Ginseng in any form is expensive. American ginseng included. You can’t and you shouldn’t eat a large amount of it on a daily basis.
So when you are seriously considering taking it, it’s natural to ask if there are any substantial, scientifically supported American ginseng supplement benefits that are relevant to you.
I’ve gone through some of the research available online. A lot of the studies are done on animals; I’ve taken care to not include them here. Here is a sampling of what you might find:
1. More powerful immune cells
After taking a American ginseng extract for two weeks, five out of eight people in a study had more powerful natural killer cells (those that attack invaders in your immune system.)
It’s unfortunate that only a small group of people participated in the study. The more people, the more reliable a study is.
2. Antioxidant effect
And talking about small studies, here’s another, on American ginseng tea. Seven people drank the tea while the other seven drank water.
Cells from the blood samples of the tea drinkers were better protected against oxidative damage, which initiates the process for many diseases including cancer.
This was as good as it gets when you’re trying to figure out whether the whole herb is beneficial. As you will see, most studies focus on specific substances in American ginseng.
3. Alter levels of immune substances
In the lab, polysaccharides in American ginseng can change the level of immune substances that human cells produce.
That’s not to say that it’s totally safe to just extract these polysaccharides and consume them. Outside their natural packages, you never know if you are going to experience side effects when you have higher than normal levels of a particular substance.
4. Prevent and treat colds
There are a few studies out there talking about how a particular American ginseng extract can reduce and treat colds in the elderly and adults.
My first reaction is wow! Time to stock up on American ginseng.
But further research will reveal that these studies are funded by the same company that produces this extract, marketed as Cold FX.
So are these studies credible? I’d suggest reading them to decide for yourself.
My take is that I’d give it a go but not expect too much or depend too much on it.
5. Protect against breast cancer
Again, here is a lab study–done on human cells. Scientists think that American ginseng can fool breast cancer cells with its phytoestrogens.
6. Reduce blood sugar levels
High blood sugar levels lead to higher risks of various diseases. So by ensuring safe blood sugar levels, you’re keeping these preventable diseases at bay.
It looks like American ginseng can lower blood sugar levels, even for people without high levels of blood sugar.
Great news, but please also do your part by minimizing your sugar intake.
Some people can’t take American ginseng.
Like all herbs, the numerous American ginseng supplement benefits aren’t for everyone. Avoid American ginseng if you are taking warfarin, as it can reduce the medication’s effects.
When in doubt, speak to your doctor.
My mother has given me American ginseng powder and slices to help me add some nourishment to my diet.
I particularly love the sliced form because a slice in the mouth brings relief to sore throat.
The powder is good with soup for those who like the bitterness of the herb.
You can get started with the whole root (available here), which can be sliced and enjoyed as a tea (just a few slices each time), or cooked in a soup with chicken.
How would you like to take your American ginseng? Have you experienced any of these or other benefits? You are most welcome to share your thoughts by leaving a comment!