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What You Need To Know About Ginseng

You're seeing it as an advertised ingredient on your favorite protein shake, or you've seen the buzz word on TikTok, talking about all the benefits that you want to sign up for. Ginseng has seen an increase in popularity over the last few years as a potent holistic supplement that you need to be taking. But does it live up to the hype? Is this the right supplement for you? This is what you need to know about ginseng. 

The Science of Ginseng

So, let's start with the basics: What is ginseng? What's the science behind it? This rooted herb has the ability to holistically support many different parts of your body, including brain health, immunity, and blood sugar stabilization. It's a hidden secret to do this in the punch of very powerful antioxidants it carries, including Ginsenosides, Phenolic Compounds, and Polysaccharides.

For our more scientifically inclined readers out there, let's break this down really quickly. Ginsenosides are unique compounds that can help reduce inflammation and protect your cells from oxidative damage. Similarly, phenolic compounds combat free radicals your body encounters throughout your day, also helping to prevent oxidative damage. Polysaccharides are your immune boosters and play a key role in promoting your immune system to build its defenses.

While there are technically 13 different types of ginseng, we are gonna focus on the most popular two, American and Panax. 

The Debate: American versus Panax Ginseng

First off, American Ginseng. This variety of the rooty herb is known for its cool, calming effects. As an adaptogen, it gives your brain a little more functionality. You'll notice improvements in short-term recall and memory, so if you lose your keys often, this could definitely be of benefit. It also can improve your attention span and accuracy for some who tend to get distracted easily. American Ginseng is also amazing at boosting your immune system with the help of the antioxidants mentioned above.

The key difference is the composition of the antioxidants in this variety. The set of ginsenosides and polysaccharides found in American Ginseng is focused on boosting immunity while promoting a sense of calm. The phenolic compounds found in this variety are also focused on keeping your body cool and calm, which helps with maintaining blood sugar levels.

Now moving on to Panax Ginseng. This little firecracker is well known for its fast-acting energy boost, carrying the moniker of the "energy herb." With many of the same health benefits as its sibling herb, studies on this variety have shown that it can even be of benefit when treating cardiovascular conditions. Now what about the antioxidant compounds?

Similar to its reputation, the varieties of compounds found in Panax Ginseng tend to be richer and pack a harder punch. Ginsenosides found in Panax are more diverse, resulting in more stimulating effects on your nervous system. Remember that cardiovascular support? Studies suggest that it could stem from the increase in phenolic compounds that ward off oxidative stress. Finally, similar to American Ginseng, the polysaccharides in Panax Ginseng do have a powerful effect on your immune system, with some findings also suggesting a role in balancing your gut's microbiome.

All in all, both varieties are very potent and powerful, with similar health benefits. The key difference is the makeup of the compounds in their separate antioxidants, giving different benefits to your body. While American Ginseng is helpful in keeping you cool and calm and supporting your strive to stay germ-free, Panax Ginseng is that little pick-me-up boost of energy you may be looking for while also promoting better cardiovascular health. How can you choose?

As always, consult with your personal physician before adding any type of herb to your diet. Especially since many variants of ginseng tend to interact with pharmaceutical prescriptions. If you are free and clear, the decision is based on what you think your body needs. Are you done with the summer sniffles? Or do you need that little boost to finish your work day? 

Types of Ginseng Supplements

There is no shortage of ways to supplement ginseng. A fan favorite is adding fresh knobs of the root to your soups or homemade broths. You can also use it for a little bitter bite in your day-to-day meals, in moderation. If you are looking for a quick intake to start off your day, there are powders and capsules/tablets that are readily available at health food stores, but be careful to do your research on their purity and effectiveness.

In conclusion, this rooty herb is incredibly potent, but with it comes incredible health benefits. When used correctly, your body can feel the benefits of better immunity and increased energy. You can even better your cardiovascular health while keeping your blood sugars balanced. It just comes down to the science of it: the antioxidants that can best benefit you. The hype is real, and you deserve to benefit from it too! Ensure with your healthcare provider that it's the right fit, and watch your vitality grow. 

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