Goodness Of Ginseng

Words: Team THINKWELLNESS360

Ginseng is one of the most widely recognised and used plants in traditional medicine. There are several forms of the herb; they have been used in medicine for over 5,000 years. In other words, there are as many species of ginseng as there are uses.

The herb is cultivated all around the world, though some of the forms are preferred to others, given the nature of the habitat and the country where they are used. Each variety is also thought by users to be better than other forms for its specific benefits, although the herb, whatever the form, is universally acknowledged to be a strong, effective general rejuvenator.

Ginseng is popularly referred by the name panax. The word originates from the Greek word, panacea, which means, ‘universal cure.’  In certain communities, ginseng is generously used as an adaptogen. An adaptogen is said to be an all-encompassing herb — one that normalises physical functioning, in tune with an individual’s specific needs — with dual effects. In ginseng’s case, the herb has the potential to lower high blood pressure and also just as much raise it in people who have high blood pressure. It, therefore, needs to be used, if at all, in high blood pressure patients, with caution.

Ginseng is traditionally used to reduce the bad effects of stress, improve sexual performance, boost energy levels, memory, and stimulate the immune system. The Chinese believe that ginseng ought to be a fundamental remedy in all basic prescriptions. The ancient Chinese regarded ginseng as not only a great preventative, but also a curative, remedy for a plethora of illnesses — including mental and bodily fatigue, cure lung complaints, ‘melt’ tumours, and delay the effects of aging.

Ginseng Effect 

Ginseng contains vitamins A, B-6 and zinc. It helps in the production of thymic hormones, which are essential for the functioning of our body’s defence mechanism. Ginseng envelops 25 saponin triterpenoid glycosides — ‘ginsenosides.’ These possess steroid-like activity. They also provide adaptogenic properties to the herb and help balance and offset the effects of stress. Research suggests that glycosides act on the adrenal glands. This, they concur, may help prevent adrenal hypertrophy and excess corticosteroid production caused due to physical, chemical, or biological stress, to which we are all so much subject to today.

Uses 

Research suggests that ginseng helps to increase protein synthesis and activity of neurotransmitters in the brain. This is said to be one of the key factors in the herb that aids us to perk up memory, improve concentration and cognitive abilities, especially when there is inadequate blood supply to the brain. Besides this, ginseng helps to maintain our bodily systems at their optimal level, promote detox, increase energy and stamina, and help ward off viral infections, aside from the bad effects of environmental toxins.

Research has shown, no less, ginseng’s ability to calm the central nervous system, and improve liver, lung and circulatory functions. Research has also shown that ginseng extracts stimulate the production of interferons, improve cell activity in the wake of infections, and reduce ‘bad’ [LDL] cholesterol and triglyceride levels. Interferons are a class of small protein and glycoprotein cytokines produced by our defence system — T-cells, fibroblasts, and other cells — in response to viral infection and other biological and synthetic stimuli.

More famously, ginseng is a popular male remedy. Men have used the herb to improve sexual function, treat impotence, and augment blood circulation. In women, ginseng has been shown to increase oestrogen levels. It also treats menopausal distress — e.g., hot flashes.

Apart from its utility value in diabetes, ginseng is believed to protect from radiation and chemotherapy effects.

Last, but not the least, herbalists often praise ginseng’s value in treating sleep problems, and preventing heart disease, as also in correcting improper assimilation, especially in the presence of a reduced craving, or appetite for food.

Korean Ginseng Tea

Ginseng has a slightly bitter and earthy taste. It is best sweetened with honey and jujubes, or Chinese red dates.

Makes ten cups. 

Ingredients

  1. 2 large fresh ginseng roots
  2. 6 dried jujubes [Chinese red dates]
  3. 11 cups of water
  4. Honey [to taste]
  5. Pine nuts.

Instructions

  1. Rinse and clean the ginseng roots and jujubes
  2. Put water into a pot with the ginseng roots and dried jujubes
  3. Bring to a boil over medium to high heat for half-hour
  4. Simmer on low heat for another half-hour
  5. To serve, pour the hot boiled ginseng water into a cup with honey to taste. Stir the honey to mix with the water and sprinkle pine nuts on top
  6. Repeat steps 2-4 to make more ginseng tea until the remaining flavour from the ginseng roots and jujubes is done with.

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