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Ginseng—What is it and Why Should we Think About Taking it for our Health

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Ginseng is an herb that some people take in supplement form to help with different types of health issues. Over in Asia, ginseng has been used for literally thousands of years as anything from an energy and immune system booster, stress reliever, and concentration enhancer. Here in the United States, ginseng is gaining in popularity for these same reasons as well as for its natural antioxidant powers, and it’s pretty easy to find in both supplement form and added to some juice blends and other drinks. The next time you are at the grocery store, check out one of the popular energy drink brands—chances are good it will contain ginseng (along with a lot of other ingredients that tend to give these drinks a bad name, like caffeine, etc.)

Ginseng, or panax ginseng as it is technically known, has its potential healing powers right inside the root. You can find ginseng in different forms. The classic, or panax type is called either Asian, Chinese, or Korean and it tends to be very easy to find. Siberian ginseng and American ginseng are other forms of the herb.

In order to get any possible health benefits from ginseng, it’s important to be sure you are purchasing a high-quality version of the herb. The active ingredient is called ginsenosides, and honestly, a lot of products that claim to contain ginseng probably don’t have a really high level of this substance. So if you want to try ginseng, do your research first and make sure that what you are spending your hard-earned money on contains enough ginsenosides to make it worthwhile.

The word “panax” comes from the Greek word meaning “all-healing,” so in some cultures ginseng is thought to help pretty much the entire body. Quite honestly, part of this probably stems from the fact that the ginseng root is often shaped like a human body, so there might be some folklore attached to this notion. But really, in my research for the articles on ginseng and its health benefits, I did find a remarkable amount of scientific evidence that ginseng can be helpful for a pretty impressive list of health issues.

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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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