Korean Ginseng, Siberian Ginseng, Indian Ginseng: what’s the difference?
A well-known adaptogen, ginseng has long been used to support wellbeing. Ginseng was first popularised in traditional Chinese medicine, where the name means ‘man plant’ – most likely because the root resembles the shape of a human body. The ancient Greeks then added the Latin prefix ‘Panax’, which derives from the word ‘panacea’ or ‘all-healing’. Both ancient cultures regarded ginseng in high esteem – and it’s no wonder.
Ginseng remains popular today. But not all ginseng is created equal. There are various types, including Korean, Siberian, and Indian. Each one has unique adaptogenic qualities and supports different areas of health. We take a look below.
What are adaptogens?
Found in plants, mushrooms, and herbs, like ginseng, adaptogens are believed to help support the body during challenging times. By supporting internal systems, these clever compounds aim to bring the body into a state of balance, or homeostasis. In simple terms, they help us adapt to environmental stressors.
Who are the different members of the ginseng family?
Found in plants, mushrooms, and herbs, like ginseng, adaptogens are believed to help the body manage stress and fatigue. By supporting internal systems, these clever compounds aim to bring the body into a state of balance, or homeostasis. In simple terms, they help us adapt to environmental stressors.
Korean Ginseng (Panax Ginseng)
Korean Ginseng, or Panax Ginseng, has been used in traditional Chinese medicine for years. This herb is considered the most popular and potent variety of ginseng globally, helping to maintain feelings of energy and vitality.
Siberian Ginseng isn’t ginseng per se; it’s more of a distant cousin. Instead of ginsenosides – the active compounds found in Korean Ginseng – this herb contains eleutherosides, which possess similar adaptogenic properties. Although Siberian Ginseng is considered to be gentler than Korean Ginseng, it remains a popular choice for women, especially those looking to support the immune system.
Indian Ginseng (Ashwagandha)
A herb widely used in Ayurvedic practices – an ancient Hindu system of medicine – Indian Ginseng, also known as Ashwagandha, may help support relaxation and mental and physical wellbeing.
Which ginseng is right for you?
Both Korean and Siberian ginseng are known for their stimulating properties. They provide a ‘get up a go’ feeling – and that’s why most people take them first thing in the morning. Indian Ginseng (Ashwagandha), on the other hand, is often used to cultivate a more relaxed and balanced energy.
If you’re looking to support your energy levels, we recommend choosing Korean or Siberian Ginseng. However, if you’re an easily stimulated individual, we suggest trying Indian Ginseng (Ashwagandha).
Want to find out more?
Read more of our resources on herbs here. You can also reach out to our expert Nutrition Advice team receive free nutrition advice. No matter how small your query, they’re happy to help.
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Keri Filtness has worked in the Nutrition Industry for 19 years. She is regularly called upon for her professional comments on health and nutrition related news. Her opinions have been featured by BBC3, Prima, Vitality, The Mirror, Woman’s Own and Cycling Weekly, amongst others. She has also worked one to one with journalists, analysing their diets and health concerns and recommending changes and additions, where appropriate.