Ginseng: benefits and harms, photos and description

Ginseng is known as a valuable medicinal plant listed in the Red Book: ginseng collections for medical purposes are strictly regulated by law. Such close attention to an inconspicuous, at first glance, perennial plant is explained by the uniqueness of its useful properties. It has long been successfully used in the treatment of many diseases, could be used for ingestion and externally. The beneficial properties and contraindications of ginseng directly depend on the influence of chemical elements contained in parts of plants.

What does ginseng look like and where does it grow

The habitat of this species: Primorsky Krai, all parts of the Far East. It can grow in some provinces of China, is found on the plateaus of North Korea. Few can recognize the plant up close. The fact is that the pharmaceutical industry and manufacturers of cosmetics use extracts from ginseng roots, as well as leaf or fruit extract. The aboveground part of ginseng looks inconspicuous.

This is a small green plant with a dense stable stem, its height rarely reaches a maximum mark of 60 cm. The leaves have 5 endings, grow rosettes upwards. The real flowering of ginseng can be seen in the middle of summer: it blooms with small white or pink flowers, which are collected in simple umbrella-shaped inflorescences. The peculiarity of the appearance of ginseng is manifested when the fruits begin to ripen. In August or September, small red fruits appear on the tops of bright green leaves. They are glossy, contain seeds inside.

Chemical composition

Eastern legends say that the roots of ginseng were used for various attempts to create the elixir of youth. These actions can be explained by the unique properties of the components of its composition.

The difference between ginseng and many other medicinal plants is in the content of the full spectrum of triterpene glycosides. In second place in importance are essential oils, which have a beneficial effect on all systems of the human body. Vitamins are represented by various types:

  • B1;
  • B2;
  • ascorbic, pantothenic, folic acids.

In the composition of the root, the content of pectin, starch, sucrose, tannins, alkaloids, fatty polyunsaturated acids, useful mucus is increased.

Ginseng can be a source of macro- and microelements. It contains phosphorus, iron, manganese and sulfur, as well as compounds of silicon, molybdenum, cobalt, magnesium and zinc.

The chemical composition of the plant does not depend on the time of harvest or age. The complex of substances is preserved in the roots and leaves throughout their existence.

What is useful for ginseng

The benefits and harms of ginseng are determined by the degree of its influence on human health.

The literal translation of the name from Chinese means “the root of life”, the spread of this name is not accidental at all. The properties of the plant are unique: they are actively used in pharmacology, cosmetology, folk medicine. Ginseng can be useful as a medicinal product, as well as a dietary supplement for the prevention of diseases.

Researchers who ask questions about the benefits and harms of plants for humans, identify several main properties of ginseng root:

  1. Promote the cleansing of the body. The content of tannins, alkaloids, tandem vitamins and amino acids in the root activates the functions of the digestive system. The complex of minerals helps to digest food more actively, process it and remove toxins. This property is often used when composing weight loss programs.
  2. To normalize the condition of the skin, hair, nails. The benefits of ginseng root for women’s health are undeniable. The presence of B vitamins, their compounds with useful micro-, macroelements and amino acids creates a positive effect that affects the condition of the epidermis. The plant is able to activate blood flow, which leads to active cell regeneration. That is why ginseng root extracts are often found in cosmetic products, it is added to complexes for the care of age-related and problematic facial skin. It is used to produce shampoos and balms that help improve the appearance of hair, relieve inflammation and itching of the scalp.
  3. Have a positive effect on the cardiovascular system. The “root of life” has a useful property to normalize cholesterol levels. This mechanism is considered to prevent the formation of blood clots and atherosclerotic plaques. The peculiarity of ginseng is its direct effect on the work of the heart muscle. The combination of the components of the root composition has a positive effect on it, strengthening and increasing its amplitude.
  4. Contribute to the elimination of nervous disorders. Regular intake of ginseng root in food leads to normalization of mental health. Essential oils in the composition of the plant can help in the fight against stress and neurological conditions.
  5. Have a restorative effect. Doctors call ginseng a natural adaptogen. This means that plants are able to increase the body’s defenses.
  6. Produce a toning effect. Due to this property, ginseng root is often added to drinks that increase potential energy. On the basis of the root, tinctures are made that can increase physical strength.
  7. Provide preventive action for those who have diabetes mellitus. Ginseng root is known as a regulator of elevated blood sugar, so it is recommended as a means of complex therapy for diabetics.

For men

Ginseng roots contribute to the normalization of the endocrine system, which affects the proper production of male hormones. The mechanism of action of ginseng is beneficial in normalizing the activity of the reproductive system in men.

The stronger sex is recommended to use decoctions, tinctures or tea with ginseng to regulate potency. Drinks can be prepared independently from the dried root.

For women

The benefits of ginseng for women are indisputable. Its properties in normalizing the psychological state and reducing emotional stress are used by women at the onset of menopause or premenstrual syndrome.

The correct use of ginseng root brings undeniable benefits in an effort to get rid of extra pounds.

Regular intake normalizes blood pressure, improves sleep quality and has a positive effect on the appearance of the face and hair.

Women often use extracts to prepare homemade recipes that are able to preserve and enhance beauty and health.

The use of ginseng in traditional medicine

Pharmacologists use plant root extract. The most common medicinal form was ginseng tincture. Extracts are added to powders and tablets. Very often it can be found as one of the components of biologically active additives.

Tinctures are prescribed:

  • with atherosclerosis;
  • diabetes mellitus;
  • violation of the thyroid gland;
  • anemia.

Tablets and powders are prescribed to elderly people as a tonic.

Excessive use of dosage forms can be harmful to health. The tincture contains elements of alcohol, which, if used excessively, can affect the quality of sleep or the work of the gastrointestinal tract.

The harm of ginseng and contraindications

The harm from the use of ginseng root can develop with excessive use, as well as an incorrect approach to the treatment of certain conditions. It is not recommended:

  • during pregnancy;
  • during lactation;
  • the presence of tumor formations;
  • the development of multiple bleeding;
  • during periods of exacerbations of serious chronic diseases.

Harm can be caused by taking the infusion in cases where human activity is associated with maximum concentration of attention.

There may be a risk of harm to health with individual intolerance to the components of the funds.

Collection, harvesting and storage of ginseng

Ginseng is specially grown on the territory of Primorsky Krai, in the regions of Korea, China and Japan, as well as in Vietnam.

The peculiarities of cultivation are that the plant needs the most fertilized soil, is thermophilic and requires systematic transfer from one place of growth to another.

As a rule, ginseng roots are subject to harvesting, they are stored fresh or dried. The roots are processed before being sent for storage.

Fresh root is stored for no more than 5 days. Dried roots are stored for about 12 months in a closed container.


The beneficial properties and contraindications of ginseng depend on the methods of application. The unique composition makes the root of the plant especially valuable. Proper use eliminates the risk of harm to the body.

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