WHAT IT IS Ginseng is another adaptogen, used for thousands of years throughout Asia, Europe, and America. There are many types of ginseng, but some herbalists and physicians suggest that Siberian ginseng may be the most potent type, and Siberian ginseng is thought to be especially effective for improving cognitive function.
REPORTED EFFECTS This herb is a mild stimulant, so it is sometimes recommended for people feeling lethargic or having trouble concentrating, or just for an energizing boost. As a tonic, it promotes long-term overall health, including that of the mind.
HOW IT WORKS Ginseng works to normalize conditions and regulate energy in both body and brain. In his book Brain Longevity (Warner Books, 1997), Dharma Singh Khalsa, M.D., calls ginseng a “balanced stimulant,” because it stimulates both the adrenergic (adrenal) nervous system and the cholinergic (“calming”) nervous system.
THE EVIDENCE In several studies, subjects taking ginseng have demonstrated marked improvements in reaction speed and performance on cognitive function tests.
CAVEATS Taking ginseng may not be advisable for those with high blood pressure. Also, ginseng is probably effective when taken occasionally as a pick-me-up, rather than as part of a daily regimen.
WHERE TO FIND IT Ginseng is sold in health foods stores and Asian grocery stores nationwide, usually as a root, powder, tea, or in capsule or tablet form. Depending on your health and reasons for taking ginseng, a reasonable dose may range anywhere from 750 mg to 1, 500 mg daily.
COPYRIGHT 1998 Weider Publications
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