There are two main types of ginseng: Asian or Korean ginseng (Panax ginseng) and American ginseng (Panax quinquefolius). Studies have found that the different types have different benefits. In traditional Chinese medicine, American ginseng is considered less stimulating than the Asian variety.
Although many other herbs are called ginseng -- like eleuthero, or Siberian ginseng -- they don’t contain the active ingredient of ginsenosides.
Ginseng has traditionally been used for a number of medical conditions. However, its benefits for most of them haven't been seriously researched. These include:
Build immunity. Some studies have found that ginseng may boost your immune system. There’s some evidence that one particular type of American ginseng extract might decrease the number and severity of colds in adults.
Regulate blood sugar. Several studies in people have also shown that ginseng may lower blood sugar levels.
Improve focus. There’s some early evidence that ginseng might give a small, short-term boost to concentration and learning. Some studies of mental performance have combined ginseng with extract from leaves of the ginkgo tree, another traditional remedy said to help with dementia. While these studies are intriguing, many experts feel we need more evidence.
Ginseng has also been studied as a way to improve mood and boost endurance as well as treat: