It’s simply amazing how natural herbs and foods can have multiple, wonderful health benefits! Take for instance ginseng (usually Korean/Asian Red Ginseng, Panax ginseng), it lives up to its cure-all description (Panax means “all-curing/healing” in Greek)! Add another health benefit to the list! Recently published research in Nutrients has demonstrated that ginseng can help treat and prevent influenza!
Research found that using red ginseng daily over the long term can prevent the effects of influenza A. Influenza is a deadly respiratory illness that affects millions each year with new strains having the capability of spreading rapidly worldwide! Over the long term, daily oral administration of red ginseng improved the survival of lung epithelial cells infected with influenza and also reduced associated inflammation! The researchers hypothesized that this could be due to the immune-modifying effects of red ginseng that prevented or reduced the symptoms of the flu!
Six Other Amazing Benefits
Ginseng has been found to have a number of other amazing benefits! Although there are dozens (if not hundreds), below are six additional uses of ginseng (most commonly the Korean/Asian red ginseng).
Reverses Lung Damage from Asthma: Due to the serious side effects of current asthma therapies, such as osteoporosis and cataracts, scientists are searching for better alternatives. One promising alternative was published in the journal Allergy and Asthma Proceedings. This research found that mice that were given ginseng daily had a reduction in the symptoms of chronic lung damage associated with murine (mice) asthma. This could potentially be a future treatment for human sufferers.
Prevents Bad Breath: A 2009 study published in the journal Digestion found that red ginseng can help prevent bad breath that is associated with Helicobacter pylori bacteria. In fact, after 10 weeks of supplementation, bad breath was reduced completely!
Effective Against Obesity: Research published in the journal Phytotherapy Research found that a red ginseng constituent, ginsenoside Rg3, helped inhibit cells from completing the storage of fat. Likewise, it was found that when mice were administered wild ginseng orally they had a loss of body weight compared to control mice!
Reduces Allergy Symptoms: A 2012 study published in the journal Allergy, Asthma & Immunology Research found that fermented red ginseng had the ability to reduce allergy symptoms by reducing inflammation! The anti-inflammatory ability of fermented red ginseng was determined by giving participants six 250 mg pills of fermented red ginseng a day! It was found to reduce their allergy symptoms and improve their quality of life!
Fights Fatigue: Ginseng is a natural energy booster and can be used to help fight fatigue and give energy to cancer and multiple sclerosis patients! Researchers at the Mayo Clinic found that a daily dose of Wisconsin ginseng (at least 1,000 mg) could improve cancer patients’ quality of life by fighting fatigue and improving their energy!
Stimulates Hair Growth: For centuries, the Chinese have used ginseng for medicinal purposes, and this was commonly one of them. Ginseng can help the body adapt to stress! Stress is a known factor for hair loss (along with a number of other things). You can find many shampoos that have ginseng in them, or you can take a ginseng supplement orally as well!
Side Effects of Ginseng
As with any nutritional recommendation, it’s always a good idea to consume in moderation! There are several considerations to keep in mind before you start supplementing ginseng into your diet. First, there are some common side effects of restlessness, elevated heart rate, headaches/dizziness and nausea that can accompany ginseng supplementation. Likewise, if you are on a heart disease, other cardiovascular or blood clotting medication, you should not take ginseng due to the blood pressure and heart implications (see your doctor before taking ginseng).
Ginseng truly is an amazing plant and lives up to its name as a cure-all! Although it has been used medicinally for at least 5,000 years, we are still discovering its uses! Next time you are experiencing anything from fatigue to hair loss, take a look at this natural cure-all!