Supplements

Korean Ginseng | Benefits & Side Effects

Ginseng is a natural product with a long history of medicinal and health-related uses. Traditionally, it has been most widely used in China. However, in recent years it has become a staple of homoeopathic treatments in the West and is fast spreading in popularity among the fitness community. But what is Korean ginseng? Why is it so popular? Is it a cure-all, or should users be cautious?

What Is Korean Ginseng?

Ginseng is a root. It is derived from plants of the genus Panax. Ginseng is grown in a number of locations including China, Canada and America. A similar plant also grows in Siberia and is often referred to as Ginseng but is not widely considered to have the same benefits.

Korean Ginseng is widely believed to have been used for over 5000 years. Originally it was used for food, but its health-giving properties quickly became apparent. In Chinese medicine, it has been lauded for encouraging “yang” energy. This is considered to be positive, masculine energy (though this is certainly noted to say Ginseng is a male-specific product).

Korean Ginseng Benefits

The benefits of ginseng are wide-reaching. Overall, it is a great immune booster, which can be taken to ward off illnesses. It is an excellent energy giver, stimulating blood supply and circulation. It is often used as a booster for those suffering fatigue. This is great if you want to maximise your workout and your recovery after the gym.

However, it also has stress-reducing properties. This is because the root is an adaptogen. Taking ginseng makes your brain work more efficiently, combatting feelings of being overwhelmed. So it will appeal to those that like to use their workouts to de-stress and clear their head.

In improving circulation, ginseng helps to promote healthy blood pressure, which in turn helps avoid heart disease. In addition, healthy blood flow also ensures that muscles get the oxygen they need during and after exercise.

Ginseng has also been attributed to alleviating symptoms of depression. This in part is due to Ginseng encouraging the release of feel-good endorphins. So if you want to ramp up your work out buzz, this is the supplement for you.

Women who have irregular periods may also be recommended ginseng to help to control their menstrual cycle. Ginseng also offers many anti-ageing properties, and so it is commonly found in beauty products and wellbeing supplements. When compared with other varieties of ginseng, Korean ginseng is the most powerful. It has a higher percentage of ginsenosides.

Korean Ginseng Side Effects

As ginseng is a stimulant, it is important to ensure you do not take too much of it. You may experience feeling jittery as your body has an excess of energy. If you find you are struggling with insomnia or poor sleep, refrain from taking any ginseng after midday. If it persists, leave it altogether.

Equally, if you find you are experiencing headaches or nausea, cut out your ginseng intake to check that is not the cause. As with other stimulants such as high caffeine products, ginseng is not recommended for pregnant women.  As with many supplements, ginseng powders and tablets can be mixed with impure and even harmful products. As a precaution, always use a trusted brand or one recommended by a health professional.

Korean Ginseng Tablets vs. Powder

Korean Ginseng is often taken as either a tablet or a powder. But which is best?

Tablets are easy and convenient. They can be carried around without worrying about spills or measuring them out when you need them. Tablets are also pre-measured into doses, which takes out any effort in getting the exact amount you need for the results you want. For example, if you want some pre-workout energy, you can pop in a tablet as you get changed at the gym.

Powders, on the other hand, require more effort. However, their reward is you get greater control over what you take. For example, if you think you need just a little more or less ginseng before you work out, you can make that change next time you take it and keep adjusting from there.

Powders are also often considered to be faster acting than tablets. This is because they are often much more potent.

Korean Ginseng Tea

Ginseng tea is widely available in pre-packaged teabags and loose leaf tea.

It makes an excellent alternative to tea, coffee and energy soft drinks to give you a boost during the day. Some blends incorporate green tea, matcha and other ingredients to maximise the health-giving properties. It is also very low in calories and does not require milk. In this way, it is an excellent drink for those who are looking to reduce their calorie consumption.

As with tablets, this form makes ginseng very easy to transport and consume throughout the day. You can top up on your intake while hardly noticing.

So, are you a Ginseng convert? This powerful little plant does something for everyone. How can it help you?

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Casey Walker

Casey Walker

Experienced Sports Nutrition Technologist

Casey Walker is an experienced sports nutrition new product development technologist. He holds a Bachelor of Science in Sports and Exercise Science and a Master of Science in Sports Sciences and Physiology. Casey’s scientific research area of expertise lies in the effects of dietary nitrates on sprint performance and exercise-induced muscle damage. He has also worked as a sports scientist for a medal-winning Paralympic track cyclist, with a goal of qualifying for the Rio 2016 Paralympics. Find out more about Casey’s experience here: https://uk.linkedin.com/in/casey-walker-9882088b. In his spare time, Casey is a keen middle-distance runner with an interest in triathlon. He’s always looking out for the latest blends and supplements to improve his half-marathon time and recovery.


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