We have a wide variety of clients at Garcia Muay Thai and MMA Gym in Glen Cove, NY. There are people of all genders and all ages, so there’s also a variety of questions regarding health and fitness. One of the more recent questions has been about the benefits of ginseng, which has been used in traditional Chinese medicine for centuries. There are three classes of ginseng: fresh—less than 4 years old, white—4 to 6 years, and red—longer than 6 years. There are also many varieties, with American ginseng and Asian ginseng being the top two.
Many of the benefits of ginseng are not proven.
Ginseng sold in stores cannot make health claims, since most of those claims don’t have adequate scientific backing proving them true. However, it is proven to contain an antioxidant and does offer some anti-inflammatory properties. Test tube studies, such as the study using skin cells and the extracts from ginseng and compounds from the plant could inhibit inflammation, while boosting antioxidants. Human studies have shown ginseng lowered inflammatory markers.
Ginseng may help ED—erectile dysfunction.
The compounds in ginseng may help restore normal functioning of the penis by reducing oxidative stress in the tissues and blood vessels. It’s been shown to improve nitric oxide production, which promotes muscle relaxation and blood circulation. The Asian red ginseng, sometimes called Korean ginseng that has been shown to be more effective than a medication used to treat ED. Studies vary as to the effect on blood pressure, with some showing it raised blood pressure, while others showed it lowered blood pressure. Always check with your health care professional first before taking any herbal supplement or medication.
Your blood sugar levels may benefit from ginseng.
Studies show that ginseng may be beneficial whether you have diabetes or not. Both the Asian and American ginseng varieties have shown benefits for pancreatic health and improved the uptake of blood sugar. It also boosted antioxidant protection for people with diabetes. One study included red Korean ginseng in the protocol of 19 people with type 2 diabetes. Along with their normal medication or in conjunction with their diet, they showed increases in insulin sensitivity, a reduction of blood sugar levels and fasting insulin levels. A study in people without diabetes showed it improved blood sugar levels after a high sugar intake. Fermented ginseng may even provide more benefit by making the active ginsenosides easier to absorb.
- Studies show that the longer you take ginseng, the less effective it becomes and to maximize the benefits, it should be used in cycles, taking it two to three weeks and not taking it the next week or two.
- American ginseng is Panax quinquefolia and Asian ginseng is Panax ginseng, but not all products sold as ginseng is from the same genus, giving them different benefits and warnings. Siberian ginseng, for instance, is eleuthero coccus senticosus.
- Studies following ginseng and the effects on the immune system have primarily followed the recovery of cancer patients. Studies have shown an improvement in the immune system. Studies also showed it could enhance the benefits of vaccinations.
- The ginsenosides in ginseng may help regulate inflammation. It has the potential to help lower the risk of certain types of cancer, but adequate research hasn’t been done yet.
For more information, contact us today at Garcia Muay Thai Gym