This article is part of a series giving information about herbs and their medicinal properties. We are going to look at Korean ginseng in this article. You will find out what this herb is, how you can use it and the conditions that could be helped by Korean ginseng.
What is Korean Ginseng?
Korean ginseng is often also known as Chinese ginseng and is probably one of the most widely used and acclaimed herbs available. It comes in a couple of varieties and you will often hear them referred to as white or red ginseng. The plant grows on moist shaded mountainsides in Korea, China and Russia and is a perennial herb. It has dark green leaves and red berries and can grow to a height of 2 ft (60cm) or more. The root is the part that is used for medicinal purposes and is very slender and some even say if has similarities to the human body in appearance.
How to use Korean Ginseng
You can get Korean ginseng from your health food store in a variety of different ways. Depending on where you look you will be able to find it as whole root, powder, liquid extracts and teas. You may also be able to get powder capsules as well and you should take them as indicated on the packet. Many herbal teas that you find in your local supermarket will also contain ginseng. If you are going to take the herb it is recommended that for each week taken you should have a few days away from the herb.
If you would like to make a tea you can do this will the whole root. You should slice it up using about 1 to 5 grams and cover with water. Bring to the boil and allow to boil for 10 minutes of more, then strain and flavour with honey to taste. Many experts say that you should not use metal pots as that can affect the antioxidant properties of the herb.
Uses of Korean Ginseng
Korean ginseng is a widely used herb and has a large number of benefits. As a result a lot of research has been carried out on it to determine the medical benefits. It is thought that Korean ginseng can help a person to deal with stress and bring themselves back into balance. It is often used as a herb for general health and many Chinese herbalists will recommend it for the weak or elderly. It has also been associated with memory improvement and so could be very useful for people suffering from dementia. It is also a great tonic for those who suffer from exhaustion or chronic illness.
Some studies have also shown that it has anti-fatigue abilities and so can be very useful for people who are suffering from things like chronic fatigue syndrome. In addition studies on animals have shown that it can help lower blood sugar by facilitating the release of insulin which could make it useful for diabetics. Other studies have shown that it has anticancer properties and also that it can be useful for people suffering from AIDS. In addition it is thought to help with cholesterol reduction as well as impotence.
Side Effects and Precautions
There are a number of different types of ginseng so it is important to do your research and get the one that is best for you. Korean ginseng is not recommended for people suffering from ulcers, high blood pressure, tension headaches, nervousness, mental imbalance, inflammation, fever and symptoms associated with high levels of stress. It is also not recommended for pregnant or lactating women as well as women of child bearing age. It is better for the elderly and weak and often not given to young people.
The side effects are usually mild but some people can suffer from overstimulation, irritability, nervousness, and insomnia. If you take too much ginseng or do not have a break it can cause things like headaches, insomnia, seeing spots, dizziness, shortage of breath and gastrointestinal discomfort. Long term use can cause menstrual abnormalities and breast tenderness in some women.
In terms of interactions you should seek medical advice it you are using hormonal drugs before taking ginseng. In addition as it is a stimulant you should not take ginseng with caffeine as this can cause over stimulation.
By: Mercedes Aspland
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