Ginseng, Panax

Ginseng (Panax ginseng) is native to China and Korea. The name ginseng means “man root,” a reference to its shape, which resembles the human form. Mature ginseng roots contain saponin compounds known as ginsenosides, polyphenolic compounds and polysaccharides.1,2 The cleaned roots are extracted, concentrated, and dried. Extracts are commonly standardized to contain ginsenosides or polysaccharides.

Health Benefits

Panax ginseng has been valued to be a tonic, adaptogen, and prophylactic agent to build resistance. Panax ginseng has also been used to reduce the risk of illness, boost vitality, increase stamina, and promote general well-being for thousands of years in Korea and China, without being associated with serious adverse events or drug interactions.1,3,4 Therefore, Panax Ginseng consumption has been considered to improve overall health, reduce the susceptibility to illness, and promote longevity, as its name “panax” means “cure-all” in Greek.1 Fresh Ginseng extract supplementation has been associated with the reduced risk of several cancers in Korean populations, implying its preventive effect against cancer.5 Ginseng may also aid in improving mood and psychophysical performance while reducing fasting blood glucose levels and body weight in individuals with non-insulin dependent diabetes (type 2 diabetes).6 Ginseng extract in combination with multivitamins increased detoxifying activities of the liver in the elderly with chronic liver diseases.7 Ginseng has been associated with improving erectile function, sexual function, physical performance, and factors related to male fertility.4,8-10 Furthermore, Ginseng has shown ergonomic effects by prolonging exercise duration until exhaustion. The mechanism has been supported in a preclinical study, reporting the thermogenic effect of Panax Ginseng by increasing resistance to cold temperatures and improving recovery from acute hypothermia.11,12 Ginseng polysaccharide has been shown to enhance immune function in a clinical study.13


1. Ginseng Root. Expanded E. American Botanical Council. Accessed in Jul 2015.
2. Kang S, Min H. Ginseng, the ‘Immunity Boost’: The Effects of Panax ginseng on Immune System. J Ginseng Res. 2012 Oct;36(4):354-68.
3. Ginseng, Panax. MedlinePlus. NIH. Accessed in July 2015.
4. Coon JT, Ernst E. Panax ginseng: a systematic review of adverse effects and drug interactions. Drug Saf. 2002;25(5):323-44. Review. PubMed PMID: 12020172.
5. Yun TK, Choi SY. Non-organ specific cancer prevention of ginseng: a prospective study in Korea. Int J Epidemiol. 1998 Jun;27(3):359-64. PubMed PMID: 9698120.
6. Sotaniemi EA, Haapakoski E, Rautio A. Ginseng therapy in non-insulin-dependent diabetic patients. Diabetes Care. 1995 Oct;18(10):1373-5. PubMed PMID: 8721940.
7. Zuin M, Battezzati PM, Camisasca M, Riebenfeld D, Podda M. Effects of a preparation containing a standardized ginseng extract combined with trace elements and multivitamins against hepatotoxin-induced chronic liver disease in the elderly. J Int Med Res. 1987 Sep-Oct;15(5):276-81. PubMed PMID: 2890542.
8. Pieralisi G, Ripari P, Vecchiet L. Effects of a standardized ginseng extract combined with dimethylaminoethanol bitartrate, vitamins, minerals, and trace elements on physical performance during exercise. Clin Ther. 1991 May-Jun;13(3):373-82. PubMed PMID: 1954639.
9. Choi HK, Seong DH, Rha KH. Clinical efficacy of Korean red ginseng for erectile dysfunction. Int J Impot Res. 1995 Sep;7(3):181-6. PubMed PMID: 8750052.
10. Salvati G, Genovesi G, Marcellini L, Paolini P, De Nuccio I, Pepe M, Re M. Effects of Panax Ginseng C.A. Meyer saponins on male fertility. Panminerva Med. 1996 Dec;38(4):249-54. PubMed PMID: 9063034.
11. Kim SH, Park KS, Chang MJ, Sung JH. Effects of Panax ginseng extract on exercise-induced oxidative stress. J Sports Med Phys Fitness. 2005 Jun;45(2):178-82. PubMed PMID: 16355078.
12. Kumar R, Grover SK, Divekar HM, Gupta AK, Shyam R, Srivastava KK. Enhanced thermogenesis in rats by Panax ginseng, multivitamins and minerals. Int J Biometeorol. 1996 Nov;39(4):187-91. PubMed PMID: 9008431.
13. Cho YJ, Son HJ, Kim KS. A 14-week randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blind clinical trial to evaluate the efficacy and safety of ginseng polysaccharide (Y-75). J Transl Med. 2014 Oct 9;12:283.