Panax ginseng is the prototypical “ginseng” herb. Typically when people refer to ginseng they are referring to panax ginseng (often in the form of Korean red ginseng, Chinese ginseng, and Asian ginseng, which are all panax but simply processed in different ways). Among these, Korean red ginseng appears to the the most effective, especially for depression1 www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21660771. There are other types of ginseng such as American and Siberian ginseng but for the purposes of simplicity I won’t be covering those, primarily because they aren’t as effective or well-studied as panax ginseng.
Panax ginseng an adaptogen, a class of compounds that promote homeostasis – in turn reducing stress, reducing fatigue, and stabilizing mood. Ginseng is fairly well-rounded substance that can benefit people in different ways.
One study in particular study used 200mg doses for 4 weeks and showed improvements in mental health and social functioning2www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11895046. However, after 8 weeks it appeared to become ineffective, suggesting that it may be best to cycle it in 4 week periods.
Ginseng also shows promise for elevating mood and alleviating depression5www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/87219406www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10761538. Another study demonstrated improvements in calmness3www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15982990.
Ginseng has nootropic qualities as well. It appears to improve cognition3www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/159829904www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16401645, and confer neuroprotection and memory improvements8www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/84881889 www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10571242.
Lastly, ginseng also has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects, among other prophylactic qualities10www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/2169995311www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/2280531312www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21598413.
Overall, panax ginseng has numerous benefits, and is a rather unique adaptogen that seems to effect everyone a little bit differently. I have personally found it to make me more at ease in social situations and also provide me a noticeable boost to my energy levels.
Where to Purchase Panax Ginseng
Panax Ginseng may be purchased at Nootropics Depot.
I recommend Nootropics Depot because they have been around for a long time and have maintained a solid reputation. They have excellent quality control metrics: they do in-house testing as well as independent 3rd-party testing, and they have certificates of analysis available for all of their products.
Panax Ginseng is typically taken at doses between 200mg and 400mg once or twice a day. The best form of panax ginseng to take appears to be Korean Red Ginseng due to how it is processed and handled. Panax Ginseng does not need to be taken with meals.