Effects of ginseng

Various uses of ginseng

Ginseng is a kind of traditional and valuable medicinal material, which has a variety of effects and has been used in China for thousands of years. In today’s society, there are more and more sub-healthy people, and under the background of increasing demand for treatment of disease, the state has promulgated a series of policies and regulations from the top design to provide guarantee for the in-depth development of ginseng industry

What is ginseng (Korean ginseng)?

 Ginseng is a perennial herb that has been used by humans to treat illnesses and strengthen the body for a long time. It is known as the king of medicinal herbs. It is generally divided into Asian ginseng and American ginseng. The following will discuss Asian ginseng that grows in East Asia.

 Ginseng can be classified into more than ten types depending on its place of origin, planting methods and processing methods. Each type has different properties, taste, meridians and effects, but the main active ingredients are polysaccharides, saponins, polypeptides, fatty acids, etc., and are known as It is believed to have potential effects such as immune regulation, anti-fatigue, anti-aging, anti-diabetes, and anti-cancer.

According to origin: Changbai mountain ginseng, Korean ginseng

 According to the planting method: wild ginseng (natural growth), garden ginseng (artificial cultivation)

According to the processing method: fresh ginseng, white ginseng, red ginseng, raw sun-dried ginseng

 Ginseng (Korean ginseng) is a well-known medicinal material both at home and abroad. From ancient times to the present, it has been known for its health-preserving, disease-preventing and anti-aging effects. In addition to being used in dietary supplements and stews, it is also made into various health products. The variety is amazing. There are many legends about the origin of the name ginseng. One theory is that a hunter encountered heavy snowfall while climbing a mountain and survived by eating ginseng. Because of its human-like appearance, the name was used to change the ginseng we know today.

What are the proven effects of ginseng?

Ginseng Benefits Erectile Dysfunction

 Erectile dysfunction is a common male sexual dysfunction. It is defined as the long-term inability to obtain or maintain an erection sufficient for satisfactory sexual intercourse (prevalence is approximately 19.2%), which seriously affects a man’s quality of life.

 Erection is primarily a vascular event, a process attributed to the release of neurotransmitters and nitric oxide (NO) from the corpus cavernosum, allowing blood to flow into the penis to expand and then maintain an erection.Therefore, any disease that may cause endothelial dysfunction may interfere with vasodilation and prevent erection

 A Cochrane systematic review (including 9 randomized controlled trials involving 587 men with mild to moderate erectile dysfunction) found that compared with placebo, ginseng (the studies mainly used Korean red ginseng) A small positive effect on erectile function or sexual intercourse satisfaction (assessed using the IIEF-5 or IIEF-15 tools).

In addition, ginseng also improves men’s self-reported ability to have sexual intercourse.

For mild to moderate erectile dysfunction, ginseng may be able to bring positive help, but it is limited by the low quality of the existing evidence and more research is needed to further verify it.

Ginseng benefits liver function

 Chronic liver disease is one of the common diseases and is rapidly becoming an increasing burden on the health care system.

 Because the liver has a large functional reserve, most patients with chronic liver disease are not diagnosed until late in the course of the disease.

 When the liver can no longer maintain homeostasis and begins to lose compensation, patients may develop ascites, variceal bleeding, spontaneous bacterial peritonitis, encephalopathy, or jaundice.

 A systematic literature review and meta-analysis (including 14 randomized controlled trials with a total of 992 participants) pointed out that taking ginseng has an effect on alanine aminotransferase (ALT), aspartate aminotransferase (AST), and glutamine transfer. Enzyme (GGT), alkaline phosphatase (ALP), and albumin (ALB) levels were not significantly helpful.

 In addition, subgroup components showed that in unhealthy individuals, bilirubin increased significantly when the daily supplementation dose of ginseng was ≥3 g.

So far, the evidence shows that for people with relatively normal liver function, supplementing ginseng preparations has not brought significant benefits, and is limited by the heterogeneity between studies. More research is still needed to confirm the impact on patients with liver disease.

Ginseng benefits male infertility

Human semen quality has been declining over the past few decades, which may lead to an increase in male infertility, which affects an estimated 48.5 million couples worldwide.

 In addition to intrinsic factors (genetic or congenital disease), semen quality can also be affected by extrinsic lifestyle factors, including diet, physical activity, environmental pollutants, endocrine disruptors, exposure to electronic fields, and occupational characteristics.

 A systematic review (including 5 studies) pointed out that among these studies, one randomized controlled study reported that the use of Korean red ginseng could improve sperm quality in men with infertility, but other studies did not find this effect (regardless of whether be healthy or infertile).

So far, there is no clear evidence that ginseng can help improve semen quality, and it is limited by the small sample size and the risk of error. More high-quality studies are still needed for further verification.

Ginseng has cognitive-enhancing effects (for mild cognitive impairment)

Mild cognitive impairment is considered an intermediate state between normal cognitive aging and early dementia

Individuals diagnosed with mild cognitive impairment may remain stable and return to normal (about 14.4% to 55.6% of patients), but may also progress to dementia

It is estimated that 40% to 60% of patients with mild cognitive impairment aged 58 years and older have underlying Alzheimer’s disease pathology

 A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial (6 months, 90 volunteers with mild cognitive impairment) pointed out that oral administration of ginseng powder capsules (daily dose 3g) can help improve immediate recall and 20-minute recall. Delayed recall test item scores.

For mild cognitive impairment, the use of ginseng has a positive effect on cognitive improvement, but it is limited by the small sample size and more large-scale studies are still needed to further verify it.

Ginseng reduces inflammation markers (C-type reactive protein)

C-type reactive protein is a homogeneous acute-phase inflammatory protein and a highly sensitive plasma protein. It was first discovered in 1930 by Tillet and Francis when studying the serum of patients with acute-phase pneumococcal infection.

 In inflammatory conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis, cancer, certain cardiovascular diseases, and infections, C-reactive protein is significantly elevated, even increasing up to 1,000-fold at sites of infection or inflammation.

Beyond this, there are many factors that can alter baseline levels of C-reactive protein, including age, gender, smoking status, weight, lipid levels, and blood pressure.

 A systematic literature review and meta-analysis (including 7 randomized placebo-controlled trials with a total of 420 participants) pointed out that, overall, ginseng supplementation has no significant effect on reducing C-type reactive protein.

However, subgroup analysis showed that ginseng significantly reduced serum CRP levels when baseline CRP levels were greater than 3 mg/dl.

For patients with elevated serum C-reactive protein levels, ginseng supplementation may be helpful in lowering the values.

Ginseng lowers blood lipids

 Cholesterol, triglycerides and high-density lipoprotein are important components of human blood lipids.

Cholesterol is an unsaturated alcohol in the steroid family of compounds that is necessary for the normal function of all animal cells and is the precursor of various important substances, such as adrenal and gonadal steroid hormones and bile acids

 Triglycerides, a type of glycerol fatty acid ester, are the main lipid component of animal dietary fat and fat depots.

 A systematic literature review and meta-analysis (including 10 randomized controlled clinical trials related to metabolic syndrome) pointed out that compared with placebo, oral ginseng extract has the effect of reducing total cholesterol and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol, and has the effect of reducing high-density lipoprotein cholesterol. Density lipoprotein cholesterol and triglycerides had no significant effect.

For subjects with metabolic syndrome, oral ginseng extract may have a positive effect on improving some blood lipid indicators, but due to the heterogeneity of the included studies, more high-quality studies are still needed to support it.

Ginseng good for diabetes

The number of people suffering from diabetes has doubled in the past 30 years. The main factors are related to obesity, stress, overeating, and lack of exercise.

 Symptoms of hyperglycemia include polyuria, polydipsia, weight loss, and sometimes polyphagia and blurred vision.

 A systematic literature review and integrated analysis (including 8 studies) pointed out that for patients with type 2 diabetes or glucose intolerance, ginseng intake can help improve blood sugar control (relevant indicators include: fasting blood glucose, postprandial insulin, insulin resistance sex), and was most significant among subjects who did not receive medication or insulin treatment.

The underlying mechanism may be related to regulating insulin secretion, glucose metabolism and absorption, inflammatory pathways and activating AMPK pathways.

Ingestion of ginseng is beneficial to blood sugar regulation, but due to possible bias and heterogeneity, more clinical studies are needed to further confirm

Ginseng is beneficial for ischemic heart disease-angina pectoris

Angina pectoris is caused by plaque rupture, coronary artery spasm, thrombosis, and imbalance of oxygen supply and demand. It is characterized by symptoms such as pressure in the sternum, pain, and inability to breathe. It most often occurs during physical activity or emotional ups and downs.

 A meta-analysis of the literature (including 18 randomized controlled trials involving a total of 1,549 angina patients) found that ginseng-based prescriptions produced better symptom and ECG improvement than nitrate-based drugs.

For the treatment of angina pectoris, ginseng-based therapy produces more significant symptom improvement than nitrate-based drugs

 Ginseng prevents acute respiratory diseases (colds)

 Acute respiratory disease is a self-limiting viral infection. The main symptoms include fever, shivering, chills, malaise, dry cough, etc. Rhinovirus and coronavirus (50%-70%) are the most common infections, followed by influenza Viruses (20%-35%) and adenovirus (5%-10%)

According to the Burden of Disease Survey, acute respiratory diseases are the diseases with the highest morbidity and mortality among children under 5 years of age in developing countries, and the causes are related to age, sex, nutritional status, breastfeeding (type and duration), socioeconomic level, overcrowding , indoor pollution, passive smoking related

 A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial (12 weeks, 100 healthy adults) showed that oral administration of Korean red ginseng/Korean red ginseng extract can significantly reduce the frequency of acute respiratory tract infections and help reduce the risk of acute respiratory tract infections. Symptom duration and severity scores (but the latter two did not reach statistical significance).

Korean red ginseng extract may have the effect of preventing acute respiratory-related diseases, but due to the scale of the study, more large-scale studies are still needed for further confirmation.

Ginseng reduces cancer incidence

The occurrence of cancer is usually not caused by a single factor, but is caused by the interaction of internal factors (genetic mutations, hormonal and immune conditions) and environmental/acquired factors (tobacco, diet, radiation and infectious diseases)

According to U.S. statistics, local men and women have a 43% and 38% chance of being diagnosed with cancer respectively in their lifetime. The incidence rates are truly staggering.

 A meta-analysis of the literature (including 9 studies with a total of 7,436 cancer cases and 334,544 participants) pointed out that overall, compared with non-users, those who consume ginseng can reduce the risk of cancer by 16%.

 The subgroup analysis also found that for individual types of cancer, such as colorectal cancer, lung cancer, gastric cancer, and liver cancer, the risk reductions were: 23%, 19%, 17%, and 23% respectively.

The underlying mechanism is related to the fact that human ginseng regulates the cell cycle, induces apoptosis, and inhibits angiogenesis and invasion through various cell signaling pathways.

Ingestion of ginseng has the effect of reducing the incidence of cancer, but due to the heterogeneity of the studies included, more large-scale clinical trials are still needed to verify it.

Ginseng fights fatigue and improves physical fitness

 Fatigue is a physiological state of lack of energy and motivation, often caused by physical activity, emotional stress, boredom, sleep deprivation, or related medical conditions.

 A meta-analysis of the literature (including 12 randomized controlled trials with 630 participants) pointed out that taking ginseng-related supplements had a statistically significant improvement in reducing fatigue, but was ineffective in improving physical performance.

Due to the insufficient number of studies and samples included, there is still insufficient evidence to confirm that ginseng has the effect of anti-fatigue and improving physical fitness. More large-scale studies are needed to further confirm.

Ginseng benefits women with menopausal disorders

Female menopause, or the menopausal transition, usually refers to the period from irregular menstrual cycles to the cessation of menstrual cycles, approximately between the ages of 40 and 50.

Severe fluctuations in estrogen during menopause are often accompanied by physical and mental symptoms such as mood changes, hot flashes, insomnia, vaginal dryness, loss of libido, and impaired cognitive function.

 A systematic review of the literature (including 10 randomized controlled trials) found that ginseng use improved sexual function, arousal, and hot flash scores in menopausal women (but not hot flash frequency, hormonal levels, or endometrial thickness). no improvement).

Due to the unknown risk of error and small sample size of the included experiments, the use of ginseng has limited effect on improving menopausal disorders in women, and more rigorous experiments are needed to prove it.

Ginseng benefits Alzheimer’s disease

 Alzheimer’s disease was diagnosed a century ago by the German psychiatrist Alois.Alzheimer’s, a progressive neurodegenerative disease discovered by Alzheimer’s, accounts for 75% of all dementia cases, with a prevalence of 3.9% among those over 60 years old, equivalent to 5 million new cases worldwide each year

As the disease progresses, Alzheimer’s disease often causes various functional disabilities and requires specialized care. It is the highest coexisting disability among all diseases (accounting for 11.2%), which is better than stroke, musculoskeletal diseases, and cardiovascular diseases.

 A literature review and meta-analysis (including 4 randomized controlled trials with a total of 259 participants) pointed out that due to inconsistent results, it is currently inconclusive whether the application of ginseng in patients with Alzheimer’s disease is effective.

 Limited by the small sample size, poor methodological quality, and the absence of a placebo control, the effect of using ginseng in improving Alzheimer’s disease is questionable and needs to be confirmed.