Ginseng - The human shaped root
Updated: Jul 1, 2021
Ginseng is known to be one of the oldest roots that have been frequently used in traditional Chinese Medicine. Ginseng is classified in three ways, depending on how long it is grown: fresh, white or red, and the most popular ones are the American Ginseng which works as a relaxing agent, whereas the Asian variety has an invigorating effect. In addition, they differ in the concentration of the compounds ginsenosides and gintonin, which contribute to many health benefits such as reducing inflammation, enhancing cognitive function, lowering blood sugar and strengthening the immune system. Ginseng is usually found in dried forms, tea bags or supplements.
There are many types of ginseng, and the red ginseng used primarily in Korea has been found to have antioxidant properties and help reduce inflammation. Therefore, the ginseng extracts and ginsenoside compounds within this plant could inhibit inflammation while increasing the antioxidant capacity in cells, allowing more antioxidant enzymes to function. The more antioxidant enzymes function, the more it will help to reduce oxidative stress.
Also, ginseng may improve brain functions like memory, behaviour and mood. In addition, the ginsenosides and compound K found in ginseng could protect the brain against damage caused by free radicals, which may damage brain cells and cause mental delays and other problems.
Ginseng may also benefit by helping to lower blood sugar levels as it improves pancreatic cell function, boosts insulin production, and enhances the uptake of blood sugar in tissues. In particular, the fermented red ginseng has been extensively studied to conclude that it can help lower blood sugar levels after a meal, benefiting both those with or without diabetes. In addition, insulin production is essential as it helps fat and the liver absorb glucose in the blood. The glucose absorbed from the bloodstream can then be used as energy to the cells for other metabolic activities such as the breaking down of fat or protein in foods.
Here are some great recipes that incorporate ginseng!
Korean Chicken Ginseng Soup (Samyetang)
Headache-Soothing Adaptogenic Hot Chocolate