Ginseng has been thoroughly studied for its extensive health benefits, but still little is known about the potential benefits of ginseng for women's reproductive function. Nonetheless, an increasing number of women are taking ginseng to help alleviate symptoms of menopause and hormonal dysfunction.
Ginseng for Women's Reproductive Function
A very common form of hormonal dysfunction that many women experience in their reproductive years is polycystic ovary syndrome - caused by a hormonal imbalance - which can lead to a series of disorders, including irregular and painful periods, excess male hormones, infertility, and ovarian cysts.
Although the use of ginseng to treat this common health condition in women hasn't been extensively researched, an animal study published in the Journal of Ginseng Research (2011) found that Korean red ginseng effectively reduced cyst development and nerve growth factor, even after the polycystic ovaries were fully formed.
Peri and postmenopausal women may experience a variety of symptoms, such as mood changes, hot flashes, sleeplessness, vaginal dryness, decreased libido, and brain fog. While studies aren't conclusive about ginseng's benefits for women in menopause, significant improvements in their symptoms have been reported.
A study published in the journal Menopause (2012) reported the effects of three grams of red ginseng or placebo on 72 women 45 - 60 years old. After 12 weeks, the women who received red ginseng experienced significant relief in general menopause symptoms and a reduced risk for cardiovascular disease.
Best Form of Ginseng for Women
In the thousands of years since its discovery, ginseng has been categorized into different types based on origin, drying method, and supplement form.
The most widely-researched and beneficial form of ginseng for women is Korean red ginseng, which is steamed and dried at 194 - 212°F (90 - 100°C) for two to three hours to get its characteristic color. Korean red ginseng is well-known for having a high concentration of ginsenosides, the active constituents of this herb, which makes it the most medicinal form of ginseng.
Consuming one to two grams of Korean red ginseng three or four times per day is considered one of the best ways to reap the benefits of ginseng for women. Since raw red ginseng root is not as readily available as other ginseng supplements, great options for getting your daily dose are ginseng tea, ginseng powder, ginseng capsules, ginseng tablets, and ginseng extract, all of which can be easily found in supermarkets, drugstores, herbal stores, and online retailers.
Be sure you always consult your doctor before starting treatment with ginseng, read the labels before purchasing any supplement, and follow the dosage as indicated.
Ginseng Preparations for Women
Ginseng remedies can be conveniently made at home to ensure a controlled, safe dosage. While Ginseng powder is an easy way to consume ginseng by adding it to a larger meal or encasing it in capsules, ginseng tea is one of the most popular home preparations of ginseng for women, as it is easy to make, very soothing, and can be infused with other herbs, such as ginkgo, to increase its benefits.
Here is a basic recipe for ginseng tea:
- Slice a fresh ginseng root with a potato peeler or a sharp knife, or cut dried ginseng root.
- Bring a pot of water to boiling point and turn off the heat.
- Add one teaspoon of ginseng per cup of water. Amounts can be adjusted to suit your taste.
- Allow it to steep for 5 - 10 minutes, covered.
- Strain the tea and pour into cups. Add honey or sweetener as desired.
Although verifying all of ginseng's benefits for women still requires further research, the results of the studies performed thus far are promising. Many women have reported the therapeutic and healing effects of ginseng after taking it for the treatment of menopause symptoms and hormonal imbalances.
- Journal of Ginseng Research, Therapeutic Effect of Korean Red Ginseng Extract on Infertility Caused by Polycystic Ovaries, 2011 | Ginseng for managing menopause symptoms: a systematic review of randomized clinical trials, 2013
- Menopause, Effects of red ginseng supplementation on menopausal symptoms and cardiovascular risk factors in postmenopausal women: a double-blind randomized controlled trial, 2012
- University of Utah, Health Care, Women’s Health Guide