Ginseng is a herbal product used in North America and Asia for centuries for its therapeutic benefits. You would be surprised to know that ginseng has nootropic properties that affect behavior and cognition. It played a huge role in Chinese medicine and was one of the top 5 medicinal plants of Native Americans.
Nootropic ginseng is of two kinds, American ginseng, and Asian Ginseng. American ginseng is considered more cooling and less stimulating compared to Asian ginseng.
For ginseng root to be usable, it has to be grown for a minimum of 3 years before harvesting. It is considered an adaptogen, which means it helps the body in adapting to stress.
Let’s dive deeper into the topic to know more about Ginseng’s uses, dosage, side effects, etc.
How is Ginseng useful?
Have you ever experienced brain fog in the middle of a busy day, lack of focus, and sharp memory to finish a project deadline or prepare for exams? Ginseng can come to your rescue with its brain-boosting properties.
Ginseng consists of an active component called ginsenosides. Ginsenosides have anticancer, anti-inflammation, antioxidation, antiaging, antifatigue effects. So far, 60 different ginsenosides have been identified, and each of them has a different impact on cells. The ginseng root contains 2-3% of ginsenosides. The significant ginsenosides are Rb1, Rb2, Rc, Rd, Re, and Rg1.
A study called, Ginsenosides: A Potential Neuroprotective Agent stated that ginsenosides have effects on the nervous system, the cardiovascular system, and the immune system. The study further noted that ginsenosides’ neuroprotective mechanism is mainly related to its anti-inflammatory, antioxidation, antiaging, nerve growth factor, other cytokines, and various signaling pathways.
Another study called, Actoprotective effect of ginseng: improving mental and physical performance showed that Asian ginseng could significantly increase physical and intellectual work capacity, and it can be regarded as potential actoprotectors(synthetic adaptogens that improve physical performance).
Ginseng has shown to provide the following benefits:
- Improves memory and learning
- Boosts immune system.
- Reduces anxiety and depression.
- Increases energy levels.
- Improve erectile dysfunction.
Possible risks of Ginseng
Since ginseng is a natural supplement, it is well tolerated by most people. The most common risk associated with ginseng is insomnia. Side effects are generally mild and include nervousness, insomnia, blood pressure changes, breast pain, vaginal bleeding, vomiting, and diarrhea.
The above-mentioned side effects are less common and very rare. Long-term usage of ginseng in some people can have some hormone-like effects which could be harmful.
Ginseng, in the form of cream, when applied to the skin, is possibly safe.
Ginseng usage is unsafe in infants and kids. It is safe to take ginseng by mouth for pregnant women.
Do not consume ginseng if you have any bleeding or heart conditions, or diabetes.
Ginseng dosing depends on the quality and form of ginseng you are taking. Dried ginseng root can be taken up to 1-2 gm daily for three months. Ginseng in the form of extracts can be taken from the range of 100gm to 800 gm per day. Raw ginseng root can be taken from the range of 0.5 to 3 gm daily.
Choose a ginseng extract that contains 2-3 % of ginsenosides. Start from small doses and increase over time.
Ginseng is a natural nootropic that has been used for centuries by Chinese and Native Americans. It is commonly used for its brain function benefits, antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects.
Additionally, it is used for boosting the immune system, fighting fatigue, and erectile dysfunction.
With ginseng offering a wide range of uses, it is worth a try, and there’s nothing to lose as it is a herbal supplement with very mild side effects in rare cases.