For a long time, I have been a lover of ginseng. This magical, medicinal herb, in my experience, is worthy of all the praise hung on it. It’s said that ancient Chinese emperors regarded the “man-root” as more valuable than gold. I can believe it; it really does need poetry written about it.
I was introduced to ginseng when I was 22 years old. My girlfriend at the time worked as a manager at GNC and suggested that I, the runner, may be interested in its alleged ability to enhance endurance and maintain youthful vitality. I was not disappointed at all.
Getting the Effects of Ginseng
If you’ve never taken ginseng before, it takes a few weeks of daily doses for it to work its way into your system. Up to that point you may not notice any effects at all, but after that threshold is crossed, you will notice its beneficial effects. From then on, if you stop taking it for awhile and then begin taking it again, you’ll find the effects return in noticeable strength quite quickly.
After a couple of decades of taking ginseng, and occasionally not using it for a little while now and again (proving to myself beyond all doubt that its effects are real, not placebo), I will attest to what it can do for you.
Ginseng for Good Health
Ginseng is an authentic adaptogen, meaning it enables you to handle stress with a clearer head and calmer emotions, while simultaneously energizing you. It can help strengthen your immune system by cleansing the blood of toxins and increasing the production of red blood cells, and it also stimulates your libido, immensely. (Cialis and all other such products would stop selling if ginseng were better known about. I kid you not.)
Aside from increasing your powers of mental focus, ginseng can enhance your metabolism, as well as increase your physical stamina. It’s even possible to use ginseng as a non-jittery substitute for caffeine.
An important note here: I’m not sure if ginseng bestows any health benefits on women, except that I’ve often heard that it can act as a mood stabilizer during “that time of the month” and it may be able to help a woman normalize her blood pressure. I do know that it’s got no effect on a woman’s libido, and some women have been told not to take it because it can have negative side effects on them.
I’ve never experienced any negative side effects at all from ginseng.
All in Good Taste
Alright, ginseng tastes lousy. Really. By itself it’s like eating dirt, even after you’ve washed it off. But it can be made into some teas which taste good with sweetener added, and it can be enjoyed in a delicious way in a couple of other beverages.
The ginseng teas that I can recommend are Celestial Seasonings’ Fast Lane (a black tea drink with ginseng added) and Honey Lemon Ginseng (a spiced green tea with ginseng added), Alvita’s Panax Ginseng Tea (add honey to make it really good), Prince of Peace Korean Ginseng Tea (this one needs a strong sweetener added, but with it it’s quite tasty), and the Republic of Tea’s Ginseng Peppermint tea.
Oh, yes. There’s a wondrous ginseng soda called GinsengUP. It comes in several different flavors including lemon-lime, apple, grape, ginger beer, peach tea, and original, among others. Most of the formulas use only all-natural sweeteners (honey and cane sugar), but at least two of them use HFCS and I avoid that stuff. My personal favorites are the lemon-lime, apple, and ginger beer.
I looked into whether I could order GinsengUP from the website to be sent to my home, but they only sell directly to stores. I have had success convincing nearby stores to stock it.
I also like Monster drinks. But because they contain a lot of sweeteners, I only drink one every so often. And all in all I prefer GinsengUP.
Many years ago, I stumbled upon a ginseng wine, imported from Japan, in a local liquor store in my home town. I’ve never seen it anywhere else. But some internet research revealed to me that ginseng wine is definitely out there to be found. You can probably order it by calling the winery, or ask your local liquor or wine store to stock it for you.
The wine that I bought was a red wine, and it was awful. The taste of the ginseng was much too prominent, and it didn’t blend well with the grapes that had been used. But, not wanting to have wasted my money and not wanting to throw away two of my favorite things, I got an idea. I poured the wine into a large bowl and threw in a lot of sliced up citrus fruit to make a kind of sangria. I covered it and let it chill overnight. The next evening when I ladled some into my wine glass, it was fantastic! I liked it so much that I bought another bottle of it and made some more ginseng sangria.
I take an herbal blend in capsule form of either “Energy Now!” or “Up-Time.” I like to take this in the morning with flavored seltzer water. You can also find capsules that blend together ginseng with royal jelly, and I like them, too, but the two herbal blends are the best ginseng supplement blends that I’ve ever tried, and I like the benefits of their many other ingredients, too.
Whatever way you decide to use ginseng, enjoy it and its many health benefits!
Photo Credits: zenqook, Wmahan, Katharina Lohrie and Jgremillot.