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    Feb 6

    Health Benefits of Ginseng Tea

    Health Benefits of Ginseng Tea
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    Ginseng Tea:
    Ginseng, botanical name Panax (‘All Heal’ in Greek) is a perennial plant with a fleshy root. You can make herbal tea from the fleshy root of the Ginseng plant. Ginseng Tea is said to have many healing and energy-giving properties. All the health benefits are brought about due to the presence of natural chemicals called ‘Ginsenosides’ in the Ginseng root.

    Ginseng originated in Manchuria and has been in use for some 5000 years. It was called ‘Ren Shen’ by the Ancient Chinese. ‘Ren Shen’ means ‘Man Root’ and refers to the human-like shape of the Ginseng root. In Korea and Japan, Ginseng is called ‘Ninjin’. The Chinese placed great faith in Ginseng and considered it a sort of rejuvenating, cure-all palliative for a variety of ailments. They also believed that regular drinking of Ginseng Tea would lead to a long life. Ginseng was so valuable it was bartered for silk and even prized above gold. The demand was such that the supply of Ginseng from the Chinese Mainland was not enough and the Chinese had to import it from Korea. Soon the Ginseng stock in the wild was exhausted and commercial cultivation became inevitable. However, Wild Ginseng has more medicinal value than cultivated Ginseng.

    The Ginseng root is used fresh or dried for later use. You can buy it whole, sliced, in powder form, in tea bags, etc. Sometimes the Ginseng plant leaves are also used, but these are not considered as important as the root. Cultivated Ginseng can be had as Red Ginseng and White Ginseng. In both cases, the Ginseng plants are grown for about 6 years before their roots are harvested. The difference lies in the way the roots are processed for use. To make White Ginseng, the root is peeled and sun-dried. The dried root looks yellowish-white. To make Red Ginseng, the unpeeled root undergoes steaming, turns reddish-brown, and is then dried.

    These days Ginseng Tea is a popular herbal drink the world over and Ginseng is grown in many places. There are different types of Ginseng. Let’s take a look at some of them –

    Indian Ginseng, also known as Ashwagandha (Withania Somnifera) – Found on the Indian Sub-continent.

    Asian Ginseng (Panax Ginseng) – Asian Ginseng is found in China, Japan, and Korea.

    Japanese Ginseng (Panax Japonicum) – Like the name indicatess, Japanese Ginseng grows in Japan.

    Siberian Ginseng (Eleutherococcus Senticosus) – Siberian Ginseng grows in China, Japan, Korea, and Russia. It is not really a Ginseng, has a wood-like rather than fleshy root, and contains chemicals called Eleutherosides, instead of Ginsenosides.

    Southern Ginseng, also known as Jiaogulan (Gynostemma Pentaphyllum) – Southern Ginseng is found in Southern China, Southern Japan, and Southern Korea.

    Prince Ginseng (Pseudostellaria heterophylla) – Prince Ginseng is found mainly in the Southern Chinese provinces of Shaanxi, Shandong, Jilin, Liaoning, Hebei, Henan, and Zhejiang.

    Brazilian Ginseng (Pfaffia Paniculata)– Brazilian Ginseng is found in Brazil. The Brazilians call it Suma Root and ‘Para Todo’ or ‘For All’.

    Peruvian Ginseng, also known as Maca (Epidium Meyenii) – Peruvian Ginseng grows in the Ande Mountains of Peru and Bolivia. It is both eaten as a root vegetable and used for medicinal purposes.

    American Ginseng – American Ginseng grows in Wisconsin, Minnesota, Georgia, Oklahoma, British Columbia, and Ontario.

    Health Benefits of Ginseng:
    While Ginseng has been traditionally considered a ‘cure all’, many modern researchers question the actual efficacy of the root. The studies done on the subject have either not been extensive enough or have produced controversial results. Even so, a great many people swear by Ginseng Tea and consume it on a regular basis. According to these Ginseng supporters, it is beneficial in the following different ways –

    • Ginseng helps build up an appetite.
    • Ginseng helps with digestion.
    • Ginseng aids respiration.
    • Ginseng is rejuvenating and works against fatigue.
    • Ginseng helps reduce physical and mental stress.
    • Ginseng aids the immune system.
    • Ginseng works as an aphrodisiac.
    • Ginseng helps counter arthritis.
    • Ginseng helps counter asthma.
    • Ginseng helps counter diabetes.
    • Ginseng reduces the risk of cancer.
    • Ginseng lessens the effects of Crohn’s Disease.
    • Ginseng is effective against Temporomandibular Joint (TMJ) Syndrome.
    • Ginseng helps lower (LDL) bad cholesterol levels.
    • Ginseng is effective against headaches.
    • Ginseng provides a cure for stomach ulcers.
    • Ginseng provides a cure for diarrhea.
    • Ginseng is good for blood circulation.
    By Sonal Panse
    Published: 5/9/2007
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