If you are the kind who do not shy away from experimenting, green tea and ginseng might be your cup of tea. Green teas (and its various infusions) are known to be weight-loss champs, cancer fighters, skin cells boosters and what not.1 Both Asian ginseng and its American counterpart, conveniently named American ginseng, were used in traditional medicines in China and native American cultures, respectively. What happens when you mix ginseng and green tea? You might have seen the combination advertised on the labels of many tea packets, and even other nutritional supplements. Let’s see what they do to our body?
A Magic Potion For Weight Loss
Ginseng and green tea are among the most common ingredients found in weight-loss supplements because this combination is considered a magic formula for losing pounds. There’s much literature on why green tea is so good in helping you shed the extra pounds. Ginseng is no less, claims a study conducted on 10 obese Korean women, that found that Asian ginseng contributed to significant changes in body weight and body mass index.2 As you might have noticed on product labels, especially in those for weight loss and detoxification, honey and lemon are essential accompaniments to this combination.
A Double Dose Of Health For Diabetics
There haven’t been many studies specifically on this combination, but one study on diabetic rats found that when they were treated with a combination of green tea and American ginseng, there was an increase in blood insulin levels and significant decrease in serum glucose.3 So, if you are diabetic, treat yourself to a cup or two of green tea and ginseng every day.
The Daily Dose Of Heart Health
Since studies on middle-aged animals have revealed that green tea might protect against coronary heart disease by reducing blood glucose levels and body weight,4 we assume it would have similar effects on the human heart. While you wait for researchers to prove it conclusively, add ginseng to your green tea to help your heart because this herb has been found to be helpful in improving cardiac function, systolic blood pressure, and blood flow regulation.5
The Spice For Your Sex Life
In a study examining the efficacy of Korean (Asian) red ginseng on erectile dysfunction, 45 patients were given a dose of 900 mg three times a day. The results were encouraging. Sixty percent of the patients reported improved erection. Scores on the scales of penetration and maintenance were also higher among the patients compared with those who were not given ginseng.6
While antioxidant-rich beverages are known to cure erectile dysfunction caused by the body’s inability to deal with free radical damage, a condition known as oxidative stress,7 there has been no specific study on green tea’s efficacy. But traditional Chinese medicine suggests that ginseng mixed with green tea is a good solution to it.
A Potent Combination To Prevent Cancer
Even in this day of immense progress in medical science and technology, cancer remains as scary as ever. And so the search for herbs and medicines to prevent cancer carries on, too. Green tea and ginseng are both chemopreventive, or in simpler words, have the ability to reduce the risk of or to delay cancer.
Green tea being a polyphenol powerhouse is loaded with cancer-fighting antioxidants. In a study, the 10 tea polyphenols examined on human colorectal cancer cells for their chemopreventive properties showed increasing anti-cancer activity in a dose-dependent way. Among these, a major catechin in green tea, called epigallocatechin gallate, showed the most potent activity in arresting the cell cycle and inducing selective cell death, or apoptosis.8
In another study on mice with artificially induced lung tumor, adding Korean red ginseng in drinking water decreased tumor multiplicity, or the number of tumors per mouse, by as much as 36 percent and tumor load, which is the number of malignant tissues, by 70 percent in mice. The same study also concluded that polyphenol E, which is abundant in green tea, decreases tumor multiplicity by 46 percent and tumor load by a whopping 94 percent.9
Korean studies give us solid data on ginseng’s almost miraculous cancer-fighting properties. In a large-scale, case-controlled study, Korean researchers found that subjects consuming ginseng for a year had a 36 percent lower incidence of cancer, while those who had consumed it for 5 years had a 69 percent lower incidence. The study reported that ginseng is particularly effective against cancers of the ovaries, larynx, pancreas, esophagus, and stomach.10
Is The Combination Good During Pregnancy?
Your green tea consumption needs to come down during pregnancy because the chemicals in it affect iron and folate absorption, and it contains caffeine, which is considered harmful during pregnancy. You can have a maximum of two cups a day.
When it comes to ginseng, however, know that as a rule, most ob-gyns will discourage “hot” ingredients like Asian ginseng11 for their abortive qualities. This is especially true for the first trimester.
While a study claims that previous reports on ginseng causing androgenization or heightening male characteristics and inducing birth defects are not credible and even mistaken12, without conclusive evidence at hand, staying off ginseng might be more prudent.
A Note Of Caution
However wonderful this combination might be, don’t overdo it. Stay within the limit for green tea consumption. Don’t mix Asian ginseng into your green tea without asking your doctor if you have high blood pressure; autoimmune diseases like rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, or Crohn’s disease; a history of breast cancer; and bipolar disorder.13
|↑1||Chacko, Sabu M., Priya T. Thambi, Ramadasan Kuttan, and Ikuo Nishigaki. “Beneficial effects of green tea: a literature review.” Chinese medicine 5, no. 1 (2010): 1.|
|↑2||Song, Mi-Young, Bong-Soo Kim, and Hojun Kim. “Influence of Panax ginseng on obesity and gut microbiota in obese middle-aged Korean women.”Journal of ginseng research 38, no. 2 (2014): 106-115.|
|↑3||Karaca, Turan, Mecit Yoruk, Ibrahim H. Yoruk, and Sema Uslu. “Effects of extract of green tea and ginseng on pancreatic beta cells and levels of serum glucose, insulin, cholesterol and triglycerides in rats with experimentally streptozotocin-induced diabetes: a histochemical and immunohistochemical study.” J Anim Vet Adv 9, no. 1 (2010): 102-107.|
|↑4||Chacko, Sabu M., Priya T. Thambi, Ramadasan Kuttan, and Ikuo Nishigaki. “Beneficial effects of green tea: a literature review.” Chinese medicine 5, no. 1 (2010): 1.|
|↑5||Valli, Georgianne, and Elsa-Grace V. Giardina. “Benefits, adverse effects and drug interactionsof herbal therapies with cardiovascular effects.” Journal of the American College of Cardiology 39, no. 7 (2002): 1083-1095.|
|↑6||Hong, Bumsik, Young Hwan Ji, Jun Hyuk Hong, KI Yeul Nam, and Tai Young Ahn. “A double-blind crossover study evaluating the efficacy of Korean red ginseng in patients with erectile dysfunction: a preliminary report.” The Journal of urology 168, no. 5 (2002): 2070-2073.|
|↑7||Zhang, Q., Z. M. Radisavljevic, M. B. Siroky, and K. M. Azadzoi. “Dietary antioxidants improve arteriogenic erectile dysfunction.” International journal of andrology 34, no. 3 (2011): 225-235.|
|↑8||Du, Guang-Jian, et al. “Epigallocatechin Gallate (EGCG) is the most effective cancer chemopreventive polyphenol in green tea.” Nutrients 4.11 (2012): 1679-1691.|
|↑9||Yan, Ying, Yian Wang, Qing Tan, Yukihiko Hara, Taik-Koo Yun, Ronald A. Lubet, and Ming You. “Efficacy of polyphenon E, red ginseng, and rapamycin on benzo (a) pyrene-induced lung tumorigenesis in A/J mice.” Neoplasia 8, no. 1 (2006): 52-58.|
|↑10||Craig, Winston J. “Health-promoting properties of common herbs.” The American journal of clinical nutrition 70, no. 3 (1999): 491s-499s.|
|↑11||Jarvis William T., Ph.D. “Thermogenic” Products. National Council Against Health Fraud|
|↑12||Seely, Dugald, Jean-Jacques Dugoua, Daniel Perri, Edward Mills, and Gideon Koren. “Safety and efficacy of panax ginseng during pregnancy and lactation.” Can J Clin Pharmacol 15, no. 1 (2008): e87-e94.|
|↑13||Asian Ginseng. University of Maryland School of Medicine|