In the list of healing herbs offered by nature, Korean ginseng takes the top position among other natural supplements. Korean ginseng is also referred to as Panax ginseng, where the term ‘Panax’ means ‘all-healing’ in Greek. Root extracts of Panax ginseng have been employed in traditional Chinese medicine as a tonic for about thousands of years owing to its effects like metabolism acceleration, sexual function enhancement, anti-fatigue action, protection from stress, and benefits on central nervous system.
When it comes to athletic performance, Korean ginseng has significant benefits to offer. It increases energy levels, boosts stamina, improves immune system, improves mental function and more.
Korean Ginseng is an “Adaptogen”
An adaptogen is a restorative and therapeutic tonic that generates a “balancing” effect in the body. Adaptogens cause a non-specific rise in resistance to various stressors including biological, chemical, and physical factors. They also produce a “normalizing” action, regardless of the direction of pathological changes. An adaptogen, in general, can be considered as a substance which helps the body in dealing with stress.
In Panax ginseng or Korean ginseng, the active components are a triterpenoid saponin family, collectively known as “ginsenosides”. The action of ginseng in the body consists in the herb’s interaction within hypothalamic-pituitary axis for balancing secretion of ACTH (adrenal corticotropic hormone). ACTH has the capacity of binding to brain cells directly and it can affect a broad range of processes related to stress in the body. Such behaviors may be motivation, performance, vitality, and arousal.
Korean ginseng should be grown for 6 years for it to offer all its health benefits. Korean ginseng root is originally white in color, which is converted into red ginseng by drying and steaming naturally. Conversion into red ginseng locks the nutrients inside the ginseng, which otherwise decrease gradually. Korean red ginseng, which is certified as grown for 6 years, is the most effective type of ginseng comprising the widest range of ginsenosides.
Ginseng should always be purchased from reliable manufacturers, to rule out the risk of adulteration or inauthentic ginseng. Manufacturers like Korea Ginseng Corp (“CheongKwanJang” in Korean) are old, trustworthy, and offer authentic, best in class Korean red ginseng products.
Effect of Korean Ginseng on Athletic Performance
Korean ginseng has effective properties to balance metabolism, boost immunity, endurance and strength, enhance vitality, and remedy fatigue.
For many decades, Soviet and German researchers have conducted studies on the effects of Korean ginseng extract, standardized typically to 4% ginsenosides, on athletes’ performance. In one study, 200mg of Korean ginseng extract was given per day to 14 male athletes trained highly. This ginseng group was compared to a placebo group. In the ginseng group, an increase was seen in the maximum oxygen uptake compared to the placebo group. A statistically significant recovery time improvement and reduced serum lactate values were also observed in the ginseng group compared to placebo group.
In other studies carried out in different young athlete groups, Korean ginseng extract was seen to offer statistically significant improvement in measures of performance like maximum breathing capacity and forced vital capacity in comparison with the placebo groups.
Further studies are needed to confirm the effectiveness of ginseng in improving energy levels and physical and mental performance. However, with what we have known about the herb till now, it seems that it can be highly helpful for athletic performance.
Korean ginseng has a promising potential to boost athletic performance. Besides being highly beneficial for athletes, even non-athletes can use Korean ginseng products to improve their overall health and well-being.
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