The gnarly root of the ginseng plant has been used as a medicine in China for over 5,000 years. It is known as an `adaptogen`i.e, it increases the body`s ability to adapt to stress and changing situations.
The root is usually chewed or brewed as tea. It is also available as tablet, capsule and liquid extract.
Ginseng is found only in the Northern Hemisphere. Two of the most common species are the American ginseng and the Asian ginseng or red ginseng, Panax ginseng, Korean ginseng.
Here are some of the benefits of ginseng:
Stress reliever: Ginseng is known to reduce the levels of stress and acts as a stimulant. It also regulates metabolism and increases energy levels.
Anti-aging benefit: Ginseng helps slow the signs of aging as it is a significant source of antioxidants which halt the formation of free radicals and another anti-aging substance called maltol.
Mental stimulant: Ginseng tea helps stimulate brain cells thereby improving concentration, thinking ability and memory.
Aids in erectile dysfunction: Ginseng acts as a potent aphrodisiac and is believe to help those men with erectile dysfunction.
Helps control weight: Ginseng tea is a natural appetite suppressant and helps in fighting obesity.
Blood sugar control: Studies show that ginseng may help diabetics to control blood sugar levels as it creates sugar-lowering effects in fasting and after-meal blood sugar levels.
Menstrual problems: American ginseng tea helps reduce the pain of menstrual cramps.
Precaution: However, like all health supplements, it must be used under medical supervision as it can cause allergy, headaches, gastrointestinal and sleep problems. Pregnant and breastfeeding women and those who are under medication should avoid using ginseng.