Is ginseng good for immune system?

American ginseng (Panax quinquefolius) grows mainly in North America (Wisconsin and Canada). Native American tribes used the root as a stimulant and to treat headaches, fever, indigestion, and infertility.

American ginseng had becomeone of the most popular food/herb in China since middle of 17 century. Today, 70-80% harvested American ginseng is exported to China each year.


"Chinese people believe that regular consumption of this root can strengthen the body, increase the energy, resist fatigue, and prevent illness."

 Ginseng immunity Yi Qiao

They also use it as anti-aging food because it can help reduce joints pain and muscle stiffness as well as improve memory and concentration.

Several clinical studies have shown that American ginsengs contain ginsenosides and polysaccharides, components that boost the performance of cells that play a role in immunity.

The taste of this ginseng root is bitter and earthy with a touch of sweetness, and there are many different ways to consume it. The easiest way is to take them as pills, extracts powder (capsule), tea bag, or by chewing one slice (dry or fresh) once or twice a day.

You can find American ginseng products online, at local herbal stores, or purchased directly from Wisconsin ginseng farms. No matter what kind of American ginseng product you buy, for the best quality it must be from Wisconsin.

Here are a few simple ways to bring American ginseng into your routine life.


American ginseng tea

Stewed in water to make a cup of tea 

3-5 sliced fresh or dried ginseng root, or 1 American ginseng tea bag

Add boiling water and let it steep for 10-15 minutes.


You also can add one or two pieces of Chinese red date (jujube), (use dry date and cut to smaller pieces), or add 5-7 pieces of Gouji berries to make the tea slight sweeter.


American ginseng smoothie 

  • 8 ounces coconut water
  • ½ cup fresh mango
  • ½ cup fresh pineapple chunks
  • ½ Avocado
  • ½ teaspoon ginseng powder, or 2-4 slice fresh American ginseng
  • ½ teaspoon turmeric or 2 slice fresh turmeric root
  • 1 slice fresh ginger root
  • Pinch of nutmeg


Add all ingredients from above. Starting the blender on a low speed, blend until smooth. If needed gradually increase to higher speeds and blend until smooth.


Chicken and American ginseng soup 

2 whole chicken legs, or half whole chicken

1 onion, diced

3-4 slices fresh ginger root (quarter’s thick)

¼ cup cooking wine or white wine

1 large carrots, peeled and diced

4-6 pieces Chinese dates (jujube)

2 pieces American ginseng root (about 10g)

Salt and black pepper


  • Put chicken in a large stock pot and add on cold water just enough to covers chicken and bring to a boil
  • Throw away boiled water which may contains a lot oily foams, clean chicken with hot water
  • Add 1 liter boiled water (depends on the size of pot) and add onion, ginger root, cooking wine and American ginseng root bring to boil, and simmer for 30 minutes.
  • Add Chinese dates and carrots simmer for another 20-30 minutes
  • Add salt and black pepper for taste


For the best result, American ginseng shouldn’t be taken with coffee, or tea together. If you need take high doses of American ginseng for treatment, please consult with a licensed acupuncturist or professional herbalist.

Large doses of American ginseng may increase blood pressure, cause insomnia, anxiousness, restlessness, and headache.


By Yi Qiao, LAc., OMD


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