Ginseng: Asian Root Of Life
Ginseng, comes from the Hokkien word ‘jinsim’ which translates to “the essence of life.” The word refers to the root’s characteristic forked shape, which resembles the legs of a person. Ginseng is the root of a variety of plants within the genus ‘Planax’, a Greek word which translates to ‘all- healing’.
Where do ginseng plants grow and originate from?
Ginseng plants originate from Asia, specifically Korea and China, Canada and the United States. It’s widely used in Asia for its medicinal qualities, so much so that 60 of the 80 tons of ginseng produced each year are consumed in Asia in various forms.
What are the different types of Ginseng plants?
There are two categories of ginseng: wild grown ginseng and human cultivated ginseng.
Wild Ginseng vs Cultivated Ginseng
Wild Ginseng Plants
Wild Ginseng is the naturally occurring type of Ginseng. It’s found mostly on mountain tops, and is handpicked by gatherers. This specific type is considered more potent compared to cultivated ginseng, making it quite expensive. It is so highly demanded that some species of the plant have actually gone extinct.
Cultivated Ginseng Plants
On the other hand, human cultivated ginseng is readily available and much cheaper compared to its wild counterpart. This type is usually farmed on mountain tops, picked, and sold to market for mass production.
How to Take Ginseng
Ginseng is used in a variety of ways, from energy drinks to medicine, by a wide range of individuals. Ginseng root is most common in its dried form, either whole or sliced.
Koreans tend to use the plant more in their meals such as soups and side dishes. The plant can be eaten raw or can be slightly cooked, making it a bit softer and easier to eat. Ginseng can also be ingested in capsules, powder, oil, and brewed into a tea.
Benefits of the Ginseng plant
Ginseng is traditionally used in Eastern medicine, specifically amongst the Asian community. The plant contains two major compounds which are responsible for its numerous health benefits, ginsenosides and gintonin. These two compounds complement each other, and provide some healthy benefits to the body, including:
Ginseng is a great source of antioxidants
Ginseng is scientifically proven to contain a number of anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. Studies have shown that use of the plant can help reduce inflammation as well as help protect against oxidative stress. Considering the plant is an herbal form of medication in it’s natural form, intake of the ginseng plant is oftentimes considered as an ayurvedic approach to maintaining the wellness of life.
Ginseng strengthens the immune system
Individuals who use ginseng are better protected against foreign substances in the body. It appears that the use of this plant helps strengthen the immune system, thus helping in the fight against disease.
Ginseng naturally increase the body’s energy level
Ginseng, as you may have seen, is in practically every energy drink on the market, and for good reason. Ginseng is a great energy booster, as well as an aid to help fight early fatigue.
Ginseng naturally lowers blood sugar levels
For people with or without diabetes, ginseng usage has been shown to maintain normal blood sugar levels. Studies have shown an increase in the level of insulin production, an increase in the level of blood sugar uptake in the cell and also an increase in antioxidants present in the body.
Final thoughts on the Ginseng plant
The potency and ease of application of Ginseng makes it widely demanded by many people in many different cultures who want a wellness benefits from a natural source. However, it’s very important to discuss ginseng intake with a physician in order to know if your body will tolerate it.
Guest post written by Polly in Siberia
Edited by Adrian Haskell