Ginseng is a term that incorporates several different species of plants belonging to the Panax genus. This highly valued plant, which has large fleshy roots is typically found in North America and certain cooler areas of Asia. The North American version is highly sought after for uses in botanical medicine. The root is the most medicinally valuable element of the plant and can be purchased in dried, whole, or sliced form. It can be included in supplements, energy drinks, beverages, teas, and other forms. Ginseng tea is also a widely known and used beverage.
The most impressive potential health benefits of ginseng include its ability to stimulate the mind, increase energy, soothe inflammation, prevent cancer, reduce stress, and prevent aging. It also helps increase sexual potency, weight loss, manage diabetes, ease menstrual discomfort, boost hair health, and protect the skin. According to MedLine Plus only two uses of American Ginseng receive the rating of Possibly Effective, many other conditions are rated as Possibly Effective- meaning more research is needed.
The effectiveness ratings for AMERICAN GINSENG are as follows:
Diabetes. Taking 3 grams of American ginseng by mouth, up to two hours before a meal, can lower blood sugar after a meal in patients with type 2 diabetes. However, larger doses do not seem to have a greater effect. Taking 100-200 mg of American ginseng by mouth for 8 weeks might also help lower pre-meal blood sugar levels in patients with type 2 diabetes. Different American ginseng products may have different effects. Researchers think that is because they contain different amounts of the active chemicals called ginsenosides.
Respiratory tract infections. Some research suggests that taking a specific American ginseng extract called CVT-E002 (Cold-FX, Afexa Life Sciences, Canada) 200-400 mg twice daily for 3-6 months during flu season might prevent cold or flu symptoms in adults between the ages of 18 and 65. People older than 65 seem to need a flu shot at month 2 along with this treatment in order to decrease their risk of getting the flu or colds. This extract also seems to help make symptoms milder and last a shorter length of time when infections do occur. Some evidence suggests that the extract might not reduce the chance of getting the first cold of a season, but it seems to reduce the risk of getting repeat colds in a season. However, it might not help prevent cold or flu-like symptoms in patients with weakened immune systems.
Like most dietary supplements taking ginseng has many possible benefits. Always consult a medical professional before adding it to your regular diet or supplement regimen.