Ginseng is a powerful herb that can transform your health. You might be surprised to learn that there’s more than one type.
Depending on its origin, each one has different qualities. Here’s the lowdown on the three main types.
1. American Ginseng
American ginseng, or Panax quinquefolis, is one of the most popular herbs in the United States. It mostly grows in North America. Traditionally, Native Americans have used American ginseng for its medicinal effects.
It’s all thanks to active compounds called ginsenosides. According to the Journal Phytotherapy Research, ginsenosides greatly improve verbal and working memory.1 American ginseng is also linked to enhanced neurocognitive function when it’s consumed on the regular.2 With benefits like these, this herb may be able to prevent mental disease like Alzheimer’s.
The ginsenosides in American ginseng have a “calming” effect.3 In turn, this herb is great for relieving stress and upset stomach. Colitis, vomiting, and insomnia can also be treated with American ginseng.4
It’s also the best type of ginseng for anti-cancer properties.5 You can reap the benefits within just two hours of taking it! It works by preventing the DNA from oxidative stress, giving you protection from dangerous free radicals.6
Do you have high blood pressure? American ginseng can control it by reducing arterial hardness. This is useful for keeping heart disease at bay, especially if you already have a high risk. The effects are so good that it can even help type 2 diabetics.7
In a way, American ginseng resembles a human body. The stringy shoots are a lot like arms and legs. It’s usually light tan, but you can find it in varying shades of brown.8
2. Asian Ginseng
Asian ginseng, or Panax ginseng, is also known as red or Korean ginseng. Ancient Chinese medicine has used this herb for thousands of years. Today, it’s honored in the same way.
Ginsenosides are also the main components of Asian ginseng. However, unlike its American counterpart, Asian ginseng is more stimulating. Popular benefits include physical stamina, concentration, and natural energy.9 It’s also linked to stronger cognitive performance and overall quality of life.
Asian ginseng can give your immunity a boost, too. A study in Applied Physiology, Nutrition, and Metabolism found that ginseng raises your number of immune cells. It may even increase the immune system’s response to the flu vaccine.10
Like American ginseng, the Asian kind has a positive effect on cognitive function. A 12-week supplementation of ginseng powder can improve cognitive performance in patients with Alzheimer’s. Other aspects of mental health, like concentration and learning, will also get better.11
Are you suffering from erectile dysfunction? Asian ginseng is a natural remedy. Researchers think its ginsenosides act similarly to testosterone.12 Increased sperm production, sexual performance, and sexual activity are also possible.13
Asian ginseng is a bit darker than the American kind. Regardless, they look a lot alike and are often confused with each other.
3. Siberian Ginseng
Siberian ginseng, or Eleutherococcus senticosus, is a distant cousin of American and Asian ginseng. Note how it doesn’t have Panax in the name. Instead of ginsenosides, this herb has active chemicals called eleutherosides.
Siberian ginseng is traditionally used as an immune booster. Like Asian ginseng, it encourages T cell production. Studies have even shown that it reduces the length and severity of colds.
Another advantage is better energy levels. Many people take it for improved cognitive and physical performance.14 This effect is so strong that even cancer patients feel less fatigued after taking Siberian ginseng.
At the same time, this herb has anti-tumor properties. It has the ability to stop multiplication of cancer cells. Combined with its benefits on the immune system, Siberian ginseng may be your new anti-cancer tool.15
Siberian ginseng root tends to look woody and twisted. It’s also brown, stringy, and wrinkled.
Now that you know about the different types of ginseng, you can choose the best one for your needs. The root is available in fresh or dried form. It’s also available as tea, pills, powder, or liquid extract.
|↑1||Chen, Eric YH, and Christy LM Hui. “HT1001, A Proprietary North American Ginseng Extract, Improves Working Memory in Schizophrenia: A Double‐blind, Placebo‐Controlled Study.” Phytotherapy Research 26, no. 8 (2012): 1166-1172.|
|↑2||Shi, Shun, Reika Shi, and Kiyoshi Hashizume. “American ginseng improves neurocognitive function in senescence‐accelerated mice: Possible role of the upregulated insulin and choline acetyltransferase gene expression.” Geriatrics & gerontology international 12, no. 1 (2012): 123-130.|
|↑3||CHIOU, Wen‐fei, and Jun‐tian ZHANG. “Comparison of the pharmacological effects of Panax ginseng and Panax quinquefolium.” Acta Pharmacologica Sinica 29, no. 9 (2008): 1103-1108.|
|↑4||American Ginseng. MedlinePlus.|
|↑5||CHIOU, Wen‐fei, and Jun‐tian ZHANG. “Comparison of the pharmacological effects of Panax ginseng and Panax quinquefolium.” Acta Pharmacologica Sinica 29, no. 9 (2008): 1103-1108.|
|↑6||Szeto, Yim Tong, Yuk Shan Pauline Sin, Sok Cheon Pak, and Wouter Kalle. “American ginseng tea protects cellular DNA within 2 h from consumption: results of a pilot study in healthy human volunteers.” International journal of food sciences and nutrition 66, no. 7 (2015): 815-818.|
|↑7||Mucalo, Iva, Elena Jovanovski, Dario Rahelić, Velimir Božikov, Željko Romić, and Vladimir Vuksan. “Effect of American ginseng (Panax quinquefolius L.) on arterial stiffness in subjects with type-2 diabetes and concomitant hypertension.” Journal of ethnopharmacology 150, no. 1 (2013): 148-153.|
|↑8||American Ginseng. University of Maryland Medical Center.|
|↑9||Asian Ginseng. National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health.|
|↑10||Biondo, Patricia D., Sarah J. Robbins, Jennifer D. Walsh, Linda J. McCargar, Vicki J. Harber, and Catherine J. Field. “A randomized controlled crossover trial of the effect of ginseng consumption on the immune response to moderate exercise in healthy sedentary men.” Applied Physiology, Nutrition, and Metabolism 33, no. 5 (2008): 966-975.|
|↑11, ↑13||Asian ginseng. University of Maryland Medical Center.|
|↑12||Jang, Dai‐Ja, Myeong Soo Lee, Byung‐Cheul Shin, Young‐Cheoul Lee, and Edzard Ernst. “Red ginseng for treating erectile dysfunction: a systematic review.” British journal of clinical pharmacology 66, no. 4 (2008): 444-450.|
|↑14||Siberian ginseng. University of Maryland Medical Center.|
|↑15||Cichello, Simon Angelo, Qian Yao, Ashley Dowell, Brian Leury, and Xiao-Qiong He. “Proliferative and Inhibitory Activity of Siberian ginseng (Eleutherococcus senticosus) Extract on Cancer Cell Lines; A-549, XWLC-05, HCT-116, CNE and Beas-2b.” Asian Pacific journal of cancer prevention: APJCP 16, no. 11 (2015): 4781-4786.|