Ginseng has become very popular over recent years due to the healing properties it's said to have. In the Far East, the root has been used in toothpaste, soft drinks, candy and chewing gum as well as having several different components that are used in preparing teas, powders and capsules. It comes in many variations and is grown all over the planet. The properties of the root tend to vary depending on what type it is and where it's been grown.
The Chinese word for ginseng translates into 'man root' meaning 'in the image of a man', because the roots are shaped like the human body. Old roots of this plant have been praised for their longevity, which is thought to transfer to the person consuming them. The root is also said to lower blood sugar and cholesterol levels, offer some protection against stress, enhance strength and promote relaxation.
There are three main types of ginseng, American, Korean and Siberian (although technically the Siberian version comes from a separate plant which isn't actually ginseng, but it's commonly referred to by this name)
The American and Siberian species of ginseng are believed to have cooling and relaxing effects. They are believed to promote Yin energy, cleaning excess Yang in the body and calming it. Scientific studies have even shown the American root can help combat the flu virus and reduce some of the symptoms, especially in the elderly. The American version is often thought of as being more pure than its Asian cousin.
Korean ginseng roots (sometimes referred to as Chinese or Asian) are said to promote Yang energy, thus improving circulation, increasing blood supply, helping people recover from illness. The Korean version comes in either red or white, they both come from the same plant but the red is grown for longer and it prepared slightly differently too, red ginseng is not peeled and is boiled at a 100 degree temperature, where as it's white cousin is peeled and is left to dry in the sun.
Both American and Korean ginseng is considered to be adaptogens and an aphrodisiac, and have been used in treating type II diabetes and sexual dysfunction in men. The effects of the ginsenoside components are beneficial to the central nervous system and gonadal tissues.
There are promises that ginseng can increase physical stamina and lead to a better quality of life. An increased overall well being that was reported in testimonies of people who took the extract, is the reason why the plant has been considered a panacea. The genus name of the plant, Panax is derived from the Greek word "panakeia" which means universal remedy. Improved alertness, relaxation, appetite and a general increase in mental and physical capacity to work are among the most beneficial effects that were experienced by people who have taken ginseng products over a period of time.
Although the exact properties of ginseng are somewhat inconclusive, it is widely acknowledged that it does have positive healing properties and can improve inner health and well being. It's been used in eastern medicine for thousands of years and is popular all over the world today.