4 Key Questions Answered About Korean Ginseng

4 Key Questions Answered About Korean Ginseng
August 29 11:29 2017 Print This Article

Owing to the immense popularity of Korean ginseng as a herbal medicine, over 50,000 people work in the ginseng industry globally. Among the many uses of ginseng, this herb is used for people who get fatigue frequently, are stressed, weak, and suffering from repeated flu and colds. Asian/Korean ginseng is classified as an adaptogen, which has the ability to protect the body from mental and physical stress, and helps to restore bodily functions to normalcy (homeostasis). Instead of addressing definite conditions, the herb is employed for treating underlying weakness, which may result in various conditions.

Here I have answered a few of the most important questions about Korean ginseng. Read on to increase your knowledge about this incredible herb:

  1. What are the Uses Of Korean Ginseng?

Asian ginseng, especially Korean red ginseng, the most powerful kind of ginseng, is employed as a general tonic by traditional Chinese medical practitioners and modern Western herbalists. The herb is considered to stimulate gently and strengthen the Central Nervous System in the cases of prolonged emotional stress, weakness caused by injury and disease, physical exertion, and fatigue. In particular, it fights stress on the cellular level, and helps the nervous system from the pituitary glands, to the nerves to the adrenals.

Ginseng is used most widely by the elderly. It has been reported that the herb helps reduce weakness, headaches, and mental confusion, lower down cholesterol levels, improve heart action and blood pressure, and control diabetes among the elderly. The affinity of ginseng for nervous system and its capacity of promoting relaxation makes the herb helpful for conditions related to stress like anxiety and insomnia.

Asian ginseng may be beneficial to serious athletes by improving endurance and stamina. It has also been reported that the Asian species of ginseng is an aphrodisiac and sexual tonic, which helps to maintain sexual desire in old age. It helps in reversing or preventing erectile dysfunction related to stress or prostate diseases. It has been shown in human and animal studies that Korean ginseng possibly lowers down cancer occurrence. Ginseng preparations boost immune cell generation, which may increase immune function.

Korean red ginseng, when certified as grown to 6 years (the full-maturity of a ginseng root), comprises the widest possible complex of healthy ginsenoside saponins, known as panaxosides and ginsenosides. Extensive studies have been conducted on ginsenosides and it was found that they have many complex effects, such as:

  • Stimulating production of bone marrow
  • Stimulating immune system
  • Inhibiting growth of tumor
  • Balancing blood sugar
  • Stabilizing blood pressure
  • Detoxifying the liver

These are some of the key benefits of ginsenosides among a number of other tonic effects.

Many other constituents are contained by ginseng, however, no one constituent was recognized as most active. As a matter of fact, it has been shown that a number of individual constituents have harmonizing actions, requiring the other components to perform functionally.  Ginseng, therefore, is better as a “whole food” or “whole food extract,” and cannot simply be functional by isolating single ginsenosides or standardizing ginsenoside percentage. Claims like “7% standardized ginsenosides” are often meaningless as manufactures add single ginsenosides to the formula.  Rather, it takes nearly 30 kinds of ginsenosides to support all the functions of ginseng, which is why Korean red ginseng is valued most highly (containing the widest variety of ginseng saponins).  Just like all plant medicines, the activity is a result of the sum of all substances.

  1. How is Ginseng Prepared and What is the Dosage?

Because of ginseng’s age-old and widespread use, there are several ways of preparing, ingesting and dosing it. Hence, a single recommendation cannot be made.  However, for daily health boosting, a drink of ginseng tea can help with stress.  For daily support, 100mg-500mg is recommended.  For full medical functionality, 1g per serving maintains all the health functions of ginseng (for example, when running a marathon and requiring stamina, 1g before, 1g in water during, and 1g after can help with stamina, energy, and fatigue).  For a full medical dosage (for health related goals) can go as high as 3-4g per day; this is the dosage Olympic gold medalists are known to take, and professional sports athletes, as well as those wishing to protect memory and alleviate blood flow and stamina issues.

Korean ginseng is dried to be used in teas, made in the form of capsules, extracts and concentrates, tinctured, powdered and drinks, and candies. Ginseng builds up in the system and becomes more powerful and more effective the longer you take it, and if you add it to your routine for 2 weeks, you will typically notice a difference in performance.  However, herbalists mostly recommend taking the herb in on-and-off pattern, in which it is on for several weeks (4 weeks of daily use) and then off (for one week, if you’ve been consuming more than 1-3g per day).

  1. What are the Precautions and Warnings Accompanied with Ginseng Use?

Ginseng has been researched quite well, and there have been no reports of serious toxicity ever. Several of the toxicity symptoms linked with having large doses of products of ginseng (like irritability and sleeplessness) can be traced back to ginseng adulteration with aconite, a toxic herb. It’s important to buy ginseng from quality manufacturers.  The world’s oldest and most well-known brand of ginseng is still the world’s no.1 brand of ginseng to this day (Euromonitor data).  Called, “CheongKwanJang” in Korean, this brand was created under the imperial Korean government in 1899 to separate forgeries from high-quality ginseng to be used as national currency alternatives.  Today the brand has been spun-off to Korea Ginseng Corp, which puts $20M annually into quality control and is highly respected, being gifted to notable figures such as the President of China and the Queen of England as national gifts from the South Korean president.  KGC’s CheongKwanJang product line of ginseng has a global presence, is quite powerful and authentic.

Because of the hormonal activity of ginseng, its use should be avoided during pregnancy. As for hypertension, ginseng use aggravates some hypertension cases, whereas the herb improves other cases. Seek the advice of a naturopathic physician, herbalist, or some other medical practitioner with training in herbal medicine use, when it comes to using ginseng in hypertension.

  1. What are the Side Effects of Ginseng?

The Asian species of the herb i.e., Panax ginseng is considered as a yang tonic by the Chinese. This implies that Asian ginseng/Korean ginseng should not be used by people who have rapid heartbeat, high blood pressure or are on heart medications (if on any medication, consult your doctor).

The probable side effects of using Korean ginseng are rare and generally related to those who have medical pre-conditions and pre-existing illnesses. There is no known overdose limit of ginseng, although continuously taking high dosages (3g/day for more than 4 weeks) can result in reports of jitteriness. If you experience this, reduce your intake or take a break (1 week). A typical functional dose of ginseng is 500mg to 1,000mg (1g)/day as a supplement for general health, energy, stamina and well-being.

If you have pre-existing conditions, or are on medication, seek advice of a naturopathic physician or herbalist who can recommend the right dose for you for medical functionality. The herb’s side effects resolve fast once the herb’s use is discontinued with no long-lasting effects.

In Conclusion

These are the answers to some of the most commonly asked questions about ginseng. This extraordinary herb comes loaded with health benefits. Do you have any other questions about ginseng? Share your questions in the comments section below. I will be happy to answer them!

view more articles

About Article Author

Derrick Lopez
Derrick Lopez

View More Articles