Ginseng supplements are prepared from one or more members of the Panax ginseng family, which includes Asian, American, Red and Wild ginsengs. "Siberian ginseng" is a term no longer used since that herb - Eleutherococcus senticosus – is not a true ginseng (see Eleuthero).
Health Benefits of Ginseng
Ginsengs are primarily used either as adaptogenic herbs (increase the body's resistance to physical or mental stress) or tonic herbs (increase energy, stamina, libido) or both. There are several forms of ginseng in widespread use.
Panax quinquefolius - American ginseng (root):
American ginseng is produced in the United States and Canada, mostly in the Canadian provinces of Ontario and British Columbia and the American state of Wisconsin. According to Traditional Chinese Medicine, American Ginseng promotes Yin energy, cleans excess Yang in the body, calms the body and assists in the recovery from febrile diseases (any disease characterized by the presence of fever)
A randomized, double-blind study shows that an extract of American ginseng reduces influenza cases in the elderly when compared to placebo.
Panax ginseng - Asian ginseng (root):
Panax or Asian Ginseng promotes Yang energy, improves circulation, increases blood supply, revitalizes and aids recovery from weakness after illness, and stimulates the body. Panax Ginseng is available in two forms. The form called white ginseng is Panax ginseng dried in the sun after harvesting. White Ginseng may contain less of the therapeutic constituents. It is thought to be a primarliy a tonic herb, re-invigorating body systems while being temperature-neutral ( no warming properties as in Red Ginseng). The form called red ginseng is steam-cured after harvesting and drying, giving it a glossy reddish-brown coloring. Steaming the root is thought to change its biochemical composition and also to prevent the breakdown of the active ingredients. Steaming is also though to impart a 'warming' quality to the effects of Red Ginseng.
Using Ginseng Supplements
Use as directed by manufacturer.
Side-effects and Cautions:
Consult your doctor before using ginseng if you are taking any medications or suffer from a health condition.