accept Siberian ginseng as genuine ginseng.

Side Effects of Ginseng

The ginseng root is used in the dry, powdered or liquid form. Whichever way you choose to use the root make sure you first consult your health care provider/doctor before consuming it.

Ginseng is known to cause a range of side effects with some being insomnia, headaches, high blood pressure, nausea and diarrhea.

How to Make Ginseng Tea

A common way of taking ginseng which goes back to traditional times is in the form of tea.

If making tea with ginseng powder add 1 teaspoon ginseng powder into a cup. Then fill the cup ¾ full with hot water. Steep for 3 to 5 minutes. Finally stir in ¼ teaspoon of honey and drink.

If making tea with dried ginseng root fill a saucepan with 3 cups of water and heat on medium low heat. Place 10 slices of ginseng roots into the water prior to heating it. Simmer for 20 minutes. Strain and drink. You can stir in ¼ teaspoon of honey into each cup of ginseng tea to sweeten the taste.

© 2013 Suranee Perera

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    • Suranee1969 profile image
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      Suranee Perera 4 years ago from Kandy, Sri Lanka

      You are welcome JG11Bravo.

    • JG11Bravo profile image

      JG11Bravo 4 years ago

      I had no idea that there were so many varieties of ginseng. Thank you for the information, very well done.

    • Suranee1969 profile image
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      Suranee Perera 4 years ago from Kandy, Sri Lanka

      Thank you Jason Matthews. Glad to know you found the information useful.

    • Jason Matthews profile image

      Jason Matthews 4 years ago from North Carolina

      Wow! I can tell you have done your research. I knew that ginseng had health benefits, but I never really understood the benefits, let alone the different types of ginseng . Thank you for your clarity and expertise. Voted up!