Ginseng is a widely popular nootropic drug that is common for enhancing memory, mood, and for relieving stress in the mind and body. Considered to be one of the oldest herbal remedies around, ginseng has been gaining popularity in recent decades due to its effect on the mind. The information presented below is designed to be a guide on the ginseng herb in the use for nootropics.
History of Ginseng
Long before medicine and healthcare were a large part of life, ancient times utilized plants for remedies and healing. Somewhere around 3500-2600 BCE, ancient Chinese mythological emperor Shen-Nung discovered the ginseng plant. He used ginseng for its rejuvenating and aphrodisiac properties.1
Ginseng has been used for a wide range of reasons, ranging from urology to enhanced mental performance. Since it was first used, more benefits have been identified. This powerful nootropic agent has become widespread in modern days and for good reason.
The Various Forms of Ginseng
There are two widely popular forms of ginseng currently in use today, even though there are more types around. Currently, the Asian and the American forms of ginseng are the most common in wellness use.2 Asian ginseng is widely known as the plant name Panax ginseng. The word Panax means “all healing” in Chinese. Asian ginseng is commonly referred to as Korean ginseng. However, pay careful attention to the plant species type any time you make a purchase.
In comparison to Asian ginseng, American ginseng is a completely different plant species. The common American ginseng variety is called Panax quinquefolium and has been used in the United States and Canada for centuries. The American ginseng variety is common throughout the entire world as an herbal supplement that has various wellness-boosting qualities. Some of the general benefits of both American and Asian ginseng are featured below.
Benefits and Common Uses
Ginseng has widely been used as a supplement and nootropic for years and the potential benefits are seemingly endless. Consider the nootropic benefits listed below for more information on how this herb can affect your mental performance.
Too often in everyday life, stress can take a toll on the mind and body. When examining how stress affects the mind, it is easy to see how and why certain stressors play a major role. With daily stress seemingly everywhere you turn, it is important to be on top of stress before it comes, so that you can better handle a given situation.
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Ginseng is widely considered to be a beneficial supplement in combatting stress. Studies have shown that ginseng can effectively suppress and defeat stress by affecting various physiologic pathways in the brain. One study proved the ability of ginseng to regulate the immune response and the hormonal changes due to stress. Ginseng can also be used to prevent the onset of stress and help with anxiety disorders.3
Studies have demonstrated that ginseng is protective of the nervous system. This function alone may be enough to improve overall memory and to prevent other mental conditions from affecting daily life. The pathways by which ginseng protects the body from mental stress are similar to how it protects the nervous system.4
Another great benefit of ginseng is how it can have a positive impact on your mood. Emperor Shen-Nung reported feeling a warm and pleasurable sense after chewing on the ginseng root.
Studies have shown that ginseng can enhance cognition and mood. Amazingly, these benefits have the potential to be seen within a single dose.5 Your overall mood can be a big player in your mental wellness and enhancing mood may be a way to boost overall happiness.
Perhaps one of the most notorious ginseng benefits is how it combats fatigue and improves cognitive performance. Fatigue is a common symptom among a number of adults of various ages. Throughout the aging process, fatigue can set in for a number of reasons. Fortunately, ginseng is widely considered to be a nootropic agent that can fight fatigue.
Studies have detailed the promise of ginseng as being effective at combatting fatigue. It has been shown to increase energy, improve emotional health, and well-being. Both the Asian and American varieties aid in this benefit.6
Generally, most ginseng benefits either come blended in tea or in a pill form. With this in mind, it is important to get proper doses of all kinds in order to get optimal results.
Studies have shown doses of 100, 200, and 400 milligrams of American ginseng to be beneficial for cognitive function, calmness, and improved reaction time.7 Similar studies have shown doses of 100 to 200 milligrams of ginseng to be beneficial for improving memory loss.8 Finding a dose that works for your lifestyle may take a little trial and error. Starting at a dose at or around the lower limit of 100 milligrams may be a good place to start.
Safety and Precautions
Ginseng has been used for centuries and given the long-standing use of this herb for a variety of purposes, it seems to be generally safe for use. Studies show that ginseng extract of up to one or two grams per day for four weeks is safe, tolerable, and generally free from toxicity.9
While more information is known about the short-term safety of ginseng, more research is needed to assess for efficacy and safety of long-term use.
Ginseng is an herb that has a variety of uses and benefits that have been around since ancient times. Of all the uses, ginseng is most common as a nootropic agent, thus giving improvements to mood, fatigue, stress, and energy.
Given the widespread use of this common herb in nutritional supplementation, it appears that ginseng is safe for use in large quantities over the short term, but it seems that a dose of 100 to 200 milligrams per day is the most commonly studied dose. If you have any additional questions or concerns regarding the use of ginseng and your wellness, consider discussing your concerns with a doctor prior to use.
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