Health Benefits of Ginseng Tea

The benefits of ginseng tea are simply incredible! Drinking tea itself is advantageous and is known to help lower the instance of diabetes, heart disease, and other chronic conditions. But, to reap the medicinal benefits of tea, how you drink your tea is also quite important.

My advice is to drink your tea strong, make it with purified water, and have it without milk or sugar. Instead, if you’d like to sweeten your tea, use organic raw honey or date sugar (you can read more about this in the tea preparation section below).

Read on to learn more about the astounding benefits of ginseng and how you can prepare a ginseng tea for medicinal purposes!


Ginseng Plant Benefits for the Whole Body


If you’ve heard anything about the incredible properties of ginseng, you probably know that it is a master herb that does wonders for strengthening the physical body, mind, and emotional health. Its name translates to “essence of the earth in the form of a man.”

Indeed, because of the root’s well-documented properties, for centuries, individuals in Russia, China, and Korea have been consuming ginseng tea as a daily routine to ensure greater stamina and longevity. 

Regarded as a panacea for body health, ginseng is known as the “potion of the Emperors” on China. The root is not only curiously shaped like the human body, but it interacts with it in a restorative and adaptogenic manner, meaning it affects every body differently on its mission to bring it back into balance. 

Dr. James Duke, a proponent of ginseng consumption for health, views ginseng as providing an “herbal potpourri from which the body can select whatever action it needs to cure itself.”

For example, if you suffer from high blood pressure and low energy, ginseng can help regulate these imbalances by strengthening the body systems that need restoration. On the other hand, perhaps your friend could have a reverse problem, but ginseng would be able to regulate her imbalances in the same way by restoring the function of her unique imbalances. 

Overall, ginseng adapts to the body’s health needs through its dualistic action by bringing it back to homeostasis, no matter the character of the imbalance.


What Are The Different Types of Ginseng Tea and Which Should You Select?


Although all ginseng varieties have similar properties, there are a few differences, as each ginseng type grows in a different region of the world. 

Here are some unique benefits of each variety of ginseng to help you decide which one’s right for you. 


American Ginseng 


This type of ginseng grows natively in North America and has been used by Native Americans for digestive trouble, fevers, and pain relief. In particular, the Seneca tribe used the root regularly as one of their top herbal remedies. While Canada grows most of the American ginseng in the world, in the US, Wisconsin produces around 80% of the crop. 

In fact, American ginseng is one of the least used and researched out of the three varieties but boasts calmer effects on the body, especially for those that are healing from pain and have less energy for healing. Overall, the composition of American ginseng is cooler and less stimulating than its Asian counterparts. This makes it less irritating to the central nervous system and a better choice for an already overstimulated body. This is why this variety of ginseng is recommended for women, children, and the elderly. 

Since herbs grow in regions where they are meant to provide healing for the common ailments of that location’s population, American ginseng’s sedative chemical properties very much align with North Americans’ need to slow down and rebalance. 


Asian Ginseng (Korean and Chinese)


The Asian variety of ginseng, or Panax ginseng, is the most potent out of the ginseng trio sisterhood. It comes in two primary colors, white and red, with red being associated with the Korean variety.

The only difference between the white and red varieties is the period that  ginseng grows before it is harvested. Usually, the white type is harvested within four years, whereas the red type is harvested after 6 years. 

Asian ginseng has a centuries-old history of being used as a tonic for overall well-being. In China and Korea, ginseng has a strong cultural tradition, being taken preventatively as a daily tea by young and old alike to promote vitality, immune function, and mood regulation. It is also one of the main herbs taken by the elderly to slow down the aging process and promote concentration and memory. 

Panax ginseng has been researched widely over the decades and some studies point to anti-inflammatory, anti-cancer, and anti-fatigue benefits.


Siberian Ginseng (Eleuthero Root)


Interestingly enough, Siberian ginseng is not scientifically related to the ginseng family but has similar properties to it, hence its given name. It belongs to the Eleutherococcus rather than the Panax family. 

Appropriately known as Eleuthero root, it is used in many adrenal and endocrine gland healing formulas that stabilize energy flow in the body. In fact, in Traditional Chinese Medicine, the eleuthero root is used to invigorate Qi (or energy) by nourishing the spleen and the kidneys.

There are some major properties that Siberian ginseng shares with American and Asian ginsengs – it is adaptogenic, regulating, and energy-invigorating. Eleuthero is known to help alleviate viral infections, osteoarthritis, high cholesterol, cognitive dysfunction, symptoms of menopause and more. Like the true ginseng varieties, Siberian ginseng is taken to reverse nerve damage and help with neurological conditions.


The Active Constituents of Ginseng


Ultimately, the chemical constituents of ginseng depend on the herb’s geographical location, climate, part of the plant, as well as the method of extraction. 

The main components of ginseng that contribute to its comprehensive regenerative qualities include ginsenosides, polysaccharides, peptides, polyacetylene alcohols and fatty acids.

Out of these components, the most important compounds involved in ginseng’s many healing properties are ginsenosides, which are known as strong neuroprotective and antiepileptic agents. Modern scientific studies show that ginsenosides have many healing properties, including anti-cancer, anti-inflammatory, anti-aging, and anti-fatigue functions.

The amount of ginsenosides found in Asian ginseng is approximately 208%, whereas American ginseng contains around 8-14% of the active components.

Here are just a few other research studies on the benefits of ginsenosides on various health conditions:


What Are The Main Benefits of Ginseng Tea?


Ginseng Root Health Benefits
Photo from NoonBrew from Unsplash

There have been over 3,000 scientific studies documenting the benefits of “King of All Herbs,” which affects every part of the body by enhancing its function.

Making ginseng tea is one effective way to reap the benefits of the root. Tea preparation is a method of hot water extraction that synergizes the most effective compounds of the herb, root, stem, or flower. Extracting herbal compounds in water makes them easily assimilated by the body through absorption, making tea brewing a gentle healing practice that is effective both preventatively and curatively. 

The origin of tea drinking can be traced to one of ginseng’s home countries – China. In 2737 BC, Emperor Shen Nung accidentally discovered tea when a tea leaf flew into a pot of boiling water meant for him. He enjoyed the taste of it and how good he felt afterward, and voila, Chinese tea culture was born. India also has a long tradition of tea drinking that dates back to at least 750 BC. Appropriately enough, today, India is the 2nd largest producer of tea after China. 

The main benefit of ginseng tea is overall well-being and strengthening of the bodily organs and glands. When taken daily (preferably in the morning and the night), the tea restores the body’s vitality and provides the body with more energy for healing. This is why ginseng tea is essential for those undergoing chronic disease treatment (such as chemotherapy), surgery, and post-illness recovery

Having tea first thing in the morning is one of my favorite health tips, as herbal liquids clean and hydrate the body after a long slumber of the night’s rest. Ginseng tea first thing in the morning will provide you with the vigor and energy you need to start the day and unlike other stimulants, this alertness will last throughout the day. 

Consuming ginseng tea at night is also very beneficial, given that unlike other popular stimulants, it does not stimulate the adrenal glands and the rest of the body. On the other hand, it actually adapts to the body’s healing needs and diverts energy to its weakest areas to be healed during the sleep cycle. 

The other major benefits of ginseng tea – which are all research backed – include the following:




Ginseng is known as a longevity herb that is associated with long age and is popular with the elderly in China, Korea, and Japan where the ginseng tea culture is very strong, and teahouses offer a variety of ginseng tea infusions to congregating seniors. There is also well-known lore of Chinese men of the past that lived well into their 200s simply because of ginseng. 

The reason for this is that ginseng stimulates cellular energy production more than other herbs. Indeed, out of 150 herbs tested, ginseng stimulated ATP production in the body the most (according to the book Ginseng by Kathi Keville). 


Positivity & Mood Enhancement (Lifts Depression)


A 2019 study on ginseng’s antidepressant qualities shows that “the molecular and cellular mechanisms of Panax ginseng and its herbal formulae include modulating monoamine neurotransmitter system, upregulating the expression of neurotrophic factors, regulating the function of HPA axis, and anti‐inflammatory action.” 

This means that ginseng can help regulate neurotransmitters that are produced by the adrenals and work on repairing damage to the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis (HPA axis), which are endocrine gland pathways that control the effects of long-term stress exposure

In Traditional Chinese Medicine, depression is seen partly as a dysfunction of energy (Qi) and blood function. The solution would be to help the body circulate the lymphatic system (Qi) and blood so that vital nutrients, immune agents, and cellular waste could be delivered to the appropriate channels and the systems can continue to “flow” with life.

Ginseng helps to invigorate the vital energy of the body by nourishing the spleen, lungs, heart, and kidneys. At the same time, “ginseng makes the body produce blood, smooth blood vessels and restore Qi and blood, and subsequently nourish the heart and calm the mind via tonifying Qi.” (2019 study)

No wonder preparing ginseng tea first thing in the morning can make you more optimistic, energetic, and hopeful throughout the day. So instead of coffee that damages adrenal function over time by overstimulating thor cortisol production, choose ginseng tea that will actually work with your body to provide it with true cellular energy and heal it holistically! 


Mental Clarity and Protection Against Neurodegenerative Diseases


In another 2012 ginseng study, it was demonstrated that Panax ginseng and its active compounds, ginsenosides, have “beneficial effects in both in vitro and in vivo models of Parkinson’s Disease.” 

The study further shows that ginseng benefits have been effective in alleviating the effects of degenerative effects of Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, Huntington’s Disease, Lou Gehrig’s Disease, and Multiple Sclerosis in mice and human trials.

This premier study on ginseng and neurodegenerative disease points to the fact that Panax ginseng posesses anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidant, and anti-apoptotic mechanisms, which “exert various effects involving stress and the immune system in the nervous system.”

Since ginseng is adaptogenic, it can either act as a sedative or a stimulant on the central nervous system, depending on the needs of the body. 

Longevity Benefits of Ginseng Tea
Photo by Kampus Production from Pexels


Stress Prevention


Given that it is an important herb for nervous system regulation, the benefits of ginseng tea and herbal medicine in alleviating stress are not surprising. Ginseng strengthens the adrenals and other endocrine glands, and kidneys (which work to regulate cortisol), hormones, and blood pressure, helping to offset the stress response. 

According to another 2017 study conducted on the effects of ginseng on stress-induced depression, anxiety, and the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis, ginseng was found to regulate immune response and the hormonal changes that occur due to stress. Further, the study concludes that in addition to lowering levels of anxiety and depression, ginseng also prevented the onset of stress-related physiological diseases.


Cancer Prevention & Treatment


Ginseng has also been studied for its anticancer effects. Multiple studies have been conducted that show the reduction of metastasis of colon, stomach, and lung cancers as a result of ginseng intake. The 2012 study that showcases these anti-cancer effects of ginseng states that:

By the newly established ‘9-week medium-term anticarcinogenicity test model of lung tumors in mice’ (Yun’s model), we confirmed significant anticarcinogenic effects of powders and extracts of the 6-year-old dried fresh ginseng, 5- and 6-year-old white ginsengs, and 4-, 5-, and 6-year-old red ginseng. We also demonstrated that the anticarcinogenic of ginseng was more prominent in aged or heat-treated extracts of ginseng and red ginseng made by steaming. 


As a well-known herbal immune stimulant, hundreds of studies have extensively reported the anti-cancer or chemopreventive effects of ginseng. The anti-cancer effects of ginseng are mainly through the improvements in cell-mediated immunity consisting of cytotoxic T cells and NK cells, while other mechanisms such as oxidative stress, apoptosis, and angiogenesis are also involved. A comprehensive review dealing with anti-cancer effects from the immunological point of view would be imperative in the near future.


Another study has shown that ginseng is also beneficial for those undergoing chemotherapy, as its compounds interact well with cancer drugs to enhance the effects of the treatment. In fact, cancer patients taking ginseng saw a 50% reduction in cancer recurrence compared to patients that did not. How amazing is that!


Immune Function Support


Given its holistic panacea function, it is no surprise that ginseng is also a powerful immune modulator! Since high immunity is key to helping the body heal, if you are suffering from any chronic ailments, ginseng can help strengthen your immunity to help the body heal.

The extract from its roots, stems, and leaves are used as a powerful immune enhancer that helps to increase the body’s resistance to illness. Antibody production can also be regulated by ginseng, making it the ideal herb for those suffering from AIDS and chronic fatigue syndrome. 

In a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial, ginseng displayed very promising results: “Compared to the placebo group, the KRG intake group showed a significant increase in the number of T cells (CD3) and its subtypes (CD4 and CD8), B cells, and the WBC count before and after eight weeks of the intake.” 

What this means is that Korean ginseng increased the number of immune cells, especially T and B cells, which led to the improvement of immunity in healthy results who were suffering from “slightly downgraded immunity.”

How to Make Ginseng Tea
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Cardiovascular Health


Ginseng is also a potent cardiovascular health tonic. In scientific studies and trials, ginseng is shown to be able to normalize blood pressure and improve circulation. Other heart benefits of ginseng include:

    • Treating heart failure and protecting tissues from damage when under stress.

    • Autonomic nervous system regulation and heart rate variability.

    • Protective effects of ginseng’s saponin, panaxadiol, and panaxatriol on injury have been documented in isolated rat hearts.

    • Protection from cardiac injury by acute myocardial ischemia-reperfusion (in rodents).

Overall, the collective data from these studies indicate that ginseng protects against myocardial damage.


Male and Female Fertility 


In terms of male fertility, Panax ginseng has been shown to improve libido, sperm count, sex hormone profiles, and the quality of semen in animal models. Research also points to the benefits of ginseng for the treatment of erectile dysfunction. In one such study, 45 men with erectile dysfunction showed improvement in erectile performance and sexual satisfaction after treatment with ginseng for 8 weeks. 

Although there are quite a few studies conducted on male fertility, female fertility studies have not been as prevalent. 

However, from the studies that have been conducted, there is a heavy emphasis on ginseng helping perimenopausal women manage their life quality by improving hormone production and regulation. Other benefits for women are overall ovarian health and pregnancy protection, although most of the studies that allude to this have been based on animal models. 


How to Make Ginseng Tea to Reap Its Full Benefits


Since ginseng is a root, extracting its benefits with hot water is more difficult than making tea from flowers. To make a potent ginseng tea, you’ll have to put in a bit more effort! Here is my preferred way of making ginseng tea:

    • Add purified (not tap) water in a boiling pot with washed and cut-up ginger root; cutting the root into smaller pieces is a must, since it will be easier for it to release its compounds

    • Place the pot on the boil and when the pot starts boiling fully, reduce the heat to medium and keep the pot cooking for 20 minutes

    • Turn off the heat and let the tea steep for at least 10 minutes before consumption (the longer, the better, since you’ll get a stronger tea the longer you let the root steep in water)

    • Serve alone or with organic honey/date sugar for the best health benefits

And voila, you’ve made ginseng tea the way it is made by herbalists who know herb composition and extraction!

And if you’re looking for even more medicinal relief, you can take this preparation process a step further. Start by boiling the tea for longer at medium temperature (30-45 minutes) and leave it steeping overnight. 

Then, you can consume it as a room-temperature brew throughout the day. Stay away from cold tea infusions when healing the body, since, according to Ayurveda, coldness shocks the tissues and lowers metabolic function (digestion). Stick with hot and room-temperature beverages when consuming liquids in general, with colder beverages only once in a while in the summer!


Other Effective Ways to Consume Ginseng for Health


Red Ginseng Tincture Benefits

Making tea is a very beneficial and medicinal method of introducing herbal compounds into the body, but it is not the only way to reap the benefits of herbs. You can also consume herbal capsule supplements and herbal tinctures. Because digestion involves absorption and assimilation, unless we drink plenty of tea daily, chances are that some of the compounds will not be assimilated due to the body’s complex digestive processes. 

Given this logic, consuming ginseng in food or as medicine in capsules may not be as effective as using it as a tincture, which is absorbed directly into the bloodstream and has an immediate effect after usage. In general, capsules can be 30-50% less efficient in delivering herbal compounds to the cells than tinctures

So what are tinctures, and why do I recommend them as a complement to your herbal tea regimen? I consume tea and tinctures daily and recommend synergizing the power of both, as an herbal medicine has supercharged my health goals! 

Essentially, tinctures are concentrated herbal extracts that are used for medicinal purposes, namely in herbalism, homeotherapy, and Ayurveda. They are made by combining pure alcohol or glycerine with an herb of choice and letting the extraction sit for a month or longer to enable the solvent to extract the most important active components from the herb.

Then, a dropper of the tincture is consumed with water or tea (my preferred way) a few times daily. 

For best practices, ensure that your ginseng is organic and that it comes from a reputable source. If  you’d like a recommendation, one of my favorite places for herbs is Starwest Botanicals, one of the oldest all-organic herbal stores in the US. They carry both organic white and red ginseng roots as well as all ginseng type root powders that can be used to brew tea (or cook with) instead of fresh roots. The latter may be a better option while traveling and when living on the go!

*Please note that Starwest Botanicals is the herbal store of my preference and is my affiliate partner. You won’t be charged anything by purchasing herbs through the link above, but a small part of the proceeds will help support the growth of my small business. Thank you!


Who Should Not Take Ginseng?


Although ginseng tea is too mild to cause heavy side effects, you may want to take precautions if the following health situations apply to you. In his informative work, The Healing Power of Ginseng, Joseph P. Hou discusses who should be more careful when consuming ginseng long-term:

• Do not take ginseng on an empty stomach to avoid hypoglycemic (low blood sugar) reactions, even in people with diabetes. 

• People with high blood pressure should not take red ginseng habitually. 

• People with bipolar disease should not take ginseng because it may increase the risk of mania.

• People with autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, or Crohn’s disease should take ginseng with care or consult a Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) practitioner. 

• Women with a history of breast cancer should not take ginseng. 

• Ginseng should be avoided for at least 7 days before having surgery because Asian ginseng may act as a blood thinner, which causes an increased risk of bleeding.

• Pregnant women should use American ginseng only under a doctor’s orders and avoid any products that contain Panax ginseng. (pg. 198)


Final Thoughts


The benefits of ginseng tea for health are quite holistic, as ginseng is an adaptogen and helps the body regulate by bringing all the systems and processes to their original state of health. Whatever your chronic ailments, ginseng acts in a personalized manner to help strengthen your weaknesses by energizing cells and enabling them to function correctly.

From heart health to cancer prevention, ginseng is one of the main herbs you should have in your herbal apothecary and use on a daily basis. Consuming ginseng tea and tincture will help bring overall well-being to your life and improve your quality of life exponentially. So make it a habit! Start with one cup per day, preferably in the morning, and then introduce the second in the evening…and watch how better you feel over time!

And if you’d like to learn more about other healing herbs, check out my related articles:

What Are The Benefits of Nettle Tea and Can It Lower Chronic Inflammation?

5 Powerful Skin Detox Teas & How to Detox Your Skin from The Inside Out

Best Herbs for Detox: The Power of Weeds, Herbal Medicine, and More

About the Author

Anesa is the founder of and the chief integrative health practitioner at Red Grape Wisdom, with a mission to teach the public the truth about health and the principles of wellness that trace their roots back to our human origins and our connection to the cosmic and natural law. 

Anesa is the author of How to Detox Your Body Naturally and Safely, and her expertise lies in natural health diagnostics, holistic detoxification, and healing support. She uses many unique modalities to help others heal naturally and thrive such as naturopathy, medical astrology, iridology, and Eastern traditional herbal medicine.