Asian Ginseng is one of the most widely researched natural supplements. It has been studied in human trials as well as in animal and in vitro experiments. Researchers have reported anti-cancer, anti-asthma, anti-diabetic, cardioprotective, anti-arthritis, anti-depressant, anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidant, anti-stress and other beneficial effects.
The Natural Medicines database reports that Asian ginseng benefits can improve memory, cognitive function, sexual health and more. This supplement is commonly used to improve mood, stress, energy levels and focus. It is also taken as a natural stimulant and to combat signs of aging.
Additional benefits attributed to Asian ginseng include enhanced athletic performance, recovery times for bodybuilders and improved stamina. Many also take Panax ginseng to support the immune system and improve susceptibility to colds, fatigue and other signs of illness.
Some of these uses are based on a long history of traditional use in Chinese medicine and other natural medicine practices. Not all uses have been validated by human research studies.
Asian Ginseng Benefits for Brain Power
One of the most popular reasons for taking Ginseng extract supplements is to boost mental function, memory, concentration and mood. It is often combined with other natural brain supplements for use among the elderly as well as students who want to perform well in school.
Research shows that P. ginseng helps with Alzheimer’s disease. In one 12-week human trial, daily doses between 4.5 and 9 grams improved cognitive performance markers in Alzheimer’s patients.
Some research shows Asian ginseng benefits to certain markers of cognitive function. In middle-aged persons, P. ginseng has improved attention span, reaction times, abstract thinking and mental arithmetic skills. Interestingly, these same effects were not seen in adolescent subjects.
Using Panax ginseng by itself does not seem to significantly improve memory. However, stacking it with ginkgo biloba leaf extract may.
Memory improvements were noted in one human trial involving patients with neurasthenia. Neurasthenia is a poorly-defined condition which is mainly marked by fatigue, irritability, headaches and/or lassitude (lethargy). All subjects in this trial were between the ages of 38 and 66 years.
Asian Ginseng Benefits for Men
Men often take Ginseng to boost sexual performance and as an aphrodisiac. Multiple human trials have reported improvements in sexual function in males with ED (erectile dysfunction). Significant improvements have been noted with daily doses between 1400 and 2700 mg.
Research also shows Asian ginseng benefits for premature ejaculation. Topical application of a multi-ingredient cream containing P. ginseng has improved IELT (intravaginal ejaculation latency time). Besides Asian ginseng, this cream (SS Cream) included clove flowers, angelica root, cinnamon bark, toad venom and certain other herbal supplements.
This supplement may also have benefits for sexual health in women. Korean Red Ginseng, a particular type of Panax ginseng, has increased libidic responses in postmenopausal women. Taking three 1-gram capsules daily caused improvements in sexual arousal and sexual satisfaction when compared to a placebo agent.
Additional Uses for Asian Ginseng
asian ginseng health benefitsAsian ginseng benefits for the fatigue associated with MS (multiple sclerosis) have also been reported. Taking 500 mg each day for three months has improved quality of life and fatigue when compared against a placebo agent.
Oral administration of P. ginseng has improved certain symptoms in patients with stable COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease). When compared to a placebo, P. ginseng caused a 53% improvement of pulmonary function. Quality of life markers were also significantly improved.
One study observed the effects of P. ginseng on female subjects with relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis (RRMS). The ginseng group experienced a 75% decrease in fatigue as compared to the placebo group. Treatment group subjects also experienced a 19.9-point increase in quality of life markers as compared to a 4.2-point increase in placebo group subjects.
Human-based clinical research continues to explore various possible Asian ginseng benefits. Although there is currently insufficient evidence to support all uses, people use P. ginseng for the following:
Immune function, athletic performance, exercise-induced muscle damage;
Concentration, ADHD and depression;
Anxiety and stress;
General fatigue and CFS (chronic fatigue syndrome);
Breast, ovarian, liver, lung and skin cancer;
Multiple sclerosis, cystic fibrosis, chronic bronchitis and swine flu;
Diabetes mellitus, anemia, fever, headaches and hangovers;
Some of the other uses include treating gallstones, bad breath (halitosis), HIV/AIDS, bleeding disorders, poor appetite, fibromyalgia, convulsions, loss of hearing, colitis, vomiting, rheumatism, neuralgia, heart failure, hypertension (high blood pressure), wrinkled skin and the flu.
Asian Ginseng Side Effects
Panax ginseng is known as a rare “Superior” herb in TCM. One of the markers of a Superior herb is that it must work without causing detrimental effects. Asian ginseng use is not associated with any major side effects.
A small percentage of users experience insomnia. Less commonly, users may experience vaginal bleeding, amenorrhea (abnormal menstruation), breast tenderness, changes in blood pressure, loss of appetite, diarrhea, pruritis (itchy skin), mania, headache, vertigo (whirling, loss of balance) and/or hyperpyrexia (high core temperature). Other unlikely adverse effects are also possible.
According to the Natural Medicines database, Asian ginseng is likely safe when used appropriately in the short term. Proper oral administration has caused no side effects for up to 6 months.
Not enough is understood about the long-term effects of ginseng supplements to determine safety of extended use. Prolonged use may cause certain undesirable effects to endocrine function. Continuous use should be limited to six months before cycling off.
Taking Asian ginseng is not recommended for children and infants. Oral use in infants has been associated with intoxication and death in rare cases. Avoid use except for in adults. Do not use if pregnant or nursing.
Talk to your doctor about the safety of using Panax ginseng for health benefits given your current condition and medical history. Always follow the dosing recommendations on supplement labels closely. Stop using P. ginseng at least two weeks before any surgeries to prevent complications.
- Ginseng Information for Consumers
- Ginseng Information for Healthcare Professionals (includes dosage details)
- Side Effects of Ginseng (detailed)
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