What do you know about Chinese Tea Culture?

Tea has been a huge part of the culture in China for thousands of years. As such, tea has generated its own set of unique and particularly wonderful traditions. We’d like to share some interesting things that we’ve researched about Chinese tea culture with you, so make sure to read on to find out more!

Respect

Respect plays a large part in a number of historical Chinese customs, and this can be seen in many facets of life – from language to tea.

Historically, members of the younger generation were expected to show respect to older generations by offering them a cup of tea – whether that was in their home or in a restaurant. Going out for a cup of tea with an elder member of your family is seen as a holiday tradition that is practiced down to this day. In that vein, newly married couples serve tea to elder members of their now combined families.

Looking back through time, poorer people were typically expected to serve tea to the upper classes as a sign of respect. However, as times are changing, so are many of these ancient traditions.

Gong Fu Cha

Gong Fu is a particularly popular tea ceremony in China. As opposed to quickly downing a large cup of tea, Gong Fu Cha is a ritual that takes time and skill and is beautiful to watch. The amount of tea used, as well as the water temperature are carefully monitored to fully open up the taste of the tea. Small traditional clay teapots and cups also play a part in the taste and temperature of the tea. The ceremony can be done in your own home for personal enjoyment, or to welcome a guest. In many Chinese households, it is served after a meal to aid digestion. From beginning to end, this ancient process of brewing tea creates a calming atmosphere where we can fully enjoy each sip of tea. 

Depending on which region of China the tea is made in, the brewing process, as well as the tools used during the brewing process will be different. As an example, let’s look at Taiwanese style gongfu cha. This method of making tea includes a number of additional instruments, including tweezers and a tea strainer. The tea of choice is typically some form of oolong tea, which is very popular in China. However, depending on the tastes of the person making the tea, a fermented tea may be used, such as pu’erh.

Loose Leaf Tea In China

Tea has long been grown and cultivated in China. Since it grows naturally there and has been exported and enjoyed worldwide for decades.

During the Ming dynasty (1368 – 1644 CE), bricks of tea were replaced by loose leaf tea. While this isn’t a strange thing now, it certainly was at the time! Back then, tea was processed into large bricks or bars, small portions of which were shaved off with a knife, to be steeped in a pot.

The process of making the bricks, however, was quite labour-intensive before the industrial revolution. Therefore, loose leaf tea was encouraged in order to make life a little easier for tea farmers, and that type of tea has been used since. It is now the most common type of tea used in China, with everyone having a favorite, unique, blend or brand.

Ginseng Chicken Soup – Summer Eats (Recipe)


This amazing chicken soup is little known outside of Korean communities. It brings together amazing ingredients (including ginseng) to create a dish that we can’t get enough of!

What is samgyetang?

It’s a piping hot chicken soup, cooked in the traditional way so that is both delicious and packed full of nutrition. In Korea, people are a big fan of the practice of ‘iyeolchiyeol’, which essentially means to fight heat with heat. Therefore, Koreans serve this hot chicken soup in the dead of summer! Of course, for anyone who prefers their heat in the winter, samgyetang is perfect to boost their immune system during cold those winter months.


The soup features small whole chickens that have been stuffed with sticky rice and other trimmings and simmered in a herbal broth until tender. The stuffing is what makes the soup so unique. As well as the rich taste of sticky rice which is so popular the world over, you can add chestnuts, ginkgo nuts, jujubes, ginseng, and garlic to the soup. Although pairing chicken with nuts isn’t a unique concept, the addition of jujubes (red, date-like fruits), ginseng and garlic create an aromatic harmony of flavour which is sure to excite even the pickiest of eaters.

What ginseng should you use for samgyetang?

As you know, ginseng is prized for its medical uses as well as its flavour. Any Asian or American ginseng can be used in your samgyetang. A higher-quality (older) ginseng will make the tastiest nutritious soup. Of course, you can also use Ginax Ginseng pods to make simple, delicious ginseng broth to cook the chicken in. You’ll get the same taste and health benefits!


Typically, you can find samgyetang kits in Asian supermarkets, which make the entire process of making your own version of this traditional dish much simpler. These kits have dried ginseng in them, which must be soaked to rehydrate and soften the pieces. To get the flavour and the benefit of the ginseng in your meal dried ginseng must be properly soaked before it is added to the soup. Using the water that you soaked them will provide extra flavour to the meal. Instead, you could try your hand at making this simple soup from scratch.

Recipe

What you’ll need:

  • 1 small chicken (or a larger chicken cut in half)
  • 2 leeks
  • 4 to 8 cloves of garlic (to taste)
  • 4 to 8 teaspoons of shredded ginger (to taste)
  • 2 cups of glutinous rice
  • dried jujube fruit (take out the pit)
  • salt
  • ginseng

Preparing:

  1. Clean and trim the chicken and place in stockpot
  2. Add 3 to 4 cups of water (or use Ginax pods — add 2 cups of water and brew a pod twice to get 2 cups of pure ginseng flavour)
  3. Wash and roughly chop leeks
  4. Add leeks, jujubes, garlic, ginger and salt to the stockpot and bring to a boil
  5. Turn heat to medium and simmer for at least an hour and a half
  6. As its simmering you can take the foam off if you wish
  7. Enjoy hot or cold

You can also stuff the chicken with the rice and aromatics before simmering The long cooking time creates fall-off-the-bone meat and a rich broth loaded with vitamins. Once cooked, the dish can be served with a heaping portion of kimchi, so that you can get the double-punch of very healthy and very spicy food. Lovely!

What is the difference between Wild and Cultivated Ginseng?

Demand for ginseng and its benefits are huge and people worldwide are taking advantage of its natural abilities to help the human body. In fact, they’re going wild, and not just for no reason.

 Wild ginseng is largely popular, especially with the Chinese who appreciate that it more closely resembles its natural potency. Cultivated ginseng is more readily available and is harvested at a much younger age than its wild counterpart.

Below we cover what wild and cultivated ginseng is, and we’ll talk about future development of farming ginseng in a more natural, yet sustainable, way.

Cultivated Ginseng

While not as valuable as wild ginseng, cultivated ginseng is more robust but has been introduced because over-harvesting and even ginseng ‘poaching’ has diminished the availability of the herb in the wild.

When it’s cultivated, it makes it much more readily available. Cultivation of this superior herb also meets the huge ‘global’ ginseng demand although some scientists want the return of more naturally farmed ginseng due to its endangered state. It’s special endangered wild state is because this amazing plant is harvested for its root so each plant is ultimately destroyed after harvesting. Thanks to its popularity over centuries with the Chinese it has succombe to hunters in its natural habitat.

Cultivated ginseng is grown in raised beds, placed in neat rows, and grows under artificial shade usually under polypropylene or a shade cloth. This ‘domesticated ginseng’ is therefore easily grown and is priced at around $15 a pound in its dried form. This makes it extremely popular and still beneficial in treating and preventing illness. The wild version can attract around $500 a pound which is why it has been decreased in availability and increased so much in value.

Wild Ginseng

Harvested and grown in its natural habitat, wild ginseng has been over-harvested because the Chinese prize it’s medicinal value but it’s caused their own wild ginseng to be very near to extinction. The Chinese people have strong beliefs that the most potent variety of ginseng is that grown wildly. It is deemed to be more potent because it is slow growing and usually harvested at an older age than commercially cultivated versions of the herb.

It grows under natural shade provided beneath a canopy of trees, and farmed agriculturally following recognised horticultural practices. But it is still victim to rich-seeking poachers. Because of its now scarce availability, scientists are looking at the potential of forest farming ginseng in America where it can be planted from cultivated seed, but then grown using natural practices and methods.

American Ginseng (Panax Quinquefolius)

This is a wild herbaceous perennial ginseng root. Grown in Minnesota where it once was abundant, its species is now a concern in the state and therefore not very common. This special concern means that this genus of the ginseng plant requires monitoring and needs a specific or unique habitat. As a protected endangered species this wild ginseng is covered by a 1972 international treaty in which it was introduced to Appendix II of the treaty in July 1975.. Its future survival is dependent on the farmers that can grow and harvest it and sell it locally. However, the roots cannot be exported until its survival is no longer threatened (this will be determined by the Endangered Species Scientific Authority).

Appalachia’s Wild Ginseng – Studies and Saving It

To reduce the pressure that American ginseng faces, the forest farmers and owners in the Appalachia region is where scientists think there is real potential. 

Iris Gao, biologist at Middle Tennessee State University, has studied medicinal plants and her interest in recent years has focused on American (Panax quinquefolius). She concentrates on ginseng cells and their leaves in her lab, before having them analysed for their chemical content.  To study even more of ginseng’s abilities, she stores human cells so the chemicals emitted from the ginseng plant can be tested for the combat of malignancies in the human body. This research essentially has a larger goal. Restoration of ginseng reserves can be improved and economic opportunities in certain regions can be achieved. Gao believes Appalachia is where the growth of ginseng should return to.

There are obstructions though and, primarily, that may be that the authorities lack the knowledge and resources available to realise the true value of forest farmed rather than unnaturally cultivated ginseng. Trying to face their opponents, Gao and her fellow researchers know and share that forest-farmed alternatives can be just as potent and medicinal as wild ginseng. Also, landowners need to be aware of the overharvesting that the plant has suffered.

Growing ginseng in Appalachia would mean that it is recognized as a wild plant across the region rather than an endangered crop that simply ‘grows’ there. Monitoring the land and deterring hunters whilst protecting the land would need to be put strictly into place. While Gao is concerned about the future of ginseng, there is certainly potential that needs to be investigated as well as studies to be understood and embraced. Being able to ensure that forest farmers are not targeted once forest farming is put into place, deter theft from hunters, and monitor its success is essential.

Summary

Even if it becomes readily available wild ginseng may be beyond the budget of most of us. Cultivated ginseng remains the choice of those looking for natural herbal supplements that are proven to help with physical and psychological illness.

More details relating to the protection of wild flora and fauna mentioned above can be found at the Federal Register.

Ginseng and Stress Relief – What Does it Do? Does it work?

The effects of stress can take a toll on our health in many ways, not the least of which is how it affects our mental and physical health. Fortunately, there are ways to help alleviate these negative effects of stress, and the consumption of a natural substance called ginseng has been shown to be one such way.

Surprising to some and well-known to others, ginseng has been shown to improve mood. Studies have tested its uniquely natural ability to reduce stress levels and high glucose levels related to stress. This special plant is often used as a herbal tonic to treat psychological and physical illnesses caused by stress on the body. These are things associated with things like anxiety, panic, depression often caused by work-related or day-to-day pressures of modern living.

The Science Bit – The Adaptogen ‘Ginseng’

Within herbal medicine, a natural substance that can be used safely in the human body is called an adaptogen. Adaptogens are used to help the body adapt to levels of stress and counteract symptoms where the body itself is struggling or under pressure. Ginseng is exactly that; an adaptogen. It is a superior herb and able to naturally balance physical and mental changes to the body caused by life stresses.

As certain types of stress secrete hormones via the brain and endocrine system, the pituitary gland is activated to produce a stress hormone. In turn, this signals the adrenal glands to produce cortisol, the primary stress hormone. This is a perfectly natural occurrence although when overworked this process can cause detrimental biological stress responses to the body if sugar (glucose) levels get too high. Naturally produced cortisol released during this process is one of the ways the body controls blood sugar levels. However, too much can cause serious negative alterations to the body’s natural balance and lead to severe imbalances though they can be treated.

Why We Use Ginseng

In our modern world, it’s rare for us to depend on a herbal remedy as the sole treatment for illness and disease. That said, this ideal has turned around hugely over the years largely due to ginseng being one of the medicinal herbs that are frequently tested.

Modern life brings with it pressures and strains that have serious effects on the way our brains work. These stresses can be caused by all manner of things, causing an overactive brain due to things such as being overworked, financial worries, poor living arrangements, ill-health; in fact, anyone can feel stress for any reason, at any time. Ginseng can aid biological stress responses produced by the body and is a popular choice for those wishing to avoid being treated medically. However, ginseng is known to be able to positively interact with certain medications too.

Herbal ginseng is widely used by people not wanting to use mainline medicines and preferring to treat symptoms with a herbal alternative. Illnesses that can be helped with ginseng include anxiety, depression. It may also help with impotence, diabetic patients in weight loss, and even with mild and chronic panic disorders. Almost a super-herb, it positively helps to regulate blood sugar levels and strengthen the immune system. Ginseng even has the ability to treat severe illnesses affected by imbalances in the immune system. Anti-stress effects have been studied and shown that ginseng compares extremely well to alternative ‘controlled’ substances. This is perhaps why it is such a popular choice. It can be taken as a tonic or in tablet form and can be purchased as aged roots for maximum potency.

The History Bit – Where it’s From

Ginseng has a long history of medicinal use, dating back more than 3,000 years to ancient China. It was found in a tomb in the Choson Dynasty, and evidence found in the tomb indicates that it was used in a tea to treat some of the same medical issues we use it for today, including the common cold, diabetes, and high blood pressure.

Ginseng has become a staple in modern-day herbal pharmaceuticals, after being discovered thousands of years ago in the Northern mountains of China. It is thought the plant was used as, and in, food because of its anecdotal healing properties.

Fast forward through the years and vast exports to America, it has always been on an uphill trend and the price it attracts today still depends on quality, age, and demand. Wild Ginseng is rare so the majority we buy today is supplied by commercial growers who can meet the huge demand of its popularity. Ginseng is usually taken by those among us who prefer to try herbs that have been trialed and show properties that help with certain parts of the body’s healing process.

Of the several types of Ginseng used in today’s herbal supplements, perhaps the most used is Panax ginseng – a Korean plant that also grows in far Eastern Siberia. Panax ginseng is the most studied of the ginseng family and therefore often referred to as ‘true ginseng’. Panax has been shown to assist in blood glucose levels and stress-related damage of the circulatory system. It possesses the most potent properties of the ginseng family although it does not directly alter cortisol levels with short-term use.

Red ginseng is another that is commonly used in herbal tonics.

Conclusions on the Effects of Ginseng

●      Nourishes adrenal glands and reduces high cortisol levels

●      Regulates hormonal changes and stress to the immune system

●      Alleviates anxiety, depression, and panic disorders

●      Naturally calms the body, balances energy levels, and fights fatigue

●      Interacts well with certain medications such as heart disease and blood pressure medications

●      Antioxidant effects

●      Reduces blood sugar levels (stress-related / fasting)

●      Improves mood and mental performance

In summary, studies have produced positive results in the use of ginseng. Could be time to halt visits to the coffee shop and reach for a ginseng supplement instead!

Ginseng and Cognition

a young and old man consider the benefits of ginseng

In a huge amount of countries, the demand for ginseng because of its health advantages is massive as people worldwide realize the plant extract has impressive natural abilities to protect the body. Due to its therapeutic role against illness, disease, and disorders, we have become fans of this superior herbal remedy.

a young and old man consider the benefits of ginseng

Ginseng is known to have positive and beneficial effects on the body, particularly the central nervous system (CNS). Its ability to improve cognitive behaviors as well as having a positive impact on neurological disorders and memory means that many of us can take advantage of ginseng, and it’s hugely popular for this good reason.

In this article, we cover just one of the benefits of this superb natural supplement – cognition improvement.

Active Ginseng Components for Cognition

The active components in ginseng include the following and show real potential in helping to treat and protect the body from cognitive disorders:

  • Compound K and Gintonin
  • Ginsenosides Rb1, Rd, Re, Rg1, Rg2, Rg3, Rh1, Rh2, Rh3, PF11, and NTR1

These active constituents play an important role and have been shown to work in both cellular and animal models. Studies have tested ginseng and related it to positive therapeutic activity when it comes to protecting against cognitive impairment. What this means in brief terms is that, when taken regularly, ginseng can give a small yet impressive boost to concentration and focus – perfect for those of us whose bodies are under stress due to modern-day living.

How Else Can Ginseng Help?

Studies have shown that, as well as using ginseng for cognition and brain function, it also has a positive impact on:

  • Blood pressure
  • Stress
  • Anxiety
  • Energy levels and fatigue
  • Mood

It can help to protect the central nervous system and the body from damage caused by free radicals thanks to the active components we mentioned earlier. Free radicals can cause a chemical imbalance in the body called oxidation and adding a natural supplement, such as ginseng, to your daily diet provides the body with the antioxidant it needs without having to rely on one-off medicinal treatments. Ginseng can also work well with long-term medicines although it’s worth checking with your GP about any prescriptions that may not combine well with natural herb supplements.

How Long Should I Take Ginseng?

Studies have shown that ginseng isn’t quite your ‘treat me now’ go-to, it’s actually a supplement that should be taken long term. When taken orally, whether it’s through a tincture (or liquid) or as a capsule, for a period of six months it has been proven to help with cognitive issues. People tested have included Korean subjects with MCI (mild cognitive impairments) and it’s been recorded that those patients’ visual memory improved somewhat over time. As well as those at risk of MCI, subjects with oncoming Alzheimer’s Disease (AD) also showed positive outcomes after taking ginseng for a period of six months or more as it slightly slowed down some negative effects of the disorder.

In summary, ginseng and its ability to provide stress relief and reduce pressure to the body means that this ‘wonder herb’ is in high demand for obvious reasons. While it isn’t used as a treatment it is the preferred choice of those looking to protect the body and slow down cognitive impairments further in life.

Winter Season Battle – Ginseng Vrs The Flu

When flu season is upon us, ginseng is a wonderful supplement to try. It can play a positive role in providing protective effects on the body. Instead of using medicines to stem cold symptoms, this superior plant herb can be taken regularly to protect the body against flu and other respiratory diseases.

What is Influenza?

Influenza is a virus that can cause mild to severe illness and even death. It usually affects the nose and throat and, in more serious cases, the lungs. If you have been unlucky enough to have caught the flu virus you will know just how terrible it makes you feel.

While difficult to treat lung and breathing issues at the source it has been shown that ginseng can help with preventing influenza and other respiratory issues. This is supported through numerous studies and one to mention briefly is that of the work of a scientist at Georgia State University’s new Institute for Biomedical Sciences, US. Testing was carried out using ginseng against flu as well as RSV (Respiratory Syncytial Virus) which infects the breathing passages and the lungs. This is just one study, we’ll mention in more detail some others later.

Is it Serious?

As influenza can be widespread it can cause annual epidemics worldwide and new strains are hard to detect and unpredictable (think Swine Flu in 2009). According to the WHO (World Health Organisation) severe flu-related illness can cause untold deaths per year. Because research results have shown ginseng can be used as a natural alternative, and as an addition to, over-the-counter medicines, we looked a little further.

The Science Bit – The Adaptogen ‘Ginseng’

Natural substances that the body can safely use to aid, prevent, or protect against illness are called adaptogens. We cover that fact lots when we talk about ginseng but that’s because it’s the most widely-known and most potent adaptogen.

Plenty of us use this ‘super’ herb in order to counteract symptoms that the body is struggling to cope with. When the body is under stress, either physically or psychologically, plenty of us opt for medicines as a quick fix. Many of us aren’t aware of the abilities of natural herbs and their preventative abilities. So, in these modern days where the focus is on ‘plant’ based and being virus conscious, considering ginseng is a great idea and makes a huge difference on health and wellbeing.

Protect and Prevent: Might be a good time to do away with relying on one-off pharmaceutical products as treatment and opting for regular ginseng intake instead!

Science weighs in on Ginseng vrs the Flu

In a brief science summary, the following may help us to realise both how simple testing can be , yet how important its results are:

Previous clinical studies have demonstrated ginseng’s beneficial effects. A group of 18 to 65-year-olds who had a history of cold symptoms in the year prior to one of the studies were given ginseng extract two times a day. The mean number of colds contracted following the study was significantly reduced.

In the same study groups, older patients were given ginseng on top of influenza virus protection and compared to those given virus protection only. This produced great results showing that the adults introduced to ginseng contracted lower levels of influenza-like symptoms when compared to those not taking ginseng.

In healthy patients tested, when taken as a preventative herbal remedy for 8 to 16 weeks, a reduced duration of the symptoms of cold-like illnesses were recorded.

Why Consider Ginseng as a Herbal Supplement

As a seasonal disease in today’s world, influenza and respiratory disease can be serious and sometimes fatal. In the most recent global flu pandemic in 2009 there were record numbers of deaths recorded in the first year alone.

Because it spreads quickly, outbreaks are unpredictable and new strains of the influenza virus are creeping in every year. This is a good reason for the flu vaccine being available annually in the UK. However, the problems with introducing new vaccines each year and lack of protection from pandemic strains are a serious issue. Being unable to predict any strains that may cause a pandemic is a major concern.

Another thing to mention is that RSV as we mentioned, can cause severe inflammatory bronchiolitis pneumonia and viral death in infants and vulnerable adults. RSV has no vaccine which means to many of us that natural supplements that are proven to treat and protect the body are certainly worth considering.

With this in mind, we take supplements to assist with the body’s own processes. Although it is unusual for us to rely solely on a herbal remedy, this has changed rapidly over the years. These days, many of us depend on natural treatments like ginseng which have been shown to treat, prevent and protect. 

Ginseng is a popular choice for those of us unwilling to be treated only in a medical way. It does interact very well with certain medications that can’t be avoided too.

It works to treat a range of symptoms not limited to influenza virus or RSV. It is used as a herbal alternative to issues concerning depression, anxiety, blood pressure, cognition and other physical and mental problems. All in all ginseng is a great choice and its plant root is used in ready-made tonics, tablets, and supplied as a root which can be infused to make tea.

Summary

In summary, with numerous studies having been conducted over many years, impressive results have been recorded.

If you aim to protect your body and prevent influenza or RSV infections, you could consider ginseng as a ‘super supplement’.

Ginseng and Blood Sugar – An Adaptogenic Natural Win!

For those of us looking for effective and safe treatments with blood sugar levelling, ginseng is a great supplement to try. Trials with healthy lifestyle patients and those with type 2 diabetes have taken place over time with patients using ginseng vs those using placebos. Ginseng is certainly a very special plant, and its extracts are widely used. Because it has been trialed often it is deemed safe to use as a treatment for a number of body issues including symptoms of high blood sugar.

Pharmaceutical tests have confirmed the herbs’ ability to decrease blood sugar levels. Because stress on the body plays a contributing factor in low blood sugar levels, ginseng is used safely as a treatment to enhance the body’s natural ability to restore and repair. This in turn helps to avoid your blood sugar becoming dangerously low. Both Asian Panax ginseng and American ginseng are safe and effective and can also be used alongside some other medications especially those used for diabetes type 2.

Note: information here does not replace the expertise of your doctor. Consult with a professional before taking any supplements, especially if you have chronic underlying conditions (especially diabetes). This evidence is gathered from reputable organizations around the world simply to inform.

The Science Bit – The Adaptogen ‘Ginseng’

The body is amazing. It works hard at maintaining health and balance yet sometimes it needs a bit of help. Through illness and poor diet choices, our bodies can suffer immensely under stress and pressure. Unnaturally occurring pressure and abuse on the body and its internal systems can result in high blood sugar levels which may lead to serious disease. 

Mild and short bursts of high sugar in the blood can be reversed by the body’s own system and returned to normal. However, long periods of increased blood sugar or levels suddenly becoming extremely high can be dangerous. Leading to Hypoglycemia, insulin is a good and proven pharmaceutical medicine. However, ginseng can interact with insulin helping the body to reduce blood sugar. So, with treatment and through a change of diet, adding ginseng supplements in the form of a tonic or tablets may help to lower sugar and glucose content.

Ginseng, an adaptogen, can help your body adapt to levels of pressure and stress. Ginseng has been tested, trialed, and proven to assist and balance the processes of the body where it may struggle. As a supplement, it helps to counteract physical changes to the body caused by the stresses of modern life.

Why Use Ginseng?

Through overuse of sugar (glucose) based food and drink, if hypoglycemia develops, it can stunt the way that blood is delivered to vital organs. In our modern world, it’s rare for us to depend on a herbal remedy as the sole treatment for illness and disease. That said, this ideal has turned around hugely over the years largely due to ginseng being one of the herbs that are frequently tested. It has been shown to aid reduction of blood sugar.

Ginseng and Its Benefits

Used as a modern-day supplement, and considered to be a staple by many, ginseng has been trialed by the herbal pharmaceutical industry. It has been shown that Asian ginseng, or Panax ginseng, has herbal healing qualities. It has impressive properties and is used as a natural remedy and can even be used by those already taking pharmaceutical medicines.

Taking ginseng 40 minutes before food can reduce blood sugar levels by 10%. It works well for those still taking their regular medication, as mentioned, but it is recommended that you speak to your GP or professional before taking anything extra.

In summary, ginseng is almost a wonder plant and a remedy that plenty of us rely on – and for very good reason.

Try ginseng for a natural boost to your body’s system and restore your energy nature’s way.

What Do You Know About The History Of Ginseng?

Long famed in Oriental cultures for its ability to restore and rejuvenate, ginseng’s renown swiftly went worldwide in the mid-1700s. 
Ginseng root, which thousands of people eat on a daily basis to relieves their weariness, is said to have also relieved people’s weariness hundreds of years ago. Of course, due to its rarity, only the richest or those of the nobility would have had access to this root. Almost all medicines prescribed to high-ranking Chinese aristocrats included ginseng. Such ginseng must have been piqued the curiosity of the few Westerners who entered East Asia in the 17th century. Around that time, ginseng was introduced to the West as a mysterious herb of the East.

A Brief History of Ginseng

In 1680, a clinical casebook containing treatments using a strain of ginseng was published in the United Kingdom. It was written by a Yorkshire Dr. Simpson who described a patient who was thin, short of breath, and coughing. The patient also had a fever and a lack of sleep or appetite. Experimenting with ginseng root warmed in fresh milk, he reported in conclusion a…

“wonderful success… Mr. M—, who was much emaciated and reduced into a perfect skeleton, a meet bag of bones . . I was resolved to try what the Tincture of this Root would do . . And I found his Flesh to come again like that a Child and his lost Appetite restored, and his natural Ruddy Complexion revived in his Cheeks, to the Amazement of his desponding Relations, called Lazarus the Second.”

In the “A History of the Materia Medica” of 1751 (which was an encyclopedia of medicines), ginseng was mentioned in these glowing terms:

“European doctors esteem it a good Medicine in Convulsions, Vertigoes (dizziness), and all nervous Complaints, and recommend it as one of the best Restoratives known.”

Ginseng played a role in American history as well. After the Boston Tea Party, the colonies were not at a loss as to what they could trade in China for tea, porcelain, and other spices. Ships filled to the brim with wild American ginseng would bring in great profits in then Canton and Amoy. Entire towns sprung into collecting the now precious root causing a mini gold rush in the Appalachians. 

In more recent history, R. Sokolov wrote in the April 25, 1976 issue of The New York Times:

“Health‐food stores from coast to coast are selling it in ever greater volume. Fancy East Side Manhattan pharmacies are featuring it. And a dramatically growing number of Americans are talking about its amazing powers. R is considered to be a tonic and a way to better all‐round health.”

And of course, provided a cocktail recipe:

Combine 2 oz, vodka, I oz. lemon juice, 1 tsp. triple sec. 1/2 tsp, ginseng extract. tbsp. sugar with several ice cubes in a cocktail shaker.

Shake vigorously for 15 seconds; strain into a glass.

Mr. Lee’s Ginseng Cocktail

As the world braces for a new era of global pandemics, ginseng is again on people’s radars. 

Ginseng and Respiratory viruses


SARS, MERS, and coronavirus. It is said that ginseng sales soar whenever a respiratory virus is prevalent. Company bosses in South Korea and Hong Kong are known for distributing ginseng-derived products to employees. What’s not surprising is that ginseng is finding its way into chocolates, teas, dressings, and energy drinks sold in North American shops

Of course, ginseng is seen as part of the preventative arsenal instead of a cure-all. Studies in recent years have had trouble proving its efficacy empirically, but have not found negative side effects.*

Ginseng – A secret supplement for defeating erectile dysfunction now?

Men suffering from erectile dysfunction will try anything to have normal erectile function. Ginseng is one of the natural methods of restoring sexual function in men and is a treatment of erectile dysfunction that has few side effects. 

But does it work?  

Note: information here does not replace the expertise of your doctor. Consult with a professional before taking any supplements, especially if you have chronic underlying conditions (especially diabetes). This evidence is gathered from reputable organizations around the world simply to inform.

How Does Ginseng Help with Erectile Dysfunction? 

Studies on the efficacy of ginseng to help with erectile dysfunction have been performed across the world. A 2008 systematic review out of Korea examined red ginseng (also known as Panax ginseng) for treating ED, which impacts 30% to 50% of men between the ages of 40 and 70. 

The review examined over 28 studies that met their criteria, with dosages ranging from 600mg to 3000mg. 

Men reported an improvement in their ED during the studies, but why still remains a question that researchers have yet to answer. 

There are a few hypotheses of why ginseng can help: 

  • Blood flow. Ginseng has been linked to an improvement in coronary flow reserves. What this means is that blood circulation may be improved to allow for stronger blood flow. Improved blood flow can help men reach erection and also produce stronger erections. 
  • Relaxation. Initial studies, done on animals, have shown that ginseng is able to relax the smooth muscle of the corpus cavernosum, or the spongy tissue that forms most of the penis. When relaxed, more blood can enter the tissue, leading to strong erections. 

If you don’t mind taking ginseng and vitamin E, the combination has proven to improve erectile dysfunction in a six-week study with 52 participants. There were safe and acceptable adverse events during the study. Significant improvements were experienced for ED compared to the placebo group. 

Side Effects of Ginseng 

No one wants to have more side effects than benefits when taking a supplement. Ginseng is relatively safe, and in the studies that we’ve mentioned previously, none of the participants experienced any significant side effects. 

Ginseng is likely safe when taken for up to six months at a time. Prolonged usage can result in hormone-like effects that may be harmful. Users that have ED can cycle their usage if they’re concerned about these effects. 

The most common side effects when taken by mouth are: 

  • Difficulty sleeping 
  • Increased heart rate 
  • Blood pressure issues 
  • Headache 
  • Diarrhea 
  • Dizziness 
  • Itching 
  • Rashes 

Typically, ginseng doesn’t cause any severe side effects unless you have an allergic reaction to it. 

Dosing will depend on the supplement you choose, but in many cases, you’ll find 600 to 2,700 mg divided into multiple dosages per day can be beneficial. ED sufferers can confidently take ginseng for 12 weeks at a time. 

Men that have issues with premature ejaculation have used topical creams containing Panax ginseng to help improve their sexual function. 

If you’re suffering from ED, small lifestyle changes and supplementation can help. Medication is available to help, but ginseng is another option that can help improve blood flow and lead to erections and stronger erections. 

As an alternative to medications, it’s worth giving ginseng a try for at least eight weeks to see if it helps you escape the grasp of ED. 

Ginseng Vrs 2020 Cold Season

ginseng tea

Cold and flu season has arrived with extra concerns this pandemic fall. Many people are seeking any boost they can get for their immune system, but before you reach for the Cold-FX, can panax ginseng boost your immune system?

Note: information here does not replace the expertise of your doctor. Consult with a professional before taking any supplements, especially if you have chronic underlying conditions (especially diabetes). This evidence is gathered from reputable organizations around the world simply to inform.

Ginseng: The Natural Killer

The use of herbs and botanicals as alternative remedy to conventional therapy has attracted health professionals especially where immune system is partially compromised or selective immune therapy is required with the objective of minimizing the adverse events.

Perhaps more anecdotally, ginseng reduces symptom severity. Often ginseng is taken in soup or teas with other “cold-killing” ingredients, think chicken soup or a hot toddy. But in blind trials, albeit small, ginseng was shown to have an increased effect on the general well-being and comfort of people getting over a cold or flu. The effects were measured by surveys and tracked over 8 weeks. The response from those taking a ginseng supplement showed a definite benefit but more studies can be done to prove this beyond a doubt. It shouldn’t be too hard to find participants with colds who would welcome some hot ginseng tea!

Many companies hawk their cold medicine as the best on the market, but no one claims to have a cure. Ginseng can’t cure your cold, but it acts in many of the same ways as the big-name cold drugs by reducing inflammation and boosting immune response as a natural killer.

Ginseng consumption seems to work especially well with vitamin C as the active component ginsenosides complement the antioxidant properties of the vitamin. 

How Ginseng Improves Immunity

Specifically, Korean research has shown that ginseng extracts boost T-cell production and helps to activate phagocytes. T-Cells do the job of killing infected cells but they do much to regulate the immune response by activating other immune cells and producing cytokines. Phagocytes work alongside, identifying bacteria, dead cells, and other foreign substances that don’t belong in our bodies and, essentially,  eating them.

As immunity builds, it is less likely to get sick to the same infection; of course, in this year 2020, a best practice would be to give our bodies every help we can. American ginseng, vitamin C, Echinacea, and mom’s chicken soup all keep the hard-working cells in our blood at their optimum performance.

While many of the articles cited studies that were done with Korean ginseng and using proprietary extracts, the base chemicals from this plant play the same roles in herbal medicine. It is not unusual to find Traditional Chinese Medicine practitioners to be fans of a specific strain of ginseng, Korean, American or even Siberian.

Bring it on, Cold Season

The evidence for the beneficial effects of ginseng is growing daily with many new studies and research under way. No drugs or medicinal herbs can bring true immunity, but we can use all the help we can get.

In review, a healthy lifestyle with moderate exercise and good diet is the best defense against colds, but ginseng for cold symptoms treatment makes getting over getting sick easier!

Stay extra healthy and comfy this winter with a hot ginseng tea!!