Ginseng is a plant native to Asian countries. The plant lives in shaded areas taking nutrients from dead leaves and vegetation, from which it absorbs the nitrogen as a source of energy to grow. The part of plant harvested for health benefits are the roots which contain the active ingredient ginsenoside.
The use of this root to aid general health has been documented in Asia for over 2000 years and is believed to be able to cure every ailment .
One of the main health benefits of this ancient root is its ability to enhance energy and vitality, although the exact mechanics of this are still uncertain, however research has pointed towards a few particular explanations. One study found that consumption of ginseng helped decrease symptoms of idiopathic chronic fatigue compared to a placebo group. This was hypothesised that it was due to the antioxidant properties of the root, because previous research showed that individuals suffering from chronic fatigue syndrome have higher levels of oxidative stress than healthy individuals. They found after individuals with a fatigue syndrome had consumed ginseng for 4 weeks their symptoms decreased and oxidative stress markers also decreased .
Ginseng consumption also has been shown to have a actoprotective effect, this means they enhance the bodies stability against physical and mental loads without increasing oxygen consumption or heat production, this makes them different to a regular stimulant like caffeine .
Fueling physical activity
Ginseng consumption may also influence carbohydrate and fat metabolism, the bodies main energy sources, this means that body can utilise and convert stored glucose and fat from adipose tissue more efficiently to fuel the body's physical work .
Fueling the brain
The ability of ginseng to help your energy levels also applies to the brain, by helping improve cognitive abilities, with doses of 200 to 400 mg giving optimal results. This is caused by the ginsenoside in the ginseng increasing the power of the glutamate and 5-HT neurotransmitters responsible for learning, memory and cognitive functions in the central nervous system.
Feel Good Fuel
Ginseng also has been shown to have many health benefits that combined can increase the well being of the individual, which in turn can result in individuals feeling more energised by helping overall efficiency of the body. Ginseng has the ability to stabilize glucose plasma levels helping avoid ‘sugar crashes’ that are often experienced after eating meals high in sugar .