This ginseng goes by many names, including Asian, Korean and Chinese. Studies have shown the herb to have strong immune-enhancing properties. A large Italian study found that individuals taking 100 milligrams of a standardized ginseng product (G115 extract) had significantly higher levels of antibodies in response to a flu shot compared to those who did not take the herb.4 Killer white blood cells were nearly twice as high
in the ginseng group after eight weeks of supplementation. These and other white blood cells are an important part of the body’s defense against viruses and foreign molecules.
The benefits of Panax ginseng on the immune system can be attributed to active compounds in the root called ginsenosides. Many ginsenosides have been identified, but ginsenosides Rg1 and Rb1 have received the most attention. Scientific research has focused on ginseng extracts standardized to contain 4 to 7 percent ginsenosides.
If you’re going to add ginseng to your remedy list, buy a product with a statement of standardization or with G115 on the label. Ginsana® from Pharmaton® Natural Health Products contains the G115 extract that’s been used in clinical studies. The typical dosage of a standardized extract is 100 or 200 milligrams once daily. Take ginseng for three weeks to three months, and then follow with a one- to two-week rest period before you resume taking the herb.
Ginseng is relatively safe at the 100 or 200 milligram dosage. In some people, it may cause mild stomach upset, irritability and insomnia. To avoid overstimulation, start with 100 milligrams a day, and avoid taking the herb with caffeine. Ginseng should not be used during pregnancy or breastfeeding, or in individuals with uncontrolled high blood pressure.
Siberian Ginseng unlike Panax ginseng, this herb has a much milder effect and fewer reported side effects. Pregnant and nursing women can safely take Siberian ginseng, and it is much less likely to cause overstimulation in sensitive individuals. To ensure quality, choose a product standardized for eleutherosides B and E. The usual dosage is 300 to 400 milligrams once daily for six to eight weeks, followed by a one- to two-week break.