The Health Benefits Of Red Ginseng Tea
High in antioxidants.
Red ginseng tea is made from Asian ginseng, botanically known as Panax ginseng and also called Korean and Chinese ginseng. The University of Maryland Medical Centre website notes that in order to be designated as "red," the ginseng root must be unpeeled and steamed before drying. Red ginseng is considered more potent than other varieties of ginseng. According to Naturopathy Digest, ginseng has been used for 2000 years in traditional Chinese medicine where it is called dong yang shen. As with any herb or herbal supplement, consult your doctor before using red ginseng tea.
Herbalists recommend red ginseng tea for longevity and cardioprotective effects due to its content of ginsenosides, which are natural antioxidant substances that scavenge free radicals. MayoClinic.com offers qualified support to this belief, stating that ginseng and ginseng tea appear to have antioxidant effects that may benefit patients with heart disease.
Ginsenosides in red ginseng tea stimulate the immune system and help to reduce stress, according to the Naturopathy Digest website. The University of Maryland Medical Centre website classifies ginseng as an adaptogen, or a substance that promotes well-being while helping the body combat stressors. Panaxans and polysaccharides in ginseng may also contribute to its immune system-enhancing properties, notes the Blue Shield Complementary and Alternative Health website.
May Improve Mood and Mental Function
Many people drink ginseng tea for its perceived mood-elevating and energizing effects. Drinking red ginseng tea may sharpen your cognitive skills and promote a feeling of well-being. MayoClinic.com notes that there is some evidence that taking ginseng can improve quality of life, cognition and mood, especially in post-menopausal women and cancer patients.
Ginseng and ginseng tea have traditionally been used to restore energy and promote stamina. The University of Maryland Medical Centre website advises that if you take ginseng or drink the tea to increase your physical and mental performance, you should use it in cycles, consuming it daily for 2 to 3 weeks, stopping for two weeks and then resuming use. There is some research supporting the belief that the ginsenosides in ginseng tea have energizing effects. In a clinical study conducted by Martine Le Gal and colleagues and published in the February 1996 issue of "Phytotherapy Research," a combination of ginseng extract, along with vitamins and minerals, effectively reduced symptoms in patients suffering from functional fatigue.
Possible Cancer Prevention
Herbalists and naturopaths have long recommended ginseng for its chemoprotective effects. There is some scientific research supporting the belief in red ginseng's ability to fight cancer, although more study is needed. In a review conducted by Hai Rim Shin and colleagues and published in Vol.11 of the 2000 issue of "Cancer Causes and Control," the authors concluded that Panax ginseng showed cancer-preventive effects in both experimental models and in epidemiological studies, warranting further research.
Side Effects and Contraindications
According to the University of Maryland Medical Centre website, red ginseng tea can cause nervousness, sleeplessness, anxiety and, rarely, high blood pressure. It can also interact with prescription and over-the-counter medications. Ask your doctor before using red ginseng tea. If you are pregnant, nursing or have bipolar disorder, you should not drink it at all.