Every time I hear the word “ginseng” I imagine something from the great Orient, some unknown mysterious substance that is used for all kinds of remedies and cures. In this article I am going on a quest of learning about ginseng and how I can use it in my daily life.
How do we find ginseng? Is that a plant? Where does it grow? Where do we find ginseng? What does ginseng remedy? What does it help with? Does it work? How much does it cost? Do you have to take it daily as a supplement? So, a million questions pop in mind right away. In this article I am attempting to answer most of these, and many more to find out the uses of ginseng. I usually try to limit what I take as supplements, and only take what my doctor prescribes me, and therefore I don’t tend to shop or know much about health supplements, and still have a lot to learn about. So, this article is more for the beginner ginseng user.
The two varieties that I have found are Panax ginseng which includes both species of ginseng grown in North America and in Asia; as well as Siberian ginseng which belongs to the same family of plants, however, not the same genus (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ginseng)
The whole idea of ginseng being this mysterious plant is that it is used for a multitude of conditions, and has been widely popularized due to its importance in traditional Chinese medicine. Ginseng has been known to be used for fighting simple colds and flu, improving digestion, helping fight inflammations, boosting immune system, dealing with infections, and just about any symptom you can imagine. (http://www.webmd.com/vitamins-supplements/ingredientmono-967-american%20ginseng.aspx?activeingredientid=967&)
There is still not a lot of evidence that exists right now that ginseng is in fact able to show the properties that can help cure people’s ailments when they take it. Just because something has “natural ingredients” in them doesn’t necessarily mean that it is good for you. Whenever taking ginseng, or any other supplement in the market, it is always best to consult with your doctor, and ensure that there is no complication due to incompatibility of this or that supplement with the pharmaceutical medications you are taking. This post is certainly not going to provide you with any medical guidance as I am not a licensed physician, and I am only writing the post based on the research that I have undertaken.
Anyway, with all the disclosures out of the way, why would people then take ginseng at all, if its use is questionable, cautioned against, and potentially does not produce any result? Well, for one, thousands of years of medicinal use of ginseng in Asia should give a good idea that it is an herbal supplement, and it may work for some people, and definitely has effect since it may interact with other pharmaceuticals, and so it must work in one way or another for people.
Some research into the newest studies done
I have read a few recent research studies that aimed to study the effects of American ginseng, and the different outcomes. Here is what I have found.
One group developed a study of American ginseng and Chinese jujube together, came up with a formulation that was used on mice to check the effect it would give to immunity. Potent effects were noted, and it was suggested to use this formulation for stress relief and antioxidant use. (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26834015)
Another study showed how American ginseng has chemopreventative qualities through its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant acting capabilities. This study was studying the effects of American ginseng on colon cancerogenesis in mice. (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26136108)
Found another recent study showing immune system boosting properties found in American ginseng. (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26056990)
There is one study that got me interested – this study researched and tested on a group of individuals the property of American ginseng to boost working memory of individuals after giving them one single dose of American ginseng. This study found that there is an improvement in the working memory of middle-aged adults due to their consumption of American ginseng. (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25778987)
In another study American ginseng was able to reduce muscle damage and inflammation in mice. (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25531801)
Conclusions – the myths and reality
These are all the most recent studies of American ginseng that I have found. While a lot of online resources and post state that the use and effect of ginseng in general has not been fully researched and studied, from the most recent published papers it looks like there is quite a lot of positive impact of ginseng within the scope of the research performed. I would say that it is important to take into account the warnings, and precautions that are suggested, but it is also critical to take the use recommendations close to heart to see whether the claims could actually be true. I may be would not be willing to check on my own body whether ginseng can stop, prevent or cure cancer, or treat an infectious illness, but I would never decline a natural supplement that is essentially a placebo for curing things, possibly, but can help me think faster, and remember things better. My memory has never been known to be great, so this would be a great way to boost it!
My review of one ginseng product
And these are exactly the claims that one American ginseng product carries – Tuff Bear American ginseng from Wisconsin capsules claim to help with memory, focus, relieve stress and overall tiredness. This is the type of a natural supplement that I can see myself taking – I always need help with all of those issues. This supplement is sold online for $19.99 at this moment. One container can last you up to 30 days if you take 2 capsules per day.
I haven’t been taking it yet myself as I am breastfeeding and trying to stay away from any such supplements for the time being, but my husband has taken a few doses, and has seen an improvement in concentration and ability to focus. So far he has not noticed any particular side effects or concerns himself.
Overall, we have been positively inclined recently to use more herbal supplements in our daily healthcare. There is more and more research that is done now on these tried and tested healing herbs, there is more availability of them for the general public, they are essentially a click away, and no need to look for a Chinese-English dictionary or go to the closest Chinatown to find these healing supplements – they are widely sold and available. As this particular plant is grown in America now, and is processed into capsules, it is quite affordable to be able to regularly take it, or on as needed basis, and this herb is not going to send you to bankruptcy, however, it may help postpone a lot of health complications, or relieve your symptoms. Still, a lot more research needs to be done into this, and we are far from taking it as we used to take Vitamin C as kids in place of candy, but good progress is being made into making this ancient plant cure less enigmatic and more practical for everyday use, and I hope my research can help with this goal!
Sample of this product was provided for testing and a review. This is a sponsored post.
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