Source: The Amazing Healing Powers of Nature, Reader’s Digest
Learn about Ginseng, a natural remedy used to boost energy and improve focus
Ginseng (Panax ginseng) is a natural remedy relied upon for improving stamina, memory and mental focus. It is also used to boost immunity. Ginseng is a root that is sold dried as a tea, as a flavouring in beverages and as an extract in liquid, tincture and capsule form. You may see ginseng labelled Asian Ginseng, Chinese Ginseng, Korean Ginseng and/or ren shen.
Ginseng has been used in traditional Chinese and Korean medicine to increase strength and vigour since the 1700s. It is noted as being particularly fast acting, and is said to help the body and mind withstand chronic stress’a modern-day threat faced by many. Four hundred years later, ginseng is one of the world’s most sought-after herbs, according to the World Health Organization.
How does it work?
This root remedy may give brain power a temporary nudge by dilating blood vessels, which could boost blood flow to the brain. But that’s just part of the story. Ginseng contains dozens of active ingredients, which contribute to boosting strength and focus, most notably compounds called ginsenosides, which seem to work together to ‘revitalize the functioning of the (body) as a whole,’ according to scientists who reviewed ginseng research for Germany’s Commission E.
Looking to try ginseng?
If you want to use ginseng to boost energy, take 100 milligrams of a ginseng extract’such as a tincture, fluid extract or capsules’standardized so it contains 4 percent ginsenosides, twice daily. Or make a tea using 1 to 2 grams of ginseng root and sip daily. Consult your doctor if you plan to take ginseng as a natural remedy for more than 3 months.
Who is ginseng safe for?
Do not take ginseng if you take blood thinners, the heart medicine digoxin or antidepressants. Diabetics should be aware that ginseng may lower blood glucose levels. Ginseng may prompt insomnia or anxiety’if either develops, stop at once.
Does ginseng really improve your memory?
Could ginseng help you score top marks in an exam or remember the names of new clients on the job? Research suggests the answer is a qualified yes. In one study from the United Kingdom’s University of Northumbria, people who took a 400-milligram dose of ginseng improved their speed and accuracy on mental-skills tests. They even got better at subtraction problems, compared to their pre-ginseng scores. It’s interesting to note that in a follow-up study the same ginseng researchers found that bigger doses weren’t any more effective and even slowed thinking skills slightly.
Modern research and studies on ginseng
Ginseng’s invigorating effects may have led to its reputation for improving circulation. While few studies suggest it really does this’and some experts warn that it may actually raise blood pressure if you also consume a lot of caffeine’plenty do confirm ginseng’s age-old, total-body wellbeing benefits. Or, as the World Health Organization puts it, research confirms ginseng’s use as ‘a restorative agent for enhancement of mental and physical capacities, in cases of weakness, exhaustion, tiredness and loss of concentration, and during convalescence.’
Ginseng supplements helped night-shift nurses in a French hospital reduce fatigue, improve energy, moods and mental focus in 1 study conducted by British researchers in 2003. And renewed vitality could include renewed intimate vitality: in a 2008 report from the Korea Food Research Institute, in South Korea, researchers reviewed 7 ginseng studies involving 349 men with erectile dysfunction and found that the remedy significantly improved sexual functioning, desire and satisfaction.
In one interesting Spanish experiment’a new approach to natural remedies’researchers developed a ginseng-fortified milk, hoping it would enhance the memories of older people. No word yet on the results!