How Does Ginseng Work?

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There has been a study using a proprietary version ginseng called Cold-FX and the ginseng is panax ginseng or North America ginseng and in this study, a group of adults took either of the ginseng or a placebo every day for 3-4 months the cold and flu season, so roughly late November into March or December into March.

And those who took the ginseng daily a few hundred milligrams of North American ginseng daily, had 30% fewer colds or upper respiratory viral infections. And that means if you din't take you got about four on average and if you did take it you got about three on average. Now in some sense, three versus four colds you might shrug your shoulders, but what that shows is this stuff really does help prevent colds and by extension it would make sense that it would provide some defense against flu as well because it's another upper respiratory virus.

And the way that it works is to enhance the responses of the white blood cells that defend us, in particular lymphocytes which is the category of white blood cells we most depend on to defend us against viruses. We actually have a different family of white blood cells that defend us against bacterial infections, but the ginseng stimulates activity among the white blood cells, lymphocytes encourages them to talk to one another, kind of stirs them up a little bit, puts them on guard if you will, so there's this enhanced immune response.

And if your white blood cells very quickly swoop in the minute you're exposed to a rhinovirus and adenovirus and presumably a flu virus as well, then that virus doesn't have an opportunity to invade your cell set up and cause a real full blown infection. So you would take the ginseng daily, in the hope that it would maybe defend you against the flu, and almost certainly help you cut down on the frequency of colds you would have this season.