Panax ginseng, the botanical name for what we more commonly call simply ginseng, is a slow-growing perennial plant native to both North America and Eastern Asia. Ginseng has been used for thousands of years for health and medicinal purposes, and in recent years, its benefits have been backed by scientific research. So what makes this little plant so special? Let’s find out.
Physical Characteristics: Ginseng can be found in wooded areas throughout Asia and North America, especially in eastern Canada, and south toward Georgia. Ginseng has a fleshy root that reaches about 3 inches in length. The root is usually a pale, light brown, and tastes of liquorice. The actual plant grows about a foot tall, and stems are topped with five pointed leaves, usually encasing a small mass of red berries.
Etymology: What’s in a name? The translation of the name panax ginseng actually reveals a lot about the plant itself. Panax translates to “all-healing” in Greek, referring to ginseng’s use for medicinal purposes. The word we know as ginseng is derived from rénshēn, a Chinese term combining ren, meaning person, and shen, meaning plant root. Supposedly, this name came about due to the resemblance of the forked roots of the plant to a pair of human legs.
Chemical Compounds: Ginseng contains ginsenosides, a naturally occurring steroid that scientists believe is the active ingredient in many of ginseng’s medicinal uses. Ginsenosides are commonly found in the root of the plant, and are characterized by their pharmacological effects. Chemically, ginsenosides are part of the dammarane family – classified by the shape that the molecules making up the carbon skeleton of the steroid. Ginsenosides are made up of a series of carbons and sugars. These ginsenosides have been found to have antimicrobial and antifungal properties, as well as having a bitter taste to defer animals from consuming the ginseng plant, ensuring the longevity of the root.
Safety: Scientific research has found that ginseng, even in large amounts, has a good safety profile, with low risk of any adverse side effects. In fact, ginseng use has also been shown to be safe in combination with prescribed medications – though it is always best to consult your physician if you have any concerns about how ginseng could affect you.
Uses: Ginseng has been commonly used in traditional medicine for thousands of years. Traditionally in Asia, the root was used to treat stomach ache and vomiting, being boiled in tea or soup. In traditional medicine, it was also used to remedy tuberculosis.
In recent years in Western medicine, ginseng has been used and studied for numerous health effects.
- Studies have shown that ginseng has a positive effect on immune health, and can increase the number of immune cells in the blood which can ward off colds and the flu.
- Ginseng is also an antioxidant, a naturally occurring substance that can slow or prevent the damage of cells. The antioxidants in ginseng have been linked to lowering the symptoms of heart disease, decreasing bad cholesterol, and increasing good cholesterol.
- Many studies have been done to test the effect of ginseng on brain function. Most findings show that ginseng does improve thinking and learning abilities, and can improve performance on mental arithmetic, concentration, and memory.
- Ginseng has been shown to improve all aspects of mental health by regulating serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine in the body. Participants in studies on the effects of ginseng reported having more energy, less anxiety and depression, better sex lives, and improved overall well-being as a result of regular ginseng use.
- Other studies have been conducted in both humans and animals, and found that ginseng can increase sperm count, decrease effects of erectile dysfunction, and increase sex drive.
- In an observational study of 4,600 participants, those who took ginseng had lower risks of developing lung, liver, pancreatic, ovarian, and stomach cancers. Animal studies have suggested that ginseng slows or stops the growth of tumors, and scientists are currently studying this effect in humans.
How You Can Benefit From Ginseng
As you can see, ginseng has many positive effects on my mind, body, and soul. People have suspected this for centuries, but with scientific research to back it up that we at WiseLifeNaturals can confidently and safely use ginseng extract in our products. Ginseng is one of the active ingredients in our AdderPlex™ supplement, as well as many of our other supplements that promote overall, holistic well-being. We only use organic certified panax ginseng to ensure that you are getting the highest quality and most effective supplements available.