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Ginseng has been used for millennia as an Asian herbal remedy to improve well-being and ward off major ailments. Not until recent generations, however, has this root extract gained much official recognition from major medical institutions. Numerous studies of liquid ginseng and other types of ginseng supplementation have yielded positive results in regards to stress relief, vigor and slowing the process of aging. Some manufacture claims may not be fully substantiated as of 2011 though, which include added brain function, sexual desire and immunity.
Native to the northern hemisphere, from Asia to North America, the nearly dozen species of ginseng belong to the Panax genus of plants. To make liquid ginseng, the plant's roots, which resemble the long legs of a person, are typically dried and then refined into powder. Sometimes the leave are also used. This powder is then used as an ingredient in a range of products, from capsules, liquid tinctures and teas, to toothpastes, lotions and energy drinks. Few side effects have been noted, though symptoms like insomnia, digestive disorders and headaches are possible — potentially more so for those taking ginseng on a long-term basis.
According to the Vanderbilt University (VU) Department of Psychology, taking liquid ginseng could have an effect on any number of human conditions. Studies have confirmed its efficacy in encouraging protein synthesis and lymphocyte restoration in elderly patients as well as overall longevity and mental coherence. Rodent studies also have confirmed stress relief qualities. VU states that these types of anxiety reducing substances are categorized scientifically as adaptogens.
The National Institutes of Health's (NIH) National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine takes a slightly more conservative approach regarding supplements like liquid ginseng, calling the research "preliminary." Full-blown studies are underway, however, into the root's uses with patients suffering from diabetes, Alzheimer's and cancer, as noted by NIH in fall 2011. Nevertheless, the drug has been marketed for decades as a catch-all to boost immunity, heart health and memory as well as to even treat impotence. Few studies, of course, have countered those claims, either.
Liquid ginseng is likely to be made of compounds called ginsenosides from the most prevalent and studied of the ginseng species, the Asian variety known as Panax ginseng. American Family Physician, the journal of the American Academy of Family Physicians, encourages doctors to point many types of patients toward ginseng supplementation. Patients who could benefit include those with anxiety, lethargy, diabetes and compromised immunity, among others.