Different Types of Ginseng
There are three types of herbs known as ginseng. They include:
• Asian or Korean ginseng
• American Ginseng grown in the U.S.
• Siberian Ginseng
Asian ginseng is a perennial herb with a large main root that resembles the human body. It grows in northern China, Korea and Russia. Ginseng must be grown for at least five years before it's harvested. It commands a high price for top-quality roots with some selling for more than $10,000. Dried, unprocessed ginseng root is called "white" ginseng. Steamed, heat-dried root is known as "red" ginseng and you will find that Chinese herbalists believe they each have their own benefits. Ginseng contains many chemicals known as ginsenosides that come in different concentrations from different species of ginseng.
Benefits and Uses
Ginseng is well known for its many benefits in diabetics because it can decrease blood sugar and serum cortisol levels. In vitro, ginseng has been shown to increase the lifespan of cells for an anti-aging effect. Ginseng may reduce cholesterol and triglyceride levels plus it stimulates the immune system by enhancing white blood cell and antibody functions.
Ginseng can elevate blood pressure so it's not something you want to take if you already have high blood pressure or are taking any kind of medication. Ginseng may increase levels of digitalis drugs. Siberian ginseng appears to have greater safety due to standardized extracts. This particular form of ginseng offers antioxidant benefits but also lowers high blood pressure and raises low blood pressure, dilates coronary arteries and produces a mild diuretic effect. Side effects are rare unless high doses are taken so it is important to follow all directions on the label.
Excessive doses have been shown to raise blood pressure, increase heart rate and could cause other side effects. If any caffeine is consumed, it can increase the effects of ginseng. Panax ginseng is very expensive so most products actually contain very little. It is always good to check with your healthcare practitioner before taking ginseng on a regular basis. Tarnishing its effects with other herbs and caffeine is not unusual.
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Sherry L. Granader is a Sports Nutritionist, National Speaker and Spokesperson, Author of 2 healthy cookbooks, Writer, Ghost Writer, Nationally Certified Fitness Instructor and Personal Trainer. She has shared the stage with such celebrities as Whoopi Goldberg, Suze Orman and the late Governor Ann Richards and served as the On-Air Nutritionist for QVC television in the United States and the UK. She has cooked for her favorite bodybuilder, Lou Ferrigno (The Incredible Hulk) and his family, shared her nutrition expertise with Chuck Norris on the set of his movie "Sidekicks" and appeared on 8-time Mr. Olympia, Lee Haney's Championship Workouts on ESPN. Sherry hosted her own "Healthy Living" show on PBS for several years. For more information on Sherry, visit www.sgfit.com or write to Sherry at firstname.lastname@example.org.