Ginseng in herbal medicine: health benefits and properties
In a previous article we looked at the health benefits of ginger.
In this article we continue this voyage of discovery into plants that are rich in important nutrients and have health benefits for our body, this time focusing on ginseng.
Ginseng is very well known for its energising and adaptogenic properties. As is typical of such herbal remedies, it can increase the body's physical and mental resistance to a range of stress factors.
What you may not know is that there are no fewer than 11 varieties of this little plant, of the genus Panax. It has a long stem, oval green leaves and fleshy, light coloured roots. It's a very valuable plant in herbal medicine.
Let's learn more about ginseng, a simple root but one which is incredibly useful and has many practical applications.
Ginseng can be divided into three categories, based on the when the plant is harvested:
Fresh: if it is harvested before it is four years old
White: harvested when it is between 4 and 6 years old
Red: harvested when six or more years old.
It is a plant that has been used for centuries in traditional Chinese medicine and it is no coincidence that it is one of the most widely used herbal medicines in the world.
The two most common varieties used in herbal medicine are American ginseng, which has specific relaxing properties, and Asian ginseng, which is rich in invigorating properties.
In phytotherapy it is used to stimulate the immune system and combat fatigue and exhaustion, both physical and mental.
The properties of ginseng
Ginseng contains about twelve types of bioactive substance. The two main compounds are ginsenosides and gintonina, which have complementary health benefits.
Although further medical research still needs to be done, it is believed that ginseng is very beneficial for the human body when taken as part of a healthy diet.
The benefits of ginseng for the body
There are numerous benefits of using ginseng. It has relaxing properties that act on both the body and the mind.
Let's take a look at the main benefits of ginseng:
It has an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory action: it can reduce inflammation and protect cells from oxidative stress
It helps brain function: it can boost cognitive function, improving memory, mood and behaviour
It boosts the immune system: its anti-allergic and antimicrobial properties strengthen the immune system and help ward off flu infections
It reduces fatigue: it can increase the energy level of the cells in our body and combat tiredness
It lowers blood sugar levels: fermented red ginseng can increase insulin production and improve the absorption of sugar
It can help you lose weight: it can control appetite, increase metabolism and burn fat.
We can take advantage of these benefits by simply adding ginseng to our daily diet, provided it is done in a healthy and appropriate way.
How to integrate ginseng into your diet
Adding the ginseng root to your diet is very easy. In fact, it can be taken in various ways:
steamed, to make it softer;
boiled to make tea and infusions.
In herbal stores you can buy it in capsule form, as powder, tablets, oil or as a supplement.
The recommended dose varies depending on factors such as your weight, the duration of the treatment and the effect you are looking to achieve.
In your Tisanoreica program you can use it as an energising infusion, or as a decottopiric extract to treat exhaustion.
In conclusion, please remember that ginseng is not recommended if you are pregnant or lactating.
However in most other situations, as we have seen, moderate use can bring you all the benefits of a plant adaptogen.