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Ginseng—From Diabetes to Stress to Overall Feelings of Well-Being, How This Herb May Help our Health

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In the first part of this article, we went over what the different types of ginseng are called and how and why they work in our body to help us with a variety of health issues. One thing that ginseng seems to be especially adept at is helping us with stress.

Speaking of stress—and these days, who isn’t—these adaptogenic properties of ginseng may lead to an increase in the way you feel about your quality of life. Back in 1996, 501 adults who were under stress from a lot of physical and mental work were given either a multivitamin with ginseng, or one without it. After 12 weeks, the subjects who got the ginseng had higher quality of life ratings. Again, other studies were not as conclusive, and a 2003 review of research on ginseng concluded that while ginseng is probably not the be-all, end-all answer to improving quality of life, taking the herb really did seem to lead to the improvement of some aspects of this, like having a better mood and increased sense of well-being. It was concluded that more research is definitely needed on this subject.

Other interesting studies of ginseng link it to helping people with type 2 diabetes. In one case, 36 people who had just been diagnosed with non-insulin dependent diabetes were given 100 or 200 mg of Panax ginseng. After eight weeks there were improvements in fasting blood glucose levels, mood, and psychophysical performance. The higher 200 mg dose also was shown to help improve A1C levels.

If you decide to give ginseng a try, especially if you want to use it for a specific health issue like diabetes, be sure to run it past your physician first. Please note that while ginseng has been widely studied, there isn’t a lot of information about how taking it long-term may affect us. Because of this, it is suggested that we take ginseng for only about three months at a time before taking a break. Also, because it acts as a stimulant for many people, it’s best to cut back on caffeine while taking it, or else nervousness or sleeplessness may result. Patients with high blood pressure, an irregular heart rhythm, or pregnant women are not supposed to take ginseng.

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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.

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