Panax Ginseng, scientifically known as Panax ginseng C.A. Meyer and often referred to as Asian Ginseng, is a remarkable herb with a rich history in traditional Chinese, Korean, Japanese, and Western medicine. "Panax" means "all-healing" in ancient Greek, underscoring its esteemed reputation as a panacea. For centuries, this herb has been sought after for its ability to restore energy, vitality, and strength.
The Power of Ginsenosides
Modern research has identified ginsenosides as the primary active constituents of Panax Ginseng. Among the over 200 ginsenosides found in ginseng roots, the most abundant in Panax Ginseng include Rb1, Rb2, Rc, Rd, Re, and Rg1. These compounds are at the heart of the herb's wide range of health benefits (1).
Enhancing Cognitive Performance, Mental Energy and Clearing Brain Fog
Panax Ginseng has not only stood the test of time but has also been rigorously examined in contemporary research. Studies have shown that it can enhance cognitive performance and provide neuroprotection. In one placebo-controlled trial, participants experienced improvements in mental arithmetic and a reduction in feelings of mental fatigue (2). Another six-month trial revealed enhanced cognitive performance in individuals with mild cognitive impairment (3). The neuroprotective potential of Panax Ginseng has also been underlined in a 2018 review (4).
Fighting Fatigue and Boosting Vitality
A multitude of studies have explored the potential of Panax Ginseng in combating fatigue. In a comprehensive 2020 systematic review, which included eight human randomised controlled trials and 30 animal trials, it was concluded that Panax Ginseng offers beneficial effects in reducing fatigue. The mechanisms behind this include antioxidant stress, regulation of carbohydrate metabolism, delaying the accumulation of metabolites, promoting mitochondrial function, neuroprotection, antiapoptosis, and the regulation of neurotransmitters in the central nervous system (5). Additional animal studies have highlighted the role of ginsenoside Rb1 in reducing fatigue, proposing that it may increase ATP content and enhance the activity of Na-K-ATPase in skeletal muscle (6,7).
A Complementary Treatment for Chronic Conditions
The therapeutic potential of Panax Ginseng extends to addressing chronic and age-related diseases. In a comprehensive 2022 systematic review involving 25 studies and 3,190 participants, Panax Ginseng had "potent therapeutic benefits" that complement the management of patients with chronic age-related conditions (8). Symptoms such as fatigue, anxiety, nausea, and vomiting were effectively alleviated in these studies.
Boosting the Immune System and Reducing Inflammation
Panax Ginseng has also made its mark as an immune system enhancer and an anti-inflammatory agent. Various ginsenosides have been investigated for their anti-inflammatory properties, with applications ranging from neurological to respiratory conditions (9). A placebo-controlled trial with 100 participants showed that Panax Ginseng, specifically Red Korean Ginseng, significantly increased T cells, B cells, and white blood cell counts after eight weeks, highlighting its immune-enhancing effects (10).
Side effects of Panax Ginseng
Whilst all medicines and supplements can have numerous side effects, especially when taken in excess, some of the most common side effects of Panax Ginseng include:
Insomnia: Some individuals may experience difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep when taking Panax Ginseng, especially if it's consumed too close to bedtime. We recommend avoiding within 6-8 hours of bedtime until you have assessed your response.
Digestive Issues: Mild gastrointestinal disturbances such as nausea, upset stomach, or diarrhea can occur in some cases. These symptoms are often dose-dependent.
Nervousness and Restlessness: High doses or sensitivity to the herb can lead to feelings of nervousness, restlessness, or anxiety.
Headaches: Occasional headaches have been reported as a side effect of Panax Ginseng use.
High Blood Pressure: In some cases, Panax Ginseng can lead to an increase in blood pressure as with many other stimulating herbs and agents.
How should you incorporate Panax Ginseng as an energy supplement?
With a history of thousands of years in traditional medicine and a wealth of modern scientific support, Panax Ginseng remains a powerful and versatile herbal adjunct for a wide range of health concerns. However, what is really interesting is how it can be used as a natural energy booster.
1) Synergism: Panax ginseng works synergistically with Guarana and other 'ginsengs' like American Ginseng and Siberian Ginseng (actually more correctly termed Eleutherococcus senticosus). This means that its effects are amplified when combined with other complementary agents.
2) Standardisation: It is also essential to obtain a Panax Ginseng extract that is guaranteed to contain the active ginsenosides at an adequate potency. We recommend considering extracts with a minimum of 4% ginsenosides at a dose of 100-400 mg daily.
3) How often should you take Panax Ginseng? The effects are more pronounced when taken daily for several weeks; however, many can feel results after even a single use. For those with chronic fatigue or other chronic conditions it is always advisable to start at a lower dose and work up over time.
4) When should you take Panax Ginseng? In the morning up until early afternoon. Those who are sensitive may experience sleeping difficulties if consumed too late in the day.
We Know Health has crafted a specialist formula, Energise+, that meets these critiera. Energise+ combines three other potent agents, Guarana, Eleutherococcus and Acetyl-l-carnitine, to amplify the brain and energy effects of its standardised Panax Ginseng extract.
This article is for educational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice.
- Park KC, Jin H, Zheng R, Kim S, Lee SE, Kim BH, Yim SV. Cognition enhancing effect of Panax ginseng in Korean volunteers with mild cognitive impairment: a randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial. Transl Clin Pharmacol. 2019 Sep;27(3):92-97. doi: 10.12793/tcp.2019.27.3.92. Epub 2019 Sep 30.
- Bárbara de Oliveira Zanuso, Ana Rita de Oliveira dos Santos, Vitor Fernando Bordin Miola, Leila M. Guissoni Campos, Caio Sergio Galina Spilla, Sandra Maria Barbalho, Panax ginseng and aging related disorders: A systematic review, Experimental Gerontology, Volume 161, 2022, 111731, ISSN 0531-5565, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.exger.2022.111731.
- Sun Hee Hyun, Ha-Young Ahn, Hyeong-Jun Kim, Sung Won Kim, Seung-Ho So, Gyo In, Chae-Kyu Park, Chang-Kyun Han, Immuno-enhancement effects of Korean Red Ginseng in healthy adults: a randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial, Journal of Ginseng Research, Volume 45, Issue 1, 2021, Pages 191-198, ISSN 1226-8453, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jgr.2020.08.003.