Korean Ginseng is an all-natural general wellness supplement used for over 2000 years to increase energy and stamina, boost the immune system, and improve mental function while reducing stress. Taking this popular ground root daily can “boost physical and mental energy without any crash or jitters,” so we had to investigate.
Some of the claims behind this popular natural supplement have been researched, but others are based on traditional uses. On top of lacking independent support, our research team had some concerns about Korean Ginseng due to reports of other possible side effects. Our research team delved into the science of this well-known root to see if this supplement is worth it. Here’s a summary of the findings.
Korean Ginseng, also known as Asian Ginseng or Korean Panax Ginseng, is a plant species belonging to the Araliaceae family.
It is considered native to the mountainous areas of Manchuria, Japan, the Korean Peninsula, and parts of Eastern Siberia.
The root of the Ginseng plant is used mainly as a herbal remedy and is harvested when the plant is around five to six years of age. The older the root gets, the more useful it becomes as an herbal remedy.
Traditionally it has been used as a stress reliever, mood enhancer, inflammation reducer, aphrodisiac, and a tonic to boost mental and physical energy. It is also known for its immunity-boosting abilities and many other health benefits, according to Examine.com.
Ginseng is considered one of the most popular herbal medical remedies in the world and it has been used in far eastern countries for centuries.
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How Did Korean Ginseng Start Being Used?
Ginseng has its history dating back to ancient China with written records regarding its health benefits thought to date back to 100 AD.
It is said that during the 16th century, Ginseng cultivation was so popular that there were disputes regarding the ownership and control over Ginseng fields. Currently, the bulk of the world’s Ginseng is produced in South Korea, China, the United States, and Canada.
South Korea is the largest producer and China is the largest consumer of Ginseng. It is marketed in more than 35 countries in the world, producing billions of dollars in revenue.
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Korean Ginseng Claims
There are many herbal medicinal products containing Korean Ginseng on the market. Korean Ginseng root extract, Korean Ginseng tea, and Korean Red Ginseng are a few forms of Ginseng available. These products claim to have a wealth of health benefits and be natural remedies.
Korean Ginseng-containing products are claimed to boost immunity by strengthening your cellular and chemical framework. It is also said to help you sustain energy on a long-term basis for stamina and endurance and improve sexual performance, as well as improve cognitive function.
Korean Ginseng is claimed to reduce fatigue and enhance blood circulation, providing necessary nutrients and oxygen for tissues, which is manifested in its aphrodisiac properties as well.
In addition to these benefits, these products claim to boost your metabolism by increasing thermogenesis, have a relaxing effect on your brain, thereby helping to combat stress, and promoting anti-aging functions while giving you glowing, healthy skin.
There are many studies that have considered the effectiveness of Ginseng in its purported health benefits and many have shown positive results.
However, all the claims that the herbal medicinal products make are yet to be totally validated.
Korean Ginseng Ingredients
Ginseng is known to contain an array of chemical compounds collectively known as ‘ginsenosides’. These are categorized under Saponins, which are considered unique to the Ginseng species.
More than 100 varieties of ginsenosides have been discovered and different parts of the plant are known to contain different ginsenosides. In addition, there are other compounds contained in Ginseng as well.
Ginseng Fruit – Ginsenoside Re (high concentrations), Ginsenosides Rb1, Rc, Rd, Rg1, and Ginsenine (an indole alkaloid).
Does Korean Ginseng Work?
As history and popularity suggests, Korean Panax Ginseng seems to be effective in its claimed benefits. There has been ample research and numerous studies done that validate certain aspects of the product, however, some claims are yet to be proven.
Its stimulant action is known to relieve fatigue, hence making it effective in treating chronic fatigue syndrome. Despite causing sleep disturbances, it has been known to make sleep easy for individuals who are stressed out.
Historically, Korean Ginseng root has been used to treat certain complications related to pregnancy by midwives and it is recommended by the National Institute of Health as a treatment option for complications associated with pregnancy.
Apart from these benefits, Ginseng has a multitude of health benefits for which it has been used for more than a millennium.
There is a wealth of research and studies found in literature (more than 6000 instances) which show the effectiveness of the product and its purported health benefits.
Benefits & Results
Korean Ginseng Benefits and Results
Korean Ginseng pills are known to have a plethora of health benefits which make it one of the most popular herbal medicinal products in the world.
It exerts its effects on many different systems in the body and helps in the treatment and prevention of a multitude conditions.
Korean Ginseng pills enhance physical performance, improving skeletal muscle health and well-being. It is known to reduce muscle fatigue and improve endurance.
The polysaccharide content of Ginseng is thought to be the component involved in reducing fatigue and improving circulating glucose levels, which helps maintain your strength for a longer time, thereby promoting endurance.
As noted earlier, Ginseng is also known to improve thermogenesis within the body and this property has been demonstrated and proven in a study (published in the Chinese Medical Journal) conducted using rats.
The rats were separated into two groups, and kept in warm and cold conditions. Both groups showed an increase in their body temperatures, after receiving Ginseng.
There have been studies in Psychopharmacology where Ginseng was found to prevent a reduction of appetite, which resulted from situations like surgery and heat.
In contrast, mice studies that used obese rats showed a significant reduction in food intake after the ingestion of Ginseng.
Ginseng seems to benefit both high and low appetite situations in the body.
Ginseng has been known to have mood-enhancing and stabilizing effects for centuries.
Other notable brain effects of Korean Ginseng pills are improved cognition, memory and subsequent improved learning.
A study in the Journal of Psychopharmacology conducted using healthy young adult subjects showed that there was a significant improvement in cognitive performance when given a task like the ‘Serial Sevens Subtraction’, which is considered a standard test for intellectual ability. It is also known to enhance memory with increased hippocampal involvement.
Korean Panax Ginseng is thought to have glucose-lowering abilities through the reduction of absorption from the gut. This ability, however, is attributed only to Korean Red Ginseng products. Ginsenosides contained in Korean Ginseng are known to reduce serum glucose levels by increasing insulin levels in the blood and activating the enzyme AMPK contained in pancreatic and skeletal muscle cells, says a study in Biological and Pharmaceutical Bulletin.
Korean Ginseng and Weight Loss
Korean Ginseng pills are known to boost your metabolism and burn body fat more quickly. It also has blood glucose-lowering properties, which reduce glycogen stores in the body as well. Hence, Korean Panax Ginseng is an effective anti-obesity agent which promotes weight loss.
A mice study (from Phytomedicine) done in Chicago showed a significant reduction in blood glucose and body weight of mice, after treatment with Korean Panax Ginseng.
The other mechanism by which Korean Ginseng pills reduce weight is by way of suppressing the appetite. Even though it is known to be effective in improving your appetite, there are some studies which show Ginseng to be an appetite suppressor.
Studies done on obese rats have shown this effect and it is hypothesized that Ginseng does the same in humans as well.
How to Take Korean Ginseng
Scientific studies have shown that for certain conditions, depending on the individual and their coexisting health conditions, the Ginseng dose must be tailored.
For a person who takes Korean Panax Ginseng as a mood enhancer for fatigue or stress, 500 mg of Korean Ginseng, twice daily, or 1 g once per day is recommended.
To control blood glucose levels, it is advised to take a slightly lower dose of Ginseng; 200 mg once daily.
For individuals who consume Ginseng as an aphrodisiac for erectile dysfunction, it is recommended to take a higher dose of Ginseng, preferably 900 mg three times a day.
Premature ejaculation is another condition treated using Ginseng and it is best to apply an SS-cream which contains Korean Ginseng and other herbal ingredients one hour prior to intercourse to the penis and to wash it off before starting intercourse.
Individuals who use Korean Ginseng and related products for other health conditions should refer to the product documentation and consult their healthcare provider before starting treatment with Ginseng.
Korean Ginseng Tea
It is said that the Chinese have been consuming Ginseng tea for more than 5,000 years. Their herbal medicinal practitioners advise adults to drink a cup of Korean Ginseng tea daily.
Ginseng tea bags are available on the market or you can use the root of the plant yourself to make it at home.
The instructions for making the tea include:
Peel the root and take one tablespoon full of the shavings and put it into a tea filter
Boil the water
Let the water cool for two to three minutes
Pour the water into a teacup and let it steep for 5 minutes
Potential Korean Ginseng Side Effects
Even though herbal products containing Korean Ginseng claim to be all-natural and devoid of side effects, there have been instances of reported side effects with Ginseng usage.
The most frequent side effect as reported by WebMD is the disturbance of sleep owing to its stimulant properties.
Dizziness, headaches, agitation, and gastric disturbances have also been reported in individuals who consumed Ginseng on a long-term basis.
Mild degrees of allergic reaction have been seen in individuals who use Ginseng. It is advised to seek immediate medical attention in the case of symptoms of a serious allergic reaction like itching, swelling of the face or tongue, trouble breathing, rashes, and severe dizziness.
In addition to these, there can be other side effects depending on the individual and the dose. It is best to consult your doctor or pharmacist in the case of the appearance of any such symptom.
Korean Ginseng Product Warnings
As noted above, it is important to let your doctor know about any allergic reactions you have had to Ginseng or you are currently having to other related herbal products.
Some products might contain inactive chemical compounds which can bring about undesirable side effects in certain individuals as well.
Siberian Ginseng is known to be the most potent in this regard. Monitoring your blood glucose levels regularly while using Ginseng products. and being on the lookout for any unusual symptoms.
Liquid forms of Korean Panax Ginseng are known to contain certain amounts of sugar and alcohol. It is advised to exercise caution in individuals who have had a history of liver issues, and people with alcohol dependence.
It is not recommended to use Korean Panax Ginseng during pregnancy. There is no evidence or sufficient information as to whether Ginseng passes into mother’s breast milk, hence it is advised to consult your healthcare provider before using Ginseng while breastfeeding.
Korean Ginseng Interactions
Drug interactions are an important part of any herbal or non-herbal medication and should be taken seriously before using the product. These interactions can make the Korean Ginseng pills less effective, can cause an overly potent reaction, or can give rise to totally new adverse effects.
Drugs known to interact with Ginseng as stated by WebMD include:
Drugs that are known to increase bleeding like blood thinners, anti-platelet drugs, and NSAIDs
Drugs that impair immunity like Prednisone and Cyclosporines
MAO inhibitors like Linezolid, Phenelzine, Rasagiline and Safinamide
diuretics or water pills like bumetanide and furosemide
Herbal products like willow bark and fenugreek
Aspirin can increase the risk of bleeding when taken along with Ginseng, especially in higher doses.
Consulting your doctor or pharmacist is advised before using Korean Ginseng pills with Aspirin.
Caffeine is also known to intensify the side effects of Korean Ginseng pills, hence it is advised to refrain from drinking too much tea, coffee, certain drinks or eating chocolate in excess.
Korean Ginseng Alternatives
Korean Panax Ginseng is known to have many health benefits which makes it a difficult product to replace.
If you have allergies to Ginseng or you are suffering from a medical condition that warrants the discontinuation of Ginseng, there are some healthy alternatives you can resort to such as:
Rhodiola is an alternative that is native to the arctic European regions, Alaska, and Asia. Its root extract is used as a medicine and it has similar health benefits to Korean Panax Ginseng. It has stimulant properties which help in boosting energy, strength, stamina, and mood.
It is also an adaptogen which assists in going through physical, environmental, and chemical stresses. These adaptogenic and stimulant properties are effective in enhancing athletic and sexual performance in males.
Common Nettles are another alternative that can be used in place of Ginseng.
They are high in nutrients like zinc, iron, silica, folic acid, vitamin B2, and vitamin B5. It is also known to have restorative and tonic properties which are brought about by increasing the adrenal gland’s efficiency.
Nettles can be consumed as nettle tea, in fresh juice form, added to soup, or steaming nettle leaves.
What Users Are Saying
What Users Are Saying
“After age 52, my wife often get tired easily. Chinese medical doctor recommended Korean Ginseng (must be “Korean”). It helps my wife return back to energetic life style.”
“This product is a waste of money and did not make a bit of difference. Save yourself the time and money and invest in something that will actually work.”
“I have been taking 2 a day for nearly 60 days now. I do not feel any difference in my energy levels. I will edit this review if I find myself feeling worse when the bottle is all gone by the end of the week. But, this item does not work for me. The company did send me a free bottle of another item though. 5 stars for them!”
The Bottom Line on Korean Ginseng
Have we decided Korean ginseng is a supplement to try? Well, if you are looking to support overall health and wellness, there are less effective options. But, if you want to promote weight-loss, we have reservations about suggesting this ingredient. We found no research that shows any real benefit in this regard.
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There are both common and uncommon side effects associated with the use of Korean ginseng. Rare, but potential, side effects include stomach upset, headache, menstrual problems, dizziness, and breast pain.
What is Korean Ginseng Extract used for?
An improvement in overall health is the primary reason for Korean ginseng use. Additionally, Korean ginseng has proven effective in strengthening the immune system, and alleviating stress. Several types of ginseng are available. Asian ginseng, derived from Korean and Chinese sources, is used for treatment of erectile dysfunction, and mental clarity.
Is Panax Ginseng the Same as Red Ginseng?
Korean Ginseng is sometimes called Red ginseng. It is derived from the white ginseng plant, or the Chinese plant. There is still one big difference, and that is the fact that Korean ginseng is steamed after it has dried. The steaming process causes it to turn red and alters the effects slightly.
What are the ingredients in Korean ginseng?
Panax ginseng is the main ingredient in all the different brands of Korean ginseng supplements.
What are the side effects of Korean ginseng?
The inability to fall asleep is the most common side effect.
Does Korean ginseng work?
Korean ginseng is used to improve stamina, clear the mind, and correct erectile dysfunction.
What is the price of Korean ginseng?
The price of a bottle of Korean ginseng varies. Online prices range from $2.99 for 90 400 mg capsules to $25.12 for 30 1000 mg capsules.
Where can I buy Korean ginseng?
Consumers can buy Korean ginseng at any supplement online retailer or at their local health food store that sells supplements.
How should I take Korean ginseng?
Korean Ginseng comes in capsules and should be taken orally.
How do I contact Korean ginseng customer service?
Since there are many supplement retailers who sell Korean ginseng, consumers can go to their favorite retailer’s website and go to the ‘contact’ section. They will find the retailer’s physical address, phone number, and email address where they can contact customer service.
Can I return Korean ginseng?
Return policies vary by retail store, and some may offer a money back guarantee or an exchange of equal value. Consumers should go online and review the return policy of the retailer where they plan to purchase the product.
What are the most common complaints about Korean ginseng?
Some users have experienced headaches, nervousness, and dizziness after taking Korean ginseng. These issues are rare.