What Is White Ginseng?

Celeste Heiter

White ginseng is the root of the Panax plant that has been processed for therapeutic purposes. Ginseng has been used for thousands of years in China to promote good health. Today, white ginseng is one of the most popular herbal supplements. It may be brewed into a tea, eaten whole or taken in capsule form.

White ginseng is used in lotions, soaps, shower gels, and more.
White ginseng is used in lotions, soaps, shower gels, and more.

In its natural form, ginseng root is light tan in color. As it grows, the root forms appendages that resemble the arms and legs of a human figure. When it is processed for therapeutic purposes, the root is peeled and dried in the sun, which bleaches it white. This gives white ginseng its name. It differs from steam-processed ginseng, which turns dark red.

Ginseng root has been used for medicinal purposes for thousands or years.
Ginseng root has been used for medicinal purposes for thousands or years.

Panax ginseng is the species most often used for herbal supplements and is indigenous to Korea and China. Panax quinquefolius is the American species, which is cultivated in the US state of Wisconsin, and in the Canadian provinces of Ontario and British Columbia. The most popular ginseng products come from Korea.

Among other benefits, ginseng tea is thought to promote vital energy after an illness.
Among other benefits, ginseng tea is thought to promote vital energy after an illness.

White ginseng is typically less expensive than the red variety. As a tea, it may be served either hot or iced. It may be served plain or mixed with milk or lemon juice and sweetened with honey or sugar. It is also available in commercially packaged bottles. This ginseng is sometimes used as a component for beauty products, including lotions, soaps, bath oils and shower gels.

This type of ginseng is less potent than red ginseng—however, it still offers many of the same health benefits. In Chinese medicine, white ginseng tea is believed to promote vital energy after an illness, improve blood circulation and increase sexual potency. This variety of ginseng is also sold as a weight-loss supplement.

Potential side effects of white ginseng are increased blood pressure, low blood sugar and intestinal disturbances. Much like coffee, this type of ginseng is a stimulant, which may cause nervousness and insomnia. It should therefore be used with caution under the supervision of a reliable health care provider.

Ginseng has been used in traditional Chinese medicine since ancient times. Today, the active ingredients in ginseng have been identified as ginsenosides. In Western medicine, these phytochemicals are being studied as a possible treatment for cancer and immune system disorders, as well as for the treatments of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS). They are also being tested for the treatment of male erectile dysfunction and as anti-inflammatory agents.

White ginseng is sometimes used in bath oils.
White ginseng is sometimes used in bath oils.

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Discussion Comments


@simrin-- I haven't heard of white ginseng being used for anxiety before. That actually seems a bit odd because it is a stimulant so I would expect to make anxiety worse. I have trouble sleeping when I have ginseng so I try to limit to one tea or drink in the early hours of the day.

It might helps stress though because it does strengthen the immune system and energize, so it might help you fight stress better.

There is no rule that everyone is going to have the same side effects though. You will know best how it is working for you when you keep taking it.


I read that white ginseng is yin and red ginseng is yang. White ginseng has cool properties and red ginseng has hot properties. So the two are also used to balance out yin and yang.

I don't know which way my body is imbalanced right now but I'm taking white ginseng supplements because my friend recommended it for stress and anxiety. I have been working overtime and have been trying to juggle work and family responsibilities, so you can imagine how stressed I am.

I just started the supplements last week and it might be too soon to see the benefits, but I'm hoping they make a difference. Anyone else take white ginseng for stress? What has been your experience?


Whenever I have a cold or feel really tired, my mom tells me to have white ginseng tea. I think it really does improve the immune system because I feel so much better after I have it. I don't like the taste too much though so I usually mix it with green tea or buy bag tea from the store.

Asian stores have a wide variety of flavors and I try them out sometimes. The last one I tried had mint and raspberry flavors in it. It was really good! I could have that one everyday, not just when I'm sick.

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