Have you ever wondered why the marketplace is flooded with strange names that seem to come from Chinese herbal medicine or some other exotic place? I walked by powdered moringa at Costco yesterday—the kind of stuff you add to smoothies to boost your antioxidants. And, why do we want to boost our antioxidant levels anyway? Well, you may already know that our food supply (the standard American diet) is depleted of many vitamins and minerals and antioxidants that fight cancer and inflammation. A fun way to bring these vital nutrients back into our diets—besides eating a rainbow everyday—is to drink herbal teas.
Consider drinking American ginseng tea. You’ll be doing your body a favor and you’ll be supporting American growers of ginseng. Actually, American ginseng pricing is affected by demand in China and the current tariff war is affecting our farmers.
American ginseng has a rich history. Discovered in eastern Canada in the early 1700’s, a Jesuit missionary, aided by the Mohawk tribe, learned its beneficial properties and how to locate it. Further, early European settlers brought it to America and American ginseng developed into a thriving commodity to be traded early on in our nation’s history. In fact, Daniel Boone traded it and Thomas Jefferson listed it in his inventory of native plants. “Profits from this trade helped the United States pay off its debts to France for its assistance during the Revolutionary War.”
Unfortunately, due to over-harvesting, wild American ginseng is scarce and is actually in a protected class of plants. Cultivated American ginseng is available, however, and Wisconsin produces 90% of the country’s ginseng with a large amount being exported to China.
1) It’s been used to help boost the immune system and possibly prevents colds or at least minimizes the effects of a cold. There is a cold medicine available that contains American ginseng—COLD-fX but you could always save yourself some money and drink the tea instead.
2) It possibly helps with memory function. One study (2015) suggests an improvement of working memory/cognitive performance but of course, there’s not a lot of studies on American ginseng, mostly they are on Asian ginseng.
3) It acts as an adaptogen providing calm and balance to the body. The Asian version is more well-known for being an energy booster.
Warning: As with any herb, you will want to check with your doctor before you begin a daily dose of this tea. Also, herbal teas can act as blood thinners so just be aware of this.
For more information on American ginseng tea, please check out these websites: https://www.marksdailyapple.com/adaptogen-effects-american-and-asian-ginseng/