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Is Ginseng Good for Diabetes? Answer Revealed
Diabetes

Is Ginseng Good for Diabetes? Answer Revealed

HR_author_photo_Edibel
Written by Edibel Quintero, RD | Medically reviewed by Medically reviewed by Rosmy Barrios, MD check
Published on 2022 August 15
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4 min

Ginseng has been used in traditional Chinese medicine for centuries. It is thought to be an effective method of blood sugar management and may be good for those with diabetes. We evaluate its use as a supplement for those with diabetes in this guide.

Is ginseng good for diabetes

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Ginseng, also known as Asian ginseng, Panax ginseng, or American ginseng (Panax quinquefolius), is an herbal supplement used for centuries in complementary and traditional Chinese medicine.

Ginseng extract can be found in tea and other supplement products and contains two active compounds: ginsenosides and gintonin. Ginseng therapy has been used to treat several ailments, including erectile dysfunction and immune problems. It may also be useful in helping those with type 2 diabetes mellitus to manage blood sugar levels.

In this article, we’re going to take a look at the effect ginseng has on blood glucose levels, insulin resistance, and glycemic control and evaluate whether or not it is useful for those with diabetes. Keep reading to learn more.

Is Ginseng Good for Diabetes?

Ginseng has been shown to positively affect glycemic control, elevated blood glucose levels (hyperglycemia), and insulin resistance – all of which make it a good herbal supplement for those with type 2 diabetes mellitus.

Both Asian and American ginseng are thought to boost insulin production by stimulating the pancreas, which helps with blood sugar uptake. This is useful in maintaining healthy blood sugar levels. It is also thought that the antioxidant content in ginseng may help fight free radicals in those with diabetes.

Korean red ginseng therapy was shown to increase blood sugar control in those with type 2 diabetes and decrease insulin resistance. Reduced insulin sensitivity is a risk factor in developing prediabetes and type 2 diabetes.

American ginseng (Panax quinquefolius) has also shown promise in reducing hyperglycemia, though this study was conducted on healthy individuals. Still, this shows promise for those with diabetes in maintaining glucose homeostasis.

Ginseng anti-diabetic studies have shown that ginseng root could be useful in reducing fasting blood glucose. This makes it an excellent herbal supplement for intermittent fasting.

Additionally, fermented red ginseng may be even more effective in maintaining healthy blood sugar levels. The fermentation is thought to help with the absorption of ginsenosides, increasing their effectiveness.

What Is Ginseng?

Ginseng is a slow-growing plant. Its roots are used in herbal supplementation. It can be classified as white, red, or fresh, depending on how long it has spent growing. Ginseng comes in many forms, but the most commonly used are Asian ginseng (Panax ginseng) and American ginseng.

The main difference between the different ginseng is the concentration of the two active compounds: ginsenoside and gintonin.

Ginseng has been used in complementary and alternative medicine for centuries. It is commonly used to treat immune conditions, sexual problems, fatigue, and blood glucose level regulation. Though it is often cited as an excellent remedy, clinical trials have been inconclusive regarding its effectiveness in many areas.

How to Use Ginseng for Diabetes

Ginseng can be eaten raw as a form of supplementation, but it is more commonly stewed and made into tea. You can find many tea bags that are premixed and already contain ginseng, among other herbal remedies.

You may add ginseng into stir-fries and other recipes as a spice. The extract can be found in powdered form to make this easier. You could also supplement with ginseng using capsules to ensure you get enough each day. You will likely find ginseng supplements at your local health food store.

The benefits of ginseng for regulating blood glucose levels have been evidenced in many research papers. People with diabetes may choose to use ginseng alongside other diabetes medications to help maintain healthy blood sugar levels.

4 Benefits of Ginseng for Diabetes

Ginseng is thought to have many benefits for people with type 2 diabetes. The active components in ginseng are adept at managing various aspects of the condition, including insulin production and reducing blood glucose.

Take a look below to find out how this herbal supplement could help you out.

#1 Reduces inflammation

Inflammation has been associated with the development of diabetes and diabetic complications. Ginseng may be able to actually reduce inflammation in the body as well as help people with diabetes manage their condition.

Other methods of reducing inflammation in the body include intermittent fasting methods, like the 5:2 diet and the ketogenic diet for diabetes.

#2 Helps to manage blood glucose

Ginseng plays a role in managing blood sugar levels. It is thought to be a useful supplement for those suffering from hyperglycemia and may improve overall glycemic control.

Fermented red ginseng could be even more adept at controlling blood sugar levels and should be considered by those trying to manage their diabetes.

#3 Regulates insulin secretion

Ginseng could be an effective tool for those looking to boost insulin production. It is thought to stimulate the pancreatic cells and boost insulin production in the body. This has a positive effect on the management of blood glucose levels.

In addition, ginseng could decrease insulin resistance. Reduced insulin sensitivity has been linked to the development of prediabetes and type 2 diabetes.

#4 Powerful antioxidant properties

Antioxidants are thought to be useful in reducing complications resulting from diabetes. Ginseng is known for its powerful antioxidant properties, which could have a positive effect on those with diabetes.

Who Should Not Use Ginseng?

Though ginseng has many benefits, there are a few groups of people who should not try this herbal supplement. These include:

  • People taking medications that will interact with ginseng – The list is quite long of medications that are affected by ginseng and include medications that are broken down by the liver, medications for depression, immunosuppressants, and anticoagulants.
  • Those with autoimmune diseases – Evidence suggests ginseng enhances the activity of the immune system, which will actually make autoimmune symptoms worse. This also applies to those who take immunosuppressants after a transplant.
  • Anyone with a bleeding condition – Ginseng is thought to inhibit or slow blood clotting.
  • Those with hormone-sensitive conditions, like breast cancer, uterine cancer, and endometriosis – One of the active components in ginseng, ginsenosides, is thought to act like the hormone estrogen.
  • Children and infants
  • Anyone who is pregnant or breastfeeding

It should also be used with caution by those who have a heart condition as it may increase blood pressure. Additionally, those who have trouble sleeping should use it sparingly.

Possible Side Effects of Ginseng

Common side effects of ginseng supplementation can include:

  • Diarrhea
  • Headache
  • Sleep problems and insomnia
  • Changes in blood pressure
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Breast tenderness
  • Vaginal bleeding

In rare cases, some people may suffer an allergic reaction to ginseng. Symptoms of an allergic reaction include hives, itchy and watery eyes, difficulty breathing and wheezing, sudden drop in blood pressure, and loss of consciousness. If you experience any of these symptoms, seek emergency medical attention.

A Word From Our MD

Studies show that ginseng has positive effects on regulating blood sugar. It is thought to help manage high blood sugar levels, enhance glycemic control, and decrease insulin resistance. This makes it an effective supplement for those with type 2 diabetes.

Many herbal supplements and remedies are suggested now for managing diabetes, though not all have a scientific basis. For this reason, it is always best to do thorough research and speak with your doctor before trying out anything new for your condition.

When it comes to diabetes management, there are a few things that are always recommended, though. Reducing your body weight by just 5% is thought to positively impact your diabetes and can be done with a few tweaks to your lifestyle.

To reduce your body weight, you could try out diabetes-friendly diets like the keto diet and intermittent fasting. Both the keto diet and intermittent fasting are thought to have positive effects on diabetes, though you should speak with your doctor before trying them out.

If you don’t want to try a new diet, you could just eat at a caloric deficit. A caloric deficit means consuming fewer calories than you burn and burning more calories each day through exercise. Exercise that helps burn more calories includes running more regularly or for longer distances, cycling for weight loss, weightlifting, and even dancing!

Along with eating fewer calories, you should also aim to eat a healthier and more balanced diet. This means choosing more whole foods, fewer refined and processed products, and sticking to a low carbohydrate intake to keep your blood sugar levels in check.

While ginseng may positively impact diabetes and blood sugar control, it should not be the only thing you do to manage your blood sugar levels.

Conclusion

Ginseng may be an effective method of blood sugar regulation. Many studies have shown its efficacy in helping with diabetes management. Though ginseng may be effective, it should not be the only treatment you use for diabetes.

Diabetes may be controlled by losing weight, eating a more balanced, low-carb diet, and taking regular blood sugar readings. You may also need to take medications.

Speak with your doctor before trying any herbal remedies for diabetes to ensure they are safe.

HR_author_photo_Edibel
Written by
Edibel Quintero is a medical doctor who graduated in 2013 from the University of Zulia and has been working in her profession since then. She specializes in obesity and nutrition, physical rehabilitation, sports massage and post-operative rehabilitation. Edibel’s goal is to help people live healthier lives by educating them about food, exercise, mental wellness and other lifestyle choices that can improve their quality of life.
Medically reviewed byRosmy Barrios, MD
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