The Amazing Benefits of Red Korean Ginseng for Immunity


Each year, approximately 1 billion people worldwide catch the flu–and 3 to 5 million of those cases are severe. But what if a natural herb used for centuries in Eastern medicine–ginseng–could keep us protected year-round? 

Studies show that Korean Red Ginseng, in particular, might be the best defense against cold and flu many of us haven’t yet added to our medicine cabinets. Read on to explore the impressive benefits of Korean Red Ginseng for immunity, and how to make this herb a part of your holistic wellness regimen. 

But first, let’s discuss what makes this type of ginseng particularly effective.

What is Korean Red Ginseng?

Korean Red Ginseng (KRG) is a powerful natural remedy, derived from the root of the Panax ginseng plant, originating in the mountains of Korea. 

Unlike white ginseng, which is simply a dried version of the same root, KRG undergoes a unique steaming process before being dried. This special treatment boosts its strength and makes its ginsenosides–the key components responsible for its wide-ranging health benefits–more easily absorbed by the body.

KRG has been touted as a cure-all for centuries, providing:

  • Increased energy
  • Stress reduction
  • Hormonal and sexual wellness
  • Overall well-being

But research particularly highlights its efficacy in strengthening the immune system. 

Korean Red Ginseng and the immune system

Studies show that taking Korean Red Ginseng can lower your chances of getting a viral infection. 

In one study involving 227 participants, those taking ginseng experienced a significantly lower incidence of colds and flu compared to those taking a placebo. Further studies demonstrate that taking 400 mg daily could lead to fewer, milder, and shorter colds.

The secret to KRG’s immune-boosting properties lies in its ginsenosides, compounds that support both the innate and adaptive immune systems. The innate system, our first line of defense, is strengthened by KRG’s stimulation of key immune cells like macrophages and T cells. These cells are vital for fighting harmful pathogens. 

The adaptive system benefits from an increased production of antibodies to already present pathogens, readying the body for quicker response to future exposure. In addition to increasing activity in immune cells, KRG also regulates immune responses, making sure the immune system isn’t underactive or overactive. 

Balancing immune response is critical. If it’s too weak, we’re vulnerable to infections; if it’s too strong, it might attack our own body, as seen in autoimmune conditions.

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What’s more, KRG is adaptogenic, meaning it helps the body manage stress–which is a common trigger for weakened immunity. One study involving participants who were exposed to high levels of stress found that KRG significantly reduced stress-related physiological changes like elevated heart rate, blood pressure, and cortisol (a stress hormone) levels.

This is why KRG is an effective and comprehensive tool for maintaining immunity and overall well-being.

How to use  Korean Red Ginseng for immunity

It’s best to consult your healthcare provider before starting any new supplement. But here’s a general guide to using Korean Red Ginseng for immunity:

  • Regular support: Experts recommend 1 to 2 grams daily for ongoing immune support. Start with a smaller dose and assess your body’s reaction, then adjust accordingly. And to avoid building a tolerance, you can take KRG for three months, then pause for one week before resuming.
  • Seasonal use: For flu season or times of increased risk of infection (such as traveling), you can take 400 mg daily for up to four months. Longer-term consumption of high doses like this aren’t recommended, due to limited research.
  • Time of day: KRG is stimulating, so it’s best to take it in the morning. This way, you can harness its energy-boosting benefits without negatively affecting your sleep.

Combining Korean Red Ginseng with other immune-boosting practices

While taking KRG alone can work wonders for your immune system, combining it with other healthy lifestyle habits can amplify its benefits. Here are some suggestions:

  • Exercise regularly. Exercise boosts immunity and reduces your risk of respiratory illnesses by stimulating the distribution of pathogen-fighting white blood cells from the circulatory system throughout organ tissue.
  • Eat well. A balanced diet rich in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains helps your body get the nutrients it needs to fight infection.
  • Get enough sleep. Even short-term sleep deprivation can result in a 50% reduction in immune function, according to some studies.
  • Stay hydrated. Water plays a critical role in cellular and overall immune health.
  • Manage stress. Practices like yoga and meditation can help reduce stress, further supporting immune function.

You can also further enhance KRG’s benefits with these supplements:

  • Zinc. Like KRG, this mineral boosts immunity and supports healing by modulating immune cell function and improving antibody maintenance.
  • Vitamin D. This vitamin also helps regulate the immune system, boosting defenses against illness.
  • Vitamin C. This antioxidant supports immune system modulation and reduces inflammation.
  • Reishi mushroom. These medicinal mushrooms also support immune health and reduce inflammation.
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Are there risks to taking Korean red ginseng?

Experts agree that taking KRG short-term for a few months is safe for most people. But like most supplements, it can cause side effects for a small number of people. These side effects may include:

  • Menstrual irregularities
  • Faster heartbeat
  • Increased blood pressure
  • Headaches
  • Digestive issues like diarrhea
  • Dizziness
  • Skin rashes
  • Nervousness or insomnia, particularly with high doses or when mixed with caffeine (avoid mixing these two stimulants)
  • “Excessive heat” in the body, or redness, fever, and/or mouth and throat ulcers (primarily from overuse)

And talk to your doctor before trying KRG if you’re currently taking any of the following medications, as KRG could interfere with their effectiveness:

  • Blood pressure medication
  • Blood thinners
  • Monoamine oxidase inhibitor (an antidepressant)
  • Stimulants, such as ADHD medications
  • Immune system suppressants
  • Insulin

Korean Red Ginseng can boost immune system function safely and effectively for most healthy people. And by adopting a holistic, comprehensive approach that includes good nutrition, regular exercise, stress reduction, and other high-quality supplements, you can keep your body resistant to infections and feel your best all year long.

Carrie Solomon is a freelance health writer, web copywriter, and passionate wellness enthusiast. She’s on a mission to help wellness-focused companies everywhere educate, engage, and inspire their audiences to make the world a healthier, happier place. Learn more about her at or on LinkedIn.


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Immune Modulation From Five Major Mushrooms: Application to Integrative Oncology – PMC

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Carrie Solomon

Carrie Solomon is a freelance health writer, web copywriter, and passionate wellness enthusiast. She’s on a mission to help wellness-focused companies everywhere educate, engage, and inspire their audiences to make the world a healthier, happier place. Learn more about her at or on LinkedIn.

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