Red ginseng is fresh ginseng that has gone through a steaming and drying process. It is considered to be one of the most medicinally-potent types of ginseng as a result of the chemical changes triggered by the steaming process, which modifies its active constituents, known as ginsenosides, increasing their potency and thus the herb's health benefits.
Red Ginseng vs. Other Ginseng Preparations
Compared to white ginseng, which is sun-dried but not steamed, red ginseng has a much higher ginsenoside count, which makes it more beneficial.
Product of a much lengthier process of nine cycles of steaming and drying, the black ginseng preparation is considered extremely beneficial, although it is less known and more expensive than red ginseng, with which it is often compared due to its many medicinal applications.
Production Process of Red Ginseng
The basic process of red ginseng production from the fresh Panax root consists of three steps of washing, steaming, and drying. After being harvested and washed, the fresh ginseng goes through a steaming process at 194 - 212F (90 - 100C) for roughly two to three hours. The steamed ginseng must next be left to sun dry until the moisture content drops to 15 - 18%. Once successfully steamed and dried, red ginseng has a shelf life of up to 10 years.
Red ginseng is obtained from Asian ginseng, being the most popular Korean red ginseng.
How to Use Red Ginseng
Over the years, new and unique ways of consuming red ginseng have become readily available. Red ginseng can be consumed with food, ground into a powder, or infused into tea; however, Korean red ginseng supplements are becoming increasingly popular, and they can be found in the form of ginseng capsules or tablets to avoid the bitter taste of the Panax root, as well as mixed with other ingredients in order to potentiate its medicinal actions; such is the case of red ginseng royal jelly and the ginkgo and ginseng combination.
Benefits of Red Ginseng
A significant amount of research has been done on red ginseng to figure out exactly what its effects are on human health.
A study published in the Journal of Ginseng Research (2012) concluded that Korean red ginseng effectively stimulates the left temporal and occipital lobes - which are related to immediate memory and reaction time - resulting in an improvement of cognitive processes, such as attention, discrimination, and working memory.
A study published in the International Journal of Impotency Research (1995) reported the positive effects Korean red ginseng had in the treatments of erectile dysfunction, adding that it might show an accumulative effect on vascular flow if administered for a prolonged period of time.
Additionally, a review of multiple studies on the effects of red ginseng for the treatment of erectile dysfunction, published in the British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology (2008), suggested that red ginseng may have similar effects to those of testosterone, with virtually no adverse effects.
A study published in Nutrition, metabolism and cardiovascular diseases (2008) suggests that Korean red ginseng may help improve glucose and insulin regulation, as well as safely aid in maintaining good glycemic control beyond usual therapy in well-controlled type 2 diabetes.
Furthermore, as published in the Journal of Medicinal Food (2014), daily supplementation with red ginseng has been shown to improve glucose levels in people with glucose sensitivity.
Where to Buy Red Ginseng
Red ginseng is available for purchase in herbal stores, supermarkets, and online retailers. It comes in capsule and tablet form, extract, and powder, as well as in the form of ginseng drink and tea bags. Less common but more creative ways to reap the benefits of red ginseng include candies, wine, waffles, and cookies.
Due to its high ginsenoside concentration, availability, and variety of commercial forms, Korean red ginseng can be considered one of the most potent ginseng products, ideal for the alternative treatment of a number of health conditions.
- British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology, Red ginseng for treating erectile dysfunction: a systematic review, 2008
- Health Benefits of Fermented Foods and Beverages, pp. 522, 542
- International Journal of Impotence Research, Clinical efficacy of Korean red ginseng for erectile dysfunction, 1995
- Journal of Ginseng Research, Characterization of Korean Red Ginseng, 2015 | Comparative Study of Korean White, Red, and Black Ginseng Extract , 2011 | Effects of Korean Red Ginseng on Cognitive and Motor Function, 2012
- Nutrition, metabolism and cardiovascular diseases, Korean red ginseng (Panax ginseng) improves glucose and insulin regulation in well-controlled, type 2 diabetes: results of a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study of efficacy and safety, 2008
- Journal of Medicinal Food, Korean red ginseng improves glucose control in subjects with impaired fasting glucose, impaired glucose tolerance, or newly diagnosed type 2 diabetes mellitus, 2014