Ginseng benefits the mind, body and soul in a multitude of ways. Its medicinal use dates back thousands of years, most notably in Ancient China. But it doesn’t matter if you choose Korean Ginseng, Siberian Ginseng or American Ginseng. Each one can offer Ginseng benefits. This is guaranteed.
In this blog, we will answer some of your frequently asked questioned. This includes “what is Ginseng?”, “what is Ginseng good for?”, “what does Ginseng do exactly?” and “are there Ginseng benefits for men?”.
What is Ginseng
Ginseng is a slow-growing perennial plant belonging to the Araliaceae (ivy) family. Its appearance and characteristics differ depending on the type of Ginseng. Broadly, the root of the plant is 2 to 3 inches in length (though, occasionally twice the size) and from ½ to 1 inch in thickness. This root, regardless of the type, is the ingredient used in the making of Ginseng Tea.
Some say that the word “Ginseng” means “the wonder of the world”. Here at The Kent and Sussex Tea and Coffee Company, we certainly agree, especially when it comes to Ginseng benefits. Best of all, we’re not the only ones, by far, to note these Ginseng benefits.
The first reference to Ginseng benefits, in fact, came from Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), which dates back over 5,000 years. Historians suggest that during this time, in the mountains of Manchuria, China, the people consumed Ginseng as a food rather than a Tea. However, they did, indeed, eat it for its medicinal qualities nonetheless.
By the third century CE, the Chinese had begun an international trade in the root, which among other benefits, led to Korea trading its silk and medicine in exchange for wild Ginseng. This, in part, led to the popularisation of Ginseng in not just Korea, but around the world.
Types of Ginseng
Over the course of millennia, knowing the difference between “real” Ginseng and “false” Ginseng has become increasingly difficult. At times, even the internet isn’t sure (who would have thought, huh?!).
Some may even read this not realising there was such a thing as a “false” Ginseng. Indeed there is, so let’s clear this up once and for all.
The confusion arises predominantly from a few distant cousins of Ginseng. In reality, there are two main (emphasis on “main”) types of Ginseng: American Ginseng (Panax quinquefolius) and Asian Ginseng (Panax ginseng).
Both ‘main’ types belong to the Panax genus of the Araliaceae family, which is usually the easiest way to determine whether one is consuming “real” Ginseng or not. Another, slightly more obscure way is to note that only herbs of the Panax genus contain ginsenosides, an active component touted for Ginseng benefits.
Let’s now return to Ginseng’s distant cousins. Most famously, there is Siberian Ginseng (Eleutherococcus senticosus). However, this is just one example, one described as honorary Ginseng despite only being distantly related to American and Asian Ginseng.
Indeed, there are other examples of plants called Ginseng, but none of these belong to the Panax genus, similar to Siberian Ginseng. Some, on the other hand, don’t even belong to the same family!
It’s sort of like having that ‘Aunty’ Margaret around for a family gathering - except she is the only one there who calls herself an aunt, and in reality, isn’t!
Now, let’s look at the two main “real” Ginsengs, as well as Siberian Ginseng, in more detail:
As the name suggests, this herb comes from Asia. It goes by many names including Korean Ginseng and Chinese Ginseng. This type, over any other type, has a close association with Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) for obvious reasons.
When it comes to American Ginseng vs Korean Ginseng, size matters. This is because the Asian variety is larger than the American variety. The simple and erect stem can reach heights of up to a foot (0.3 metres). It bears three leaves, each divided into five finely-toothed leaflets and a single, terminal umbel with a few small, yellowish flowers. Additionally, it produces a fruit that is a cluster of bright red berries.
Most important, however, is the root of the plant. Again, this is bigger than the American Ginseng root. In China, the root goes by the name “Jin-chen”, meaning “like a man”. This is a reference to the root’s supposed resemblance to the human body.
This plant grows in wooded areas throughout eastern and central North America. In particular, it is common in the Canadian provinces of Quebec and Ontario, as well as the southern US state of Georgia.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, Traditional Chinese Medicine seldom uses American Ginseng in its practice. Numerous Native American tribes, however, have long reaped Ginseng health benefits.
The Native Americans often called American Ginseng “garantoquen”. The meaning of this is bewilderingly similar to descriptions of Asian Ginseng. Indeed, when translated, it means “like a man” owing to its man-like shape.
Despite being smaller than the Asian variety, the overall botanical features of American Ginseng are relatively similar. For successful cultivation in North America, one should use loose, fertile soil, with a heavy mulch of leaves and around 80% shade.
Somewhere between close family and that so-called Aunty Margaret, we have Siberian Ginseng. It is a distant relative of Panax ginseng and Panax quinquefolius. But while related, Siberian Ginseng does not contain ginsenosides.
It does, however, contain an abundance of eleutherosides, which can offer their own Ginseng benefits.
Botanically, there are also notable differences between this herb and those belonging to the Panax genus. It is a deciduous, hardy shrub growing to heights of up to 3 metres (10 feet).
On each stem, there are 3 to 6 toothed leaflets. Similar to its “real” counterparts, on the other hand, many apply Siberian Ginseng benefits to their daily lives.
Would it come as a surprise to hear that Ginseng benefits differ depending on the type of Ginseng? Probably not. So, let’s beginning with Korean Ginseng Tea. In particular, let’s start by looking at its historical significance as part of Traditional Chinese Medicine.
TCM is a system of wellness and medical practice based on the holistic view of the human body operating within the energy of nature. Many historians believe that it is the third oldest medical practice in the world.
TCM relies heavily on herbal remedies for improving wellbeing. This, of course, includes Ginseng. According to TCM, Korean Ginseng can strengthen one’s original “Qi” - the vital energy of the body capable of animating our being. Some TCM practitioners may use American Ginseng or even Siberian Ginseng for stimulating one’s Qi, although this remains uncommon.
Do you prefer to keep your mind in the world of modern scientific science? That’s fine, too, because all types of Ginseng can support healthy living. But please don’t just take our word for it; the evidence speaks for itself!
Ginseng Tea Antioxidants
All types of Ginseng Tea contain antioxidants capable of combating free radicals in the body. Free radicals are the product of natural, though harmful, human oxidation. When left unchecked, they can wreak havoc on the body, increasing the risks of developing numerous chronic conditions. This includes cardiovascular disease, type-2 diabetes and even cancer.
The frequent consumption of any Ginseng Tea, meanwhile, can neutralise these free radicals. This, in turn, reduces the risks of developing the conditions mentioned above. Ginseng Tea likewise contains many vitamins and minerals, all of which can promote healthy living in their own right.
One component worth mentioning again is ginsenosides. According to new research, ginsenosides can offer outstanding Anti-Inflammatory Properties by suppressing the production of proinflammatory cytokines and regulating the activities of inflammatory signalling pathways.
Ginseng Tea and Brain Function
A UK-based study conducted by the Brain Performance and Nutrition Research Centre found correlations between drinking Ginseng Tea and improved brain function.
The research indicated that 200 milligrams of Ginseng consumed daily for eight days slowed the fall in mood of all thirty participants involved in the study.
The best results of the study, however, came from upping the dosage from 200 to 400 milligrams daily. This saw an improvement in calmness and mental arithmetic capabilities for the duration of the eight-day treatment.
Ginseng Tea and Sexual Health
No, we’re not joking. Ginseng benefits sexual vitality in many ways, particularly in men. Indeed, many men of a certain age experience erectile dysfunction, a condition characterised by an inability to get or maintain an erection.
Asian Ginseng root, in particular, can treat impotence. This is according to a 2002 study published in the Journal of Urology. It saw 45 male participants with clinically diagnosed erectile dysfunction split into two groups.
The first group consuming Korean Ginseng and the second group consuming a placebo. The Ginseng group took 900 milligrams of the herb three times a day for eight weeks, with the results indicating that Ginseng Improved Erectile Dysfunction Symptoms compared with the placebo group.
Ginseng Tea and the Immune System
All types of Ginseng Tea can ward off minor colds and the flu. This is because each one contains high concentrations of Vitamin C, including Siberian Ginseng.
During the 1950s, Soviet scientists researched the Eleutherococcus senticosus plant extensively. However, only limited research projects have taken place since the dissolution of the USSR in 1991.
What we know for sure, however, is that this remarkable herb, along with its distant relatives, can indeed support the immune system.
Ginseng Tea and Cancer
We’re not yet prepared to endorse this Tea, or any Tea, for the treatment of Cancer. However, the preliminary research when it comes to Ginseng Tea benefits for cancer looks promising.
Because of this research, there is a possibility that Ginseng Tea could reduce the risks of developing certain types of cancer.
Research includes testing Ginseng as a chemopreventive, as well as an agent to improve one’s quality of life among patients with cancer.
A study of 905 cancer cases in South Korea suggested that frequent Ginseng consumption could correlate with reduced cancer incidence.
Ginseng Tea and Energy Levels
American, Korean and Siberian Ginseng are all entirely caffeine-free. This may baffle many readers wondering how these herbs can supposedly support one’s energy levels. Nevertheless, they can under a few circumstances.
Fatigue and poor sleep are common symptoms experienced by those who have fibromyalgia, for example. In one recent randomised, double-blind, controlled clinical trial, researchers compared Ginseng to both placebo and amitriptyline, the most commonly used drug (an antidepressant) for fibromyalgia.
The study saw 39 female participants with fibromyalgia, aged between 27 and 58, consume either 100 milligrams of Asian Ginseng; 25 milligrams of amitriptyline; or a placebo per day.
The herb underwent standardisation so that it contained precisely 27% ginsenosides every time. By the third week of treatment, Ginseng benefits included improvement in fatigue by 25.9%. By the twelfth week, fatigue had reduced by 46.5% while sleep quality improved by 44.3%.
Ginseng Tea Weight Loss
Providing one exercises frequently and eats healthily, American Ginseng stimulates weight loss by boosting the metabolic rate of the body.
Particularly when it comes to metabolising carbohydrates. A boosted metabolism enables the body to burn fat quicker and more efficiently. In turn, periods of exercise produce greater results.
Additionally, American Ginseng, as well as almost all types of Ginseng, can act as an appetite suppressant, thus helping your portion control. These elements combined could mean you’re “beach ready” in no time at all.
Ginseng Side Effects
It’s worth noting that, in extremely rare cases, the ginsenosides found in American and Chinese Ginseng could have an effect on one’s hormones when consumed for extended periods. Far less common side effects include, but are not limited to:
- Increased heart rate
- High or low blood pressure
- Loss of appetite
If you have any concerns, then The Kent and Sussex Tea and Coffee Company will always recommend a medical consultation with a doctor or another health professional before consuming Ginseng Tea.
Where can I buy Ginseng Tea
We think it’s time we talked about our Teas, don’t you? You’ve discovered the history; you’ve uncovered Ginseng Benefits; you even know the difference between each type, and what each one can offer as an individual entity.
All of these fantastic qualities and more are waiting to be experienced first hand when one chooses a Ginseng Tea.
Red Ginseng Tea
The term “Red Ginseng” is yet another way to describe Asian Ginseng. To this, we add only the finest quality Sencha Green Tea leaves for a blend like no other. I
t is a sweet, earthy infusion with almost citrusy undertones. Notably fresh and unmistakably flavoursome, Red Ginseng Tea is a delight to the senses.
Ginseng Root Herbal Tea
For those who prefer the less conventional, we have our Ginseng Root Herbal Tea, which is made from the root of the Eleutherococcus senticosus plant. The defined earthiness of Ginseng Herbal Tea evokes images of country walks in the rain.
It is fresh, grassy and ever so slightly sweet. Best of all, this Tea offers a smooth and refreshing aftertaste that lingers on the palate long after one has drained their cup.
Ginseng Oolong Tea
If Green Tea is too grassy and Black Tea is too malty, then Oolong Tea is the perfect middleground. Better still, our Ginseng Oolong Tea offers all the benefits of Oolong Tea as well as Ginseng benefits.
Aside from being a semi-fermented Tea, Ginseng Oolong Tea has liquorice root added during the processing of the leaf, which adds a distinct sweetness to the brew. Furthermore, this beverage boasts usual earthy notes with unusually minty afternotes.
This beverage is our Black Tea version of Ginseng. It is arguably the most popular, too. From the very first sip, this Chinese Black Tea offers a wonderfully malty-earthy fusion of flavour with delectable floral overtones and a slightly tart aftertaste.
As well as being scrumptious, Ginseng Tea is likewise offers the well-documented Ginseng benefits of Black Tea, making it all the more desirable!
Korean Ginseng Tea
This is another Herbal Tea, but one made using “real” Asian Ginseng root.
We would recommend Korean Ginseng Tea to anyone looking to follow the practice of Traditional Chinese Medicine.
Expect fresh, grassy and ever-so-slightly sweet notes from the very first sip. Following this, note the balancing of one’s Qi!