Ginseng has been around for centuries and has become one of the most popular herbal remedies worldwide. In Traditional Chinese Medicine, ginseng has been utilized in remedies for heart conditions, bleeding disorders, colitis, and immune system disorders. Notably, ginseng has also been heralded for being able to give you a huge energy boost that will keep you energized and alert all day long.
Ginseng can be taken daily and is easily tolerated by the majority of people. With no major interactions or side effects, the supplement doesn’t pose a risk to your health. Also, you won’t feel the crash that often comes along with using caffeine as your energy booster. Instead, you take ginseng on a long-term basis for more stable energy levels that won’t fade. There have been reports of ginseng improving concentration and mental focus. The benefit is not only do you feel physically energized, but mentally awake as well.
Types of Ginseng
There are three main types of ginseng used for supplementation: American ginseng, Asian ginseng and Siberian ginseng. American ginseng grows best in cool, wooded areas in states like Wisconsin while Asian ginseng and Siberian ginseng are indigenous to Korea and China. The levels of ginsenosides found within the ginseng are related to the effectiveness of the natural remedy. Ginsenosides have steroid-like characteristics and are classified as phytochemicals. Although young ginseng has adequate levels of ginsenosides, the peak levels are reached after five to six years of growth.
Dosing varies based on the type of ginseng used in supplements. For instance, preparations of the dried root powdered form can be taken daily in doses ranging from 1 to 2 grams. Ginseng supplements may have dosing recommendations that fall between 1000 to 2000 mg daily. Ginseng is not naturally found in any food sources, but is sometimes used as an additive to energy drinks.
In a 2012 clinical trial conducted by the Mayo Clinic, researchers used American ginseng to determine whether the herb would be effective at reducing fatigue in cancer patients. Fatigue is one of the most commonly reported side effects of cancer along with the treatment methods used to cure cancer. In cancer patients, the fatigue can make them feel exhausted both physically and mentally and make day-to-day tasks difficult to accomplish. During the clinical trial, the Mayo Clinic research team enrolled 340 patients who recently finished cancer treatment or were still receiving treatment. Patients were given 2000 mg daily of ginseng and had to judge their level of fatigue on a 100-point scale. After eight weeks of use, patients noted an average of a 20-point improvement in fatigue. The chronic stress of having cancer is believed to be at the root of why fatigue is so common in patients with the disease. Researchers theorize that ginseng has the ability to regulate cortisol in the body—the hormone responsible for stress responses.
Additional studies have helped further prove that ginseng does have an effect on energy. During a 2004 study published in “Psychological Medicine,” chronic fatigue syndrome patients were given ginseng supplementation as a way to see if their quality of life would improve. Chronic fatigue syndrome can make patients feel tired all the time and have widespread pain. As part of the trial, 96 patients were given Siberian ginseng or a placebo over a two-month period. After two months, 45 patients with less severe fatigue and 41 moderate to severe fatigue reported improvements in their symptoms.
Should you be concerned with the safety of using ginseng to get over any sluggish you may be feeling? Estimates state that approximately 6 million American adults use some form of ginseng for supplementation each day. Despite the high number of users, there have been very few reports of any side effects from occurring. However, it has been recommended that you should practice caution when using ginseng with any known stimulants, like caffeine, since it may cause nervousness and difficulty sleeping. Patients that take medications for diabetes are advised to speak to their doctors because evidence suggests ginseng can lower blood sugar levels.
With scientific evidence available to back the effectiveness of ginseng, there’s no reason you shouldn’t give the supplement a try. Ginseng supplementation may not work overnight, but after several weeks, you should notice a significant difference in how energetic you feel throughout the day.