Panax ginseng is a plant. People use the root to make medicine. Panax ginseng is used for improving thinking, concentration, memory and work efficiency, physical stamina, and athletic endurance.
Some people use Panax ginseng to help them cope with stress and as a general tonic for improving well-being. They sometimes call Panax ginseng an “adaptogen” when it’s used in this way.
Panax ginseng is also used for depression, anxiety, chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS), for boosting the immune system, and for fighting particular infections in a lung disease called cystic fibrosis. These infections are caused by a bacterium named Pseudomonas.
Some people use Panax ginseng to treat breast cancer and prevent ovarian cancer, liver cancer, lung cancer, and skin cancer.
Other uses include treatment of anemia, diabetes, inflammation of the stomach lining (gastritis), fever, hangover, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), and asthma.
Panax ginseng is also used for bleeding disorders, loss of appetite, vomiting, intestinal problems, fibromyalgia, sleeping problems (insomnia), nerve pain, joint pain, dizziness, headache, convulsions, disorders of pregnancy and childbirth, hot flashes due to menopause, and to slow the aging process.
Some men use Panax ginseng on the skin of the penis as part of a multi-ingredient product for treating early orgasm (premature ejaculation). Men also use it for erectile dysfunction (ED). There is some evidence that Panax ginseng is effective for these uses.
Ginseng has been used as a medicine for over two thousand years. Today, approximately 6 million Americans use it regularly.
Some people consider the age of the ginseng roots important. In 1976, a 400-year-old root of Manchurian ginseng from the mountains of China reportedly sold for $10,000 per ounce.
In Western medicine, Panax ginseng is used as a stimulant to make people more active. But, in contrast, in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), Panax ginseng is used to make people feel calmer. It is also widely used in China for the heart and blood vessels. Higher doses are generally used in TCM than in Western medicine.
Panax ginseng contains many active substances. The substances thought to be most important are called ginsenosides or panaxosides. Ginsenosides is the term coined by Asian researchers, and the term panaxosides was chosen by early Russian researchers.
Panax ginseng is often referred to as a general well-being medication because it affects many different systems of the body.
- Alzheimer’s disease. Evidence shows that taking Panax ginseng root daily for 12 weeks can improve mental performance in people with Alzheimer’s disease.
- A lung disease called chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Taking Panax ginseng by mouth seems to improve lung function and some symptoms of COPD.
- Mental function. Taking Panax ginseng by mouth might improve abstract thinking, mental arithmetic skills, and reaction times in healthy, middle-aged people but not in young adults. Panax ginseng alone does not seem to improve memory, but there is some evidence that a combination of Panax ginseng and ginkgo leaf extract can improve memory in otherwise healthy people between the ages of 38 and 66.
- Erectile dysfunction (ED). Taking Panax ginseng by mouth seems to improve sexual function in men with erectile dysfunction.
- High blood pressure. Early evidence shows that taking Panax ginseng might slightly decrease blood pressure in people with high blood pressure.
- Premature ejaculation. Applying a cream containing Panax ginseng, angelica root, Cistanches desertic ola, Zanthoxyl species, toroids seed, clover flower, Asia sari root, cinnamon bark, and toad venom (SS Cream) to the penis one hour before intercourse and washing off immediately before intercourse seems to help prevent premature ejaculation
- Sexual arousal. Taking powdered Korean red ginseng, a specific form of Panax ginseng seems to improve sexual arousal and satisfaction in postmenopausal women. Also, using a specific product containing Korean red ginseng and other ingredients (ArginMax) seems to improve sexual desire in women.