6 Powerful Ginseng Benefits to Perk Up Your Brain and Your Sex Life

Ginseng is a little plant that doesn’t look like much, but it produces one of the oldest and most used supplement in the world. With over 11 different variants, it’s included in energy drinks, beauty products, and of course supplements.

The root is the portion harvested for health benefits. The Asian variety was discovered over 5000 years ago in Manchuria, China. A Jesuit priest, who’d heard about it from the Iroquois, brought a North American variety traditionally used in First Nations medicine, to the attention of Europeans in 1719.

It’s become so popular over the years that in North America the wild variant almost became extinct. In the early 1900s, both U.S. and South Korea began commercial cultivation to supply the global demand. So what the craze all about? Let us count the ways…

6 Ginseng Benefits that Benefit Your Life

1. The Benefits of Ginseng Can Vary (i.e. Can Stimulate and Relax)

Wondering about the benefits of Korean ginseng vs American ginseng?

Though nearly identical, there is one big difference between the Asian and the American varieties of ginseng: while Asian ginseng is noted as having a relaxing effect, American ginseng has been observed to be a stimulant.  One promising study showed that American ginseng, though a stimulant for neurotypical people, might be a great natural treatment for people with Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder.

Asian ginseng’s relaxing properties might be due to its being an “adaptogen.” Adaptogens are natural equalizers said to regulate the body’s adrenal system. If there is too much of one thing, adaptogens can lower it. Too little, adaptogens will help bring the levels up.  The theory is that Asian ginseng helps lower the levels of stress hormones, alleviating the physical side effects of stress.

2. Ginseng is the One of the Best Brainy Buddies You Can Find in the Superfood World

Ginseng is chock-a-block with good stuff, but the primary healthful ingredients are thought to be polysaccharides (a type of carbohydrate your body keeps on hand for energy) and ginsenosides (which resemble steroids).

One of the best-known ginseng benefits is its ability to stimulate the mind – by taking a pure form of the root, your ability to think critically and retain information are greatly improved, due to the presence of the ginsenosides. 

So what’s the big deal with ginsenosides? Well, ginsenosides are a powerful anti-oxidant, anti-inflammatory and anti-apoptopic (apoptosis is the programmed death of cells that your body thinks you may not need anymore.) Animal studies show that taking Asian ginseng creates cells in the hippocampus, the bit of the brain responsible for many important things, among which the conversion of short-term memories to long-term memories.

Ginseng also prevents the neurodegeneration, or the death of neurons. There are several kinds of cells in your brain, with glial cells making up the majority of them, but it’s the neurons that transmit signals around the brain and nervous system. The creation and protection of brain cells (including neurons) is assumed to be the foremost reason why Asian ginseng helps you think quicker and retain more. These faculties are also why ginseng is being tested as a possible natural treatment for Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.

No wondering ginseng is best known for its ability to stimulate the mind – both thinking and information retention are improved by taking ginseng. This is probably why it’s included in so many energy drinks (to give your brain a kick at the same time as your body, ‘though in a much healthier, less sugar-dependent way.)

3. Ginseng is a Potent Natural Energy Booster

In recent years, a study from the Mayo Clinic demonstrated that the effect of pure ginseng is so powerful that it helped patients suffering from cancer with their fatigue. Fatigue is a universal symptom of cancer and cancer treatments and the results are staggering. 

Over 340 participants were given either a placebo or pure American ginseng. After eight weeks, patients taking ginseng reported an amazing increase in energy, an average of 20 points more out of a 100-point scale. Now it’s a standard recommendation to all patients undergoing chemotherapy.

4. Ginseng Lowers Blood Sugar and Cholesterol

Along with keeping you sharp as a tack, ginseng helps keep your cholesterol and blood sugar levels on track (rhyming is fun!) Both animal and human studies demonstrated that taking ginseng reduced the blood sugar levels of people suffering from type 2 diabetes.

Strangely enough, though the root is the portion most commonly harvested for medicinal usage, in animal testing it was the ginseng berry that showed stunning results for regulating sugars.

When it comes to your cholesterol, ginseng has also got you covered. In 2012 while a group of Korean scientists were looking into the effects of red ginseng on symptoms of menopause, they discovered something else: those taking three milligrams of the root extract per day saw a dip in their LDL (bad cholesterol)! Since then more studies are underway to determine whether red ginseng can replace cholesterol drugs altogether.

5. Ginseng is an All-Natural Immune Enhancer

Though we may not have a cure for the common cold, ginseng is a pretty good way to ward off the symptoms or avoid it completely. In studies examining the effectiveness of ColdFX™(the sole ingredient of which is North American ginseng extract) scientists discovered that those taking the over-the-counter cold fighter got ill less frequently, and when they did get sick, their symptoms lasted fewer days and were less severe.

6. Ginseng is a Natural Remedy for Erectile Dysfunction

One of the most touted Korean ginseng benefits is its use as an all-natural Viagra. And whereas it won’t produce a pharmaceutically-induced erection for hours, many men take it to experience much of the same benefits. 

And the evidence for ginseng as a natural treatment for ED is not purely anecdotal – a study published in the American Journal of Urology gave 45 men diagnosed with ED either Korean red ginseng or a placebo.

The men receiving the ginseng took 900 milligrams, three times daily for eight weeks and at the end of eight weeks, these men taking Korean red ginseng showed significant improvements in their ED symptoms compared to the placebo group.

Whereas it’s not entirely certain how ginseng improves ED, if we examine the effects of stress and illness on male sexual health, it might just be that ginseng is great at alleviating the underlying causes instead of just one of the symptoms of stress and high cholesterol.

About the Author Jessica

After growing up a perpetually pudgy kid, Jessica discovered real food - and her waistline shortly afterward. When she's not crafting concoctions in the kitchen, she spends her free time writing about food, making her own deodorant, watching sci-fi, doing headstands, and looking for gluten free food that doesn't suck.

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