Ginseng tea is widely used to boost energy, the immune system, mental alacrity, and help with other health conditions. Widely used in Chinese medicine, the scientific benefits of ginseng tea are now coming to light.
Ginseng: Benefits of Drinking Ginseng Tea
The active compound in this tea is called ginsenosides. While all ginseng tea contains some ginsenosides, the amount depends on how it is processed and whether the manufacturer uses the best part of the root. Look for teas with 3-7 % ginsenosides. Some teas contain a lower percentage or even none at all.
There are different processes through which this tea is manufactured and which ultimately create either the red or white type of ginseng. For ginseng to be red, also known as Panax ginseng, Chinese or Korean ginseng, the root must be unpeeled and steamed before it is dried. White ginseng is air dried and may have fewer therapeutic benefits.
Benefits and remedies
- Eases menstrual pain: Ginseng tea, both the red and white varieties, are widely known for their calming effect. By relaxing the stomach area, the tea can help with the abdominal pain and bloating caused by menstruation.
- Boosts cognitive alertness: Ginseng tea is widely used in energy drinks, to boost cognitive alertness. By increasing the body’s overall energy, it can help with mental acuity too. The University of Maryland Medical Center reports that people taking ginseng demonstrate increased memory, better concentration and an improved ability to think abstractly.
- Improves digestion: Ginseng tea is also helpful in the digestion of food. It can ease bloating, constipation, flatulence, and anecdotally, it has been found to reduce the symptoms of Crohn’s Disease.
- Lowers cholesterol: Ginseng has saponins that stimulate the transport of cholesterol and the enzymes that are related to the metabolism of cholesterol. Saponins can reduce the amount of bad cholesterol in the blood while keeping the good cholesterol, according to the National Institutes of Health.
- Boosts immune health: Ginseng tea also assists in making the immune system stronger by boosting certain immune system cells and also the efficacy of its stress adaptors. In a study of patients with bronchitis, a congestive lung disease, ginseng enhanced the function of certain immune components in the bronchi.
- Clears respiratory system: Ginseng tea helps clear the air passageways and blocked sinuses. It can help with asthma patients, severe coughing and colds, chest ailments and pneumonia.
- May help prevent cancer: The ginsenosides are said to be effective at preventing the growth of cancer cells in the body. Studies have found that ginseng may help to shrink tumors and prevent cancers of the stomach, ovaries, liver and lungs. In addition, ginseng may help with some of the side effects of radiation and chemotherapy, so talk to your doctor or naturopathic doctor if you wish to use this as an alternative treatment.
- Helps with chronic pain: Studies have revealed that ginseng has anti-inflammatory characteristics. Herbalists use the tea to help with conditions associated with inflammation, such as arthritis and other forms of chronic pain.
- Increases male libido: Ginseng plant is widely known to be an aphrodisiac. It contains components that boost the output of nitric oxide in the male organs. Nitric oxide can help in fighting erectile dysfunction. In studies conducted, men who previously had erectile dysfunction could have better erection scores and get sexual satisfaction after eight weeks of using ginseng. Nitric oxide allows the blood to flow in the organ and relaxes the organ’s arteries.
- Helps stabilize blood sugar: Studies have found that the active compound Ginsenosides can help control blood sugar. Other studies have found it helps the pancreas function properly and increases the body’s response to insulin by stimulating the insulin receptors.
- An alternative cure for radiation: Several studies have found that ginseng tea gives protection against radiation-induced DNA damage. It is widely used as a complementary medicine for persons undergoing radiation treatment.
- Slows cell aging: by boosting the blood supply, ginseng may help slow cell aging and mental degeneration, according to preliminary studies. However, more research is needed.
Potential side effects
- Insomnia: Ginseng gives the body energy, making it more alert and attentive. This could lead insomnia, so avoid taking just before bed.
- Hypoglycemia: Low blood sugar levels are most likely to happen if diabetics are not careful when using ginseng. If taken with blood sugar lowering drugs, hypoglycemia could happen, so talk to your doctor if diabetic or on hypoglycemic drugs.
- Bleeding: Since ginseng can improve the blood flow, it can also reduce blood clotting. Therefore, it is not advisable to use ginseng if a person is planning to have an operation or surgery anytime soon, or if taking blood-thinning medications.
- Drug interaction: There are some drug interactions between ginseng and some prescription medicines. If you are taking medications for diabetes, cholesterol, monoamine oxidase inhibitors; morphine; blood pressure medications; heart and blood pressure medications; stimulants, including caffeine; and blood thinners—even aspirin, talk to our doctor or naturopathic doctor about ginseng. It could cause a drug interaction.
Ginseng has long been used in Chinese medicine, and for good reason. It can boost immune system health, energy, cognitive alertness, lower cholesterol, increase male libido, and ease menstrual pain. However, if drinking the tea, opt for the red, not white ginseng, for more therapeutic benefits. And choose a tea with 3-7 % ginsenosides, for maximum effect. You can drink a cup daily without over-dosing, however, if you have any negative side effects, either lower the dose or stop drinking altogether.