Comparison of Red Ginseng and White Ginseng

What are the Differences Between White Ginseng and Red Ginseng

White ginseng and red ginseng are two different post-harvest forms of ginseng (Panax ginseng). While white ginseng is a natural raw ginseng root that has been dried and peeled, red ginseng is ginseng root that has been steamed before it is dried and peeled. 

White ginseng and red ginseng are both generated from fresh ginseng but the two don’t just differ in color and the ways they are created. The production processes they undergo give them varying compositions and different concentrations of beneficial compounds. 

According to Chang-Won Cho et al, fresh ginseng contains carbohydrates, minerals, compounds with nitrogen, and around 30 different ginsenosides, the active pharmacological components of ginseng. The researchers said these ginsenosides, in dried fresh ginseng, in particular, include Rb2, Rb1, Rd, Rf, Re, Rc, and Rg1. In their study on the changes in ginsenoside profiles of different ginseng forms, Ji Hye Shin et al said the ginsenoside content of fresh and white ginseng is similar. 

In research performed by Sun Hyee Yun et al, when the fresh Korean ginseng undergoes the steaming process before drying to produce Korean red ginseng, new components are produced in that newly processed form. These new components include arginine-fructose-glucose and ginsenosides Rh1, Rg2, Rg3. Because of these additional components, Korean red ginseng is said to provide more health benefits than Korean white ginseng. Huijeong Ahn et al, for instance, found that non-saponins that include arginine-fructose-glucose may have the capacity to regulate diseases that result from the activation of the AIM2 inflammasome. These include cardiovascular, skin, and chronic kidney diseases. 

Xi Lyu et al, concluded that ginsenoside Rh1 may be used as a treatment for colorectal cancer after they found they “markedly decreased” both the volume and weight of a tumor in SW620 cells in a dose-dependent manner. Meanwhile, Rg2, according to Hai Dan Yuan et al, may prove effective in the treatment of type 2 diabetes because of its proven ability to improve insulin resistance. Sunoh Kim et al, on the other hand, concluded that Rg3 may possess neuroprotective properties. They came to this conclusion after they found, using a hippocampal neuronal model, that the ginsenoside inhibited an increase in Calcium levels associated with epilepsy and seizures.

By and large, though, the health benefits of the two processed forms overlap, with one typically more efficient and efficacious than the other. The better choice for a person seeking health benefits from ginseng will depend on the type of health benefit that person seeks in the first place.

Here are the main overlapping health benefits of the two post-harvesting processed forms of ginseng (Korean) and the more effective option for users seeking each benefit, according to scientific studies.

1. Energy Level Differences Between Red and White Ginseng

A study by Hyeong Gyeug Kim et al found that Korean ginseng, in general, reduces fatigue in patients with idiopathic chronic fatigue. The researchers came to this conclusion after lower reactive oxygen species and malondialdehyde levels were reduced in patients administered 1g or 2g per day of Korean ginseng extract for four weeks. According to Michael Reid, who conducted a meta-analysis of peer-reviewed scientific studies on reactive oxygen species (ROS), ROS has been found to be a direct cause of fatigue. Malondialdehyde (MDA), meanwhile, like ROS, is an oxidative stress marker. A study by Jin Seok Lee et al found that oxidative stress contributes to idiopathic chronic fatigue.

Of the two forms, Korean red ginseng gives more energy than Korean white ginseng. Although there has not been a comparative study between red ginseng and white ginseng in this regard, many of the researchers who have proven the effects of ginseng on fatigue used Korean ginseng in its steamed and dried form to prove their hypotheses (Hyeong Gyeug Kim’s team, however, did not explicitly state the Korean ginseng form that was used for their study on patients with idiopathic chronic fatigue). 

For instance, a study by Li Zhang et al concluded that Korean red ginseng has a “potent anti-fatigue effect” in the group of 174 Chinese study participants given 1.8g and 3.6g of the herb for four weeks. The researchers came to this conclusion following an improvement in the subjects’ traditional Chinese medicine symptom scores and their scores based on their own fatigue assessments. The researchers said that the effects are also dose and time-dependent.

Another study by Won Suk Sung et al concluded that while Korean red ginseng doesn’t show “absolute anti-fatigue effect,” it had “therapeutic potential for middle-aged people with moderate fatigue.” This was after the researchers found fatigue visual analog scale results went down for the two groups that participated in their study–one given 3g of Korean red ginseng and the other a placebo—after following up four weeks after their six-week treatment. The researchers noted no significant difference in the decrease in the results between the two groups. The decrease in fatigue in those aged over 50 and who had a fatigue VAS less than 80mm at the start of the study, however, was found to be more significant.

Both studies focused on the effects of Korean red ginseng on fatigue and did not delve into the specific component of that processed form that gives it its anti-fatigue property. The Li Zhang et al study merely hypothesized this may have to do with its ginsenosides and acidic polysaccharides content, without explicitly stating a basis. The study by Won Suk Sung et al, meanwhile, gave an overview of Korean red ginseng’s proven antioxidant activity. It did not explicitly state this was a possible cause for that processed form’s anti-fatigue effect.

While the research is clear on the anti-fatigue effects of Korean red ginseng, as compared to white ginseng (at least at the moment due to the apparent scarcity of studies on the possible anti-fatigue effect of white ginseng) further research is still needed to determine which particular component of Korean red ginseng is responsible for these effects.

2. Sharper Cognitive Function Differences Between Red and White Ginseng

Both Korean red and white ginseng have been shown to enhance cognitive function. A study by Silvia Kyungjhin Lho et al found that the intake of Korean ginseng–whether white or red—for more than five years may have positive effects on cognitive function in the elderly. It made the conclusion after finding the Consortium to Establish a Registry for Alzheimer’s Disease (CERAD) test scores of elderly Koreans with use for more than five years were higher than those who did not take it. However, the researchers stated that there was no noted difference in the changes in CERAD scores when a follow-up was made after just two and four years of ginseng use by the test subjects.

Red ginseng is considered better at ensuring sharper cognitive function than white ginseng. Myungho Jin et al, compared the effects of white ginseng extract and red ginseng extract on the brain using an ischemic stroke mouse model. While both red and white ginseng exhibited neuroprotective effects, pretreatment of 1000 mg/kg body weight of red ginseng extract led to a reduction in the brain area affected by edema, which results after an acute ischemic stroke. It also led to a reduction in the total infarction volume, a measurement of the resulting clinical consequences of an ischemic stroke. The researchers concluded that since these events were not observed in subjects that underwent pretreatment of white ginseng, red ginseng extract is more efficacious than white ginseng when it comes to brain protection.

The same researchers concluded that ginsenoside Rg1–which had already been proven to exhibit neuroprotective effects prior to the conduct of their study— was, however, not the ginseng component responsible for red ginseng extract’s potent protective effects on the brain. They arrived at this final statement after noting that white ginseng had three times more content of that ginsenoside than red ginseng. Myungho Jin et al concluded that the neuroprotective effects of red ginseng extract were derived from its ability to suppress changes in the cell that are associated with inflammatory responses to an ischemic stroke. These responses can, in turn, result in adverse effects on the brain. The researchers also noted red ginseng’s neuroprotective effect was associated with red ginseng extract’s capacity to inhibit the activation of programmed cell death pathways. The researchers did not specify which specific component enabled red ginseng to trigger these events.

3. Anti-Inflammatory Differences Between Red and White Ginseng

Korean ginseng, in general, has been proven to exhibit anti-inflammatory activities that make it ideal for use in the treatment of diseases caused by inflammation such as gastritis and arthritis. A study by Byoung-Gun Park et al even found that the anti-inflammatory effects of Korean wild ginseng could be enhanced with fermentation using a probiotic bacterium. A study by Sang Yun Han et al also found that even the less-studied calyx of the Korean ginseng berry exhibits anti-inflammatory properties.

Of the two processed Korean ginseng forms, it seems that Korean red ginseng is better in treating inflammation than white ginseng. Comparative studies on the anti-inflammatory effects of each type of ginseng are limited. However, one study by Chi-Yeon Lim et al observed the efficacies of Korean red and white ginseng in the treatment of asthma. They found that while both forms exhibited anti-asthmatic properties red ginseng was more efficacious than white ginseng. In this study, the components of ginseng inhibited the production of inflammatory cytokines by the peribronchial lymphocytes and allowed for a reduced infiltration of inflammatory cells into the bronchoalveolar area of mice with asthma.


White Ginseng and Red Ginseng Content Image 1


The Chi-Yeon Lim et al study did not state which specific component of Korean red ginseng gave it its potent anti-asthmatic effects, adding that further studies were needed to identify the constituent. One such study by Evelyn Saba et al concluded that the Rg3 in Korean red ginseng may be responsible for these anti-inflammatory effects. Saba came to this conclusion after they found a “remarkable attenuation” of inflammation in mice with septic shock after being administered Rg3-enhanced red ginseng. The same results were observed in their in vitro study. A separate study by Tao Yu et al said the ginsenoside Rc in Korean red ginseng may be responsible for these anti-inflammatory effects, based on in vivo and in vitro mouse studies.

4. Blood Circulation Differences Between Red and White Ginseng

Korean ginseng can also increase blood circulation. In a meta-analysis of studies on Korean ginseng and its potential for the treatment of cardiovascular diseases, researcher Jong-Hoon Kim concluded that the ginsenosides in the herb give it these properties. 

Red ginseng seems to more effectively improve blood circulation than white ginseng. Studies on white ginseng’s effects on blood circulation are very limited, while numerous studies have proven Korean red ginseng’s positive effects. In fact, most if not all of the researchers who affirm Korean ginseng’s potential for blood circulation enhancement used Korean red ginseng, and not Korean white ginseng, as the subject of their studies. 

Jaehui Kang et al, for instance, found that participants who were given 1500 mg of Korean red ginseng for eight weeks showed a decreased imbalance in thermal distribution according to digital infrared thermal imaging. This, the researchers said, suggests that Korean red ginseng does cause an enhanced distribution of blood in the human body. Another study by Kyeong-Seob Shin found that Korean red ginseng extract enhances blood circulation in healthy humans, whether administered in small doses (from 0.0009 to 0.0916 g) or high doses (from 0.0039 to 0.056 g). The study stated it does this by inhibiting platelet aggregation. 

The Kyeong-Seob Shin and Jaehui Kang studies did not specifically state which component of Korean red ginseng yielded these positive effects on blood circulation. However, a study by Whi Min Lee et al said ginsenoside Rg3, in particular, dihydro ginsenoside Rg3, a chemical derivative, in Korean red ginseng “potently inhibits” platelet aggregation.

5. Blood Sugar Lowering Benefit Differences Between Red and White Ginseng

Ginseng has been used as a treatment for diabetes due to its blood sugar-lowering benefits. A meta-analysis by Wei Chen et al of studies on the anti-diabetic effects of ginseng in animals, cells, and humans published in 2012 concluded these effects were particularly pronounced in Diabetes Type II patients, but not in healthy or prediabetic individuals.

Red ginseng is better at lowering blood sugar than white ginseng. A study by Esra Shishtar et al concluded the glycemic parameters and blood pressure levels in individuals with Type 2 diabetes who were administered 3g of Korean white ginseng and were given a 50-g glucose load during the five times they visited the researchers were largely unaffected. The researchers found that there were “modest but significant reductions” in the hardening of their arteries.

Additionally, multiple other studies have confirmed Korean red ginseng’s anti-diabetic effects. A study by Hyangju Bang et al, for example, found that patients with newly-diagnosed type 2 diabetes mellitus had lower serum and whole blood glucose levels when administered 5g of Korean red ginseng for 12 weeks. A separate study by John L. Sievenpiper at al, found that 2-gram Korean red ginseng rootlets were enough to reduce postprandial glycemia or the increase in blood sugar levels in the body after a meal. The study noted that further studies on the long-term sustainability of this strategy are still required.

Neither of these studies by HyangJu Bang and John L. Sievenpiper said which specific component of Korean red ginseng allowed for these blood sugar-lowering benefits. Wei Chen et al hypothesized that based on their meta-analysis of existing studies, the smaller ginsenosides Rg3 and Rh1 were responsible for these anti-diabetic effects. They added that further research was still needed to determine which of these exactly were the active components in the lowering of blood sugar levels.

6. Side-Effect Differences Between Red and White Ginseng

Ginseng is considered relatively safe if consumed in small doses. Side-effects, however, have still been reported. R.K. Siegel, for instance, found that morning diarrhea, skin rash, nervousness, and difficulty sleeping were common side-effects caused by the consumption of ginseng in a two-year study. The most serious side-effect reported in Siegel’s study was low blood pressure, although this was a rare occurrence.

White ginseng is less likely to produce side effects than red ginseng. Studies on the severe side-effects of white ginseng, in particular, are scarce, while studies on the severe side-effects due to consumption of red ginseng are many. A study by Yosuke Kakisaka et al noted an occurrence of gynecomastia, or breast tissue enlargement, in a 12-year-old boy who had been taking Korean red ginseng extract for only one month to enhance his athletic performance. The study did not mention the exact dosage consumed, though.

Meanwhile, a meta-analysis of studies on the side-effects of ginseng abuse conducted by Doo Jin Paik et al noted a manic episode in a 26-year-old woman who had no history of psychiatric illness after consuming Chinese red ginseng capsules for only two months. A safety analysis of Panax ginseng conducted by Young Sook Kim et al also noted anal bleeding and eczema, among others, in patients aged 40 to 70 and administered Korean red ginseng extract powder of 0.8g daily for eight weeks.

The fact that red ginseng yields more severe side effects than white ginseng may have to do with the fact that the form has been proven to yield more potent health effects than its counterpart. According to Jeong Hill Park, the steaming process involved in creating that post-processing form “significantly increases the biological activities” of the herb. In particular, if subjected to steaming for three hours at 120 degrees Celsius, the antioxidants in the resulting red ginseng are multiplied eight times. The resulting red ginseng can, therefore, improve blood vessel relaxation by “up to 32 times.” Since the health benefits of red ginseng are more potent, it may be logical to assume the same potency may carry over and manifest as stronger side effects in some persons who consume this form. 

7. Libido Boost Differences Between Red and White Ginseng

Ginseng was used as an aphrodisiac in ancient Chinese medicine. It was utilized primarily to treat erectile dysfunction and improve sexual behavior. Although the conclusion that ginseng yields positive effects on sexual function was merely based on anecdotes at that time, contemporary research has proven ginseng indeed has an effect on sexual performance. Chul Kim et al, led a study that found that male rats given ginseng ejaculated earlier and did so more frequently than those not given the herb. They were also found to deposit more copulatory semen during a 10-day observation period than the rats that did not consume ginseng. The study did not mention the exact dosage or form of ginseng the rats were given. 

Red ginseng is better than white ginseng in boosting libido. In fact, most studies that have proven the positive effects of ginseng on libido use Korean red ginseng in their experiments. A study by H Yoshimura et al produced findings that the copulatory disorder in male mice housed for five weeks improved after being administered red ginseng components. A study by Kyung Jin-Oh et al, meanwhile, found that menopausal women who took three Korean red ginseng capsules daily (with 1g each capsule) scored higher in the Female Sexual Function Index and in the Global Assessment Questionnaire. The study did not specify how long the Korean red ginseng treatment lasted. The researchers concluded that based on the scores, Korean red ginseng may be used to improve the sex life of menopausal women. 

Although the Kyung Jin-Oh study did not specify the specific component of Korean red ginseng that enhances sexual arousal, the H Yoshimura study concluded that ginsenoside Rg1 and crude saponins may be responsible for the effect. The researchers made the conclusion after they observed the housed mice given ginsenosides Rb1, Ro and Rb2 did not engage frequently in copulatory behavior, but did so when administered ginsenoside Rg1 at 2.5,5, and 10mg/kg. They found the same results with mice administered crude red ginseng saponins at 25, 50, and 100mg/kg. 


White Ginseng and Red Ginseng Content Image 2


What are the Other Differences Between Red and White Ginseng?

Red and white ginseng also differ in other ways. Because of the different processes required to generate red or white ginseng, the physiological activities between the two become evident as well after the processes within the body. Sun Hyee Yun et al describe these physiological differences in detail. According to the researchers, after being sun-dried or air-dried, white ginseng acquires a white or light yellow color. Red ginseng, on the other hand, acquires a red-brown or light red color. The tissue in red ginseng also becomes more compact because of the starch gelatinization that takes place during the steaming process. 

Although studies typically refer to Korean ginseng when they use the terms red ginseng and white ginseng, there are other types of ginseng that can undergo this same processes. For instance, American ginseng (Panax quinquefolius), a plant that grows in North America and is cultivated in China, can also undergo steaming to generate a derivative that has a slightly different composition than its original form. According to Chong Zhi Wang et al, there are 12 ginsenosides in American ginseng, Rb1, Rb2, Rb3, Rc, Rd, Re, Rg1, Rg2, 20-R Rg2, Rg3, Rh2, and Rh1. When subjected to steam at 100 degrees Celsius for one hour, its total ginsenoside content is reduced to 7.32% from 7.95%. Ginsenosides Rb1 and Re are also reduced, from 4.94% to 4.463% and from 1.756% to 1.630%, respectively. Rg1, Rc, Rb2, Rb3, Rd and Rh2 are also reduced. Ginsenoside Rg3, meanwhile, increases to 0.048% from 0.003%. Rh1, Rh2, Rg2, Rg3, and 20R-Rg2 also increase. According to Chong Zhi Wang et al, the changes in the ginsenoside composition of American ginseng when it undergoes steaming are similar to the changes in the ginsenoside composition of Korean ginseng when it undergoes the same process. During the steaming to derive red Korean ginseng, Rg1, Rb1, Rb2, Rd, Rc, and Re are reduced. Ginsenoside Rg3, meanwhile, increases to 0.033% from 0.004%.

American ginseng can also be retained in its natural form and then dried and peeled to create American white ginseng. Studies on the specific composition of American white ginseng are, however, scarce. A study by Wei Chen et al merely said American white ginseng root, produced through air-drying, has a total of 96.7 ginsenosides but did not specify what these were. Many studies focus on American red ginseng instead, noting the enhanced health benefits it gives as a result of the steaming process. American ginseng, in general, however, has known anti-cancer and anti-diabetic effects. A study by Chong Zhi-Wang et al noted that it induces the death of colon cancer cells through the mitochondrial pathway, based on a quantitative PCR array analysis and a cellular functional assay. 

A study by  Vladimir Vuksan et al found that American ginseng can be used to manage Type 2 diabetes as it was found to reduce fasting blood glucose, among others, in patients with the disease. The patients had been given 3g of American ginseng per day for eight weeks.

What is the Main Benefit of White Ginseng?

White ginseng is a good alternative to red ginseng. Since both are derived from ginseng roots, their composition can be said to be similar to red ginseng. It can be safely assumed, then, that when consumed, white ginseng can afford health benefits similar to the ones afforded by red ginseng to users. 

While it affords similar health effects, white ginseng is generally a bit cheaper. Ginseng only needs to undergo a simple process of peeling and drying to be transformed into white ginseng. In other words, it is less costly to produce than red ginseng. These reduced costs are reflected in the prices of the final ginseng products. A 59.2-ml bottle of Kan Herbs Chinese white ginseng extract costs $47, while a 59.2-ml bottle of Chinese red ginseng extract from the same brand costs $48.82 on the Premier Formulas site.

What is the Main Benefit of Red Ginseng?

Red ginseng yields many and more potent health effects to users than white ginseng. According to Sun Hyee Yun et al, this is because the additional steaming process ginseng needs to undergo to produce Korean red ginseng, in particular, generates new components such as arginine-fructose-glucose and ginsenosides Rh1, Rg2,  Rg3. Each of these components yields a specific health benefit. 

One researcher, Huijeong Ahn et al, found that non-saponins that include arginine-fructose-glucose may regulate inflammatory diseases. Another, Xi Lyu et al concluded that ginsenoside Rh1 may be used as a treatment for colorectal cancer, while, according to Hai Dan Yuan et al, Rg2 may prove effective in the treatment of type 2 diabetes. Sunoh Kim et al, meanwhile, said that Rg3 may possess neuroprotective properties.

Furthermore, according to Jeong Hill Park, the steaming process “significantly increases the biological activities” of ginseng. So, if Korean ginseng is subjected to steaming for three hours at 120 degrees Celsius, the antioxidants in the resulting red ginseng are multiplied by eight and can improve blood vessel relaxation by “up to 32 times.” Many studies have been done to prove the benefits and functions of Korean red ginseng usage.

Which one is More Beneficial Among Red and White Ginseng Types?

It is difficult to say if red or white ginseng is the best. In the end, the “best” will depend on the type of benefit a user wishes to attain from the consumption of a specific ginseng type. 

For instance, American white ginseng may be a better option for insomniacs because of its “cooling” effect. A study presented at the SLEEP 2011 conference determined that the cooling of the prefrontal cortex can promote sleep in insomniacs. Since this contradicts findings on a common side effect of white ginseng, which is trouble sleeping, caution should still always be exercised when using this specific ginseng type for treatment of this specific condition.

Korean ginseng may be the better option, meanwhile, if the goal is to regulate body temperature in a hypothermic environment. A study by Bin Na Hong et al found that Korean ginseng was “superior” to American ginseng in maintaining body temperatures in mice subjected to those environmental conditions and given 300 mg/kg doses of each herb type. The study did not specify which post-harvesting form was used for the experiment, but it may be safe to assume it was the white form since the researchers made no mention of steaming before administration of the liquid extract to the mice.

Meanwhile, to treat asthma, Korean red ginseng has the advantage. A study by Chi Yeon Lim et al found that it was more efficacious than Korean white ginseng in reducing the infiltration of inflammatory cells into the bronchoalveolar region of asthmatic mice. 

Still, Korean white ginseng has been shown to more effectively for treat patients with Alzheimer’s. 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 consuming Korean white ginseng powder over four to 12 consecutive weeks. As a result, the researchers concluded that Korean white ginseng was “clinically effective in the cognitive performance” of Alzheimer’s patients.


White Ginseng and Red Ginseng Content Image 3


What are the Processing Differences for Red and White Ginseng?

Sang Myung Lee et. al. described in detail how Korean red ginseng in their study on the preparation and chemical composition of that form was produced. According to the researchers, the six-year-old fresh Korean ginseng is first washed so any foreign agents are removed. It was then steamed at 90 to 98 degrees Celsius for one to three hours. The herb was then subjected to mechanical drying and sun-drying before being packaged for commercial use. 

Studies on how to produce American red ginseng, on the other hand, are not as prevalent and detailed. One study by Chong Zhi Wang et al merely mentioned subjecting an American ginseng root purchased from Roland Ginseng, LLC to steaming at 100 degrees and 120 degrees Celsius to produce American red ginseng for their experiments on that form’s ginsenoside constituents.

There are also limited studies that detail the step-by-step Korean white ginseng production process. A study by Taik-Koo Yun simply stated Korean white ginseng is 4- to 6-year-old Korean ginseng that is peeled and then dried. Researchers differ on how the herb should be dried. Ki-Yeul Nam says Korean white ginseng is produced by air-drying the Korean ginseng root while Chi-Yeon Lim et al argues it should be generated by the “sun-drying of fresh ginseng.” 

One study was a bit more detailed than most in describing how white ginseng is produced. For their study on the ginsenoside profile of the processed herb, Korean white ginseng, Ji Hye-Shin et al force-dried fresh ginseng at 55 degrees Celsius for one week until a moisture content of around 14% was achieved.

For American white ginseng, the scientific studies are even more limited in this regard. Ritchie Vaughan et al’s article published in the Virginia Cooperative Extension Publications is probably the most detailed explanation of how American white ginseng is processed. According to the researchers, the harvesting of American ginseng roots takes place when the soil on which the herb stands is moist. Although digging may be done, this should be done as carefully as possible to ensure the roots do not get damaged. Once removed from the soil, the herb is washed but only with low-pressure water to ensure that as many root hairs as possible are retained for the drying process. Larger roots may require as many as six weeks before they are completely dry. If properly dried, the roots acquire a milky white color inside. The resulting ginseng can then be stored inside a box or a paper bag.

Despite the general scarcity of studies that provide specific details about white ginseng production, what is clear is that the production process for red ginseng is more complex than the production process of its counterpart. This can explain why red ginseng is more expensive than white ginseng in the market. 

Does Red and White Ginseng Have Their Own Sub-Types?

Yes, they do. Although many studies equate red and white ginseng with Korean red and Korean white ginseng, the “red” and “white” terms can be attached to other ginseng types that can undergo the same processes of drying and peeling, on the one hand, and of steaming and drying on the other.

Several studies have looked into the health benefits of both American white and American red ginseng, although, between the two, studies on the latter are more prevalent. A study by Chong Zhi Wang et al concluded that the steaming involved to create American red ginseng further increases that form’s capacity to prevent cancer cell proliferation. The researchers attributed this to the increase in ginsenoside Rg3 after the steaming process. 

In general, though, studies on the health benefits of American ginseng (without the red or white distinction) are more prevalent. A study by Meiqi Wang et al concluded, based on their in vitro observation, that the CVT-E002 extract from American ginseng has immunomodulatory properties and can be clinically used for this purpose. Another study by Andrew Sholey et al found that American ginseng may have memory-enhancing capabilities. The researchers made this conclusion after 32 healthy adults given 100, 200, and 400 mg of Cereboost, which has a standardized ginsenosides content of 10.65%, all improved their scores in the Corsi block test, a popular task to test short term memory. The researchers also noted better accuracy in choice reaction time and enhanced calmness from only a 100g dose.

What is Chinese Red Ginseng?

Chinese red ginseng is another name for Korean red ginseng. Both also go by the names Panax red ginseng and Asian red ginseng. Chinese red ginseng is a Chinese ginseng root that has been steamed before dried. 

Panax ginseng is used to create Panax red ginseng has a long history of use in both Korean and Chinese medicine, which may explain why it is named both Chinese ginseng and Korean ginseng. This type of ginseng grows throughout the East Asian mountains.

Because of its perceived therapeutic abilities, Panax ginseng was typically used to treat diabetes, heart disease, and asthma. In fact, in traditional Chinese medicine, ginseng, presumably the ginseng that grows in Asia, was considered the king of tonic herbs. Ancient Chinese doctors believed the herb had the ability to regulate the flow of the body’s qi, or energy, thereby ensuring the body’s proper functioning. 

Is Chinese Red Ginseng Better than Korean Red Ginseng?

No. Chinese red ginseng is the exact same as Korean red ginseng, which means one cannot be better than the other. The benefits of Korean red ginseng, then, are the same as the benefits of Chinese red ginseng. Chinese red ginseng or Korean red ginseng has additional components (as compared to fresh Korean ginseng) such as arginine-fructose-glucose and ginsenosides Rh1, Rg2,  Rg3 that may make it a good therapeutic remedy for inflammatory diseases, colorectal cancer, and type 2 diabetes, among other uses. Because of its Rg3 content, it may also possess neuroprotective properties.

Which Ingredient Effects Ginseng’s Color?

A study by Sang Myung Lee et al made note that when fresh ginseng is subjected to high temperatures, the amino sugars are decomposed by the heat and are transformed into melanoidins. The study did not explicitly say these melanoidins cause the ginseng to turn red but a study by Naresh Kumar et al said melanoidins are compounds and polymerized proteins that have a brown color. Therefore, it may be inferred that the red color of red ginseng is derived from the creation of melanoidins and are a side effect of the steaming process.


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