Six benefits of Korean ginseng and things to look out

·3 min read

From chart-topping boyband BTS and popular Korean dramas like Squid Game to K-beauty being the gold standard of skincare regimes, the Hallyu Wave is here to stay. Korean ginseng, likely, is next-in-line for the spotlight.

Ginseng, wolfberry and jujube are in the wooden plate
Ginseng and its multiple benefits (Photo: Gettyimages)

The herb was recently registered as a “functional ingredient for improving liver health” by the Korean Ministry of Food and Drug Safety. In this article, Yahoo Life SEA will be looking into the possible health benefits of Korean ginseng, ways to take the herb, and what to look out for.

1. Boosts liver health

Based on a 5-year clinical study, Korean ginseng extract was given to participants for a 12-week period and they had shown a decrease of 15.67 per cent in alanine aminotransferase (ALT), which increases with liver damage, after the study. Additionally, “in the case of alcohol-related liver disease or biliary tract disease, gamma GT also decreased by 5.93 per cent.”

2. Reduces inflammation

Korean red ginseng has been shown in a study that it helps to reduce inflammation and improve antioxidant activity in the skin cells of people who suffered from eczema. Another study had also concluded that red ginseng helps in reducing oxidative stress by increasing antioxidant enzyme activities.

3. Fight fatigue

Improved energy and ability to fight fatigue have been linked to regular consumption of Korean ginseng in some people. A four-week study on people with chronic fatigue observes that the participants experienced lowered physical and mental fatigue and reductions in oxidative stress when compared to those who had taken the placebo.

4. Boosts brain health

Korean ginseng’s components, such as Compound K and ginsenosides, have been studied for their ability in aiding with cognitive abilities and neuroprotection. They have also been looked into for their ability in boosting mental health and mental performance, along with its positive effects on people with Alzheimer’s Disease.

5. Improves erectile dysfunction in men

Research has shown that the Korean ginseng is a good form of alternative medicine that can improve erectile dysfunction (ED) in men. A clinical study found that men that were treated with Korean red ginseng see 60 per cent improvement in ED symptoms as compared to the 30% improvement from an ED medicine.

6. Boosts overall immune system

There are some studies looking into Korean ginseng’s effects on the immune system, focused mainly on immunocompromised cancer patients and those who had recovered from cancer. These participants were observed to have better immune system markers than those who did not take ginseng regularly for an extended period.

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Incorporating Korean ginseng into diet and things to look out

Korean ginseng can be eaten raw or made into a tea by adding hot water to sliced ginseng and letting it steep for five minutes. The slices of ginseng used in the tea can be eaten after you finish the drink. Found mostly in powder and extract forms, Korean ginseng can also be added into soup and stir-frys to enhance the taste of your dishes. However, it is important to avoid taking ginseng with caffeine as they are believed to intensify the effects of caffeine.

Short-term Korean ginseng use is considered safe for most, but people with underlying health conditions should check with their doctors before consumption. The most common side effect for taking Korean ginseng is insomnia due to improved energy and reduction of fatigue feelings. The other side effects include elevated heart rates and blood pressure, headaches, and dizziness.

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