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

White ginseng is made from natural ginseng root (Panax ginseng) that has simply been dried and peeled. The term “white” that comes before ginseng refers to the color after this process which the herb undergoes for decay prevention. 

White ginseng has been used for thousands of years in ancient Asian medicine for its perceived therapeutic properties. It was typically used to treat illnesses such as diabetes, heart disease, and asthma. In traditional Chinese medicine, ginseng is considered to be the king of tonic herbs. For ancient Chinese doctors, ginseng was praised for its ability to regulate the flow of the body’s qi, or energy. Ginseng, they believed, enables the transfer of this internal qi to parts of the body that need it more, thereby ensuring the body’s proper functioning. 

Results of contemporary research on white ginseng have so far shown that these perceived therapeutic properties of the herb, in general, do exist. A study by S. H. Chung et al. found that Korean white ginseng can help in hyperglycemia in mice. Researchers came to this conclusion after blood glucose levels were shown to decrease in the animals after consumption of the herb over four weeks of study. 

Additional studies of both white and red ginseng have demonstrated further benefits as well. A study by Qing-ong Jiang et al also found that the Rb1 ginsenoside found in ginseng can inhibit right ventricular hypertrophy in mice. Another study by Chie Yeo-Lim et al also demonstrated that both white and red ginseng had anti-asthmatic effects. This was after groups of mice given doses of white and red ginseng showed reduced inflammatory cell infiltration into their bronchoalveolar system.

Because of ginseng’s proven therapeutic properties, the herb has been transformed into various forms for delivery (capsules, pills, and powder or liquid concentrates, among others) and then sold in the market. On popular retailers, 100 white ginseng capsules or four ounces of powder typically sell for $10 to $40. According to Jeongpil Yang, a historical ginseng researcher, the full-scale mass consumption of white ginseng in Korea, one of the biggest ginseng markets, started after 1910. At this time Gaesung traders started looking for alternatives to the then-Japanese colonial government’s ban on the manufacture of red ginseng. 

At present according to In-Ho Baeg et al, the ginseng root and all its processed forms, including white ginseng, has an estimated market value of $2.084 billion dollars, with distribution in at least 35 countries.

White ginseng can be processed commercially into different forms for consumption. However, before they become capsules, tablets, liquid, among other forms, the ginseng used to create them should have undergone the specific process of peeling and drying that defines white ginseng. 

The way this process is undertaken can vary on a case-to-case basis determined by the producer. Many scientific studies specify the sun-drying of a 4- to 6-year-old ginseng root is required to create white ginseng. To generate white ginseng for their study on the ginsenoside profile of the processed herb, Ji Hye-Shin et al, on the other hand, resorted to forced drying at 55 degrees Celsius for one week, until the white ginseng achieved a moisture content of around 14%.

White ginseng’s manufacturing process has a distinct difference from that of red ginseng, which is steamed before the drying process. Sang Myung Lee et. al. described this process in detail in their study on the preparation and chemical composition of Korean red ginseng. According to the researchers, the six-year-old fresh ginseng is first washed so it is cleansed from any foreign agents. It is then subjected to steaming at 90 to 98 degrees Celsius for one to three hours. Finally, it is subjected to both mechanical drying and sun-drying, before it is packaged for commercial use.

While there is no data on which countries are considered the primary producers of white ginseng specifically, according to Inho-Baeg et al., South Korea, China, Canada, and the US are the biggest producers of ginseng. This includes all processed forms of ginseng, including white ginseng. 

People who consume white ginseng before bed have reported having trouble sleeping. Other reported side-effects include headache, diarrhea and nervousness, although these are less common. Some users have reported extreme itchiness, too. These are, however, rare occurrences.

What is White Ginseng?

Different ginseng types can undergo the process of drying and peeling to create white ginseng. White American ginseng is popularly sold in the US, in particular, as a supplement to boost energy levels. Hye Won Lee et al also described Japanese ginseng that was transformed into Panax notoginseng and was subjected to this drying and peeling process in a 2021 study. However, Korean ginseng is the most common species made into white ginseng and is typically equated with the term. 

Korean Ginseng, also called Panax ginseng, Chinese Ginseng, Asian Ginseng, Mountain Ginseng, or True Ginseng, is a plant of the genus Panax that grows in Asia. Korean Ginseng belongs to the Panax 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 ginseng, in general, provides many health benefits that include enhancing the immune system and increasing energy levels. Its benefits are primarily due to its nutritional content composed of carbohydrates, crude protein, crude ash, and crude fat. The dried roots and rhizomes also include key components such as ginseng oils, phytosterol, and ginseng saponins. Apart from those, Korean ginseng contains amino acids, sugars, vitamins, peptides, organic acids, and minerals.

Studies have shown that the physicochemical properties of Korean white and red ginseng do have slight differences from one another. A study by Jae-Yoon Han et al. found that crude Korean white ginseng had a higher percentage of crude ash composition (5.14+-0.02), crude fat composition (1.2+-0.008), and crude protein composition (13.4+-0.06) as opposed to crude Korean red ginseng (5+-0.05, 0.9+-0.01, 122.89+-0.11, respectively). Moisture content, however, was higher in Korean red ginseng, at 7.58+-0.10, vis a vis Korean white ginseng’s 4.83+-0.05. The same study found that these values also change when both forms are subjected to extrusion, a process that involves mixing, cutting, and subjecting the herb to high pressure and temperatures.

As with all other types of ginseng, Korean ginseng exhibits therapeutic properties because of its ginsenoside content. According to Seong Il-Lim et al., the main ginsenosides in Korean white ginseng are Re, Rb1 and Rg1. Each of these ginsenosides may yield specific health benefits for users. Rb1 is known to improve learning function, Rg1 may relieve oxidative stress, and Re has properties that improve heart health.

Korean ginseng also contains saponin and polysaccharides, which can play a critical role in boosting the immune system. 


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What is the Nutritional Value of White Ginseng?

Korean white ginseng has high nutritional value. One 100-gram pack of Korean white ginseng powder has a calorific value of 390 kcal/12 kcal, 97g/3g of carbohydrates, and 1g of protein. The ginsenoside content in Korean white ginseng can vary, depending on the manufacturer. According to Soon-Tae Lee et al., one capsule manufactured by South Korea’s Nonghyup Co. has 8.19% ginsenosides content. Acidic polysaccharides which have been shown to exhibit the most biological activities are at 0.86% in the white ginseng lateral root and at 0.63% in the white ginseng main root.

What are the Benefits of White Ginseng?

Korean ginseng derives its therapeutic properties from its ginsenoside content. However, this content and their specific benefits change when the herb is subjected to different processes. A study by Sung-Kwon Ko et al. found that there are differences between the total ginsenosides found in Korean white ginseng and in Korean red ginseng, which is produced by steaming and drying the herb. The study found that the total ginsenoside content in white Korean ginseng was two to three times higher than the ginsenoside content found in Korean red ginseng. Because of the difference in specific ginsenosides content, Korean white ginseng may yield slightly different health benefits when consumed. Here are some of those benefits:

1. May Help Fight Heart Disease

A study by Eshra Shishtar et al found that a 4-year-old Korean white ginseng root can help reduce arterial stiffness, which can put a strain on the heart eventually leading to heart disease, even heart failure. The researchers came to this conclusion after administering 1g, 3g and 6g of the herb in 25 participants with Type 2 diabetes. Although glycemia and blood pressure levels were not affected, there were significant reductions in atherosclerosis. 

The study determined that the 3-gram dosage was optimal for yielding these benefits of Korean white ginseng. The researchers also noted that Korean white ginseng could then be used as an alternative to Korean red ginseng, which is known to offer heart health benefits. Additionally, the study discovered that while Korean ginseng used for red ginseng needs to stay a minimum of six years in the wild before it is processed into that form, the same herb only needs a minimum of four years in the wild to be made into white ginseng.

2. May Help Improve Brain Health

Studies have shown that Korean ginseng contains ginsenosides that can protect the brain. A study by Soon-Tae Lee et al, found that people with Alzheimer’s disease had improved scores in the Alzheimer’s disease assessment scale cognitive subscale test and in the mini-mental state examination after they consumed Korean white ginseng powder over four to 12 consecutive weeks. The ginseng group–50 people all in all—had consumed 4.5 g/day of a 6-year-old white Korean ginseng powder for that period. An additional nine people were given a higher dosage of 9g/day for the same results. The researchers concluded that the changes in the test results of people given the higher dosage did not differ from the changes in the test results of those who received the 4.5g/day dosage.

Based on the results of the study, Soon-Tae Lee et al concluded Korean white ginseng was “clinically effective in the cognitive performance” of Alzheimer’s patients. They noted, however, that their study was conducted for only a short period of time, and that studies that span a longer period should still be conducted.

Another study by Myung-ho Jin et al concluded that both Korean white ginseng and red ginseng could reduce the damage wrought by an ischemic stroke in mice, with red ginseng having a more potent effect. 

3. May Help Fight Cancer

A study by Hee Sook-Jee et al found that white ginseng extract can inhibit the growth of human lung carcinoma, human endometrial adenocarcinoma, human uterine adenocarcinoma, and human kidney adenocarcinoma cells, based on the results of a disk diffusion test. The study found that an increase in dosage also translated to an increase in the zone of inhibition. According to the researchers, at a white ginseng extract concentration of 2.0mg/mL, white ginseng inhibited human kidney carcinoma cells by more than 93%.

An epidemiological study by Taik Koo Yun et al involving almost 2,000 pairs also concluded that Korean ginseng is a non-organ-specific cancer preventative, with an overall odds ratio of cancer in patients consuming ginseng at 0.56. For white ginseng extract users specifically, the odds ratio was at 0.57, for white ginseng powder, the overall odds ratio was 0.3, and for red ginseng users, 0.2. The study found, however, that those who consumed white ginseng tea did not show a decrease in the risk of contracting cancer. While the study did not specify a ginseng dosage for the participants, it stated that, in general, the risk of cancer decreased with an increase in the dosage and in the frequency of intake of ginseng.

4. May Help Treat Asthma

Most studies on Korean ginseng’s anti-asthmatic effects focus on Korean red ginseng, with its capacity to reduce Th2 cytokines that are critical to the development of asthma. That’s not to say, however, that Korean white ginseng doesn’t yield some of the same benefits. 

A study by Chi-Yeon Lim et al found that Korean white ginseng also reduced airway hyperresponsiveness and inhibited inflammatory cell infiltration that can manifest as respiratory disease. The researchers used an ovalbumin-induced mice asthma model for their study.

5. May Enhance Immune System

Korean white ginseng may also enhance the immune system due to its polysaccharide content. These polysaccharides have been found to have properties that can enhance the body’s resistance to illnesses. A study by Yaoyao Sun et al concluded that Ginseng polysaccharides enhance natural killer cell cytotoxicity. Researchers examined immunosuppressed mice that had been administered 200 or 400 mg/kg of ginseng polysaccharides daily for a total of ten days. The researchers, therefore, concluded that ginseng polysaccharides may be used for the treatment of immunodeficiency diseases.

6. May Help Improve Liver Health

A comparative study by San Hyun Sohn between Korean white ginseng and red ginseng found that under a microscope, saponins in both can reduce oxidative stress that can lead to abnormalities in the liver’s function and structure. The researchers concluded that white ginseng, like red ginseng, may be used to help prevent liver damage. 

What are the Side-Effects of White Ginseng?

Korean white ginseng has generally been found to be safe for consumption. It, however, may have these side effects for some users: 

  • Morning diarrhea: 35% of the 133 patients involved in a study by R.K. Siegel reported this side effect after consuming ginseng for two years. This, however, is not a cause for concern. Users are advised to consume many fluids to avoid dehydration.
  • Skin rash: Of the 133 patients involved in Siegel’s study, 25% reported this side effect. This may require hospitalization if the skin rash is severe. Use of the ginseng should be discontinued in these cases.
  • Nervousness: 25% of those who participated in Siegel’s study reported this side effect. This may be addressed with discontinued usage of ginseng but is not cause for immediate concern.
  • Difficulty sleeping: 20% of users reported this effect. In these cases, users are merely advised against consuming Korean white ginseng before sleeping.

The following is also a reported side effect but is a rare occurrence:

  • Low blood pressure: A meta-analysis by Hye Min Ha et al found that ginseng can reduce blood pressure–both the systolic and diastolic figure–significantly after consumption for eight to 12 weeks. The reduction was found to take place regardless of the dosage. Of the patients involved in Sieger’s study, 17% reported this side effect.

What are the Risks of Excessive White Ginseng Consumption?

While studies have generally found short-term consumption (a maximum of six days) of white ginseng to be safe for users, researchers are divided on whether or not long-term consumption of ginseng should be recommended.

A study by Silvia Kyung Jin-Lo et al found that consumption of Korean ginseng for over five years–whether white or red ginseng—can even improve cognitive ability in the elderly. The study, however, did not specify the specific dosage of ginseng taken each day by each of the 6422 individuals who participated in the study, that is, if indeed they consumed ginseng. Nor did the study specify the specific ginseng product each individual who did consume ginseng used for the study period.

Of these 6,422 individuals, only 3918 were able to complete both the first and second follow-ups required for the study. Each of those individuals, with a mean age of 70.2, was classified as having no use, low use (less than five years), or high use (more than five years) of ginseng.

Doo Jin Paek et al, meanwhile, pointed out that ginseng abuse may result in adverse side effects such as cardiovascular and renal toxicity, hypotension, uterine bleeding, and severe allergy among others. The researchers came to this conclusion following a meta-analysis of clinical trials and case reports on the effects of the consumption of ginseng in the long run. In the meta-analysis, the researchers found that based on previous studies, these adverse side effects could occur as early as one week after consumption to as late as four months following consumption.

Because of the varying study results, it is difficult to recommend a specific Korean white ginseng dosage. White ginseng consumption of less than one week, however, should be safe for most consumers. Nevertheless, users should consult their doctor prior to taking white ginseng to prevent any possible side effects.

What are the Advantages of White Ginseng When Compared To Other Ginseng Types?

Many studies have compared Korean white ginseng with Korean red ginseng. Based on those studies, Korean white ginseng has the following advantages over Korean ginseng’s other processed form:

  • It can be harvested early: Unlike red ginseng that needs to stay in the wild for at least six years before it undergoes the steaming process which produces its reddish color, the processing of white ginseng can begin after it has stayed in the wild for only four years. That’s a good thing for manufacturers, who may therefore be able to produce Korean white ginseng at a faster rate than red ginseng.
  • It is less expensive than Korean red ginseng: Because Korean ginseng only needs to undergo a simple process of peeling and drying to be transformed into Korean white ginseng, it is cheaper to produce and purchase as an alternative, as opposed to Korean red ginseng. A 59.2-ml bottle of Kan Herbs Korean white ginseng extract, for instance, costs $47 while a 59.2-ml bottle of Korean red ginseng extract of the same brand costs $48.82 on the Premier Formulas site.

The advantages of Korean white ginseng over Korean red ginseng have more to do with its simple processing than with the health benefits it yields.

What are the Disadvantages of White Ginseng When Compared To Other Ginseng Types?

Korean white ginseng is believed to contain slightly fewer beneficial health benefits as compared to Korean red ginseng. Researchers have posited this is because of the additional steaming process that has to be undergone to produce Korean red ginseng. According to Sun Hyee Yun et al, this process produces new components such as arginine-fructose-glucose and ginsenosides Rh1, Rg2,  Rg3, which may yield more potent health benefits.

Below are some of the disadvantages of white ginseng as compared to Korean red ginseng:

  • It has reduced anti-asthmatic efficacy and efficiency: The study by Chi Yeon-Lim et al found that while both Korean red ginseng and white ginseng reduced airway hyperresponsiveness and inhibited inflammatory cell infiltration that manifests as asthma, red ginseng was found to be more efficient and efficacious in its treatment. This study found that the infiltration of inflammatory cells into the bronchoalveolar region was less severe in mice with acute asthma that had been administered with doses of red ginseng than in mice given a dose of white ginseng.
  • It has lower effectiveness for reducing oxidative stress: The study by Sang Hyun Song et al found that while both Korean red ginseng and white ginseng reduced oxidative stress in HepG2 hepatoma cells, red ginseng had relatively more potent effects and had a stronger hepatoprotective effect.

Despite Korean red ginseng’s advantages when it comes to potency of health effects, Korean white ginseng still attracts its own share of consumers. This is possibly due to the fact that Korean white ginseng yields health benefits similar to red ginseng–all at reduced prices.

What is the Traditional Use of White Ginseng?

Ginseng has a rich history as a medicinal supplement. According to Michael Kim, the herb was used as a tonic in ancient China as it was believed to improve overall health and ensure rejuvenation. Korea, as well, was aware of the existence and benefits of ginseng. In fact, the herb, which at that time only grew in southern Manchuria and northern Korea mountains, was typically presented as a gift by Korean merchants to Chinese courts. 

So valuable was ginseng at that time that it became the trigger of a border clash between the Chinese and Koreans in 1685 when Korean traders attempted to collect the herb from Paektu mountains, a region on the Chinese/North Korean border. Researcher Jeongpil Yang did not mention who won that clash, but when the Qing dynasty conquered Korea in the 1600s, trade of ginseng between the two countries was intensified. Due to the surge in ginseng trade at this time, ginseng was over-foraged from the wild, and supply began to dwindle. Local manufacturers were forced to resort to cultivating the herb themselves to satiate the growing demand for the herb both in Korea and China. Jeongpil Yang stated this process of cultivation became a popular practice in China, Korea, and Japan during the 1600s. Cultivation of the herb in North America didn’t begin until after 1750. 

According to Jeongpil Yang, red ginseng existed prior to white ginseng in Korea. Gaesung traders were only forced to produce white ginseng as an alternative after red ginseng production (used for the manufacturing of hongsam, in particular) was banned by the then-Japanese colonial government in its bid to monopolize the industry. Hongsam, or Korean red ginseng drink, was, according to Michael Kim, a favored commodity exported to China. 

The traditional Korean traders promoted white ginseng as an alternative in the annual trade market, with the same benefits: rejuvenation and improved health. With the continued association of red ginseng with the Japanese colonial government, sales of that product in China diminished during the 1920s. Demand for white ginseng or paeksham, which includes its pill, extract and powder forms, on the other hand, surged, according to Jeongpil Yang, not just in Korea but also in China, Japan and other parts of Asia, because it was also cheaper. 

The competition between the Japanese colonial government and the Korean traders was not just limited to red ginseng and white ginseng products. Because Korean traders were allowed to manufacture other ginseng derivative products, these would more often than not compete directly with the ginseng products manufactured by the Japanese colonial government and by Japanese private traders. To distinguish its own ginseng products from the others, the Japanese colonial government would use the words “kwanjep’um,’ which translates to “government-owned product,”’ and “chonggwanjang,” which means “a genuine product made and packaged in a government-run factory” on its packaging.

With the boom in ginseng demand in Korea and other parts of Asia, the Japanese colonial government set up a research institution to look into the other possible health benefits of ginseng at that time. 

What are the Forms of White Ginseng Supplements?

Many of the white ginseng derivatives that exist today were produced as a result of the Japanese colonial government’s clampdown on red ginseng production in Korea. Today, various forms make it possible for consumers to gain the herb’s health benefits in a form that suits them the best. White ginseng is more popularly marketed commercially as a supplement, to be taken with water as a capsule or a pill before or after meals, or as tea, with the powder mixed in hot water. 

According to Inho Baeg et al, the supplement form is the ginseng form that prevails in China and Taiwan, based on consumption patterns. South Korea also sells ginseng supplements, but according to the researchers, supplements cannot be said to dominate the South Korean market, since ginseng food forms have their fair share of consumers as well.

Prior to consumption of white ginseng supplements, users should consult their doctors to prevent any possible side effects. Below are some of these major forms of white ginseng sold commercially.

1. White Ginseng Powder

White ginseng powder is light yellowish to brown and is typically mixed with water. It can be dissolved in hot water to be consumed as a tea, or with cold water, depending on preference. The resulting aromatic beverage is believed to yield the same health benefits as white ginseng when consumed in its root form. The drink is typically used to supplement the diet for improved organ health and physical wellbeing. 

Some even suggest sprinkling white ginseng in dishes as well. Some Korean dishes such as Samgyetang or chicken soup may include powdered ginseng as an ingredient.


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2. White Ginseng Capsules/Pills

White ginseng capsules are one of the most common forms to be used as a health supplement. Korean white ginseng powder is enclosed in an oval-shaped container. Korean companies that sell white ginseng capsules typically sell them in packages of 50, 100, or even 250. A primary benefit of capsules is that the dosage of Korean white ginseng powder can be easily controlled so the risk of severe reactions caused by overdose is less likely. 

The dosage of Korean white ginseng powder varies from manufacturer to manufacturer. For instance, Imperial Elixir sells a bottle of 100 capsules, 600 mg each, of white ginseng powder. It also recommends taking two capsules per day. 

White ginseng capsules are also typically used in studies that aim to determine the health benefits of white ginseng in general. In the study by S.T. Lee et. al, 58 men and women with Alzheimer’s disease were given one capsule per day with 4.5g of Korean white powder each for 12 weeks. The aim of the study was to determine the effects of Korean white ginseng on the cognitive performance of Alzheimer’s patients.

3. White Ginseng Tablet

Although white ginseng capsules are more prevalent in the global market, white ginseng tablets are also a popular option made and sold commercially. 

White ginseng tablets, which can allow for higher doses of the main ingredient, are consumed orally. They can either be taken in their solid form or dissolved in water to drink as a beverage.  

Coregins, a brand that sells white ginseng in tablet form, believes it’s the “easiest and fastest way” to take Korean white ginseng. One bottle of 100 tablets costs around $39. Each tablet, according to the manufacturer, contains 22mg of ginsenosides per gram.

4. Liquid White Ginseng Extract

White ginseng can also come in liquid form. Some manufacturers such as Kan Herbs, for instance, sell Korean white ginseng liquid extract for mixing with any drink—coffee, tea, water or even juice. The specific dosage of ginsenosides in each bottle is unclear but Corregins recommends consumption of 1 ml or one full drop of the liquid extract daily.

5. Face Mask

Korean white ginseng can also be used as face masks for what manufacturers assure is better-glowing skin. To create the gel-type texture of the face mask, the white ginseng is mixed with honey. The mask is applied to the face during a shower and then rinsed off after a few minutes for optimal results.

Is White Ginseng Bad for Your Face?

No, in fact, face masks made from white ginseng are sold in parts of Asia and in the US. Manufacturers such as Sulwhasoo (which has stores in countries such as Korea, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Indonesia, Vietnam, the US, and others) promise to “enhance the skin’s radiance” with these products. Citing a study from Acorn involving 30 people aged 30 to 49, Sulwhasoo attests to the efficacy of its white ginseng face masks. This study showed satisfaction ratings of 86% for removing impurities effectively, 83% for exfoliating skin gently, 90% for “brightening” the skin, 90% for clearing up the skin, and 93% for giving a feeling of moisture to the skin.

A meta-analysis of studies on the effects of ginseng on melanogenesis, or melanin production, conducted by Kwangmi Kim concluded that the ginsenosides in the herb inhibit tyrosinase and DCT, which are critical enzymes in melanin production. As a result, the researcher concluded ginseng products could be used as “novel skin-whitening” agents.

Jenelle Kim, the founder of JBK Wellness Labs, attributes ginseng’s “glowing” effects on the skin to its vitamin D and B12 which, as Kim says, can allow for increased blood circulation and oxygen flow in the skin.

How Do You Drink White Ginseng?

Different forms of white ginseng may be used to create a white ginseng-infused beverage. One may mix white ginseng powder in hot or cold water, depending on preference. The recommended serving of white ginseng powder for beverages is one tablespoon.

If the white ginseng was purchased as a liquid extract, one just needs to put a drop of the liquid in water. Liquid extracts may be mixed into the user’s preferred beverage whether it is tea, coffee, or juice. The recommended dosage will vary from manufacturer to manufacturer.

If the white ginseng, however, was purchased as a crude root, users will need to follow these steps:

  • Put water in a container and put it on a stove at 209 degrees Fahrenheit. 
  • While waiting for the water to become hot, grate the dried ginseng or cut it into flakes using a coffee grinder.
  • Put 1 to 2 tablespoons of the powder or the flakes in a cup then add the hot water. Some users may also choose to put the powder or the flakes in a tea bag for ease of straining afterward.
  • Let the white ginseng steep in the hot water for two to three minutes.

Some may add honey as a sweetener once the tea is prepared. However, it is recommended in Chinese culture to drink tea as it is.

White ginseng tea is popular in Eastern Asia because of the perceived health benefits it brings (increased alertness, increased energy levels, and overall improved health, among others).

Does White Ginseng Really Work?

Scientific studies have proven that white ginseng does provide specific health benefits to the body. There is a need, however, to isolate the specific health benefits that have been scientifically proven from the perceived health benefits that have not yet been scientifically confirmed.

For instance, what has been proven by science (in Esra Shishtar et al.’s 2014 study) is that white ginseng improves arterial health in people with Type 2 diabetes, and may, therefore, help in reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease. The same study, however, did not find any white ginseng effects on glycemic parameters, which may put into question claims that white ginseng, in particular, can help those with diabetes.

There is also a need to expand some studies that have affirmed specific white ginseng health benefits to include human models. The claims that white ginseng may help improve asthma and enhance the immune system, while proven, were only affirmed using mice as study subjects. More solid evidence could be produced from a full trial on human subjects.

Why is White Ginseng Good for the Liver?

Ginseng contains ginsenosides that are known to have hepatoprotective properties. This means they help prevent liver disease caused by hepatotoxins such as alcohol and carbon tetrachloride. This has been scientifically proven.

A study by M. Zuin et al found that ginseng extract, when mixed with multivitamins and trace elements, administered to elderly patients with chronic liver disease, led to a reduction in serum bile acid levels. An increase in serum bile acid level has been observed in patients with liver cancer and liver sclerosis. From this, the researchers concluded that this ginseng extract mixture could be used to help detoxify the liver.

What are the Honeyed White Ginseng Slices?

Honeyed white ginseng slices are Korean white ginseng which has been soaked in honey, dried, and then cut into smaller pieces. This process gives ginseng, which is normally bitter in flavor, a sweet taste for satiating sugar cravings. White ginseng’s hepatoprotective and immuno-enhancing properties combined with honey’s antibacterial and antioxidant properties make for potent health food.

Honeyed white ginseng slices are typically harder to find in the market, however. Manufacturers prefer to sell honeyed red ginseng slices. This is likely because red ginseng is believed to have more potent health effects than white ginseng.

What is the Effect of White Ginseng on Sexual Function?

Ginseng has long been used to treat erectile dysfunction. In fact, in ancient Chinese medicine, it was also used to improve sexual behavior.

There are many scientific studies that confirm the positive effects of Korean red ginseng on sexual function. A study by Y. D. Choi et al, for instance, found that the administration of Korean red ginseng for at least three months can enhance the erectile capacity of rabbits and rats. The study stated red ginseng does this by ensuring the relaxation of the male organ and allowing for neurophysiologic enhancement, although it did not say which specific component of red ginseng had the capacity to do this. Another study by Enrico de Andrade et al found that Korean red ginseng can be effective in treating erectile dysfunction, based on the improved scores in the International Index of Erectile Function of 20 males with mild to moderate erectile dysfunction given 1000 mg of Korean red ginseng daily for 12 weeks prior to the test. 

Scientific studies on the direct effect of white ginseng on sexual function, on the other hand, are scarce. However, the positive effects of the white ginseng form on sexual function may be inferred since it contains the same ginsenosides. According to Seong Il-Lim et al. the main ginsenosides in Korean white ginseng are Re, Rb1 and Rg1. A study by Xioying Wang et. al has found ginsenoside Rg1, in particular, improves male copulatory behavior in mice by enhancing nitric oxide release and the signaling molecule cyclic GMP. Nitric oxide allows the male organ to relax and enhances male erection, while Cyclic GMP regulates the calcium and protein channels that affect penile relaxation.

Because of limited studies on the direct effects of white ginseng on sexual function, consultation with a doctor prior to consumption for that purpose is highly recommended.

Why is White Ginseng Good for the Heart?

A study by Esra Shishtar et al found that Korean white ginseng may have positive effects on the augmentation index, and, therefore, improve heart health. The augmentation index, a cardiovascular risk factor, measures how stiff the arteries are. The researchers observed reduced augmentation index levels in patients with type 2 diabetes who had each been given 3g of Korean white ginseng in five visits. Researchers, however, noted that these were preliminary study results and that studies that cover a longer period were still needed to determine which specific components of white ginseng effect AI in a positive manner.

Prior to the consumption of white ginseng to improve heart health, consultation with a doctor is still recommended.


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What are the Other Ginseng Types Besides White Ginseng?

Studies typically compare white ginseng with red ginseng because they are the two traditional post-harvesting ginseng methods. There are, however, other more novel processed forms of ginseng. Here are the other types of ginseng and the primary ways they differ (apart from the processing method) from white ginseng:

  • Red ginseng: The main difference between red ginseng and white ginseng is its ginsenoside content. Red ginseng has less Rb1, Rb2, and Rbc ginsenosides than white ginseng, and has Rg3, a minor ginsenoside. Several studies have posited that the steaming process required to create red ginseng has led to a breakdown of these major ginsenosides into minor ginsenosides. The steaming process, according to a study published in the American Chemical Society, can lead to a dramatic increase in the potency of ginseng.
  • Black ginseng: The main difference between red ginseng and white ginseng is its ginsenoside content. Black ginseng is white ginseng but steamed several more times (nine times at 96 degrees Fahrenheit). As a result of the steaming processes, black ginseng has less Rb2, Rb1, Rg1 and Rc ginsenosides, considered the major ginsenosides, but more Rk1, Rg3, and Rg5, the minor ginsenosides. 

Studies have shown that black ginseng yields health benefits similar to white ginseng but, like red ginseng, has more potency. A study by Mi Ra Lee et al found that steamed black ginseng roots exhibited higher antioxidant activity than white ginseng. This is consistent with the results of another study published in the American Chemical Society that confirms the steaming process increases ginseng potency.

Is White Ginseng the Same as Red Ginseng?

No, they’re not the same, although they do yield similar benefits. The “white” and the “red” terms before the word “ginseng” refers to the color produced by specific processing methods. So, while white ginseng is ginseng root that has been dried and peeled, red ginseng is ginseng that has been steamed before drying. This steaming process, according to studies, is what makes red ginseng yield more potent health effects than white ginseng when consumed.

Which is Better White or Red Ginseng?

Several studies have shown that red ginseng yields more potent health benefits compared to white ginseng in general. Although it can be easy to conclude red ginseng is better than white ginseng on this basis, it is not. The “better” option depends on the type of benefit one wishes to derive from ginseng. White ginseng may be a better treatment option for certain users. For instance, its specific “cooling” effect may help deal with insomnia. A study presented at the SLEEP 2011 conference determined that the cooling of the prefrontal cortex can promote sleep in insomniacs. This, however, contradicts findings on a common side effect of white ginseng, which is trouble sleeping. Due to contradictory reports, caution should always be exercised when using white ginseng for the treatment of this particular condition.

From an expense perspective, white ginseng may also be considered the “better” option by consumers on a budget. Even if white ginseng yields less potent health benefits than red ginseng, it does result in similar perks. All these benefits also come at reduced prices because only a simple process of drying is required for white ginseng to be produced. Red ginseng, which is commonly more expensive, requires a more complicated steaming process in production. 

Is White Ginseng Better than Panax White Ginseng?

White ginseng is an overarching term that describes the way ginseng of whatever type– American, Korean, Siberian, or other—was processed. Panax white ginseng, on the other hand, is specifically Korean white ginseng.

Therefore, white ginseng and Panax white ginseng cannot be compared in this way. Panax white ginseng can also be processed into white ginseng, after all.

Why is White Ginseng so Expensive?

Relative to red ginseng, white ginseng is cheaper because the ginseng undergoes a simpler process before it is sold in the market. However, white ginseng is still, by standards, expensive. A 59.2-ml bottle of Kan Herbs Korean white ginseng extract, for instance, costs $47.

The high prices of white ginseng can be attributed to the fact that like red ginseng, it cannot be mass-produced as easily. Before ginseng can be processed into white ginseng, it needs to stay in the wild for at least four years. 

The high prices are also a reflection of the many health benefits white ginseng has been found to yield. Although these health effects have been found to be less potent than the health effects red ginseng produces, they are still present and highly valued by consumers. 


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