Ginseng capsules are available in several varieties. To choose the best ginseng capsule, it is important to assess individual needs and study the differences between each type of capsule. The most notable differences are age and species of ginseng, country of origin and processing method. Other differences include potency, quality and cost.
Ginseng is cultivated in both Asia and North America. The species Panax ginseng is indigenous to Asia, and Panax quinquefolius is the American species. Asian and American ginseng also grow wild, although they are considered rare and endangered. Both wild and cultivated ginseng are available in capsule form.
In traditional Chinese medicine, Asian and American ginseng are believed to have different therapeutic properties. Asian ginseng is more yang and is used to balance yin conditions. The American variety is more yin and is used to balance yang conditions. Asian ginseng is more stimulating, while American ginseng is more tonic.
With regard to processing, ginseng capsules are divided into two categories: white and red. Both are produced from the same type of ginseng root, and the color is determined by the processing method. For white ginseng, the root is peeled and dried in the sun, which bleaches it. For red ginseng, the root is steam-heated to 212 degrees Fahrenheit (100 degrees Celsius),which turns it dark red, increases its potency and preserves the active ingredients.
A third method of processing produces sun ginseng. Like red ginseng, it is steam-processed, but at a much lower temperature. This method increases the presence of certain chemical components that are believed to be powerful antioxidants.
In choosing the best ginseng capsules, it is important to consider one’s individual needs. Ginseng is believed to increase vital energy, blood circulation and sexual potency. It may also be used as a weight-loss supplement. Side-effects may include high blood pressure and low blood sugar, as well as anxiety, insomnia and gastric disorders. It is therefore important to consider one’s sensitivity.
For maximum potency, choose pure ginseng produced from older Asian roots. Korean red ginseng is considered to be the highest quality and most potent. For a milder capsule, choose American white ginseng. Red ginseng capsules are typically more expensive than white ginseng capsules.
Ginseng capsules are powerful herbal supplements. They should be used with caution under the supervision of a qualified health care provider. Don’t forget to check the ingredient list for binders, fillers and other ingredients used to make the capsules.