Being closely related to American ginseng, Asian ginseng is also known as Panax ginseng, Korean ginseng and Chinese ginseng. The active ingredients in panax ginseng are ginsenosides, polysaccharides, panaxans, saponins, and vanillic acid.
Panaxans are plant steroids that have blood sugar – lowering activities.
Athletic Benefits of Asian Ginseng:
- May enhance athletic performance.
- Improves agility and reaction time.
- Speeds up recovery.
- Protects against overtraining syndrome.
- May improve aerobic capacity.
- Increases endurance.
- May help with idiopathic athletic diarrhea.
Non – Athletic Benefits of Asian Ginseng:
The following medical conditions may benefit from Asian ginseng:
- Erectile dysfunction.
- Male infertility.
- Chronic fatigue syndrome.
- Frequent common cold and sore throat.
- Adrenal insufficiency.
- Lung cancer.
- High LDL cholesterol.
Dosage and Side Effects:
Asian ginseng is taken as tablets or capsules 200 – 500 mg a day or tincture 4 – 9 ml a day.
The most common side effects of Asian ginseng are insomnia and agitation. They result from overstimulation especially if taken higher doses or combined with caffeine or guarana. Other possible side effects include anxiety, increased blood pressure, diarrhea, menstrual irregularities, headaches, stomach upset, and nose bleeding.
Asian ginseng should be avoided in the following conditions:
- Breast feeding period.
- History of breast cancer.
- Bipolar disorder.
- Pre – surgical period (it is recommended to stop taking Asian ginseng two weeks prior to surgery).
Asian ginseng has interaction with the following medications and should be avoided taking together:
- Anti – hypertensive medications.
- Blood – thinners, such as warfarin.
- Immunosuppressive medications.
- Medications for ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder).
- Anti – diabetic medications and insulin.
- MAOIs (monoamine oxidase inhibitors): a group of anti – depressant medications.