Used in Traditional Chinese Medicine for thousands of years, ginseng contains active compounds that support our health and wellbeing. Discover the benefits of ginseng tea in our latest blog post.
Ginseng is one of the go-to herbs in Traditional Chinese Medicine and has been for thousands of years. Considered something of a cure-all, ginseng is believed to provide vitality and strength to both the healthy and people recovering from illness.
Now, ginseng has become one of the most widespread and popular herbal remedies in the world. People across the globe use it to support their health and promote wellbeing.
In this post, we’ll look closer at ginseng and discuss its benefits for our health.
What Is Ginseng?
There are several different varieties of ginseng but the two that are used most are Asian ginseng (Panax ginseng) and American ginseng (Panax quinquefolium).
Although the name ginseng comes from the Hokkien Chinese name for this plant (jîn-sim), the botanical name Panax comes from Ancient Greek and shares a root with the word panacea – meaning a remedy for all difficulties. It’s a name that reflects the long-standing use of ginseng to treat a wide variety of conditions.
Native to many parts of Asia and North America, ginseng is a slow-growing plant that is capable of living for much longer than most other perennials. It typically grows in mountainous areas and forests.
It is the roots of the ginseng plant that are used in herbal medicine. Usually harvested when the plant reaches five or six years old, the roots can then be prepared in a variety of ways.
What Are the Benefits of Ginseng?
Traditionally, ginseng is used as a strengthening and healing tonic for almost every illness and complaint. Thought to bring a burst of vitality and support the healthy flow of Qi (life force), there are few situations where ginseng can’t lend a helping hand.
Since this herbal remedy is so widely used, there’s been more research into the benefits of ginseng than there has been for many other herbs. And much of this research supports the observations of Traditional Chinese Medicine practitioners over the centuries.
Here are some of the best-known benefits of ginseng:
1. Fights Fatigue
If you struggle with low energy, ginseng might be able to help. Giving strength and vitality is one of the traditional uses of this herb, and it is supported by scientific studies too.
Ginseng is used to boost energy levels and combat fatigue in both healthy people and people suffering from chronic illnesses. We use it in our NutraBoost blend because of these energy-giving properties.
2. Gives Your Brain a Boost
As well as giving your energy levels a helping hand, ginseng might be the herb to reach for when you need an extra jolt of brainpower.
This herbal remedy helps to support cognitive function, including focus and memory. It also helps to reduce mental fatigue, meaning we can continue to concentrate on our work for longer. This is another reason we use ginseng in our NutraBoost blend, which is our tea for energy and focus.
3. Improves Your Mental Health
Taking ginseng may also help to support you if you are struggling with your mental health. It helps to alleviate anxiety and reduce the symptoms of depression and insomnia.
This may be partly down to ginseng’s anti-inflammatory and antioxidative properties, which help to protect our brains against damage and oxidative stress. Ginseng may also help to regulate the neurotransmitters that play a vital role in moderating our mood.
4. Protects Against Inflammation
One of the reasons that ginseng is effective against such a wide range of conditions is that it helps to protect against inflammation and oxidative stress.
Ginseng contains active compounds called ginsenosides. In our bodies, ginsenosides help to deactivate the inflammatory response. In turn, this may reduce the risk of developing chronic inflammation, which is thought to underlie many diseases, including cancer, heart disease, Alzheimer’s, and rheumatoid arthritis.
We like to pair ginseng with other anti-inflammatory herbs, such as ginger. Find them together in our Ginseng & Ginger flagship blend.
5. Increases Cardiovascular Health
Heart disease remains the leading cause of death worldwide, so taking care of our cardiovascular health should be a priority for us all. Fortunately, ginseng may help.
Ginseng helps to protect our cardiovascular health in a variety of ways. As an anti-inflammatory, this herb may reduce our risk of developing blood clots. It also helps to reduce blood pressure in people with hypertension by relaxing the tension in the blood vessels.
6. Supports the Libido
Ginseng’s effect on our blood flow isn’t just good news for our cardiovascular system. In men struggling with erectile dysfunction, ginseng’s ability to increase blood circulation can also make it easier to get and sustain an erection.
Taking ginseng may also help to increase sexual arousal and desire in both men and women. It is one of the libido-boosting ingredients we use to make NutraLust, our premium tea blend for sexual energy.
7. Helps with Blood Sugar Management
In China, ginseng has been used to treat diabetes for thousands of years. It has now been found to be effective in reducing high blood sugar levels and increasing insulin sensitivity. Combined, these lead to better regulation of blood sugar levels.
While most of the studies on blood sugar management with ginseng have focused on people with diabetes, there’s also some evidence to suggest that ginseng can help maintain good blood sugar levels in healthy people too.
8. Helps Your Immune System
By protecting our bodies against inflammation, ginseng has shown itself a useful ally against chronic diseases. However, it may also help to prevent infectious diseases by giving the immune system a boost.
Ginseng helps to strengthen the body’s natural defences against disease by enhancing the activity of many of the different cells that play a role in our immune systems. This helps us to fight off illnesses and stay healthy.
Is Ginseng Safe?
For most people, ginseng is safe and well tolerated, although some people advise against taking it for more than six months at a time.
It’s also best to check with your doctor before taking ginseng if you are taking any medications or have any existing health conditions, in case of interactions.
There’s not enough research to say whether ginseng is safe during pregnancy or breastfeeding, so you might want to avoid it during these times.
As with any herbal remedy, stop taking ginseng if you notice any unwanted side effects. These are rare, and most people can take ginseng without experiencing any issues.
How to Take Ginseng?
You can use both fresh and dried ginseng in cooking – several Asian dishes use it as an ingredient. You can also find ginseng as a tablet, powder, or extract.
However, our favourite way to take ginseng is as a herbal tea. Because it can taste quite bitter, we like to combine it with other herbs – you’ll find ginseng in several of our herbal tea blends*.
Once you’ve selected your preferred tea, simply pop the tea bag in a mug, pour over some freshly boiled water, and let it steep for 4-5 minutes. Then, sit back, relax, and enjoy your tea.
*NB: Just a heads up – the ginseng in our NutraThyroid tea is Siberian ginseng, which is actually a different herb from the one we’ve been looking at in this article. They have the same name because they are thought to bring similar benefits.