|Korean Ginseng is regarded as an adaptogen, substances that strengthen and normalize body functions, helping the body deal with various forms of stress. Ginseng may shorten the time that it takes to bounce back from illness or surgery, especially for elderly people. Research on Asian ginseng has included the following:
Asian ginseng could be helpful in treating alcohol intoxication. The herb may accomplish this by speeding up the metabolism (break down) of alcohol, thus, allowing it to clear more quickly from the body (lowering blood alcohol content). Animal research also suggests that Asian ginseng may reduce the absorption of alcohol from the stomach.
Individual reports and animal studies indicate that Asian ginseng may slow the progression of Alzheimer's, decrease senility, and improve memory and behavior. Studies of large groups of people are needed.
Several clinical studies support the use of Asian ginseng in the treament and possible prevention of cancer. A study comparing groups of people over time suggests that regular intake of Asian ginseng may reduce the chances of getting various types of cancer, especially lung, liver, stomach, pancreatic, and ovarian. In this particular study, this benefit was not observed for breast, cervical, or bladder cancers. Preliminary results of other research suggest that Asian ginseng may improve treatment of colon cancer in animals. More research is needed.
Asian ginseng has been reported to improve the symptoms of heart disease in humans. Asian ginseng may decrease "bad" cholesterol levels and raise HDL ("good") cholesterol.
Asian ginseng may help improve blood pressure, although it is generally considered that you should avoid this substance if you have hypertension because it can raise blood pressure. In some studies of red Korean (Asian) ginseng, however, high doses of this herb actually lowered blood pressure.
Type 2 diabetes
Although American ginseng has been better researched for this purpose, both types of Panax ginsengs may lower blood sugar levels in those with type 2 diabetes.
Asian ginseng is widely believed to be capable of enhancing sexual performance. However, studies in people to investigate this are limited. In animal studies, Asian ginseng has increased sperm production, sexual activity, and sexual performance. A study of 46 men has also shown an increase in sperm count as well as motility. Another study in 60 men found that Asian ginseng increased libido (sexual desire) and decreased erection problems.
Immune system enhancement
Asian ginseng is believed to enhance the immune system, which could, in theory, help the body fight off infection and disease. Several clinical studies report that Asian ginseng can improve immune function.
Two well-designed studies evaluating red Korean (Asian) ginseng suggest that this herb may relieve some of the symptoms of menopause, improving mood (particularly feelings of depression) and sense of well-being. The ginseng product was used in combination with a vitamin and mineral supplement..
Mental performance and mood enhancement
Individuals who use ginseng often report that they feel more alert. Several studies report that Asian ginseng can modestly improve thinking or learning. Early research shows that Asian ginseng may improve performance on such things as mental arithmetic, concentration, memory, and other measures. More research in this area, although not easy to do, would be helpful. Effects have also been reported for the combination use of Asian ginseng with Ginkgo biloba .
Mental performance has been assessed using standardized measurements of reaction time, concentration, learning, math, and logic. Benefits have been seen both in healthy young people and in older ill patients.
There have been quite a few studies using Asian ginseng for athletic performance in humans and laboratory animals. Results have not been consistent, with some studies showing increased strength and endurance, others showing improved agility or reaction time, and still others showing no effect at all. Nevertheless, athletes often take Asian ginseng to increase both endurance and strength. Asian ginseng was also found to decrease fatigue in a study of 332 patients.
In patients with severe chronic respiratory disease (such as emphysema or chronic bronchitis), daily treatment with Asian ginseng improved respiratory function, as evidenced by increased endurance in walking.
Stress and well-being
Asian ginseng has long been valued for its ability to help the body deal with stress. A study of 501 men and women living in Mexico City found significant improvements in quality of life measures (energy, sleep, sex life, personal satisfaction, well-being) in those taking Asian ginseng. Several human studies support the use of Asian ginseng to enhance well-being and increase the overall quality of life.