Ginseng (Panax ginseng), also known as Chinese/Asian/Korean ginseng is a plant species whose root is used for its beneficial properties. It's a perennial plant that grows in East Asia and has been used in traditional medicine for centuries for its health properties.
One of the reasons ginseng is expensive is because it takes a lot of time to grow. Fresh ginseng is harvested before 4 years, white ginseng between 4-6 years, and red ginseng after 6+ years.
The most important compounds in ginseng that provide health benefits are ginsenosides and gintonin. They work in tandem and complement each other in providing health benefits.
Ginseng has beneficial antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. There are studies that show that ginseng and its compounds could inhibit inflammation and increase the antioxidative capacity of cells.
Some other studies on young male athletes examined their inflammatory markers after exercise during seven days of ginseng consumption. The studies show the markers were significantly lower than in the placebo group.
Some studies have shown promising results that ginseng could improve brain functions like memory, behavior, and mood.
Other studies have shown that ginsenosides could protect the brain against free radicals.
Another study has shown that ginseng affected mental performance, improved mental fatigue, sustained blood sugar levels, and even boosted math skills.
There are many other studies that indicate the same potential benefits, even though the exact mechanisms still need to be exactly defined.
Tiredness and energy levels
Ginseng has repeatedly shown to help against tiredness and fatigue and could significantly increase energy levels.
The fatigue-decreasing component is linked to certain polysaccharides and oligopeptides in ginseng, which lower oxidative stress and increase energy levels in cells, which helps fight fatigue.
A 4-week long study explored the effects of 1 or 2 grams of ginseng or placebo to patients with chronic fatigue. Those given ginseng experienced decreased physical and mental fatigue, as well as reduced oxidative stress than those taking placebo.
These are just some of the beneficial properties of ginseng. Like many other plants, the numerous compounds contained in the roots affect many metabolic pathways, consequently having an effect on many areas of health, such as: immunity boosting, potential benefits against cancer, erectile dysfunction improvement, etc.