Ginseng Health Benefits And Side Effects

By Marisa Ramiccio. May 7th 2016

Feeling sluggish or tired lately? Need an energy boost? Then ginseng may be the answer to your problem. This herb is commonly used as an energy booster or to improve memory or concentration. Ginseng is a very popular herb and can also be used to treat a variety of health problems.

Types of Ginseng

Ginseng is a herb that has been used in the Asian culture for thousands of years. Americans have also been using it for quite some time - the Native Americans first used it to treat the wounded and exhausted. There are a few different types of ginseng, but only two that are considered to be the truest forms. The other forms are similar in nature to ginseng, like Siberian ginseng, but lack ginsenosides, the active ingredient in real ginseng.

  • Chinese and Korean: The Chinese and Korean varieties are known as Panax Red or Panax ginseng. The only major difference between the Chinese and Korean varieties is the country that it comes from, although Korean ginseng is said to have a warmer effect than Chinese ginseng.
  • American: American ginseng is also known as Panax Quinquefolius. Most of the American ginseng comes from Wisconsin, which is known as the ginseng capital of America. Ginseng is not easily found in the wild these days, so it's now considered to be an endangered plant species. This type of ginseng is said to have a milder effect than its Asian counterpart.


Each type of ginseng is used to treat a plethora of health issues, and each type treats different things, so be sure to use the one that works best for you and your condition.

  • Panax ginseng is best used for building up strength and stamina, concentration, memory and learning ability. It's also used to relieve stress, depression and anxiety and fights against chronic fatigue syndrome, cystic fibrosis, asthma, anemia and diabetes. It's also used to treat certain cancers such as breast, skin and lung cancer, fibromyalgia and the symptoms of menopause. This type of ginseng is also effective in rejuvenating the hormones and vital fluids in the body and is good for people who exhibit low energy, poor memory, lack of a sex drive and cold extremities.
  • American ginseng is a booster of the immune system and improves circulation and digestion. It's used to treat infections such as colds and the flu, HIV and AIDS, and dysentery. It's also used to treat inflammation of the stomach and colon as well as hardening of the arteries, ADHD, erectile dysfunction, blood disorders and nerve pain. Since American ginseng is milder, it's suitable for a wider age range than Panax ginseng.

Although ginseng has been used to treat all of these conditions, there still is a lack of evidence on just how effective ginseng is in treating certain conditions such as cancer. It shouldn't be used as a supplement for medication or other treatments.

Ginseng Side Effects

There can be some side effects to taking ginseng, but they are generally mild. The most common side effects include:

  • Dizziness
  • Insomnia
  • Nervousness
  • Headaches
  • Stomachaches

Women have also been known to develop breast sensitivity and changes to their menstrual cycle while taking ginseng. Since further studies are required on the side effects of ginseng in children and women who pregnant or breastfeeding, they are encouraged not to use it. Ginseng may also interfere with certain medications and some people have been reported as being allergic to it, so consult with a doctor before trying this herb.

If you get permission to take it, be aware that ginseng can be unsafe if you take it long-term. Some researchers believe that it could have hormone-like effects if taken for a prolonged period, so if you do decide to take ginseng, don't take it for any longer than three months.

Using Ginseng

Ginseng isn't found in any natural food sources, but you can find certain foods and drinks that are fortified with ginseng. Generally, it's taken as a 100 or 200-milligram capsule, but it can also be eaten in dried slices and the root can be steeped in tea or soup. The root can also be sliced and added to stir-fry. It is important to find a trusted manufacturer of ginseng to find the most effective form of the herb.

If you're looking for an energy boost, or an alternative means to treat certain health problems, ginseng may be just what you're looking for. It's a natural remedy that can be used to cure all types of illness and infections. The side effects are minimal, and the health benefits can be very rewarding.


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