Korean Red Ginseng: Benefits, Side-Effects, Usage, Dosage, History, and Differences

Korean red ginseng, also called Panax ginseng, Asian ginseng, Chinese Ginseng, Mountain Ginseng, or True Ginseng, is a plant of the genus Panax that grows in Asia. It is the most commonly used medicinal ginseng. 

To produce Korean red ginseng, the root of Korean ginseng is steamed and dried. To produce white ginseng, on the other hand, the root is only dried and left unprocessed.

Korean red ginseng is a popular product in Asia, used primarily in health care and disease treatment.  It may be used to treat erectile dysfunction, diabetes, and even bad breath. It is also prescribed to boost the immune system and enhance cognitive function.

Korea and China are the top users of red ginseng, but the herb is distributed in over 35 countries worldwide today. Korean red ginseng can be processed into many other forms in addition to its natural root form. Red ginseng can be consumed as powder, tablets, tea, capsules, tinctures, and even as candy, which is most popular among children and the elderly.

Korean red ginseng contains ginsenosides, ginseng’s natural active substances thought to be responsible for its therapeutic characteristics. Of Korean red ginseng’s ginsenoside content, 90 percent are Rb1, Rb2, Rc, Rd, Re, and Rg1 ginsenosides. Each of these may yield specific benefits to humans when consumed. For instance, Rb1 may facilitate learning, Rb2 may improve glucose metabolism, Rc enhances glucose uptake, and Re enhances glucose tolerance, which means they can be used as anti-diabetic agents.

Meanwhile, Rd is said to be effective in treating stroke because it attenuates redox imbalance, while Rg1 is believed to have the capacity to relieve oxidative stress.  

As a result, some of the notable benefits of Korean red ginseng consumption include vasodilation (the relaxing of blood vessels) and antioxidation. Korean red ginseng is also said to have anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer properties. The herb is an adaptogen, an ingredient used in herbal therapy to aid the body in coping with stress and promoting well-being.

Korean red ginseng is processed by first harvesting fresh ginseng that has been cultivated for six years. Once the herb is sorted according to its size and shape, the dirt is removed. The root is then washed with clean water. 

Newly cleaned ginseng is then steamed for one to three hours at temperatures of 90–98°C. After steaming, the ginseng is dried with hot air and then spread out under the sun to continue drying. The goal is for the moisture content to reach 15% to 18%. Once processed into Korean red ginseng, the herb can be sold as is or be further processed into powder, pills, tablets, or other supplement forms.

There are two available varieties of Korean red ginseng in the market: white ginseng is created by leaving the root to air dry. Red ginseng, on the other hand, is produced by first heating the root, followed by a drying process. These two types differ slightly because of this heat treatment. It has been discovered that during the heat processing used to prepare red ginseng, catabolic enzymes are inactivated. This prevents ginseng quality degradation and increases antioxidant-like substances that inhibit the formation of lipid peroxide and ensure good gastro-intestinal absorption via starch gelatinization.

Korean red ginseng should not be confused with Siberian or American ginseng. Siberian and American ginseng are each distinct plants with different potential health benefits. American ginseng is said to lower body temperature. Korean ginseng, on the other hand, has the opposite effect and increases body temperature. As such, it is said to yield “warming” effects. 

The top four producers of Korean red ginseng are South Korea, China, Canada, and the United States, with a combined production of around 79,769 tons of fresh ginseng, accounting for more than 99 percent of the global total 80,080 tons.

The most reported adverse reactions to Korean red ginseng are headache, hypertension, diarrhea, insomnia, skin rash, and vaginal bleeding. While these may be more common reactions, they are not a cause for concern. A study by Sang Wook Song et al. concluded that despite these side effects reported in 192 participants who consumed 2 g of Korean red ginseng for 24 weeks, “no significant abnormal changes were revealed by anthropometric, laboratory, and vital signs measurements.” As such, the study concluded the “safety and tolerability” of a daily intake of Korean red ginseng with that specific dose and for that length of time.   

Korean red ginseng can also boost the sedative impact of some drugs. Nervousness, diarrhea, disorientation, sadness, or depersonalization may occur with prolonged use.

What is Korean Red Ginseng?

Panax ginseng grows in East Asia mountains. From this, Korean red or white ginseng can be produced depending on the processing method used.

Red ginseng is a type of ginseng that acquires a crimson tint once it has been steamed and dried. Once peeled and heated to 100 °C (212 °F) via steaming, it is dried or sun-dried. It is also typically marinated in a herbal brew. Although this marinating process causes the root to become very brittle, in general, red ginseng is more resistant to decay than white ginseng.

The genus name Panax is derived from the Greek word “panacea,” which means “treatment for all ailments.”

The name Panax is its taxonomic species, from the kingdom Plantae. The complete taxonomic hierarchy of Panax Ginseng is as follows: 

  • Kingdom – Plantae(plants)
  • Subkingdom – Viridiplantae(green plants)
  • Infrakingdom – Streptophyta(land plants)
  • Superdivision – Embrophyta
  • Division – Tracheophyta(vascular plants)
  • Subdivision – Spermatophtina (seed plants)
  • Class – Magnolipsida
  • Superorder – Asteranae
  • Order – Apiales
  • Family – Araliaceae(ginseng)
  • Genus – Panax L.(ginseng)
  • Species – Panax ginseng (Asian Ginseng)

Korean red ginseng’s impressive nutritional value is derived from the roots of Panax genus plants. It mainly contains vitamins and some minerals, which boost energy levels and the immune system. It includes the following nutrients:

  • Carbohydrates
  • Crude protein
  • Crude ash
  • Crude fat

Panax ginseng’s dried roots and rhizomes include critical components such as ginseng oils, phytosterol, and ginseng saponins. Panax ginseng also contains amino acids, sugars, vitamins, peptides, organic acids, and minerals.

There is no set standard dose that must be taken for one to reap the full benefits of Korean red ginseng. The quality of supplements, as well as the dosage of active ingredients they contain, might differ significantly between manufacturers.

What is the Nutritional Profile of Korean Red Ginseng?

The nutritional value of ginseng is very high. It contains vitamins and some minerals. A 100-gram pack of Korean red dried ginseng powder typically contains 13 mg of Sodium, 415 mg of Potassium/Vitamin K, 80 Calories, 18 g of Carbohydrates, 2 g of protein, 8.5 g of Vitamin C, 1 g of Calcium, and 3.5 g of Iron.

 

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What are the Benefits of Korean Red Ginseng?

Panax ginseng has an important place in herbal therapy because of its diverse therapeutic effects on inflammation, allergies, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and even cancer. Studies have shown that ginseng and its ginsenosides can also regulate indicators of stress, malaise, and learning. 

The majority of Panax ginseng types contain ginsenosides, peptides, polysaccharides, polyacetylene, alkaloids, and phenolic compounds that allow them to possess such properties. The root of Panax ginseng is also an adaptogen. That means it helps ensure that living organisms achieve homeostasis or the proper balance in the internal environment for optimal functioning. This especially pertains to the adrenal glands (where stress hormones are produced and regulated), the thyroid gland (where metabolism hormones are produced and regulated), and other endocrine glands. 

Korean red ginseng may also yield the following benefits: 

1. May Help Boost the Immune System

Adaptogens have been used in traditional medicine to treat bacterial and viral diseases, among other things. A wide variety of adaptogens is known to help the body adapt to stress and ensure balance in one’s internal environment. Korean red ginseng is one of them.

A study by Hyun et al. found that Korean red ginseng can strengthen the immune system by increasing the count of B cells, white blood cells, and T cells in the body. Acute and chronic stress, and a variety of other stresses, can also be alleviated with the use of Korean red ginseng supplements. This is important because the stress hormone corticosteroid can have an adverse effect on the effectiveness of the immune system. 

2. May Help Fight Heart Disease

Korean red ginseng is known for its cardioprotective properties. Because of its vasorelaxant nature, Korean red ginseng can help improve blood circulation. According to a study by I-Juchen et al. as a result, it can help stabilize healthy blood pressure levels through vasoconstriction and aid in the maintenance of cardiovascular health.

3. May Help Enhance Brain Health

Degenerative brain disorders like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s are on the rise globally because of an increase in the elderly population. However, pharmacological formulations to prevent brain health problems in some elderly are not widely available.

Korean red ginseng is used to improve brain health. In order to combat brain aging and neurodegenerative illnesses, gintonin, a component of Korean red ginseng, activates a variety of cellular pathways, ensuring antioxidant defense and anti-inflammatory responses. Each of these aspects contributes to enhanced mental performance, learning, and memory. 

A study by Hamid Iqbal et al found that the antioxidant properties of Korean red ginseng suppressed neural damage in rats that had been subjected to long-term heat stress for six months.

4. May Help Decrease Stress

All organisms must learn to cope with physical and psychological stressors in order to survive. Stress is a required response to environmental changes that serve to maintain in vivo homeostasis. When stress levels rise above a certain point, adverse health consequences ensue. Additionally, continuous stress might contribute to the development of depression and anxiety.

Korean red ginseng helps to prevent the onset of psychological ailments such as anxiety and depression. A study by Ji Young Choi et al, in particular, found that mice subjected to stress (wire test, swimming, and rotarod tests) and given red ginseng supplementation at doses between 50 to 200 mg/kg ran longer, fell less, and had reduced plasma corticosterone levels. Corticosterone is a stress hormone that increases depression-like behavior or anxiety. The Ji Young Choi study concluded, therefore, that red ginseng supplementation can relieve the effects of both psychological and physical fatigue, although it alleviates the first more. Red ginseng also helps to defend against the development of physiological diseases associated with stress.

5. May Help with Diabetes

Diabetes mellitus is a disease that develops when your pancreas does not produce adequate amounts of insulin and is typically seen in conjunction with varying amounts of peripheral insulin resistance. Blood glucose serves as the body’s primary source of energy and is formed by the breakdown of carbohydrates consumed by the body. With diabetes, glucose circulates in excess in the bloodstream and is not utilized properly by the appropriate cells and organs, leaving other bodily systems susceptible to damage caused by excess blood glucose. This is one area in which ginseng can help.

The anti-diabetic activities of Korean red ginseng are attributed to its ginsenosides. Ginsenosides help people in controlling their blood glucose levels. A study by William C. S. Cho found that the ginsenoside Re, in particular, reduced blood glucose levels in diabetic rats and prevented oxidative stress in the circulatory system. The study concluded that ginsenoside, in particular, could be used to prevent microvasculopathy brought about by diabetes. 

There have also been indications that Korean red ginseng can improve pancreatic cell function, and, therefore, enhance insulin production. Ginseng, in general, also has antioxidant properties that enable the reduction of free radicals in cells. Free radicals are believed to cause glucose oxidation, which can contribute to the onset of diabetes mellitus.

6. May Help Fight Cancer

Red ginseng is prepared using steaming or heating techniques. A study by Chong Zhi Wang et al said that when red ginseng is steamed, in particular, the potency of ginsenosides as anti-cancer agents increases. It does this via apoptosis/paraptosis activation and the suppression of angiogenesis. 

Red ginseng has also been shown to suppress the growth of cancerous tumors, with its anti-inflammatory and anti-angiogenic characteristics. 

What are the Side-Effects of Korean Red Ginseng?

When used orally for a short period of time, Korean red ginseng is considered to be safe for consumption. 

Common side effects, however, may include:

  • diarrhea
  • insomnia
  • headache
  • rapid heartbeat
  • increased or decreased blood pressure
  • breast tenderness and vaginal bleeding

Uncommon side effects may include:

  • severe rash
  • liver damage
  • severe allergic reactions

One should exercise caution before taking any Korean red ginseng supplement if they are or exhibit the following conditions:

  • pregnant
  • breast-feeding
  • children
  • auto-immune disease (Multiple sclerosis, lupus, rheumatoid arthritis)
  • bleeding conditions
  • heart conditions
  • hormone-sensitive conditions (endometriosis, uterine fibroids, or breast, uterine, and ovarian cancer)
  • insomnia
  • suppressed immune system
  • schizophrenia

Experts warn against the prolonged use of Korean red ginseng for more than three months. 

What are the Risks of Excessive Korean Red Ginseng Consumption?

In general Korean Ginseng and American Ginseng are believed to be relatively safe for consumption, even when consumed in high quantities. Uterine bleeding can be one of the most common symptoms of an acute ginseng overdose. A study by Ayla Kabalak et al concluded that ginseng could be responsible for menometrorrhagia, or excessive bleeding in the uterus in women outside of the menstrual period. Other symptoms have also been reported with a severe overdose. These include irritability, nausea, seizures, delirium, urinary incontinence, fever, among others. 

Signs of a mild overdose include, dry mouth and lips, excitation, fidgeting, irritability, tremor, palpitations, blurred vision, insomnia, elevated body temperature, elevated blood pressure, edema, decreased appetite, dizziness, itching, eczema, early morning diarrhea, bleeding, and fatigue.

The Korean Herbal Pharmacopoeia suggests that one consumes 1.5 to 10 g of Korean red ginseng to address medicinal issues. However, if it is to be used as a supplement, the recommended dosage is  2.4 to 80 mg of ginsenosides per day. One should consult a medical professional before taking any supplements in order to prevent side effects.

What are the Advantages of Korean Red Ginseng when Compared to Other Ginseng Types?

Korean red ginseng is one of the most sought-after herbs because of its health benefits. It is said to be a good source of antioxidants and can help the body fight infection. Throughout Asian history, ginseng has been used for medicinal purposes. Steamed and sun-dried Korean red ginseng, in particular, contains the highest concentration of ginsenosides of all the other kinds of ginseng.

Here are some other advantages of Korean red ginseng when compared to other ginseng types:

  • Korean red ginseng is more suited for use in cold areas because of its “warming” effects
  • Korean red ginseng is considered a stimulant and invigorator
  • It aids in blood circulation, thereby increasing body temperature

American ginseng is more suited for use in hot areas (for a person with a fever, for instance) because of its capacity to reduce body temperatures. It is considered a sedative.

What are the Disadvantages of Korean Red Ginseng when Compared to other Ginseng Types?

Korean red ginseng can provide many health benefits when consumed. It has been a go-to natural supplement as a result. However, this doesn’t mean that it doesn’t have any disadvantages compared to other ginseng types. 

Here are some disadvantages of Korean ginseng: 

  • It is not recommended for use over an extended period of time. The recommended maximum use duration is three months
  • It cannot be used to cool the body because of its “warming” effect 

American ginseng, on the other hand, can be used for an extended period and produces “cooling” effects. 

What is the Traditional use of Red Ginseng?

For thousands of years, people in eastern Asia have relied on Korean red ginseng to treat a variety of ailments. In addition to being used to improve heart health, treat diabetes, increase energy, reduce stress, and treat impotence, it has also been used to boost the immune system. Traditionally, the herb is commonly consumed as a tea or eaten directly. 

Although Korean red ginseng has been used in traditional medicine for a long time, some of its biological benefits remain inconclusive, according to modern research. However, some studies have proven that red ginseng may help in the treatment of such ailments. For instance, there are studies that have shown that patients with mild diabetes may benefit from ginseng with its memory-enhancing capabilities. There are also indications it can reduce exhaustion and treat symptoms for menopause.

 

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It has a range of components, including ginsenosides, peptides, polysaccharides, and poly acetylenic alcohols. From a modern science perspective, these have beneficial effects on the central nervous system and can help ensure immunomodulation. It also has anti-cancer properties. It is particularly beneficial in treating impotence, sleeplessness, anorexia, hypodynamia, palpitation, shortness of breath, and bleeding.

At present, Korean red ginseng is used in food and drink. It is used in “banchan” or side dishes and “guk” or soups in Korean cuisine. It can also be found in tea and in alcoholic beverages. Ginseng-infused tea and liquor are typically consumed and are referred to as “insam cha” and “insam-ju”, respectively. The ginseng tea is often prepared by dipping tea bags filled with Korean red ginseng powder in water and leaving it for the flavors to set in the liquid. It can also be made by mixing powder alone with boiling water. Some tea drinkers may choose to sweeten the drink with honey.

Korean red ginseng is also now considered one of the most effective dietary supplements and functional foods for active immune regulation. It is seen to help ensure resistance to cancer and aid in the treatment of autoimmune illnesses. 

What are the Forms of Red Ginseng?

Raw Korean red ginseng can be ingested or used in a variety of recipes. It is available in different forms, including powder, whole ginseng root, teas, and tablets, ginseng supplements or capsules, among others. Powdered ginseng is the most commonly used form.

1. Red Ginseng Powder

Red Ginseng powder is commonly used to make Ginseng tea, one of the most well-known ways of consuming ginseng. When you make tea, the nutrients that are responsible for the root’s health benefits dissolve in hot water. This makes it easier for the digestive system to absorb the nutrients, as compared to when one swallows capsules or eats dried roots.

In a study, Lee (2006) Korean red ginseng powder was even used to replace wheat flour to bake a cookie.

2. Red Ginseng Tablets or Capsules

A tablet is a pharmacological dosage form for oral administration or a solid unit dose form. Tablets are described as the solid unit dose form of a medication or combination of medications with appropriate excipients. Tablets are a mixture of active ingredients and excipients, typically in powder form, that has been crushed or compressed into a solid form. 

Capsules, on the other hand, are small tubes that contain either medicinal liquid or powder.

Although technically Korean red ginseng tablets and capsules are both comprised of red ginseng powder, they are, in essence, still different forms and yield slightly different effects when consumed. 

Korean red ginseng tablets or capsules have a long shelf life, around two years, like Korean red ginseng tea, and are available in a variety of dosages. Each capsule or tablet can also hold a higher concentration of active ingredients. They may have a slower onset of action than Korean red ginseng in only powder form and, in some cases (especially tablets), may break down unevenly in the digestive system. 

According to a study by Jeong et al., consumption of red ginseng extract through supplements may contribute to cholesterol reduction, blood glucose control, increased blood flow, and overall health improvement in menopausal women through mediating inflammatory and vascular health pathways.

3. Red Ginseng Sweets

Red ginseng can also come in candy or jelly form. These sweets proliferate the market, particularly in Korea, where they are a favorite of both adults and children alike. They are also given as gifts on special occasions and wrapped beautifully for that purpose.

These red ginseng forms contain sweeteners that help satiate sugar cravings. The candy can also sometimes contain mouth-freshening ingredients such as menthol and xylitol. The ways these candies are derived depend on the company selling them. One Korean red ginseng company, Kim’s, for example, creates sweets from six-year-old Korean red ginseng that grows naturally in the Punggi province. 

How to Drink Korean Red Ginseng?

One of the most popular ways of consuming Korean red ginseng is by drinking it. To make tea from powder, water needs to be boiled at a temperature of 208 degrees Fahrenheit. This is the optimal temperature for extracting all of the nutrients found in ginsenoside and gintonin. Following that, a tea bag needs to be filled halfway with two to three grams, or about one teaspoon, of Korean red ginseng powder. Pre-made tea bags containing the powder may also be purchased.

While a tea bag isn’t necessary, it does allow for the powder to be removed from the beverage before the drink is consumed. Without a teabag, the powder needs to be given time to settle to the bottom of the cup and then mixed with a spoon. Some powder may remain in the liquid as a result. 

Whether in a tea bag or in raw powder form, the red ginseng needs to be soaked in 8 oz of boiling water for three to five minutes. The nutrients found in the root that contribute to its health benefits are dissolved in hot water during the tea-making process. It’s likely that the majority of these nutrients in red ginseng will have dissolved in the water by then. 

One can drink the tea as it is or mix it with honey for a sweeter taste.

Does Korean Red Ginseng Really Work?

Because of its perceived therapeutic abilities, Korean Red Ginseng has been used in various cultures. 

In the modern era, science has proven Korean red ginseng’s antioxidant properties, which are among the primary reasons for its use. Antioxidants prevent other molecules from oxidizing and can therefore help treat or prevent certain illnesses. 

A study by Ji Young Kim et al., for instance, found that the consumption of Korean red ginseng as supplements may reduce DNA white cell damage and low-density lipoprotein oxidation. Researchers came to this conclusion after testing the blood samples of 69 healthy subjects aged 20 to 65. Each subject was given Korean red ginseng capsules or placebo capsules to be consumed for eight weeks prior to the testing. Those with the Korean red ginseng capsules were told to consume 10 capsules per day after every main meal. As for the dosage, each Korean red ginseng capsule contained 16.58 mg/g ginsenosides. 

Ginseng supplements should, however, always be purchased from a trustworthy supplier. One can take three grams by mouth up to two hours before eating. It is essential to consult a physician prior to adding ginseng to the current regimen.

Is Red Ginseng Bad for your Face?

Korean red ginseng has skin-balancing properties. It has a natural astringent effect and can enhance circulation in the tiny blood vessels in the skin. That, in turn, may assist in increasing collagen synthesis in the skin. The result is firmer skin. 

Moreover, Korean red ginseng has antioxidant properties that protect the skin from free radicals. That helps prevent the appearance of wrinkles and skin lines. 

Korean red ginseng is also beneficial in the treatment of hyperpigmentation since it aids in the suppression of melanin production. A study by Margaret Song et al found that clinical improvements were noted in 25 females with melasma or hypermelanosis that manifests as brown patches in localized areas, who were administered 3 g of Korean red ginseng powder for 24 weeks.  

Why is Korean Red Ginseng Good for the Liver?

Korean red ginseng can enhance liver function and help in the treatment of liver disease. Ginsenosides, its primary component, have been shown to have properties that protect against acute and chronic liver injury. 

A study by Hong S.H et al. using rat models found that Korean red ginseng, when consumed orally for two months, can lead to lipid profile improvement needed to prevent or manage fatty liver disease. The study found it can also stimulate the activities of natural killer cells, which can play a critical role in the prevention of the progression of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. 

Additionally, Korean red ginseng has been proven to have antioxidative properties. Oxidative stress has been found to contribute to the onset or progression of liver disease.

What are the Honeyed Korean Red Ginseng Slices?

You can soak Korean red ginseng in honey, dry it, and cut it into smaller pieces to eat. These slices are perfect for satiating cravings for something sweet.

Ginseng is known for its energy-boosting and blood sugar balancing properties, while honey has antioxidant and antibacterial properties. When consumed together, then, they can help improve immunity while also enhancing energy levels in an individual.

What is the Effect of Red Ginseng on Sexual Function?

Korean red ginseng is known as an aphrodisiac and is used in traditional Chinese medicine to treat sexual dysfunction and stimulate sexual behavior. 

Animal studies have shown there was a positive link between the consumption of ginseng on the one hand, and libido and sexual performance. Ginseng has also been found to improve the quality and quantity of sperms in males primarily due to its ginsenosides content.

In addition to increasing alertness, Korean red ginseng has been shown to have the capacity to help males with erectile dysfunction (impotence). Some studies have found it boosts nitric oxide synthesis and relaxes blood arteries, which improves blood flow.

Korean red ginseng extracts may also be given to women for improved sex life. A study by Kyung Jin-oh et al. found that premenopausal women who took three capsules a day of Korean red ginseng had improved scores in the Female Sexual Function Index and Global Assessment Questionnaire. 

Why is Red Ginseng Good for the Heart?

A study by Chul Min Ahn et al. concluded that Korean red ginseng enhanced the mobilization of angiogenic cells (cells that form new blood vessels) and reduced inflammation in acute myocardial infarction (heart attack), allowing for an improvement in the coronary flow reserve (CFR) or the capacity of the arteries to increase blood flow as a response to increased myocardial metabolic demands. The researchers made the conclusion after measuring CFR at baseline and then after eight months in 25 acute myocardial infarction patients who had consumed 3 g per day of Korean red ginseng for those eight months.

These results suggest that Korean red ginseng’s antioxidant and anti-inflammation properties may be good for the heart. A study by Peter Adegbola et al. found that plants with such properties have a potential role in the treatment of cardiovascular disease. Adegbola concluded this was because such plants target oxidative stress, which can lead to endothelial dysfunction, inflammatory responses, and the release of vasoactive molecules. All these in turn lead to an increased sensitivity to myocardial infarction.

 

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What are the Other Ginseng Types Besides Korean Red Ginseng?

Apart from Panax Ginseng or Korean Ginseng other types of ginseng may also be used for medicinal benefits. Here are two of the most popular options:

  • Panax quinquefolius: Also known as American Ginseng, this herb is native to North America, specifically southeastern Canada and Central America. It is a folk remedy for indigenous tribes of these locations.  There are differences between Korean and American Ginseng: American Ginseng has a cooling effect and can thus be taken during hot weather conditions. On the other hand, Korean red ginseng has a warming effect, making it more suitable for use in colder climates. American ginseng is also seen as having the capacity to induce calm and is typically used as a sedative, whereas Korean ginseng is known to increase energy levels when consumed.
  • Panax japonicus: Japanese ginseng is native to China and Japan. It has been utilized as a healing plant for over 2000 years. Panax japonicus has the most chemical similarities with Panax ginseng, as such, there aren’t as many significant differences between Panax japonicus and Panax ginseng.

Different types of ginseng may produce different benefits. Therefore, the type used should depend on the user’s specific needs and desired results.

Is Korean Red Ginseng the Same as Red Ginseng?

Korean red ginseng is technically not the same as red ginseng. 

Although Korean red ginseng is red ginseng, red ginseng doesn’t necessarily equate with Korean red ginseng. It can mean red American ginseng as well.

The “red” placed before the term “ginseng” refers to the way a type of ginseng was processed. Both red American ginseng and Korean red ginseng acquire their reddish color after undergoing a specific steaming and drying process.

Which is Better: Red or White Ginseng?

White ginseng refers to the ginseng root that has undergone a process of peeling and drying. Red ginseng, on the other hand, is ginseng root that has been steamed and dried. Both forms undergo these processes for decay prevention. The terms “red” or “white,” therefore, refer specifically to the color of the product after processing. 

In general, there is no evidence that one type of ginseng is superior to another. What’s “better” will depend on the type of benefits users wish to gain from the consumption of ginseng. 

For instance, if one wishes to treat asthma with ginseng, red ginseng would be the better option. A study by Chi-Yeon Lim et al. using an ovalbumin-induced asthma model in mice found that while both red and white ginseng have anti-asthma properties with their capacity to inhibit inflammatory cell infiltration into the bronchoalveolar region, red ginseng was more potent. The study said, however, that further research was needed to determine which specific component of ginseng yielded these benefits.

Because of its specific “cooling” effect, white ginseng, on the other hand, is touted to be the better option for the treatment of insomnia. A study presented at the SLEEP 2011 conference found that the cooling of the prefrontal cortex can promote sleep in insomniacs.

There is still, however, a need for more scientific studies on the specific therapeutic abilities of white and red ginseng.

Is Korean Red Ginseng Better than Panax Red Ginseng?

Korean red ginseng is the colloquial name for Panax red ginseng, which specifies its taxonomic classification. Chinese ginseng, Asian ginseng, and Korean ginseng are all names for Panax ginseng. Both are Korean ginseng that underwent a specific steaming and drying process that gives it its reddish color. 

American ginseng is a close relative of this plant. Both species contain ginsenosides, which are credited with their health-enhancing properties.  

Why is Red Ginseng so Expensive?

Red ginseng’s value derives from its medicinal properties. The Chinese believe ginseng roots can be used as an aphrodisiac, among its other medicinal uses. 

Its high value can also be attributed to the fact that it is an herb that cannot be mass-produced for consumption easily. Wild ginseng, in general, needs to stay in nature for as long as six years before it is harvested and transformed into red ginseng in order for it to provide its potent effects. This also explains why farmed ginseng–or ginseng produced with human intervention and artificial methods— costs much less than red ginseng made from wild plants.

According to a comparative study by Meiling Liang et al. on the cost of red ginseng in South Korea and China, the price of red ginseng in South Korea was 15.49 yuan/g at that time, but the price of farmed red ginseng in Tong Ren Tang was only 2.29 yuan/g. 

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