Ginseng: the root of your well-being
The concept of “physical condition” is focused on well-being. This concept is understood as the state or ability to carry out activities of the daily life with strength. Such “fitness” implies proper cardiac, respiratory, immune, metabolic, brain and body functions.
Did you know that Ginseng is associated with good physical condition?
Some situations that may change the physical condition are: fatigue, the stresses of daily routine, physical exercise, lack of sleep, overweight, growth and aging, among many others. Fatigue and tiredness lead us to higher demands of nutrients, which are provided by a good and balanced diet, which sometimes can be complemented with nutritional supplements, such as Ginseng.
Ginseng is an ally to promote the complete wellness1 of your body because it helps improve the use of energy and avoid the appearance of fatigue, as well as maintain the normal flow of cognitive, cardiovascular, sexual and muscle functions10.
What is Ginseng?
Ginseng is a plant and is known by its botanical name Panax ginseng. This plant has been used in East Asia for hundreds of years. It is used as tonic and restorative. It has traditionally been divided into two categories:
- Short term: To facilitate stamina and concentration4.
- Long term: To promote well-being in conditions of physical and mental exhaustion, especially in older adults7.
The word Panax means “all-healing” in Greek. The root of ginseng is known as Korean ginseng and as the lord or king of herbs9, as it has got a human form. There are other types of ginseng, such as American and Indian.
What are the properties of Ginseng?
It is considered a tonic with adaptogen, stimulant and aphrodisiac properties5. Furthermore, it is present in monographs in the pharmacopoeias from China, United Kingdom, Germany, USP-NF, or Europe, among others.
The EMA (European Medicines Agency, 200812) defines the concept of adaptogen as a metabolic regulator. An adaptogen increases the adaptive capacity of organisms against changing environmental factors.
How does Ginseng work?
The active ingredients of Korean ginseng are saponins (ginsenosides), fatty acids, polysaccharides, amino acids, polyacetylene alcohols, vitamins, some minerals and enzymes. Ginseng polysaccharides, especially Ginsan, have shown immunostimulant activity6,8.
Ginsenosides are responsible for most of the activities of this plant. They are classified according to the structure of their saponins3,8 into two groups:
- Panaxadiol: exerts neuroprotective, anti-inflammatory and antioxidant activity.
- Panaxatriol: Actúa como modulador del crecimiento y metabolismo de células y de tejidos.
Traditionally recognised benefits of Ginseng
- Ginseng contributes positively to mental performance and the cognitive function (memory, verbal fluency), due to its activity in the central nervous system.
- Relieves fatigue and stress.
- The immunostimulant activity of its active ingredients contributes to maintaining a normal immune function.
- Ginseng has got antioxidant capacity.
- Contributes to normal blood glucose levels. This favours the correct flow of metabolism, physical performance (coordination and fatigue resistance) and cardiovascular wellness.
- Contributes to normal sexual function and enhances erection quality.
- Choi, K. T. Botanical characteristics, pharmacological effects and medicinal components of Korean Panax ginseng C A Meyer. Acta Pharmacol Sin. 2008
- Hou, C.-W. et al. Improved Inflammatory Balance of Human Skeletal Muscle during Exercise after Supplementations of the Ginseng-Based Steroid Rg1. PLoS One. 2015
- Kennedy, D. O. et al. Ginseng: potential for the enhancement of cognitive performance and mood. Pharmacol Biochem Behav, 2003
- Kiefer, D. et al. Panax ginseng. Am Fam Physician, 2003
- Kitts, D. et al. Efficacy and safety of ginseng. Public Health Nutr, 2000
- Lü, J. M. et al. Ginseng compounds: an update on their molecular mechanisms and medical applications. Curr Vasc Pharmacol, 2009
- Nocerino, E. et al. The aphrodisiac and adaptogenic properties of ginseng. Fitoterapia, 2000
- Ru, W. et al. Chemical constituents and bioactivities of Panax ginseng (C. A. Mey.). Drug Discov Ther, 2015
- Yun, T. K. Brief introduction of Panax ginseng C.A. Meyer. J Korean Med Sci, 2001
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- Hellhammer, J. et al. Effects of soy lecithin phosphatidic acid and phosphatidylserine complex (PAS) on the endocrine and psychological responses to mental stress. Stress, 2004