Ashwagandha Vs. Ginseng
DISCLAIMER: This article has been written for informational and educational purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.
Ashwagandha and ginseng are widely used herbs and are often contrasted due to numerous similarities. These adaptogenic herbs serve to relieve stress, enhance brain functions, and boost immune health. Adding these two herbs to your diet is highly beneficial for your health.
Naturally, Ashwagandha & Ginseng soothes the mind, tone the nervous system, reduce insomnia, optimize sleep, and enhance memory.
Before deciding on one or the other, you should be aware of a few significant distinctions between both plants. In this article, we will examine the differences and similarities between ginseng and ashwagandha.
What is Ashwagandha?
Ashwagandha is an evergreen plant that may be found in different regions of Africa, the Middle East, and India. This adaptogenic herb has traditionally been used in conventional medicine. The word “Ashwagandha” means “like a horse” and refers to the root’s aroma which smells like a horse. This herb is used by physicians as a general tonic to boost energy levels and alleviate tension and anxiety. Some people also believe that the herb has the potential to reduce anxiety and treat Alzheimer’s disease and certain malignancies.
Can Alleviate Stress and Anxiety
Studies revealed that Ashwagandha has calming effects on stress and anxiety symptoms and is known to be as effective as other anxiolytic medications.
An animal study showed that ashwagandha has anxiolytic effects like lorazepam. In a human study, the consumption of 240 mg of ashwagandha showed a remarkable reduction in stress levels compared to a placebo. It works by reducing cortisol levels, a hormone that is associated with stress.
May Treat Arthritis
Ashwagandha has analgesic and anti-inflammatory properties which help relieve symptoms of arthritis. It helps prevents the pain sensations traveling from the central nervous system and relieves inflammation. Studies suggest that ashwagandha also relieves the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis.
Research on people with rheumatoid arthritis showed that ashwagandha is a good treatment option for relieving the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis.
Improve Sleep Quality
Various clinical studies showed that ashwagandha has the potential to improve sleep quality and relieve insomnia. Researchers are working on how ashwagandha improves sleep parameters in people with sleep problems.
Boost Heart Health
Ashwagandha herb is known to have the ability to improve heart health including lowering blood pressure and cholesterol and relieving chest pain.
A 2015 study showed that consumption of ashwagandha root extract may improve cardiorespiratory endurance leading to promoted heart health. However, more research is needed to evaluate the effects of ashwagandha on heart health.
May Prevent Cancer
Studies showed that ashwagandha can potentially restrict cell growth in certain types of cancers. Animal studies revealed that ashwagandha can restrict the growth of lung cancer.
Can Treat Alzheimer’s Disease
According to a review study, ashwagandha can effectively reduce the risk of neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s disease, Huntington's disease, and Parkinson’s disease.
As the disease advances, brain parts and connective tissues decline and lead to memory loss. Studies concluded that ashwagandha may provide protection on the administration of ashwagandha in mice and rats in the early stages of the disease.
Possible Risks or Side Effects
Ashwagandha can be tolerated in small to medium doses however, very large doses can lead to some side effects stomach upset, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea.
Clinical studies used different dosages ranging from 250-600 mg for relieving stress. However, some studies used even higher doses for relieving various health conditions.
Ashwagandha should be avoided in pregnant and lactating women as it may cause fetal distress and premature labor.
What is Ginseng?
Ginseng has long been used in China and Korea for its adaptogenic properties. This adaptogenic herb is used as a key ingredient in traditional Chinese medicine for boosting vigor and extending life.
Modern research demonstrates that ginseng provides several advantages, including improved heart health, brain function, and blood sugar balance.
May Improve Cognitive Abilities
Ginseng is known for its ability to boost brain health. According to a human study, individuals who consumed American ginseng extract showed increased cognitive abilities, improved memory, reduced response time, and improved calmness.
Can Regulate Blood Sugar Levels
Studies revealed that ginseng has the potential to stabilize blood sugar levels and lower the risk of diabetes. In a human trial, consumption of ginseng resulted in 20% reduced sugar spikes in both diabetic and normal healthy individuals.
A test tube study revealed that ginseng improved glucose uptake and insulin sensitivity and reduced blood sugar levels.
May Boost Immune Health
Ginseng possesses potent antibacterial, antiviral, and antifungal properties which help boost the immune system. It works by improving the number of immune cells in the body and increasing the antioxidant levels in the liver.
Another study of 100 people revealed that consumption of 2g of ginseng daily for two months resulted in significant improvement in immune cells compared to a placebo.
May Reduce Stress and Anxiety
Studies showed that bioactive compounds like ginsenoside possess potent antioxidant abilities and protect the brain from damage caused by free radicals. It helps relieve stress and anxiety and has the ability to reduce the symptoms of depression.
Improve Energy Levels
Ginseng is known for its ability to relieve fatigue and increase energy levels. A review study showed that ginseng helped improve the symptoms of chronic fatigue after 15 days of consumption. Some studies revealed that ginseng not only reduces fatigue but also improves exercise endurance.
Possible Risk or Side Effects
Ginseng is usually considered safe with no significant side effects when used in small to moderate quantities.
However, it may interact with some medications like hypoglycemic drugs and can lead to very low glucose levels. There are not many studies on the safety of these drugs on children and pregnant women, it is therefore recommended to avoid its consumption in children and pregnant and lactating women.
Ashwagandha and Ginseng- Similarities and Differences
Ashwagandha and ginseng are both adaptogenic herbs having the potential to reduce stress and anxiety.
Depending on the climate, ginseng grows more slowly and might take anywhere from three to five years. Ashwagandha is typically collected 1-2 years after planting. The root of each plant is the first component that is therapeutically used.
These herbs differ in their mechanism of action. Ashwagandha is known for its calming and rejuvenating properties while ginseng is refreshing and stimulating.
How to Choose Them?
The selection of herbs depends on the person. For instance, you can choose ashwagandha if you tend to be quickly excited and it can help to relax and calm your body. This herb also helps with sleep problems, general stress, and anxiety.
You can choose ginseng if you frequently feel fatigued and sluggish because it is more of a stimulating herb and can make you feel energized.
Ashwagandha and ginseng are adaptogenic herbs used to relieve stress and anxiety. Moreover, they also help relieve other health conditions and improve overall health and well-being.