Imagine discovering a remarkable herb capable of addressing fatigue, reducing stress, enhancing energy levels, and rejuvenating your skin. Exciting, right? Well, let us introduce you to this extraordinary herb – Ginseng. Despite its widespread recognition, many have yet to explore the myriad benefits it offers.
Ginseng has permeated various women’s health, wellness, beauty, and fitness industries. Renowned for its time-tested efficacy, this herb is enriched with antioxidants that assist the body in adapting to stressors, making Ginseng a globally sought-after adaptogen.
While you may have heard others praise Ginseng, it’s time to delve into its potential for yourself. If you haven’t explored the wonders of this medicinal herb, now is the perfect opportunity. So, please continue reading to enlighten yourself about Ginseng and uncover its 15 fantastic health benefits for women. Discover the transformative power of Ginseng and unlock a new dimension of well-being.
What is Ginseng?
Ginseng, a perennial plant cultivated extensively in various regions of Asia and America, falls under the genus Panax. This slow-growing plant exhibits diverse variants primarily influenced by its geographical origin. Notable among these are American Ginseng, Siberian Ginseng, and Korean Ginseng. The heart of Ginseng lies in its root and rhizome, with Panax ginseng C. A. Meyer being one of the predominant species. Beyond its botanical distinctions, Ginseng encompasses many variations contributing to its multifaceted applications and benefits.
The name ginseng is derived from the Chinese word rénshēn, in which rén translates to ‘human being’ and shén means ‘plant root’. Ginseng owes its name to its peculiar shape and forked roots that resemble the human figure. You might mistake ginseng for ginger if you find it in a grocery store. While both look similar, their benefits are entirely different.
There are 13 species of Ginseng, each differing in the percentage of active compounds and their benefits. For example, American Ginseng is Panax quinquefolius, while Korean Ginseng is Panax Ginseng. These popular varieties are believed to relax the nerves, control diabetes, and reduce stress in women.
Why is Ginseng worth trying?
Our busy lifestyle has caused us to overlook our health issues. Many physical and psychological health issues are often found to be linked to stress (1). Experts believe that controlled stress can positively change the mind and body. Adaptogens like ginseng help in managing the effects of stress on the body.
Ginseng has been a part of Chinese and Ayurvedic medicinal formulations for centuries. In addition, Ginseng has been used by Native American tribes for many years and is called the ‘grandfather of medicine’ by some. Ginseng has become a rising star in the world of herbs because of its nutritional value and adaptogenic properties. A study also proved the benefits of Ginseng for the central nervous system (2).
Nutritional benefits of Ginseng
Ginseng is a treasure trove of bioactive compounds, offering distinct benefits for women’s well-being. Focusing on Panax ginseng, the most widely recognized variant, let’s delve into some of its vital nutritional components:
1. Ginsenosides: Triterpene glycosides are known for their anti-aging, antioxidant, and anti-inflammatory properties. Notably, a study has affirmed the positive impact of ginsenosides on Alzheimer’s disease (3).
2. Gintonin: A glycolipoprotein containing lysophosphatidic acids. Research has linked gintonin to enhanced gene expression of LPA receptors, particularly in conditions resembling cancer in mice (4).
3. Polysaccharides: Biological polymers crucial for cellular structure. Recent studies have indicated that polysaccharides derived from Ginseng play a regulatory role in modulating the immune system’s inflammatory response, particularly in diseases affecting the nervous system (5).
Understanding the diverse array of bioactive compounds within Panax ginseng provides a comprehensive view of its potential contributions to women’s health. These components showcase antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties and offer promising avenues for addressing specific health concerns, making Ginseng a valuable addition to women’s wellness routines.
Types of Ginseng-based Products
Ginseng is used in many forms, including fresh, dried, boiled, and dried. Based on this, there are two main types of Ginseng available globally:
White ginseng – sun-dried ginseng
Red Ginseng – Ginseng boiled at 100-110° for 2 to 3 hours
The main difference between fresh, white, and red types of Korean Ginseng is that the fresh ones are harvested within four years, the white ones between four to six years, and the red ones only after six years. A study comparing red and white Ginseng showed positive results in induced asthma in mice (7), thus indicating their anti-inflammatory benefits for human beings.
Based on this study and several others, brands all over the world have begun manufacturing a variety of ginseng-based products. The most common are ginseng tea blends that help boost immunity and relax the nerves. Another popular ginseng-based product is ginseng powder.
Ginseng is available as tonics and tablets for different purposes like appetite enhancers, energy boosters, and supplementary capsules. They come in varying concentrations and are best consumed based on the prescription of an experienced medical practitioner.
Ginseng has also made it to the skincare industry, especially in Korea. Many Korean skincare brands manufacture ginseng-based beauty products like anti-aging creams, moisturizers, and face masks. You will also find Ginseng in soft drinks and even chewing gum.
15 Health Benefits of Ginseng for Women
1. Prevents cancer
Ginseng may help in preventing cancer development in women. Several studies suggest Ginseng can decrease cell growth due to its anti-cancer proliferation abilities (8). In addition, a case-control study proved the possibility of Ginseng to help prevent the occurrence of many human cancers (9).
2. Lowers blood sugar
Diabetes is a prevalent health concern among women, and Ginseng has emerged as a tried-and-true remedy for this condition. Both Korean and American Ginseng have demonstrated efficacy in regulating blood glucose levels. Traditional Chinese medicine practitioners often recommend Ginseng for individuals with type 2 diabetes. A study focusing on patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus revealed that ginseng supplementation significantly enhanced glucose control and insulin sensitivity. (10).
3. Relieves menopausal symptoms
Women in the premenopausal and post-menopausal stages often experience mood swings, insomnia, decreases in sexual arousal, etc. Ginseng may help with such symptoms and improve them over time. A review of existing evidence proved that Korean red Ginseng has positive effects on helping menopausal women with hot flashes (11).
4. Improves sexual health
For a good reason, Ginseng has a famous nickname, ‘ King of Herbs.’ For centuries, Ginseng has been tried, tested, and trusted for its aphrodisiac benefits. A study concluded that red Ginseng could improve sexual function in premenopausal women (12). Women facing fertility issues may also benefit from Ginseng. Ginseng has been integral to fertility treatments in China, Ayurvedic and ancient tribal medicines in America.
5. Increases energy levels
Tea blends of Ginseng are energy boosters for those suffering from fatigue and stress. There have been many reports from around the world of women feeling less lethargic with regular consumption of Ginseng. In one study, the antifatigue effects of Ginseng were experimented with and proven helpful in patients suffering from idiopathic chronic fatigue (13).
6. Fights inflammation
One of the well-known effects of Ginseng is its ability to fight inflammation. Inflammation in women can occur due to several ailments like autoimmune diseases and infections. Therefore, the effect of Korean red Ginseng was investigated in a study. It concluded the benefits of Ginseng as an immunosuppressive agent in people suffering from atopic dermatitis (14).
7. Reduces stress
The adaptogenic ability of Ginseng makes it an effective treatment for anxiety in women. Ginseng may help alleviate women’s stress levels–physical and psychological. A study concluded that red Ginseng might positively affect oxidative stress by increasing antioxidant enzyme activity in post-menopausal women (15).
8. Boosts immunity
Traditionally, Ginseng is prescribed for those who have a compromised or weak immune system. Many pieces of literature have described Ginseng’s role in maintaining the immune system’s homeostasis. A study found the possibility of Korean red Ginseng to improve immunomodulation in colorectal cancer patients (16).
9. Improves memory
Ginseng is known for its ability to boost concentration and learning. In addition, it may provide a short-term boost to memory, as suggested by some studies. For example, in one study, fermented ginseng extract enhanced behavioral memory in patients with Alzheimer’s disease (17).
10. Fights microbial infections
As the human body ages, the ability to fight microbial infections reduces. This calls for a boost in immunity and the assured synthesis of healthy immune cells like T cells, B cells, macrophages, natural killer cells, etc. One study confirmed the anti-microbial activity of Ginseng’s polysaccharides on various microbes (18).
11. Combats flu
When consumed as a supplement, Ginseng may help combat the flu. Numerous studies have linked Ginseng to the prevention of flu. While this seems promising, one must be careful with oral consumption of Ginseng as it can only be used as a supplement and not as a daily dietary element.
12. Treatment of PCOS
Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) is a prevalent disorder affecting women worldwide, often overlooked despite its association with symptoms such as irregular periods, excess hair growth, and weight gain. Statistics suggest that approximately 1 in 10 women grapple with PCOS.
Ongoing research explores the potential benefits of Ginseng for women dealing with PCOS. A noteworthy study demonstrated a positive link between Korean red ginseng extract and treating polycystic ovaries in rats (19). Although further investigation is needed to ascertain its effects on women, the initial findings appear promising. Ginseng’s potential role in managing PCOS warrants deeper exploration, offering hope for improved outcomes in the future.
13. Normalizes hormonal balance
Women suffer from numerous disorders because of hormonal imbalances. It affects young girls, premenopausal women, and post-menopausal women. The ginsenosides in Ginseng have been researched to show estrogen-like activity in several studies. In one study, significant estrogenic activity was found in ovariectomized mice treated with ginseng doses of varying concentrations (20). However, the benefit of the same is yet to be researched and proven in women.
14. Anti-aging effects
Aging skin is prone to the degradation of collagen fibers, which is why conditions like fine lines, wrinkles, etc. Ginseng has been associated with a prolonged lifespan historically. Research has proven the use of Ginseng in inducing the production of collagen (21). In one study, a mixture of medicinal plants, including Ginseng, had shown a reduction in the loss of skin moisture, which is known to be one of the causes of skin aging (22).
15. Improving bone health
Aging in women is often associated with poor bone health due to the reduced estrogen levels in the body. There is a direct relation between estrogen levels and cardiovascular diseases, stroke, and osteoporosis in women. Ginseng has been shown to improve estrogen levels and may help improve bone health in aging women. In addition, in vitro and in vivo studies suggest that ginsenosides in Ginseng can help treat osteoporosis (23).
Side Effects of Ginseng
Ginseng is generally considered safe for consumption, but its pharmacological effects must be felt like any other medication. Therefore, sticking to a recommended dose and not overdoing treatments with Ginseng is essential. It can work as a supplement, but its role in daily diet is being investigated.
Although there are not many studies with substantial proof of the potential side effects of Ginseng, there are reports of it causing symptoms like insomnia and dizziness (24). In addition, prolonged use of Ginseng is found to cause ginseng abuse syndrome, but this has not been backed up by any severe studies (25).
The slow-growing plant ginseng has been used in Chinese medicine for centuries. Available in 13 species, ginseng is popularly found as American and Asian (Korean) ginseng. Historically, ginseng is believed to prolong life, boost energy levels, and treat several ailments. Research on the effects of ginseng in the human body is still going on, but numerous proofs indicate the benefits of ginseng. The roots of ginseng contain bioactive compounds that have found interest in the minds of several researchers. Some of these compounds are known to treat stress, autoimmune diseases, and much more. With the rising interest in adaptogens around the globe, ginseng has made it to the list of proven adaptogens and is now being consumed worldwide to cure many health issues.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
How long does it take to experience the benefits of Ginseng?
As stated earlier, research on Ginseng’s benefits is still being processed. Based on health concerns, Ginseng may take months to affect the human body visibly. However, a study revealed that if consumed at 200mg daily, Ginseng will take around four weeks to improve mood changes and cognition (26).
What is the best time to consume Ginseng?
It is recommended to consume Ginseng before meals. For beginners, we advise starting with lower doses of Ginseng. Search for products with a concertation of 2-3% total ginsenosides (27). Ginseng can also be consumed raw, but this requires the advice of a practicing medical professional.
For whom will you recommend Ginseng?
Ginseng is recommended for those with common diseases like diabetes, age-related disorders, etc. However, advice from a practicing medical professional is needed. Typically, Ginseng is recommended for seniors, people undergoing constant stress, post-surgery recovery, and prevention of diseases.
- “The impact of stress on body function: A review” – ncbi.nlm.nih.gov
- “A Role of Ginseng and Its Constituents in the Treatment of Central Nervous System Disorders” – hindawi.com
- “Panax ginseng components and the pathogenesis of Alzheimer’s disease” – spandidos-publications.com
- “Effects of Gintonin-enriched fraction on the gene expression of six lysophosphatidic receptor subtypes” – sciencedirect.com
- “Ginseng polysaccharides: A potential neuroprotective agent” – sciencedirect.com
- “The Difference between White and Red Ginseng: Variations in Ginsenosides and Immunomodulation” – researchgate.net
- “Comparative study of Korean White Ginseng and Korean Red Ginseng on efficacies of OVA-induced asthma model in mice” – ncbi.nlm.nih.gov
- “Is ginseng safe for women to take?” – wellbeing.com.au
- “Preventive effect of ginseng intake against various human cancers: a case-control study on 1987 pairs” – pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov
- “The Efficacy of Ginseng-Related Therapies in Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus” – ncbi.nlm.nih.gov
- “Ginseng for managing menopausal woman’s health” – journals.lww.com
- “The Effect of Korean Red Ginseng on Sexual Function in Premenopausal Women: Placebo-Controlled, Double-Blind, Crossover Clinical Trial” – ncbi.nlm.nih.gov
- “Antifatigue effects of Panax ginseng C.A. Meyer: a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial” – pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov
- “Anti-inflammatory and Antioxidative Effects of Korean Red Ginseng Extract in Human Keratinocytes” – pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov
- “Antioxidative effects of Korean red ginseng in post-menopausal women: a double-blind randomized controlled trial” – ncbi.nlm.nih.gov
- “Prospective Study for Korean Red Ginseng Extract as an Immune Modulator following a Curative Surgery in Patients with Advanced Colon Cancer” – researchgate.net
- “Effects of fermented ginseng on memory impairment and β-amyloid reduction in Alzheimer’s disease experimental models” – ncbi.nlm.nih.gov
- “Ginseng, the ‘Immunity Boost’: The Effects of Panax Ginseng on Immune System” – ncbi.nlm.nih.gov
- “Therapeutic Effect of Korean Red Ginseng Extract on Infertility Caused by Polycystic Ovaries” – ncbi.nlm.nih.gov
- “Treatment with Panax Ginseng Antagonizes the Estrogen Decline in Ovariectomized Mice” – ncbi.nlm.nih.gov
- “Effect of red ginseng NaturalGEL on skin aging” – sciencedirect.com
- “Ginseng saponins and the treatment of osteoporosis: mini literature review” – ncbi.nlm.nih.gov
- “Korean Ginseng” – webmd.com
- “Ginseng” – webmd.com
- “Ginseng” – sciencedirect.com
- “Effects of Panax Ginseng on Quality of Life” – sagepub.com
- “7 Proven Health Benefits of Ginseng” – healthline.com