Panax Ginseng, also known as Asian Ginseng or Korean Ginseng, is a root with powerful anticoagulant, antitoxic, stimulating, and adaptogenic effects.
Scientists in 2013 searched four English public search engines and found 475 relevant studies on Panax ginseng. These studies explored the effects of ginseng, which included improving physical performance, quality of life, and menopausal symptoms.
Panax ginseng continually shows promising results as a therapy for many health conditions. Below are five powerful effects of ginseng!
Ginseng for heart health
In 2007, researchers analyzed the antithrombotic and antiplatelet activities of ginseng extract in animal models. These activities help prevent arterial thrombosis and other forms of cardiovascular disease. The study found ginseng to prevent carotid arterial thrombosis in rats in a dose-dependent manner. The ginseng specifically inhibited collagen-induced platelet aggregation. These results suggest that ginseng has antithrombotic effects and can benefit individuals who are at high risks of thrombotic and cardiovascular disease.
Individual experiencing depression
A review in 2019 explored the antidepressant mechanisms of Panax ginseng. The herb specifically regulates the function of the HPA axis, a stress pathway between the hypothalamus, pituitary gland, and adrenal gland. Panax ginseng can also upregulate the expression of neurotrophic factors, substances that help control cell growth in the nervous system.
Ideally, we need a balanced stress communication system and related cell growth in our brain. The next step would be to understand the biochemical effects of Panax ginseng for clinical depression therapy in humans.
3. Combats Fatigue
Individual experiencing fatigue
A systematic review in 2018 evaluated ginseng as a therapy for fatigue. People everywhere suffer from chronic fatigue therefore herbal help is crucial. This review included 10 studies and found evidence for ginseng’s efficacy for chronic fatigue.
A systematic review in 2021 explored ginseng’s ability to treat cancer-related fatigue. The review included seven clinical studies and one retrospective study, all of which supported the safety and effectiveness of ginseng for cancer-related fatigue.
For example, one clinical study found Panax ginseng with 7% ginsenosides, given at a dose of 400 mg/day, to relieve cancer related fatigue in the majority of patients. Ginsenosides are the major constituents of ginseng, which provide medicinal value and benefits for biological activity.
Additionally, a prospective study in 2015 provided 300 mg daily of Panax ginseng to 30 patients with cancer-related fatigue. The study showed that Panax ginseng improved appetite, fatigue, and overall quality of life. However, this study was not randomized nor controlled, therefore further research is necessary.
4. A Therapy for Hypertension
A systematic review and meta-anlysis of double-blind, randomized placebo-controlled trials in 2017 provided evidence for ginseng to treat hypertension. The study included nine randomized controlled studies.
Two studies specifically found Korean red ginseng to produce a significant acute reduction in systolic blood pressure and diastolic blood pressure. Five randomized controlled trials found ginseng to produce long-term reductions in blood pressure.
This systemic review showed encouraging evidence for ginseng as a therapy for those with pre-hypertension or hypertension!
Blood pressure cuff
5. Supports Sexual Health
A systemic review in 2016 analyzed ginseng ability to manage menopausal symptoms in women. The review included ten randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trials.
Overall, Korean ginseng was found to improve sexual function and reduce hot flash ratings in menopausal women. However, ginseng did not decrease hot flash frequency.
An earlier placebo-controlled, double blind crossover clinical study in 2010 assessed ginseng for sexual function. Thirty-two menopausal women participated in the study and received ginseng or a placebo before switching to the alternative group after a two-week washout period. The participants rated their sexual function on an index and questionnaire.
The scientists found ginseng to significantly improve sexual function, specifically sexual arousal. The study concluded that oral ginseng has potential as an alternative therapy for sexual health in menopausal women.
And what about safety?
While the above effects are impressive, what about the safety of ginseng? Many pharmaceuticals carry a long list of side effects, so do Chinese herbs carry the same?
A double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled trial across multiple centers in 2018 assessed the safety and tolerability of ginseng in healthy adults. One thousand participants took 2 grams of ginseng or a placebo for 24 weeks. The participants were assessed on potential adverse effects such as headache, diarrhea, and dizziness.
Throughout the testing period, no significant abnormal changes were noted in laboratory data, vitals, and anthropometric findings. Additionally, no significant differences in side effects were found between the two groups.
This study supports the safety and tolerability of daily ginseng intake.