Ginseng refers to several different plant varieties. Usually, the root area of ginseng builds energy (a tonic), and the leaves and flowers increase saliva (moistening). The root is sod in many forms: as a whole root or root pieces, which are either untreated or blanched; as a powder or powdered extract; as a liquid extract or concentrate; in granules for instant tea; as a tincture; in an oil base; and in tablets and capsules. These products should not contain sugar or added color and should be pure ginseng.
Each variety of ginseng is characterized into these categories:
– Warming (speeds metabolism),
– Cooling and moistening,
– Neutral (neither warming nor cooling),
– Those that affect the nervous system, and
– Those that increase circulation.
Some forms of ginseng are referred to as red or white. In general, red ginseng is a stimulant, while white ginseng is moistening and anti-inflammatory.
When you buy ginseng capsules, it is important to know which variety is inside the capsule. Once you are familiar with what you body needs and responds best to, try growing your own ginseng.
Do not take ginseng:
- during pregnancy or lactation
- if you are at risk or were previously treated for estrogen-related cancer (breast, ovarian)
- before surgery
Use ginseng with caution. Individuals with diabetes should monitor their blood glucose levels when taking ginseng. Studies have found that ginseng may interfere with phenelzine, corticosteroids, digoxin, diabetes medications, and estrogen therapy. Ginseng may increase bleeding time when taken with other blood-thinning drugs or some supplements