Ginseng has traditionally been used for a number of medical conditions. However, only a fraction of them have been properly researched.
There are several different species of ginseng, including Panax, Asian or Chinese ginseng, and Panax quinquefolius or American ginseng.
Some people use Panax ginseng in the hope that it will help with memory and concentration, but there's no conclusive evidence that it works, according to a systematic review by the Cochrane Collaboration.
Some studies have found that ginseng may help boost the immune system, especially when taken with a vaccine, or by elderly people recovering from an illness, but studies are inconclusive and more research is needed.
Several studies have also shown that ginseng may lower blood sugar levels, which could benefit people with type 2 diabetes. One 2005 study in the American Journal of Chinese Medicine concluded: "both American and Asian ginseng, including root, berry, and leaf demonstrate a significant potential in treatingdiabetes mellitus." People with diabetes should only take ginseng if recommended by their doctor.
Ginseng has also been studied as a possible way to improve mood and boost endurance as well as help fend off cancer, heart disease, fatigue, erectile dysfunction, hepatitis C, high blood pressure, menopausal symptoms and other conditions. While some of these uses are promising, the evidence isn’t conclusive.