Ginseng has traditionally been taken to aid a range of medical conditions. It is claimed that ginsenosides, chemical components found in ginseng, are responsible for the clinical effect of the herb. Ginseng refers to eleven different varieties of a short, slow-growing plant with fleshy roots. Ginseng is believed to restore and enhance wellbeing. It is one of the most popular herbal remedies.
The herbs consist of a light-colored, forked-shaped root, a relatively long stalk, and green leaves with an oval shape. Both American ginseng (Panax quinquefolius, L.) and Asian ginseng (P. Ginseng) are believed to boost energy, lower blood sugar and cholesterol levels, reduce stress, promote relaxation, treat diabetes, and manage sexual dysfunction in men.
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Ginseng plants belong only to the genus Panax. Cultivated species include Panax ginseng (Korean ginseng), Panax notoginseng (South China ginseng), and Panax quinquefolius (American ginseng). Ginseng is found in cooler climates – Korean Peninsula, Northeast China, and Russian Far East, Canada, and the United States, although some species grow in warm regions – South China ginseng being native to Southwest China and Vietnam. Panax vietnamensis (Vietnamese ginseng) is the southernmost Panax species known.
Ginseng seed normally does not germinate until the second spring following the harvest of berries in the fall. They must first be subjected to a long period of storage in a moist medium with a warm/cold treatment, a process known as stratification.
Sharper cognitive function
Treatment of erectile dysfunction
Lowering blood sugar
A 2002 Korean study revealed that 60 percent of men who took ginseng noticed an improvement in their symptoms. Research published in the British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology also claimed to provide “evidence for the effectiveness of red ginseng in the treatment of erectile dysfunction.”
Although ginseng complex has been used in traditional medicine for centuries, modern research is inconclusive about its biological effects Preliminary clinical research indicates possible effects on memory, fatigue, menopause symptoms, and insulin response in people with mild diabetes. Out of 44 studies examined between 2005–2015, 29 showed positive, limited evidence, and 15 showed no effects.
As of 2017, there is insufficient evidence to indicate that ginseng has any health effects. However, ginsenosides, unique phytochemicals of the Panax species, are being studied for their potential biological properties.
Although the roots are used in traditional Chinese medicine, the leaves and stems contain larger quantities of phytochemicals than the roots and are easier to harvest. The constituents include steroid saponins known as ginsenosides, but the effects of these ginseng compounds have not been studied with high-quality clinical research as of 2019, and therefore remain unknown.
True ginseng complex plants belong only to the genus Panax. Several other plants are sometimes referred to as ginseng, but they are from a different genus or even family. Siberian ginseng is in the same family, but not a genus, as true ginseng. The active compounds in Siberian ginseng are eleutherosides, not ginsenosides. Instead of a fleshy root, Siberian ginseng has a woody root.