Ginseng, the potion of the Emperors is an ancient tonic herb and an effective adaptogen that has been used for centuries for a host of conditions (benefits).
Its name was first recorded in China, five thousand years ago. Geobotanists say ginseng goes back seventy million years. And scientists call members of ginseng genus “living fossils,” meaning plants that have remained unchanged since the first appearance of angiosperms more than 65 million years ago.
In ancient time, a freshly chewed ginseng root was considered a potent wound dressing, while a concoction of ginseng root with ginger was used to counteract a fever.
Ginseng tea was considered a cure fo croup. The claims are legendary.
Historically this root has been touted as an agent to make old men young, an aphrodisiac, a tonic, and a panacea, or as an all body healing medicine.
Today, this root, which can live up to 100 years, is the most respected medicinal plant in the world. And the Chinese take it whenever they can, especially the old people. They say that it gives them strength and energy to keep them going.
Amongst the most popular are American ginseng (Panax quinquefolium L.), Siberian ginseng (Eleutherococcus senticosus) and Asian or Korean red ginseng (Panax ginseng).
- Siberian ginseng is not a true ginseng but a closely related cousin. It helps adrenal glands prepare the body for stressful situations.
- American ginseng or Panax quinquefolium is considered a “true” ginseng. It has been used for stomach and bronchial disorders, asthma, and they called it gisens.
- The most widely used are Panax ginseng, also known as Korean or Asian red ginseng.
The name ginseng comes from jen-shen which means “human root” (gin refers to man and seng to the essence in Chinese). The Panax is derived from the Greek word “pan” meaning all and “akos” meaning to cure. Thus, the literal translation of Panax would be a cure-all.
The biologically active compounds are the ginsenosides, which have been shown to improve the immune function, regulate the activity of the central nervous system, to affect hormone balance, increase metabolism and act as a tonic to the adrenal glands and the entire glandular system. It is also said that ginsenosides facilitate penile erection thus help you improve erectile dysfunction and sexual function in both men and women.
American, Siberian or Red Korean Ginseng
The main difference between the Wild American ginseng and Asian ginseng is that the American ginseng has “cooling” properties, while Korean ginseng has more “warming” properties. However, they all act as an effective rejuvenator, and they provide protection against both psychical and psychological stresses. Some types of ginseng, such as red ginseng, do have more specific uses.
Korean or red ginseng used for 2,000 years in the Far East, has been considered (among other things) as the ultimate sexual enhancer for men. It is prepared by steaming before drying, and then it gets steeped in a mixture of special herbs. Then, it becomes red. The process of making red ginseng is said to preserve the ginseng’s natural state thus increase its potency, where the steaming part has been shown to alter the composition of the ginsenosides.
The red ginseng is believed to be the most potent and helps reduce fatigue and alleviate symptoms associated with menopause. It was also found that red ginseng significantly improves erectile function and sexual desire, enhances mental health, sleep, and physical performance.