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How Do I Choose the Best Ginseng Capsules?

Ginseng root has been used for medicinal purposes for thousands or years.
Both wild and cultivated ginseng are available as capsules.
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  • Written By: Celeste Heiter
  • Edited By: Lauren Fritsky
  • Last Modified Date: 13 April 2014
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Ginseng capsules are available in several varieties. To choose the best ginseng capsule, it is important to assess individual needs and study the differences between each type of capsule. The most notable differences are age and species of ginseng, country of origin and processing method. Other differences include potency, quality and cost.

Ginseng is cultivated in both Asia and North America. The species Panax ginseng is indigenous to Asia, and Panax quinquefolius is the American species. Asian and American ginseng also grow wild, although they are considered rare and endangered. Both wild and cultivated ginseng are available in capsule form.

In traditional Chinese medicine, Asian and American ginseng are believed to have different therapeutic properties. Asian ginseng is more yang and is used to balance yin conditions. The American variety is more yin and is used to balance yang conditions. Asian ginseng is more stimulating, while American ginseng is more tonic.

With regard to processing, ginseng capsules are divided into two categories: white and red. Both are produced from the same type of ginseng root, and the color is determined by the processing method. For white ginseng, the root is peeled and dried in the sun, which bleaches it. For red ginseng, the root is steam-heated to 212 degrees Fahrenheit (100 degrees Celsius),which turns it dark red, increases its potency and preserves the active ingredients.

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A third method of processing produces sun ginseng. Like red ginseng, it is steam-processed, but at a much lower temperature. This method increases the presence of certain chemical components that are believed to be powerful antioxidants.

In choosing the best ginseng capsules, it is important to consider one’s individual needs. Ginseng is believed to increase vital energy, blood circulation and sexual potency. It may also be used as a weight-loss supplement. Side-effects may include high blood pressure and low blood sugar, as well as anxiety, insomnia and gastric disorders. It is therefore important to consider one’s sensitivity.

For maximum potency, choose pure ginseng produced from older Asian roots. Korean red ginseng is considered to be the highest quality and most potent. For a milder capsule, choose American white ginseng. Red ginseng capsules are typically more expensive than white ginseng capsules.

Ginseng capsules are powerful herbal supplements. They should be used with caution under the supervision of a qualified health care provider. Don’t forget to check the ingredient list for binders, fillers and other ingredients used to make the capsules.

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Discuss this Article

turquoise
Post 4

@turkay1-- I know that during the Soviet Union, the Russian athletes used to take Siberian ginseng to improve their performance and also to fight off stress.

It's produced in Russia but aside from that, I think it's pretty similar to the American ginseng. It's cheaper than Asian ones, so it's another affordable alternative.

candyquilt
Post 3

There is also something called Siberian ginseng. What's the difference between that and Asian and American ginseng?

serenesurface
Post 2

This is a great article and I'm glad you made the point about checking the ingredients of the ginseng capsules on the market. I think everyone should also do a background check on the brand and company they are interested in buying from.

Just this year there was a company in Canada that had to recall all of its ginseng capsules and tablets because the Canadian Health Board found contamination in them. It could have caused some serious health problems for people who used it like infections and poisoning.

So please check ingredients of capsules and the company making it. There are just so many brands and companies out there producing this stuff. I only use supplements from well known, quality brands.

burcidi
Post 1

My mom has just been diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes and she is quite upset about it. I am looking into some natural remedies that might make her feel better and reduce her blood sugar. I ran into an article that talked about a study that was done on diabetic patients with ginseng capsules. The study found that taking ginseng capsules with food reduced their blood sugar levels.

I am really excited to hear about this and I want to get some for my mom to see if it would have the same effects. But I'm not sure which type I'm supposed to buy or how much she is supposed to take. Do you know which type of ginseng is good for lowering blood sugar?

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