Ginseng: discover what it is, its properties, what it is for and contraindications of Panax ginseng

 Red or Korean Ginseng, Panax ginseng

There are numerous ancient plants, used for centuries for their benefits for the health of the body. One of them is Red Ginseng or Korean Ginseng, whose rich composition has been attributed different therapeutic uses. Learn what are the properties and benefits of Ginseng and start to take advantage of them to feel better and with more energy.

Korean Ginseng is recommended in situations with energy depletion, people with organic weakness, also when there are low defenses, surgical interventions and to prevent flu or colds. In geriatrics it is indicated due to relevant deficiency states.

In this article we will tell you all about red ginseng: what it is, its active principles, its properties and health benefits, how to take Korean Ginseng, how you can make a Ginseng infusion and what are its possible contraindications.

What is the red ginseng?

The Korean Ginseng, Korean or red scientifically called Panax ginseng , is a plant of the Araliaceae family of the genus Panax. Ginseng has been used in oriental medicine for more than 5000 years and is native to the mountains of Korea.

It is a short plant with tuberculous roots, palmate leaves and whitish flowers. The part of Ginseng that is used for medicinal purposes is its root and the medicinal properties of Ginseng are due to the fact that this root is rich in active substances, with different benefits that have been scientifically proven.

Red Ginseng is one that is left to mature for up to 6 years until it is harvested, reaching a higher concentration of active principles in its roots. Its main growing areas are Korea, China, Japan and the United States .

Active ingredients of Red or Korean Ginseng

Among the active principles of Ginseng we can highlight:

  • Triterpenic saponins (2 -3%): Ginsenosides (Ro-R h2). These can be divided into three groups
    • Derivatives of the oleanan group: Being the ginsenoside Ro its only representative
    • Derivatives of the damnarano group (tetracyclic triterpenes): Within which we find two groups
    • Derivatives of protopanaxadiol: Ginsenoside Rb 1 , Rb 2 , Re, Rd, Rh 2 .
    • Derivatives of protopanaxatriol: Ginsenosides Re, Rf, Rg 1, Rg 2 .

Other components:

  • Carbohydrates, including high molecular weight polysaccharides
  • Essential oil or panacene (consisting mainly of polyacetylenes).
  • Vitamins of group B: B1, B2, folic acid or B9, nicotinamide (B3), pantothenic acid (B5), vitamin C and trace elements: Zinc, Copper, Iron, Manganese and Calcium.
  • Other components such as: Beta-sitosterol, starch, pectin, mucilage, free and esterified fatty acids, among others.

Properties and benefits of Korean or red Ginseng


Due to its composition, Korean Ginseng acts beneficially in multiple systems of our body, improving our health and well-being. Among its properties and benefits we can mention:

Properties in the cardiovascular system

  • It has a vasodilator effect and increases central venous tension
  • Ginsenosides activate cholesterol metabolism, thus helping to regulate it. In addition, it has been observed that the administration of saponins (one of the main components of Panax ginseng ) helps to lower the levels of lipids and cholesterol in the blood, which also reduces the risk of atheroma formation.
  • Increases or decreases blood pressure, according to the dose administered .


Endocrine and metabolic properties

  • The intake of Red Ginseng has been associated with an adaptogenic effect, increasing the body’s response to exogenous and chemical stressors, improving nonspecific defenses and thus reducing fatigue and stress .
  • Korean ginseng has also been associated with the decrease of mental and physical fatigue, being observed in multiple clinical trials that it improves physical and mental performance in people and also in animals

Antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties

As an antioxidant, red ginseng works by helping a-tocopherol activity, partially inhibits lipid peroxidation and acts at the enzymatic level.

As an anti-inflammatory, it has been shown in in vitro studies that its saponins modulate the lymphocyte response, regulating the concentration of nuclear polymorphs and thus reducing the release of proteinases and antioxidants that increase the inflammatory response 4,6,7 .

Immunomodulatory properties

  • It stimulates the production of interferon and increases the phagocytic capacity of macrophages, due to its polysaccharides. This results in an improvement of the immune response without toxic effects .

Energy Properties

  • Decreases oxygen consumption and improves cardiac efficiency during exercise


Detoxifying Properties

An increase in ethanol elimination was observed in rats, suggesting its use in alcoholics. In addition, patients who consumed Korean ginseng showed an increase in bromosuftalein elimination and serum zinc concentration, characteristic of liver detoxification mechanisms .

Benefits against diabetes

They occur mainly for two reasons:

  • Lowers blood glucose levels and stimulates insulin release
  • Decreases the damage caused by this disease in liver function, chest pain, back pain, fatigue, thirst and heaviness in the head .


Central nervous system benefits

  • Improves performance and mental capacity, mainly cognitive functions related to memory and learning . This is due to the action of saponins on the central nervous system, since it stimulates cerebral circulation .

Anti-aging effect

  • Korean Ginseg has been shown to decrease tissue degeneration and promote cell proliferation or regeneration . However, its mechanism of action for this benefit has not been determined .


What is Ginseng for?

Due to its multiple therapeutic properties, red Ginseng is provided with different uses as a natural remedy to improve our well-being, among them we find:

  • Regulate cholesterol levels
  • Protect the cardio vascular system
  • Act as an adjunctive treatment against diabetes by lowering blood glucose levels.
  • Decrease stress and fatigue
  • Stimulate the immune system without causing toxicity
  • Energizer to improve sports performance
  • Decrease signs of inflammation
  • Act as an antioxidant
  • Increase physical and mental performance
  • Treat erectile dysfunction and premature ejaculation
  • Fight aging
  • Help in weight loss and appetite regulation
  • Improve memory and ease of learning

How is Panax ginseng taken in?

Red Ginseng can be found in different presentations: fresh or dried root, pills, extracts, and in Korea you can even find Ginseng sweets.

The recommended dose in adults varies depending on the needs of each person and should be prescribed by a health worker. In any case, it should not be consumed for a maximum period of 90 consecutive days. Treatment can be restarted after 30 days off.

How to make a Ginseng infusion?

The root is dried in the sun and pulverized or crushed, then the tea leaves are added.

The leaves absorb the dust and thus transfer its properties. The ready-to-drink product has the same appearance as regular tea. To make the most of this drink, it must be prepared according to the rules of tea preparation:

  • Uses of clay teapots are recommended
  • A water temperature between 80-90 degrees is recommended.
  • 5 or 6 leaves are enough for a cup of water. Preparation time is 2 minutes
  • Good quality ginseng tea is not bitter, its taste is mild.

Contraindications of red or Korean Ginseng

  • It should not be consumed if you suffer from anxiety, excitability or any emotional disorder
  • Ginseng is totally contraindicated during pregnancy and lactation
  • Its use should be supervised in patients suffering from hypertension.
  • It is contraindicated in Parkinson’s patients treated with Levodopa
  • It should always be administered according to the indications of a specialist.



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