Ginseng is an herb that has long been associated with several different health benefits. As a result, it’s one of the most popular and recognizable herbal remedies. But could it be helpful to use ginseng for weight loss? Possibly.
Here’s some information on what exactly ginseng is, and some of the reasons why you might want to use ginseng for weight loss.
What is Ginseng?
There are two main types of ginseng.
- The Panax quinquefolius plant is referred to as “American ginseng.”
- The Panax ginseng plant is known as “Korean ginseng”.
Both are similar in chemical structure. Both contain ginsenosides, which give the herb its purported medicinal qualities. Korean ginseng and American ginseng are often referred to as “adaptogens,” because proponents claim it can help people deal with stress.1
Using Ginseng For Weight Loss
A substantial amount of evidence suggests ginseng can help reduce body weight. Here are a few ways that drinking ginseng tea, or taking the herb in supplement form, may help:
In one study, obese women who received Korean ginseng for weight loss saw substantial reductions in not only body weight, but also food intake and waist-to-hip ratio (meaning slimmer bodies).2
Reducing blood sugar levels
A combination of obesity and high levels of blood glucose can lead to major health problems.3 According to the results of one study, ginseng was shown to lower blood glucose in both people with blood sugar disorders, as well as those with no blood sugar issues.4 Ginseng root has been shown to lower glucose levels for as long as two hours after consuming a meal.5
In addition, patients suffering from disorders related to high blood sugar saw a decrease in glucose, as well as overall body weight, after using ginseng for weight loss for two months.6
Increasing insulin sensitivity
The ginsenosides in American and Korean ginseng help to reduce the accumulation of fat by increasing the body’s sensitivity to insulin.7 When your body is resistant to insulin, that increases the risk that the carbohydrates you consume will be converted to fat – rather than energy.8
Drinking ginseng tea could also help your body do a better job of digesting the food you eat. There are trillions of microbes in the “gut,” or gastrointestinal tract. These microbes have a major influence on not only metabolism, but also on weight.9
In one study, women who used Panax ginseng for two months saw a significant amount of weight loss, as well as favorable changes in their gut microbes.10
There is also evidence that ginseng could have a positive effect on your ability to exercise for longer periods of time.11
Research shows that ginseng may play a role in helping to improve your body’s stamina during a workout.12
Another study involved participants who took supplements containing ginseng, as well as taurine, soybean peptides, and other ingredients. According to the results, the participants showed an increase in endurance. Researchers found that the participants’ bodies also did a better job of utilizing fats.13
Other Health Benefits
Ginseng shows a great deal of promise in other areas of health, as well. For example, researchers have found it may help address erectile dysfunction. While the research is promising, researchers say more studies are needed before any definitive conclusion can be made.14
There is also research being conducted into whether ginseng could help people suffering from the flu virus.15
How to Make Ginseng Tea
You can easily make a healthy, delicious tea at home using either American or Korean ginseng. You can easily purchase some ginseng root at your local health food store.
- Cut off about eight thin slices
- Coat slices with honey and let sit in a pot for about 15 minutes.
- Pour hot water over the slices, and let the mixture sit for 5-10 minutes.
- Pour the liquid into a cup. Using a strainer to keep any pieces of ginseng from getting into your cup.
- Relax, and enjoy.16
The Bottom Line
As you can see, there are several reasons why you should consider making ginseng part of your daily dietary regimen. But don’t head to the store just yet. You should always talk with your doctor first, to make sure it’s completely safe for you to take ginseng. You’ll want to make sure that the herb won’t interact negatively with any medications you might be taking.17