Panax ginseng, the ginseng, also known as Asian ginseng, Chinese ginseng, or Korean ginseng, is a species of plant whose root is the original source of ginseng. It is a perennial plant that grows in the mountains of Eastern Asia.
Panax ginseng is a plant that grows in Korea, northeastern China, and far eastern Siberia. People use the root to make medicine. Do not confuse Panax ginseng with American ginseng, Siberian ginseng, or Panax pseudoginseng. See the separate listings for American Ginseng, Ashwaganda, Blue Cohosh, Canaigre, Codonopsis, Panax Pseudoginseng, and Siberian Ginseng.
Panax ginseng is taken by mouth to improve thinking, concentration, memory, Alzheimer’s disease, work efficiency, physical stamina, preventing muscle damage from exercise, and athletic endurance.
Some people use Panax ginseng to help them cope with stress and as a general tonic for improving well-being. They sometimes call Panax ginseng an “adaptogen” when it’s used in this way.
Panax ginseng is also used for depression, anxiety, general fatigue and chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS), multiple sclerosis, for boosting the immune system, and for fighting particular infections in a lung disease called cystic fibrosis. These infections are caused by a bacterium named Pseudomonas.
Some people use Panax ginseng to treat breast cancer and prevent ovarian cancer, liver cancer, lung cancer, and skin cancer.
Other uses include treatment of anemia, chronic bronchitis, swine flu, prediabetes and diabetes, inflammation of the stomach lining (gastritis), fever, hangover, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), HIV/AIDS, fertility problems and sexual dysfunction in men, to increase sexual arousal in women, and asthma.
Panax ginseng is also used for bleeding disorders, loss of appetite, vomiting, intestinal problems, gallstones, bad breath, fibromyalgia, sleeping problems (insomnia), nerve pain, joint pain, dizziness, headache, hearing loss, convulsions, disorders of pregnancy and childbirth, hot flashes due to menopause, common cold and flu, heart failure, high blood pressure, quality of life, wrinkled skin, and to slow the aging process.
Some men apply Panax ginseng to the skin of the penis as part of a multi-ingredient product for treating early orgasm (premature ejaculation).
In manufacturing, Panax ginseng is used to make soaps, cosmetics, and as a flavoring in beverages.
Ginseng has been used for improving overall health. It has also been used to strengthen the immune system and help fight off stress and disease. There are different types of ginseng. Asian ginseng (from Chinese and Korean sources) has been used for unclear thinking, diabetes, and male erectile dysfunction. American ginseng has been used for diabetes and for reducing the risk of the common cold and flu. Siberian ginseng has been used for reducing the risk of colds and flu, and for reducing the severity of herpes simplex virus type 2 infections.
Data from studies have shown a positive correlation among ginseng, libido, and copulatory performances, and these effects have been confirmed in case-control studies in human.
In addition, ginseng is found to improve the sperm quality and count of healthy individuals as well as patients with treatment-related infertility. These actions are mostly attributed to ginsenosides, the major pharmacological active components of ginseng.
Ginseng is commonly taken by itself or with an herbal formula to enhance sexual performance in traditional Chinese medical practices. The beneficial effects have been scientifically evaluated and confirmed in meta-analyses of randomized clinical trials.
For example, in a double-blind, placebo-controlled study, 45 men with moderate to severe erectile dysfunction had found improvement in their scores on erectile performance and sexual satisfaction after treated with three times daily doses of 900 mg Korean red ginseng for 8 wk.7 A similar study on 60 men with erectile dysfunction also reported marked improvement in erectile function including rigidity, penetration, and maintenance of erection after taking Korean red ginseng (1000 mg) three times daily for 12 wk.
Studies reveal that both Asian ginseng (Panax ginseng)16 and American ginseng (Panax quinquefolium)17 can facilitate sexual intercourse behavior.
Interestingly, experiments fed with 5% Panax ginseng in their diet for 60 d have shown significantly increased blood testosterone levels, whereas treatment with 1% Panax ginseng had no effect.
Ginseng can increase sperm count.
Both oligoastenospermic patients and age-matched healthy counterpart showed an increase in spermatozoa density and motility after the use of Panax ginseng.
Ginseng is also found to help preserve the ejaculated sperms. It has been shown that the sperm count of ejaculated sperms that were incubated with ginseng extract was significantly higher.
Treatment with ginsenoside Rg1 (50 μg/ml) significantly increases sperm motility and membrane integrity.
It has been shown that intake of American ginseng (500 mg/kg/day) can protect sperms, in particular by increasing the sperm count, reducing sperm death and abnormalities, and resuming sperm motility from CP insult in adult male.
It is interesting to note that intraperitoneally injection of Panax ginseng extract (10 mg/kg) given to adult male Swiss albino mice for 4 d can protect germ cell population and function against γ-radiation, and dramatically reduce γ-radiation-associated sickness, including anorexia, diarrhea, weight loss, lethargy, and epilation.
A continuous exposure to environmental toxins is considered to be a cause of fertility decline. Ginseng has been demonstrated to have a cytoprotective effects against these toxins, in which administration of Panax ginseng extract is reported to significantly reduce the 2,3,7,8-tetrachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin-induced pathological and genotoxical damages in rat testes.54 In addition, treatment of Panax ginseng is found to protect Sertoli cells from the cytotoxic effects of bisphenol
Ginseng is a vital constituent of traditional Chinese medicine and has been used to treat various physical conditions for thousands of years, importantly as an aphrodisiac and is used to treat sexual dysfunction as well as to enhance sexual behavior and gonadal functions
Therefore, use of ginseng appears to be important for the development of novel therapeutics or to increase the effectiveness of the current treatment strategies for male reproductive diseases or disorders.