Why is ginseng good for you
Panax ginseng: the all-rounder tuber
Panax ginseng: Just the sound of this word makes us think of ancient Chinese monks who are young at heart and who, in a fog-shrouded mountain monastery, brew a tea from the medicinal root with a gentle smile. Yes, ginseng is something like the mother of all medicinal plants - at least in Asia. But the numerous positive effects on health have long been recognized in Europe and in Western medicine.
That's how it all started
It wasn't the Chinese who discovered ginseng as a medicinal plant, but the Koreans. The Chinese, however, already cultivated the small shrub from the Aralia family on a large scale in the Middle Ages and, like the Koreans, integrated it into their traditional medicine. You needed a lot of patience, because ginseng grows very slowly - the medically interesting root of Panax ginseng only about one centimeter per year.
The rule here applies: the older the ginseng root, the more valuable and effective it is. This is why they are only harvested between the fourth and sixth year after sowing ginseng. This is followed by a crop rotation or fallow land for up to 15 years. This elaborate cultivation also certainly led to Panax ginseng being supposedly weighed in gold in the past and the plant reserved only for emperors and kings.
Western medicine also relies on ginseng
But the “human root” - literally translated - has its nimbus as perhaps most famous Asian medicinal plant not only because of the gold legends or the elaborate cultivation. No, there is actually a lot in the slow-growing tuber. After ginseng only received more attention in Europe in the 17th century, western medicine has long recognized its potential and carried out numerous studies. Even if many questions are still open, heard Ginseng is one of the best-researched plants of all.
What is inside?
The most important ingredients in ginseng are called ginsenosides, of which 150 different ones have already been discovered. They improve the general well-being and activate the body's own resistance and regenerative power, even during convalescence. The performance-enhancing effect of ginseng supports both body and mind to cope better with stress. But also the nerve-protecting, immunomodulating, antioxidant and antidiabetic properties make Panax Ginseng an all-rounder. The concentration of these ginsenosides is also decisive for the quality of the medicinal plant.
Studies on Panax ginseng
Numerous promising studies indicate the all-rounder potential of ginseng, as the individual ginsenosides actually have completely different effects in the body. In addition, the ginsenosides differ greatly in concentration and composition depending on the type of ginseng. So points the best studied Asian ginseng (Panax ginseng) In terms of ginsenosides, there are major differences to the American (Panax quinquefolius) and Japanese ginseng (Panax japonicus).
The only medicinal drug used is the ginseng root from Panax ginseng, which must provide a minimum content of ginsenosides. Depending on the type of manufacturing process, a distinction is made between white and red ginseng. If the ginseng is white, it has been dried in the sun. Red ginseng is first treated with steam, which is the reason for its red color, and then dried.
What are the ginsenosides and how do they work?
Ginsenosides belong to the saponins that are secondary plant substancesthat have many health-promoting properties. It is assumed that the ginsenosides are part of the defense mechanism of ginseng, as they have an antimicrobial effect, among other things.
The best data exist on fatigue and stress. In a study at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, stress tolerance was significantly increased by the active ingredients of ginseng, especially in cancer patients who are mentally and physically very stressed. After eight weeks of taking a high-quality ginseng preparation, the patients were simply better off than the comparison group who received a placebo.
Panax ginseng and the brain
The brain in particular seems to benefit from ginseng. Another series of tests found that certain cognitive functions can be improved with ingestion of ginseng. Especially the memory performance, but also the general ability to concentrate and the ability to learn. If you combine ginseng with ginkgo, the effect is even increased. In short, Ginseng can help reduce stress and improve memory. A hopeful outlook that will be supported by further clinical studies in the future. Ginseng contains ginsenosides, which have many health-promoting effects on well-being, and has a strong antioxidant effect.
The immune booster
Studies have shown that the polysaccharides it contains stimulate the immune system. Ginseng can be very helpful, especially in the cold months. In a series of tests in the USA, the likelihood of catching a cold - with regular consumption of ginseng products - decreased by more than half. However, if the test subjects caught a cold, the symptoms only lasted half as long as usual.
Who should take Panax ginseng?
Since Panax ginseng has numerous positive effects on general well-being, it is suitable for everyone who maintains an active lifestyle and wants to live healthy. Anyone who is physically and mentally challenged in their everyday life and wants to increase their stress tolerance is well advised to take ginseng. But even if you are often plagued by colds, ginseng has been proven to be a good prevention option.
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