Ginseng has been in use in Chinese medicine for millennia. Ginseng comes from the fleshy roots of perennial slow-growing plants belonging to 11 different species and two different genera. There are three popular varieties—Asian, American, and Siberian.
In Asia, China, and Korea, ginseng is believed to possess miraculous restorative and strength-enhancing properties. In the US, the FDA has not recognized it as medicine, but it is accepted it a GRAS (Generally Recognized as Safe) nutraceutical.
Traditionally, the herb is regarded as both a physical and mental restorant. It is said to improve patients’ cognitive ability, quality of life, and behavior. Ginsenosides and other constituents in ginseng possess immunosuppressive properties.
This is a plant that has been widely studied for its medicinal properties. However, human clinical trials to finally validate these properties are very few. Therefore, it is best to take medical advice before consuming this herb.
Let me share with you a few scientific studies on ginseng.
Studies conducted on healthy individuals given Panax ginseng doses of 200 mg of extract daily showed increased QTc interval. They decreased diastolic blood pressure two hours after ingestion on the first day of therapy (Caron et al., 2002).
Cognitive enhancement ability tests with herbal treatment with Panax ginseng were conducted on healthy volunteers who had fasted overnight. The results confirm that the herb possesses glucoregulatory and cognitive performance-enhancing properties (Scholey et al., 2016).
Panax ginseng is often sold in combination with guarana (Paullinia cupana), which has high levels of caffeine. A combination of the two herbs was given to the study subjects. The results showed an increased speed of memory task performance. However, there was little evidence of modulated memory increase (Kennedy et al., 2004). Traditionally, treatment with Panax ginseng has been used to lower blood glucose levels and improve cognitive abilities.
You can learn more about medicinal and other properties of herbs, including ginseng, in the selected books here: