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Ginseng is an herb that originated in China. It has been used by alternative medicine practitioners for centuries to cure various ailments including diabetes and influenza. It is also used as an aphrodisiac.

According to research conducted earlier this year by the US based Mayo Clinic, ginseng was found to fight fatigue among cancer patients. Other research studies have classified ginseng as an adaptogen – a substance that helps maintain overall health, with minimal side effects, while several health-based publications and websites have recently hailed ginseng as a ‘super food’ due to its health benefits.

Ginseng is believed to have the following health benefits:

  • Daily consumption of ginseng tea (which can be made by brewing two to three grams of ginseng in two cups of water) can lower cholesterol levels, increase energy levels and reduce stress, anxiety and fatigue. The Chinese believe that sipping Ginseng tea maintains harmony and balance. It also aids the gastrointestinal system and liver in functioning at optimal level.
  • When consumed with soup, ginseng can lower sugar levels, which is ideal for diabetics.
  • Ginseng root has strong anti-inflammatory properties that are beneficial for people suffering from rheumatoid arthritis, dermatitis and oedema.
  • Ginseng oil can be used to massage the body to cure bone spurs, sprains and joint pains.
  • Rich in anti-oxidants, ginseng can help prevent respiratory ailments such as asthma, coughs and tuberculosis.
  • Regular use of Ginseng in any form boosts immunity; it is also believed to cure anaemia.

NB: Before you make ginseng a part of your diet consult a doctor or herbalist, as ginseng can induce side effects such as headaches, allergic reactions and sleep disorders. Children, expectant mothers, or those who are breast feeding, should not take ginseng.

– Saba Gul Hasan
The writer is a graduate in Nutritional Sciences.

First published in the Health Advertiser Section of The DAWN National Weekend Advertiser on September 23, 2012.