Ginseng: the original 5 hr energy?

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A member of the Panax plant family, ginseng is found within the Northern Hemisphere and is very popular with Asian and Chinese cultures.

For years convenient stores in the US offered ginseng supplements on countertops for spontaneous purchase decades before five-hour energy was widely available and eventually took that counter space. Panax translates to ‘all heal’ in Greek culture which accounts for its popularity and various uses around the globe.

Ginseng is traditionally sold in leaf or dried form, though some cultures use liquid forms of the plant for its healing properties. Used for thousands of years overseas, it is only within the past couple of decades that this herb has been given credit for its varied applications; today it is used for treating ailments, as an aphrodisiac (found in many erectile dysfunctions and other sexual dysfunction supplements), and as an overall stimulant.

There are 11 variations of the ginseng plant although the most commonly referred to and utilized are those of the Panex family. Within this one sub-category, Panex ginseng is found in four forms: raw ginseng, white ginseng which is found only in dried form, red ginseng which takes six years to process is typically only used for medicinal purposes and sun ginseng. The differences between these types rest are not only their properties but how they are processed. For example, red ginseng is steamed prior to drying whereas white ginseng remains peel and dried.

Medicinally researchers are hard at work studying ginseng in an effort to see how it can aid in such illnesses as some diabetes, cancers, and respiratory illnesses, among others. Much of their research has not been completed however and some remain skeptical.

Still, there is a long and recorded history of Koreans, Asians, and the Chinese who have used ginseng for centuries. Colonies still continue today to use some of the Panex ginseng in things such as toothpaste, soaps, and body lotions, in soda and recipes and in tobacco products. Panex ginseng is the only derivative of all the ginseng plants to have heating components and thus is used as a popular medicinal product for those who suffer from poor circulation.

Popular Uses

Panex ginseng is used in a myriad of treatments both psychological and physical. Those who study this herb have found it helpful in treating such things as depression, diabetes, fibromyalgia, migraines, and inflammatory illnesses. It is also widely used in supplements for sexual dysfunction.

Other studies have shown that it is ineffective for treating such things as mood disorders or having the ability to improve performances related to sports, so throughout there is still much-contradicting research and many studies are inconclusive. What is known is that ginseng is classified by the Food and Drug Administration as being a reasonably safe herb to ingest, though some do experience side effects.

Cogitative Functions: In many studies, ginseng has shown to be effective in increasing memory and concentration and when taken with ginkgo Biloba can assist with memory loss in aging adults.

Sexual Dysfunction: Ginseng has long been used as a natural aphrodisiac in other cultures and today many supplement companies that manufacture products for those who suffer from erectile dysfunction and low libido include ginseng as a key component when taken regularly.

Energy: Ginseng works with the endocrine glands and therefore has shown promise with elevating energy levels and decreasing fatigue both in healthy and ill patients. Diabetes: Many studies have concluded that ginseng may help manage type 2 diabetes as it is known to lower blood sugar levels.

Side Effects of Taking Ginseng

While ginseng is safe to take most health care professionals to recommend using it for three month intervals and then giving your body a break. There are a few side effects reported for those who have taken supplements containing ginseng. The most commonly reported is insomnia while a lesser amount of people report changes in their menstrual cycles, headaches, loss of appetite and mood changes.

Ginseng should not be taken by pregnant women or women who are breast-feeding. It also is not safe to take if you have any type of bleeding disorder, unstable blood pressure, endometriosis, and certain forms of cancer or immune illnesses such as multiple sclerosis.

Always seek guidance from a medical professional prior to taking any herbal supplement as they can also interact in a negative way with other medications or current health conditions.

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