The great ginseng vs ginger debate is an old one. You'll find proponents of ginger who say it's the best traditional Chinese herb.
Still others will chime in and claim ginseng is supreme.
So today, we want to analyze the two popular herbs and discuss which situations call for one over the other and if you can combine the two.
Let's get started.
At face value, it may be difficult to notice the difference between ginger and ginseng. However, these important herbal remedies have significant differences.
For starters, they’re not the same plants, and they are native to different regions of the world.
When studied in comparison to each other, they have different functions - or mechanisms of action - despite having some overlapping benefits.
Let’s look at a few of them
Ginseng is certainly one of the most popular herbal remedies in Chinese medicine. Here are just a few of the reasons why it is so loved:
1.Ginseng reduces inflammation and oxidative stress in the body
In 2013, a study revealed that ginseng has both antioxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits that can be harnessed to improve the overall health of tissues in the body.
It works by increasing the capacity of body cells to handle oxidative stress.
Free radicals - such as reactive nitrogen and oxygen species - are known to worsen the course of inflammation upon injury.
By modulating both the inflammatory and oxidative pathways, ginseng actively relieves tissue injury and encourages faster healing.
The studies on ginseng are not just lab-based. There are successful clinical studies in humans as well.
For instance, one study with 18 male participants from Korea demonstrated that 2 grams of ginseng extract administered 3 times daily for 7 days reduced their inflammatory markers.
2. Ginseng enhances cognition and overall brain function
Studies have shown that ginseng enhances cognition by improving memory, speech, and concentration. There’s also evidence that it improves other brain functions such as mood and behavior control.
One way ginseng achieves this is by protecting the brain against oxidative damage.
One study even showed that taking roughly 200 mg of ginseng daily was able to improve mental health, social functioning, and mood in just 4 weeks.
Interestingly enough, when it comes to using ginseng for brain health, lower dosages are more effective than higher doses.
Current research seems to indicate that there's a dose level beyond which no additional benefits are achieved.
3. Ginseng may be useful for erectile dysfunction
This particular benefit of ginseng is largely supported by anecdotal evidence. However, there is some research showing that males with erectile dysfunction can benefit from ginseng extract.
It aids by helping to protect the tissues of male reproductive organs, reduce oxidative stress, and restore normal function.
There’s also evidence that ginseng increases the production of nitric oxide - an intrinsic vasodilator that helps in relaxing related tissue.
The result tends to be a faster achievement of erection and being able to sustain that erection.
Most people underutilize ginseng because they don’t know the many different types at their disposal and their respective benefits – which often vary.
Here are a few of the most common types of ginseng.
American ginseng has been an herb of interest for research on diabetes. This is because it plays a role in lowering levels of blood sugar by increasing the amount of insulin in the blood.
It is also hypothesized that ginseng increases the sensitivity of tissues to insulin.
Users of traditional Chinese medicine refer to it as a cooling herb because it is known to stimulate yin energy. It is said to nourish the body, relieve excess heat, and provide a calming effect.
The Asian variety is one of the most popular types of ginseng. Unlike the American variety that is “cooling,”, Panax ginseng is known as a warming herb believed to stimulate the yang energy.
Some of its important qualities include its ability to improve circulation by increasing blood flow to all parts of the body as well as its role in accelerating recovery from illness.
It is also known to boost energy and alleviate fatigue.
Siberian ginseng is traditionally used to treat the symptoms of cold and flu. Despite being among the first line herbs for managing respiratory illnesses, it too boosts energy and fights fatigue.
On top of that, some hypothesize that Siberian ginseng is associated with increased longevity. It’s a potent adaptogen, which means it helps the body manage stress more effectively.
However, it is not as potent as other types of ginseng.
Ginger root is highly nutritious and can be used in the form of oil, powder, fresh herb, or pressed into juice. Here are some of our favorite benefits of ginger.
1. Ginger helps soothe upset stomachs
The role of ginger in managing disorders of the gut is one of its most popular uses.
Both studies and anecdotal evidence show that ginger is effective against nausea and vomiting. This makes it a favorite herb among women who are pregnant and enduring morning sickness.
2. Ginger may reduce total body cholesterol
Ginger is promising for heart health because of its ability to lower levels of low-density lipoproteins (LDL) and total body cholesterol.
Both substances are associated with increased incidences of cardiovascular diseases.
3. Ginger supports a healthy brain
This benefit of ginger is especially helpful in old age where loss of brain cells is common.
As we age, our brain reduces in size and starts losing cells leading to conditions broadly known as neurodegenerative disorders like Alzheimer’s.
And since more than 10% of Americans ages 65 and above have Alzheimer’s disease, ginger is growing in popularity for this particular use as it may help slow its progression.
However, more research is needed.
Overall, ginger is well known for improving gut health while ginseng excels in boosting energy.
As for nutrients, ginger is a rich source of vitamins A, B, C, and E.
It also contains minerals such as potassium, calcium, magnesium, iron, zinc, and phosphorus, which all aid to improve its efficacy.
Ginseng contains vitamins as well, especially in the vitamin B family. However, its stand-out constituents are known as ginsenosides, which are what we have to thank for ginseng’s energizing benefits.
As of the time of writing this article, no unwanted interactions between ginger and ginseng have been demonstrated by studies.
However, this doesn’t mean that none exist. With that said, people have successfully taken ginseng and ginger together without issue.
We love these herbs for both their scientific evidence and centuries of anecdotal evidence. As for deciding if ginseng vs ginger is better for you, that all depends on what you want to use it for.Try ginseng in our Awaken Energy Blend or ginger in our Organic Digestive Blend!