Panax Ginseng is a plant traditionally used in Chinese herbal medicine. It’s one of 13 plants that belong to the Panax family and its uses are vast. There are clinical studies on at least 43 different uses of Panax Ginseng, ranging from weight management and blood sugar control, to erectile dysfunction and raising testosterone levels.
The Ginseng plant has yellow/red berries, depending on its type, but it is the root that is typically farmed for medicinal use. Most often being ground into a powder for consumption. The active medicinal ingredient in Ginseng is a class of molecules collectively called ‘ginsenosides’. Over 100 different ginsenosides exist and they are unique in their chemical structure to the Ginseng family. The 100+ ginsenosides are broadly categorised into 1 of 4 categories, based on their shape.
It takes 4-6 years for the Ginseng plant to grow, before it is ready to be harvested for medicinal use. After that time frame the level of ginsenosides starts to decline and the plant becomes less potent, for medicinal purposes.
Panax Ginseng is sometimes referred to as Korean Ginseng, True Ginseng, Mountain Ginseng or Asian Ginseng. The English translation of the word ‘Panax’ (Greek) means ‘all-healing’, which probably derives from the vast number of ailments that Ginseng has traditionally been used to treat.
History of Panax Ginseng
Panax Ginseng has been used in traditional Chinese Medicine for several thousand years. It was once very common, but due to its many medicinal benefits it has been heavily farmed and is now very rare in the wild.
Ginseng grows in China and other parts of Asia, including Korea where the most potent and best quality sources of Ginseng are reliably available. The plant is heavily exported throughout the world and is gaining popularity in the West, as we embrace more Eastern traditional medicine and alternative practices.
Ginseng has become rare and is actually now protected, with heavy fines imposed for improper farming. For this reason, it’s value has risen sharply and at one point it was actually more valuable than gold in China.
Forms and Uses of Panax Ginseng
Ginseng is a very versatile plant that can be used in a number of ways. Most commonly the root is ground into a powder, but it can also be consumed as a tea, in capsules, and the leaves, seeds and herbs can be consumed. You can even make a Ginseng drink.
Ginseng is typically consumed in different ways, depending on the purpose for taking it, the amount, potency and type of ginseng that you are using.
Panax Ginseng is a very well studied plant with at least 43 different uses documented in the research. These uses include;
General well being, calmness, sleep quality
Cognition, depression, reaction time, Cognitive decline
Erectile function, testosterone
Blood glucose control (diabetes), insulin sensitivity
Blood pressure, blood flow, cholesterol
Antioxidant profile, DNA damage, endothelial function, oxidation
Inflammation, muscle damage
Colorectal cancer, Overian cancer, Pancreatic cancer