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Ginseng, also known as man root, is a plant used for its active compounds of naturally occurring ginsenosides. These compounds are often studied for their potent effects: “anticarcinogenic, immunomodulatory, anti-inflammatory, antiallergic, antiatherosclerotic, antihypertensive, and antidiabetic effects as well as antistress activity and effects on the central nervous system.” (via NCBI) 

ginseng root

Cancer patients are often given doses of ginseng because of its ability to “boost the immune system or slow the growth of cancer cells.” A 2006 Chinese study showed that women who regularly used ginseng previous to a cancer diagnosis actually survived the disease longer compared to women who never used it. (via Cancer) 

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The roots are dried and grinded into a powder that becomes the drugstore supplement people can purchase. Most people use it for a boost to their immune systems. A recommended dosage for this purpose is approximately 200 milligrams per day. Another common use is for lowering blood sugar in diabetics by taking 300 milligrams no more than two hours before eating.

Ginseng can be expensive, so check with your doctor before purchasing this supplement. Specifically, Asian ginseng has been linked to improved athletic performance. Side effects include potential sleep problems, heart rhythmic issues and may interfere with blood clotting abilities.

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