Featured in: The Top 10 Brain Supplements
This herbal supplement comes from the root of the Panax ginseng plant, also known as Asian or Korean ginseng. Of its several active ingredients are ginsenosides, also called panaxosides by early Russian researchers (a). There are a few types of ginseng: American ginseng, Siberian ginseng. and Panax ginseng. Panax ginseng is the most researched and studied and also the most available in the market.
Let’s talk about the Top 5 Health Benefits of Panax Ginseng!
- 1 1. Brain Function and Depression
- 2 2. Cancer Treatment? and Prevention
- 3 3. Increased Energy
- 4 4. Infertility and Sexual Arousal
- 5 5. Immune System Booster
- 6 Dosing (from WebMD):
- 7 There are your Top 5 Health Benefits of Panax Ginseng…
1. Brain Function and Depression
This little supplement reportedly improves thinking, concentration, memory and apparently is a natural treatment for Alzheimer’s. Studies have shown that people with Alzheimer’s disease have improved mental performance after taking Panax ginseng for 12 weeks. WebMD also states that taking this supplement might improve abstract thinking, mental arithmetic skills and reaction times in healthy, middle-aged people, but not in young adults. Hm. It is not shown to help memory but combined with ginkgo leaf extract, can improve memory in healthy people between ages 38 and 66.
Related Article: Best Natural Treatments: Depression
Some people take Panax ginseng for help dealing with stress and increased feelings of well-being as it affects many systems in the body. Almost everything I’ve read about it says the same thing. It is often referred to as the well-being medication and some have coined a new term in the supplement world, adaptogens (formerly known as ‘tonics’). Panax ginseng is said to fall in that category.
Panax ginseng is also used for depression and anxiety. It makes sense given what we’ve already talked about.
2. Cancer Treatment? and Prevention
Yes. You read that right. It has been used to treat breast cancer and prevent ovarian cancer, liver cancer, lung cancer, and skin cancer, according to WebMD. Kiefer and Pantuso of American Family Physicians (2003) reported in a study of 4,364 people over the age of 40, the risk of cancer was shown to be lower in those who used ginseng.
Slows cancer growth: It’s not fully documented yet but it appears it might just slow cancer growth and improve the quality of life in cancer patients.
I would not put all my eggs in this basket for cancer treatment but it might be worth discussing with your doctor.
3. Increased Energy
Yes! Who doesn’t want more energy in a natural form? It does show that Panax ginseng reduces feelings of tiredness and improves the quality of life for females with MS. It also may help with cancer-related fatigue. Ancient Chinese medicine has used Panax ginseng as a treatment for weakness and fatigue. Some with chronic fatigue syndrome might benefit from taking this as a supplement.
It is suggested to Not take caffeine at the same time with Panax ginseng as it may cause jitteriness and speed up your heartbeat. Both speed up the nervous system so taking together is not recommended. More is not better.
If you don’t drink coffee or eat or drink caffeinated beverages, this could be a great way to stay alert and get through the day. This is a great option for students as well! Late night studying could be more productive.
I personally take Panax Ginseng sometimes in the afternoon and it helps me to stay energized into the evening, without keeping me awake at bedtime.
4. Infertility and Sexual Arousal
Number 4 in the Top 5 Health Benefits of Panax Ginseng (but not in order of importance) is it seems Panax ginseng is a great treatment for erectile dysfunction. A reader poll on WebMD shows most men who gave a review on this use of Panax ginseng say it improved their sex lives tremendously. It is also shown to help post-menopausal women’s libido and symptoms of menopause.
5. Immune System Booster
It does boost the immune system. Studies have shown it helps improve the efficacy of the flu vaccine and those who took ginseng had a lower incidence of influenza and colds, higher antibody titers (a measure of immunity against a disease) and higher natural killer cell activity. It helps people with chronic bronchitis and cystic fibrosis, a lung disease. People with chronic bronchitis who took Panax ginseng with antibiotics got better faster than those taking antibiotics alone. People with cystic fibrosis are prone to bacterial infections in the lungs and this supplement helps to combat those much better than traditional treatment alone.
The red version of Panax ginseng was studied for the treatment of HIV. It was shown to increase immune function for this diagnosis.
Also mentioned, if you have an auto-immune disease, such as MS, lupus, rheumatoid arthritis (RA) or other auto-immune condition, don’t use Panax ginseng. The immune system is already overactive for this group of people.
Dosing (from WebMD):
For Alzheimer’s disease: 4.5 to 9 grams of Panax ginseng root daily for 12 weeks has been used.
For chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD): 100 mg to 6 grams of Panax ginseng three times daily for up to 3 months has been used.
For mental function: 200 to 400 mg of a specific Panax ginseng extract taken once daily or in two divided doses for up to 12 weeks, or 200 to 960 mg as a single dose, has been used.
For erectile dysfunction: 1400 to 2700 mg of Panax ginseng, taken in two or three divided doses per day for up to 12 weeks, has been used.
For flu: 200 mg of Panax ginseng extract (G115) daily, starting 4 weeks before getting a flu shot and continuing for 8 weeks after, has been used.
Also, 1 gram of Panax ginseng extract three times daily for 12 weeks has also been used.
For multiple sclerosis-related fatigue: 250 mg of Panax ginseng twice daily for 3 months has been used.
For sexual arousal: 3 grams of Korean red ginseng, a form of Panax ginseng, daily for 8 weeks has been used.
There are your Top 5 Health Benefits of Panax Ginseng…
Panax Ginseng is a great addition to your brain function armory. It seems to be more effective and has more benefits the older you are.
A few additional notes:
Panax ginseng reduces blood sugar and might help with pre-diabetes. Those taking insulin should check with their doctor and keep a close eye on their blood sugar.
It also might interfere with blood clotting so don’t use this supplement if you have a bleeding condition, or if you’re taking a blood thinner like Warfarin.
Panax ginseng mimics estrogen so it is suggested to avoid taking it if you have a condition that might be made worse by exposure to estrogen.
It is best not to take this for more than six months at a time. The hormone-like effects could be harmful with long-term use.
As always, check with your doctor if you have any concerns or questions before starting this or any other supplement. Here are a couple of Panax choices you might want to check out.
I hope you found this article helpful! If you have any questions, comments or experience with Panax ginseng, please leave your thoughts below. I’d love to hear from you!
Kiefer, D, M.D., and Pantuso, T BSc. (2003) Panax Ginseng. American Family Physician [online] https://www.aafp.org/afp/2003/1015/p1539.html
Panax Ginseng: Uses, Side Effects, Interactions, Dosing. 2018. https://www.webmd.com/vitamins/ai/ingredientmono-1000/panax-ginsengits