Traditional Chinese medicine has used ginseng for centuries for its energy restorative and healing properties.
Although there are many types of ginseng, North American ginseng (Panax quinquefolius) along with Asian ginseng (Panax ginseng) are the most popular and widely available.
If you are looking to incorporate this humble little super root into your diet, it is safe and incredibly easy to do — here’s what you need to know about consuming ginseng.
What type of ginseng is best for you?
North American and Asian ginseng differ in their active compounds and effects on the body. Generally, North American ginseng is said to be a relaxing agent, whereas Asian ginseng is believed to be more energizing.
Ginseng contains an active compound called ginsenosides. The primary difference between North American ginseng and Asian ginseng is the level of active compound in each. The ginsenoside compound in Panax quinquefolius works to provide many health benefits.
Where can I buy North American ginseng?
If you are looking to purchase North American ginseng it’s advised to purchase from a qualified ginseng retailer or certified seller who displays our “Running Root” seal on their products.
Is ginseng easy to add to your diet?
Yes! You can consume ginseng root in many ways. A fresh root can be eaten raw or steamed lightly to soften it. Dried ginseng root can be found whole, sliced or powdered. Ginseng root extract is also available as an oil, tablet, or capsule.
If you want to get creative in the kitchen, tea can be made by brewing it in water. Simply add sliced ginseng to hot water and let it steep for a few minutes. Also, ginseng can be added to your favourite recipes such as soups and stir-fries.
How much ginseng should I take?
The amount you should take depends on the condition you want to improve. As a general rule, 1–2 grams of raw ginseng root or 200–400 mg of extract can be taken daily. It is best practice to start things off slow and gradually increase the dosage as your body adjusts.
Choose an extract that contains 2–3% ginsenosides and consume it before meals for maximum absorption.
Is North American ginseng safe?
Consuming ginseng is generally regarded as safe and should not have any severe side effects according to many studies.
Ginseng is safe for people with diabetes, but due to its ability to lower blood sugar, diabetics who are taking medications should monitor their blood sugar levels closely when ingesting this herb. Ginseng products are not recommended for children or women who are pregnant or breastfeeding.
The use of ginseng over an extended period could diminish its effects on the body. For best results, take ginseng every 2–3 weeks with a one or two-week break in between.
A well-known herbal supplement, Panax quinquefolius ginseng has been used traditionally for centuries in Chinese medicine. Ginseng is recognized for its anti-inflammatory effects and antioxidant properties. In addition, ginseng may support the immune system, improve brain function, fight fatigue, and much more!
If you are looking to improve a health condition or simply boost your general well-being, ginseng certainly deserves your attention.
At the Ontario Ginseng Growers Association (OGGA), we’re passionate about educating consumers about high-quality, North American ginseng. Visit our website to learn more about this amazing plant—including some recipe ideas for adding ginseng into your daily routine!—or reach out to learn more about how you can get involved.