What is American Ginseng?
American Ginseng is an herb native to eastern North America, popular for its various health benefits and even regarded as the “Elixir of Life”. In traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), American Ginseng is utilized for its cooling, qi boosting effects. Often compared to parsnips in appearance, it is a beige, lumpy root with strings stemming from its body.
Health Benefits of Ginseng
Here are American Ginseng’s top five health benefits:
1) Increased energy
American ginseng may be consumed for its energy-boosting properties, found to assist with chronic or illness-related fatigue by decreasing oxidative damage and increasing production of energy.
2) Better cognitive function; improve focus
Ginseng is packed with ginsenosides and compound K, which are known to protect the brain against free radical damage. Studies have shown that doses of Ginseng decrease mental fatigue, which improves focus, and benefits mental functions such as memory and learning.
Rich in antioxidants and the active ingredient ginsenosides, American Ginseng may be used to prevent and treat inflammation in the body.
4) Strengthen immune system
Traditionally, Ginseng has been consumed to treat and protect against various bodily illnesses. Several studies have now found that Ginseng is especially effective in improving immune functions and decreasing symptoms amongst cancer patients.
5) Lower blood sugar
American ginseng has been found to boost insulin production and reduce free radicals in the body via its antioxidant properties, beneficial in maintaining healthy blood sugar levels for individuals both with and without diabetes.
American Ginseng vs. Panax Ginseng
Not to be confused with Asian Ginseng, or Panax ginseng, American Ginseng is used in Traditional Chinese Medicine for its cooling properties, or increasing yin. Despite its energy boosting properties, American Ginseng may be less stimulating than Asian Ginseng; for this reason, American Ginseng may be more suitable for long-term use. Additionally, individuals who are yin-deficient or wish to cool down the body may opt to consume American Ginseng over Asian Ginseng. Learn more here.
Ways to Eat Ginseng
Ginseng is easy to incorporate into your daily diet; it may be consumed raw, steeped into teas, added as an ingredient in recipes (soups), or in powder, tablet, and oil forms. If consumed daily, doses of 200-400mg are most effective in boosting energy levels, improving cognitive function, and strengthening the immune system.
By: Suzie Lee, Student at Cornell University
Sources: The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, Healthline, Verywell Health, National Library of Medicine, Bo-Yi