What is ginseng used for? What usages have been medically proved to be effective? Is ginseng a reliable supplement? There are many questions surrounding this seemingly magical resource and it's easy to be confused by what precisely ginseng can do for you.
You may be skeptical when you read all of the claims made by proponents of ginseng. Ginseng has been widely used throughout Asia for centuries, but it has only recently gained popularity in the United States. The following uses for ginseng are categorized into medically accepted and medically questionable categories, showcasing the many common uses of ginseng.
Blood Sugar Level Management
Studies show the use of ginseng can reduce blood sugar levels by up to 20 percent. Talk to your doctor about using ginseng as a supplement to your health plan if you have Type 2 diabetes or are trying to lose weight.
Improved Immune System Function
Studies show that ginseng stimulates the adrenal glands, which increases the production of hormones that help the body cope with stress and fight illness. Some studies suggest ginseng may actually aid the body is the response to antibiotics, increasing the effectiveness of antibiotics in specific cases. Other studies suggest ginseng may aid the body in responding to vaccinations, helping the body respond healthfully.
Increased Energy and Mental Alertness
Ginseng has been proven to both increase energy levels and ability to concentrate. However, when taken in conjunction with caffeine, it can cause nervousness and excitability that some find undesirable.
Support for Cancer Patients
Ginseng appears to improve energy levels, emotional stability and immune system function in cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy. Speak to your doctor about potential drug interferences before you take this supplement.
Medicinal Uses of Ginseng Not Yet Well-Supported By Western Studies
Ginseng is currently used for these purposes, but medical studies have not been conclusive enough to support definitive Western medical recommendations for treatment of these conditions.
Heart Patient Treatments
A couple studies have indicated ginseng may reduce oxidization of bad cholesterol, which could be of assistance to heart patients. However, it also can sometimes interfere with the effectiveness of blood thinning medications, so this usage of ginseng is still not approved by most doctors.
ADD - Attention Deficit Disorder
Some people use ginseng to treat ADD, but few studies support this usage. While ginseng is proven to increase the ability to focus and concentrate, it is also a stimulant known to increase excitability, which is the very opposite effect desired by most people with ADD.
Potential Problems With Ginseng Use
If you choose to use ginseng, watch for the rare for possible ginseng allergy and for negative interactions of prescription drugs-especially blood thinners-and ginseng. Be careful not to use ginseng after 6 pm to avoid difficulty sleeping, and avoid using other stimulants in conjunction with ginseng.