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The human looking plant… for humans!

If there was a contest for “most beneficial plant shaped like a tiny man”, ginseng would win by a landslide. This funky looking plant actually packs a ton of benefits for us in its little body, and in particular Panax ginseng can help you feel “ready” for work, school, and even the bedroom.

Typically found in Eastern Asia such as China, Korea and Siberia, ginseng is also available in North America. However, even though ginseng can be found in many places, only Asian or Korean ginseng can be considered Panax ginseng and is the most beneficial for us!   

It all started 5,000 years ago, when Koreans would give the gift of ginseng to royalties because it was believed that ginseng would be able to cure almost any disease. It was also strongly believed that Panax ginseng can promote anti-aging, longevity and general wellbeing, so gifting and receiving ginseng was a great honour. Nowadays, ginseng is a lot more accessible and approximately 6 million Americans consume it regularly!

Mentally, ginseng has been linked to helping with improvement in thinking, concentration, memory, and work efficiency. It’s become very popular to put ginseng in your drink as a bit of a pick me up when you’re running low on energy; some consider it a good substitute for coffee! You might also find ginseng in energy drinks and herbal teas. It might even help combat illnesses like depression and anxiety. 

Physically, ginseng may help with stamina and boosting your immune system. Research has shown that it can also potentially help lower the risk of certain cancers like breast, ovarian, liver, lung and skin cancer! It may also help with blood circulation.

Speaking of blood circulation, ginseng might be helpful in one more area… Studies in the past have also shown relation between consuming ginseng and improved erectile function, sexual desire, and intercourse satisfaction!

For those of you interested in trying ginseng, here is the recipe to a popular Korean dish, ginseng chicken soup.

Instructions:

  1. Strain the rice.
  2. Remove giblets from the hens and rub with salt to clean. Rinse under cold running water.
  3. Pat hens dry and remove extra fat around body cavities. Cut off tips of wings if deserved.
  4. Stuff each hen with rice, 1 ginseng, 1 jujube, and 8 garlic cloves. Put any leftover rice in the pot.
  5. Place hens into a heavy pot. Add 8 cups of cold water, cover, and cook over medium high heat for 30 minutes.
  6. Turn down heat to medium and cook for another 40 minutes until the chicken, ginseng, and rice are softened. If broth evaporates too much, add more water.
  7. Remove from the heat and serve!

Think ginseng is just for consumption? Of course not! You can also find ginseng in a lot of skincare and cosmetic products. Many popular beauty brands like to use ginseng as its main ingredient to attract customers and create products that feel more luxurious. 

 

Reference:

Briffa, John. "What Could Ginseng Do for You?" Mail Online. Associated Newspapers. Web. 03 Feb. 2016. <http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-25026/What-ginseng-you.html>.

Dharmananda, Subhuti. "The Nature Of Ginseng." Internet Journal Of The Institute For Traditional Medicine And Preventive Health Care. Sept. 2002. Web. 03 Feb. 2016. <http://www.itmonline.org/arts/ginsengnature.htm>.

Ehrlich, Steven D. "Asian Ginseng." University of Maryland Medical Center. 22 June 2015. Web. 03 Feb. 2016. <https://umm.edu/health/medical/altmed/herb/asian-ginseng>.

Kiefer, David. "Panax Ginseng." American Family Physician. 15 Oct. 2003. Web. 02 Feb. 2016. <http://www.aafp.org/afp/2003/1015/p1539.html>.

Mercola, Joseph. "The Many Health Benefits of Ginseng." Mercola. 22 June 2015. Web. 03 Feb. 2016. <http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2015/06/22/ginseng-health-benefits.aspx>.

Rosick, Edward R. "Firm Up Your Sex Life with Korean Red Ginseng." Life Enhancement. 2015. Web. 03 Feb. 2016. <http://www.life-enhancement.com/magazine/article/796-firm-up-your-sex-life-with-korean-red-ginseng>.

Recipe from: http://www.maangchi.com/recipe/samgyetang

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