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When Science Proves the Remedy: Ginseng

A Famous Root

Ginseng is a plant root that is just catching on in popularity in the western hemisphere, but has been a staple of eastern medicine, specifically chinese medicine, for over three thousand years. 

It is so prized in China that old, large, and rare ginseng specimens can sell for more than the price of gold! In 2007, one 300 year-old root sold for a reported $400,000!

High prices for wild ginseng have caused a “ginseng rush” here in the U.S., where it also grows. Hunters and poachers of wild ginseng have started to gain notoriety. There are even a few reality TV shows about it! 

A Famous Remedy

So why is everybody in such a hurry to get their hands on a gnarled, ugly-looking root like ginseng? 

Because practitioners of traditional eastern medicine believe it is the ultimate remedy. They prescribe ginseng for many ailments, most notably to increase energy levels, boost immunity, lower blood sugar, boost brian performance, and even (and especially in China) to increase sexual performance. 

That’s a lot of supposed remedies for one little root! Some of them stand up to scientific scrutiny while others are yet to be proven. Let’s dive into three ways that science proves the ginseng remedy: 

Energy Support

The most famous home remedy for ginseng is as an energy booster. In fact, you’ll find it in many of the energy drinks at your local convenience store. 

And scientific studies show very promising results in this category. Numerous studies have shown that the polysaccharides and oligopeptides in ginseng can reduce fatigue for normal individuals (1), and for those recovering from cancer (2) and chronic fatigue (3). 

What’s more, a large scale analysis (5) of existing ginseng studies showed that ginseng helped significantly reduce fatigue in the majority of scientific research. 

Immune Function

Another traditional use of ginseng is as a remedy for a stronger immune system. Again, the current scientific research seems to back this up. 

A strong immune system is a complex series of natural reactions all working to keep us healthy, and research shows that ginseng is effective at helping balance many of those cell-level reactions (6). 

One influential study (7) targeted ginseng’s ability to support the body in fighting bacterial infections, specifically in the lungs. It concluded: “In case of bacterial infections, ginseng acts by alleviating inflammatory cytokine production, increasing survival rates, and activating phagocytes and natural killer cells.” That’s pretty great news if you’re looking for a healthier immune response. 

Strong immunity is also closely tied with lower levels of inflammation, and studies (8) have shown that red ginseng is effective at reducing inflammatory response. 

Brain and Mood 

Can ginseng actually help you stay mentally sharper as you age? Or even improve your mood? That’s what a lot of eastern medicine experts claim. 

There is limited scientific research available in this area, but early results are intriguing. Red ginseng contains a component called compound K, and early research (9) about its ability to protect neurotransmitters from damage and improve neurotransmission is promising (10). 

Another study showed that ginseng supplementation over 8 weeks helped a group of study participants improve their memory and mood (11), even in smaller doses. 

And long term treatment of red ginseng has even been shown (12) to improve cognitive deficit of people suffering from Alzheimer’s disease. 

Fraud Concerns

Science loves ginseng, but it’s very important to get your ginseng from a trusted source. Fraud is rampant around such a popular product, especially in China. 

Various tests from law enforcement agencies on products sold in popular stores have shown that half of the time a product says it has ginseng it actually contains no ginseng at all! 

Make sure that your ginseng is coming from a trusted source. 

In conclusion, while the studies aren’t there that prove ginseng will help with sexual performance, there is still a lot to get excited about when it comes to ginseng :) 

Let’s get healthier together, 

Your friends at Santo Remedio

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