The first recorded use of ginseng is over two thousand years old in Chinese Medicine. Since that time, ginseng has been used medicinally by every culture and healers around the world. Science today is proving what the Ancient Chinese and other healers have known for millennium; ginseng can help boost energy, reduce stress and increase stamina. It all depends on the variety of the ginseng.
All three types share a common constituent, ginsenosides. These ginsenosides are what give ginseng its distinct properties. The amount of ginsenosides in the ginseng depends on how the plant was cultivated and the age of the root.
Wild ginseng, no matter the variety, is rare and commands the highest prices. Most ginsengs on the market today are cultivated and are priced reasonably. Red Panax ginseng is the most popular form available and most often is packaged as a liquid or tea.
Asian or Oriental ginseng (Panax) comes in two forms, red and white. The colors refer to the type of processing. White ginseng is unprocessed and allowed to dry naturally. Red ginseng is preserved with steam and is believed by many to be more potent.
The health benefits of Panax ginseng include increased energy, better body functions and calm a stressful mind. Research has shown that ginseng can lower blood pressure and appears to help those with diabetes.
American ginseng (Panax quinquefolium) either is found growing wild in the mountainous areas of the United States or is cultivated under shade on ginseng farms. In most locations, a license is required to harvest wild ginseng.
Native Americans have long used American ginseng for dry coughs, constipation and fevers. Many women have found relief from night sweats and hot flashes from the use of American ginseng.
The last variety of ginseng is Siberian ginseng, which is not a true ginseng at all, but does have many of the same properties. Siberian ginseng (eleutherococcus senticocus) as the name implies is grown in Siberia and is the least expensive form of ginseng.
Several Russian studies performed on both production workers and athletes proved that Siberian ginseng increased endurance and stamina. Like its cousins, it is also taken to reduce stress and as a calmative.
Ginseng, no matter the type, has also been purported to help in fighting cancer and aging. As science continues to find uses for ginseng, it is a supplement that the Chinese were correct about many years ago. As a daily tonic, ginseng in the recommended dosage is a safe way to boost energy, vitality and overall health.