DeMystifying Ginsengs – Variations on a Theme
Of all the herbs and roots that might be considered exotic, ginseng is probably the most popular. Ginseng isn’t one particular plant or root, or even a particular family
of plants. It’s just a collection of various shrubs across the world that are labeled as a form of ginseng when they exhibit some effects on human health. The nutrients of the ginseng plant are typically found in its roots. Ginseng can be chewed, brewed, swallowed or stewed.
Originally ginseng referred to a family of plants called Panax ginseng. Panax plants are also known as American Ginseng and Red Ginseng. The other types got their name when discovered to have remarkable health benefits. Ginseng was originally used as an herbal medicine in ancient China. There are written records about its properties dating back to about 100 A.D. Traditional Chinese medical literature is an important resource for understanding ginseng because virtually all proponents of ginseng refer to its long history of use as a reason to recommend it as a health product.
The Different Types of Ginseng
Here are the major types of ginseng that are used in herbal medicines:
• American Ginseng: Panax Quinquefolius – Good for fighting fatigue and improving cellular health in general.
• Red/Korean Ginseng: Panax Ginseng – The original one. A good metabolic regulator that perks up your cells in a variety of environments.
• Indian Ginseng: Withania Somnifera – Has a variety of neuro-protective effects, might improve some forms of cognition, a powerful anti-oxidant, and anti-inflammatory.
• Siberian Ginseng: Eleutherococcus Senticosus – Excels at allowing your body to cope with metabolic stress. It’s a cellular regulator, and provides a sustained energy boost and improvement in physical performance. Also called Siberian Eleuthero root.
• Brazilian Ginseng: Pfaffia Paniculata – Improves physical performance and scavenges free radicals within the body.