Living in a Hispanic household, many of us grew up drinking different types of teas for a cold or for many illnesses. Even though we’re used to our manzanilla and yerba buena teas, Ginseng is also at the top of our list because of the many health benefits it has. Ginseng tea is one of the most popular herbal remedies worldwide. The word ginseng comes from the chinese term “rénshen”, which translates to “man root”. There are about 11 varieties of ginseng, but the two main types are Asian or Korean ginseng and American ginseng, but they’re not created equal.
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The American ginseng root is called Panax quinquefolis, which is grown mostly in the U.S. It’s such in high demand that it’s been declared threatened or an endangered specie in some states. Asian ginseng is one of the most popular ingredients in herbal medicine and medicinally speaking, it’s much stronger than American ginseng.
Out of the two types of ginseng, American ginseng contains the highest amount of saponins or active ginsenosides (plant chemicals), which also vary with the age of the root, season of harvest and preservation method. Asian ginseng has less of these plant chemicals (29 vs. 20), which is why it’s more effective medicinally.
There are various ways you can take ginseng. You can buy the root dried at your local herbal store; you can buy it as a liquid extract or even in capsules and tea bags. Ginseng is a very powerful root, which is why it’s advised that you don’t self-medicate. Talk to your doctor because it can interfere with your prescription medicine.