Used in Chinese medicine for centuries, ginseng products have become one of the most common supplements used in modern society and are sought after for a variety of uses. A number of different products are made with ginseng, including capsules, extracts, and dry roots. Choosing the right product depends on how you want to use the ginseng; you should also only choose brands that are known and trusted.
There are two main types of ginseng: Asian ginseng, or Panax ginseng, and American ginseng, Panax quinquefolius. According to herbalists, Asian ginseng improves circulation due to its heating properties. You'll also hear this type of ginseng referred to as Chinese ginseng or Korean ginseng. American ginseng is known for its cooling properties, and is used to treat respiratory issues and for reducing fever.
The root is often used to make ginseng tea. It can also be sliced and added to soups and stews, especially chicken soup. Some people even eat it raw.
Capsules and extracts are a convenient way to consume ginseng, and often provide a more concentrated dosage. Ginseng can even be applied in a topical cream to treat some conditions.
Ginseng products are believed to be beneficial for a number of specific conditions. Ginseng is believed benefit those with heart conditions and is thought to have antioxidant properties that may aid in lowering bad cholesterol levels. It's also believed to lower blood sugar in those with type 2 diabetes. In addition, ginseng products may be good for the overall immune system.
Ginseng has also been linked to the alleviation of several other health issues such as erectile dysfunction, high blood pressure, and lung conditions. Ginseng products are also used to aid mental performance and elevate mood.
Regardless of which kind a person chooses to use, it's always advised to follow manufacturer's dosage instructions or ask an herbalist. It's also wise to look for well-known or trusted brands, as ginseng can be expensive, and some companies may use less in their products to cut costs.
Ginseng products can have side effects, such as nervousness, insomnia, headaches, dizziness or stomach upset. Ginseng may also interact with certain drugs, and its effects can be intensified when combined with caffeine. Those wishing to take any form of ginseng supplements should always consult a health professional.