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Ginseng – Instructions for use

cup of ginseng tea

The information on this page covers the use of Asian ginseng (Panax ginseng) in the form of so-called red root (ginseng radix rubra, a traditional way to prepare ginseng root). If you want to apply it to other forms of ginseng (such as ginseng capsules, pills, syrups etc.), you will have to figure out the equivalent amount of red ginseng root per dose, and use it for dosage calculation. Fortunately, with ginseng and adaptogens in general, you do not have to be afraid of overdose – studies show that even in high dosage, ginseng is very safe. Adaptogens in general can be regarded as functional food, with the level of side effects comparable to placebo.

To get familiar with ginseng effects ...

... you should start from higher doses. Nowadays, the medicine knows, that there are individual differences in metabolism and drug effects. Starting from higher doses will allow you to experience the stimulating effects of ginseng, and find your personalized dosage for a given purpose. The required dose also depends on the quality of the ginseng that you use.

  • To get familiar with the effects and find your personalized dosage, start from higher dose and slowly decrease it for a period of several days. For example, if you have 30 slices of 6-year old ginseng TaiwanTCM Liang, weighing around 1–2g each, you can taken them in a period of nine days as follows: 5, 5, 4, 4, 3, 3, 2, 2, 2. On average, this corresponds to 5g/day. As the dose decreases, you will be able to find the point, at which the effects are optimal for your individual needs. If the stimulating effects of ginseng seem too high, reduce the dose. If, on the other hand, you do not feel anything even after several days, increase the dose slowly. You don't have to worry – with adaptogens, higher doses are not dangerous.

It does not matter, if you have earlier tried ginseng capsules, pills, candies and other low-dosage preparations. With ginseng, sufficient dose is a precondition to perceiving the effects. When testing, remember that ginseng effects may set in slowly. Also, remember that only a small fraction of ginseng effects is subjectively perceptible, and some effects (such as neuroprotective) already appear in the doses much smaller than those required to subjectively perceive the effects.

For the optimum improvement in the quality of life ...

... taking low doses of ginseng on the long-term basis is the best. The specific dosage again depends on your body weight and the quality grade of ginseng used. You can combine ginseng with other herbs according to your specific needs.

  • For long-term use: A cup of ginseng tea once a day, or 10-30 drops of ginseng extract added to a drink (saves time as compared to tea preparation). To be taken in the morning or around noon. Long-term taking of ginseng plays out the best of the positive effects against the diseases of civilisation (atherosclerosis, cardiovascular problems, diabetes etc.), invigorates the body and mind, and positively influences long-term tissue remodeling.
  • Take a break: After 2-3 months of long-term use, I would recommend to discontinue taking ginseng for one month. This break is not strictly necessary – it is more a matter of tradition and biological intution. There are, for example, patients who take ginseng for cardiovascular problems, or to mitigate the risk of stroke – these do not need to adhere to the break and can take ginseng continuously without fear of negative effects.

For the periods of extraordinary stress ...

... it is possible to use one or several large doses of ginseng.

For the above usage instructions to work, it is particularly important to use the right material: mature, 6-year old ginseng of appropriate quality. The guidance page for buying such ginseng, which I wrote, is available here.