Herbfacts

Herb Health: Korean Ginseng

Used for thousands of years to enhance longevity and quality of life, this herb from the East is often referred to as ‘nature’s cure all’.

Medical herbalist Gabriella Clarke introduces Korean Ginseng and explores its many benefits.

Also known as Panax ginseng, this herb is held in high esteem in Traditional Chinese medicine as well as being popular in the West. It should not to be confused with Siberian ginseng, which is a completely different plant.

The rather strange, gnarled-looking root bears a strong resemblance to the human body with two ‘arms’ and ‘legs’ and this is the part that is used in traditional medicine.

Here are a few of its many benefits:

IT ENHANCES PERFORMANCE

Users of Korean ginseng report feeling more alert and better able to concentrate. It also appears to improve memory. It is often taken by athletes to improve strength and endurance and reduce fatigue.

IT IS AN ADAPTOGEN

Korean ginseng is classed by herbalists as an adaptogen who recommend it to help people adapt to physical, mental and emotional change such as starting a new job, moving house and even coping with bereavement.

IT BOOST IMMUNITY

Studies show that ginseng boosts the immune response and reduces the risk of developing viruses and other infections, especially colds and flu.

IT SUPPORTS HEART HEALTH

Some studies show that ginseng may benefit heart health by helping to maintain healthy cholesterol levels in the blood. However, other research indicates that it may raise blood pressure. If you have high blood pressure it is best to check with your GP or herbal practitioner before taking.

IT HAS APHRODISIAC PROPERTIES

Ginseng has been shown to improve sperm production and motility so may help increase fertility in men. An Asian study involving 60 men found that it enhanced sexual performance and helped with erectile dysfunction.

IT HELPS RELIEVE MENOPAUSAL SYMPTOMS

Ginseng appears to improve mood, reduce depression and help create a sense of well being in women going through the menopause.

 WATCHPOINTS

  • Ginseng should not be taken by children or pregnant and breastfeeding women
  • It can interact with certain medications so always seek advice from your GP or medical herbalist before taking
  • Ginseng has many benefits but is a potent herb and should not be taken continuously for any length of time