What are the effects of ginseng?
We try not to focus too much on health claims in our marketing. But one of the better overviews of the scientific studies that have been done on ginseng can be found on the University of Maryland Medical Center's website.
The benefits they list include: strengthened immune system, heart health, improved mental performance, greater physical endurance, reduced stress, elevated mood, and enhanced sexual energy.
Ginsenosides are the main components in ginseng responsible for its health benefits. More than 100 different ginsenosides have been identified, and their levels vary from root to root depending on factors including the age of the roots, climate, altitude, and soil conditions.
Different ginsenosides have different effects on the body, and some even seem to have directly opposing effects. This may explain why some studies have found ginseng lowers blood pressure, while others have found it does quite the opposite.
This is one of the reasons why we insist on using high-quality roots in their natural state, with minimal processing. Processing (such as producing a ginseng extract) changes the ratio of all the different ginsenosides.
Since not enough research has been done to determine for sure what the optimal ginsenoside ratio is, we trust in Mother Nature and only source the finest 6-year roots, while leaving their natural ratios undisturbed. This is how people have been taking ginseng for thousands of years. We just opt for the best of the best.
Red ginseng has undergone a traditional Korean process of repeat steaming and drying, which turns it a reddish-brown color. This was done in ancient times to preserve the ginseng, but recent studies have shown it actually raises the level of certain ginsenosides, thus making it more beneficial for health in certain regards.
The main difference is that white ginseng is usually peeled and dried to prevent decay, whereas red ginseng uses the whole root (including the skin), as well as a process of steaming and drying to prevent decay.
Because of this, red ginseng is higher in certain ginsenosides, but lower in other ginsenosides.
Scientists aren't yet sure what ginsenosides are responsible for which health effects, but in general people consider red ginseng to be more "warming" or energizing, while white ginseng is considered to be more "cooling" or calming.
Korean and Chinese ginseng are the same species of plant (Panax ginseng), just grown in different regions. American ginseng (Panax quinquefolius) is a different species, but still quite closely related.
While all three are considered to be of high quality, Korea is widely viewed as having the best natural growing conditions in the world, supported by cultivation practices that have been honed over thousands of years and strict quality controls imposed by the Korean government.
Many people are wary of Chinese ginseng these days because of trust issues, unscrupulous business practices, heavy metal contamination, other forms of pollution, and the chronic overuse of pesticides. The Chinese method for evaluating good-quality roots is also based on ancient texts that many in the West would consider strange and at odds with the latest scientific research.
Siberian ginseng (Eleutherococcus senticosus) is a completely different plant and does not have the same active ingredients as Asian ginseng. It is generally considered inferior in terms of its health-supporting functions.
*These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.
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