Asian Ginseng Overview:
There are two main types of ginseng, Asian ginseng, and American ginseng. Asian ginseng is considered in traditional Chinese medicine, where the longest recorded use of the plant is awarded, to be warming. This can be translated in Western medicine to have stimulating actions. American ginseng on the other hand is considered to be cooling, which indicates a stimulation of the parasympathetic nervous system over the sympathetic.
Asian ginseng is a popular herb amongst older men in particular, for its ability to improve the most common side effects of age on the human body, especially the male body. Erectile dysfunction, cognitive decline and memory loss, lowered energy levels, weak libido, and cardiovascular dysfunction are all conditions that are both common in older men, and can be improved with ginseng.
Ginseng root takes a long time to grow, and has been almost comletely eliminated from its natural environment by wildcrafters looking to harvest and sell the expensive root. This means that the bulk of ginseng root available has been farmed, which is in itself a lengthy and costly process. The roots must reach an age of at least 4 years before they can be sold, and requires very labour intensive farming practices to shade and harvest the crop. This has kept the price of ginseng root high.
Main Herbal Actions:
- CNS Stimulant (Mild)
- Male tonic
Ginseng is mainly used as an adaptogen to increase energy, regulate blood glucose levels, and improve the ability to respond to and resist stress. It's a popular adjunctive therapy with cancer therapies to increase energy, and alongside metabolic syndrome or diabetes to help with glucose regulation in both type I and type II diabetics.
Ginseng is, and always has been a popular herb for male-specific problems, especially those associated with age. Erectile dysfunction, cognitive decline, low libido, male infertility, and cardiovascular disease are all common uses for ginseng, especially in Asia where the plant originates.
Some of the more modern uses of ginseng revolve around its use as a cognitive performance enhancer. The ginsenosides prevalent in the plant have been well studied for use in nootropic formulas. As a result, we are beginning to see an increase in the use of ginseng for this application.
Asian ginseng originates from the mountainous regions of eastern Asia, including China, Korea, Russia, and Japan.
Follow Us On Social Media
Constituents of Interest
- Ginsenosides (RG1 and RG2)
- Korean Red Ginseng
- Man Root
- Ren Shen (China)
- Ninjin (Japan)
- Insam (Korea)
- Jen Shen (China)
Ginseng is a member of the Araliaceae family of plants, otherwise known as the ivy family. This family comprises some 254 species (some report as much as 700 species), including several well-known medicinal species. Some of the most noteable species includes:
- Oplopanax horridus (Devils club)
- Hedera helix (English ivy)
- Eleutherococcus senticosus (Siberian ginseng)
- Tetrapanax papyferum (Ricepaper plant)
- Aralia nudicaulis (Wild sarsaparilla)
Level Of Research:
Clinical Applications Of Asian Ginseng:
The adaptogenic qualities of ginseng are useful for states of convalescence, and chronic fatigue, but should not be used with those who are already overstimulated, or are in the first or second stages of GAS.
The glucose regulating activities of ginseng make is useful for conditions like metabolic syndrome, and both type I and type II diabetes.
Avoid ginseng with conditions that are already SNS dominant as ginseng is failry stimulating as far as adaptogens go.
Recent Blog Posts:
For a list of references, visit the full Asian ginseng monograph.