Effects of Ginseng on Stress, Anxiety, depression, and Stress-Related Ailments

All living things must control the physical and mental impacts of various stressful situations to survive. 

Stress is an inevitable reaction that supports stability in a person’s body. The body of a person changes when exposed to specific stressors. The term “stress response” refers to this predetermined reaction. 

There are four different types of stress: 

  • Chronic eustress (a little stress)
  • Acute stress (an ideal amount of stress)
  • Acute distress (too much stress)
  • Chronic stress (burnout). 

When Stress rises above a certain point, it causes adverse negative health impacts. For a long time, chronic stress has led to depression and anxiety.

Fortunately, there’s a solution; ginseng has a long history of use as herbal medicine in countries like China, Japan, Korea, and the US. Many more countries around the world are now using ginseng for different purposes.

The presence of ginseng’s natural antioxidant components accounts for its long-standing use. Ginseng roots have a variety of pharmacological properties. 

Studies show ginsenosides are potent remedies for immunological and metabolic disorders, cell death, and organ damage.

Additionally, it has been demonstrated ginsenosides enhance several functions in the body including:

  • Synaptogenesis(the formation of synapses between neurons in the nervous system),
  • Neurogenesis(the process by which new neurons are formed in the brain),
  • Neuronal development(the biological process by which neurons are produced during development)
  • Protecting the central nervous system against unanticipated events. 
  • Ginseng is also said to help enhance memory. 

This article aims to review how ginseng affects human stress-related ailments and alterations and how ginseng could work as a treatment for stress-related illnesses.

Ginseng and stress

Ginseng is an adaptogen, a tonic, and a rejuvenator.

In contemporary society, herbal treatments are rarely the only option for serious and sometimes fatal illnesses. However, this is changing as many people now understand the efficacy of herbal treatments.

Modern life involves ongoing exposure to stress because of many issues, including 

  • Overactive brain, 
  • Overwork and poor work conditions
  • Communal living arrangements etc

Additionally, the repetitive nature of some activities means that the degree of stress can be persistent over time, which can lead to harmful biological stress reactions. 

The human body is programmed to release hormones and inflammatory cytokines in response to stress. But even with that, prolonged stress can promote the onset of anxiety, depression, and even panic disorders.  

With the rise of stress and anxiety came the increase in the use of adaptogens to manage daily or workplace stress in recent years. Compared to other adaptogens, ginseng exhibits superior management of stress. 

This is a conclusion after several studies and stress tests, including swimming and immobilization tests, used to establish its effectiveness as a stress reducer.

Additionally, research has demonstrated that ginseng has superior anti-stress benefits compared to other control measures. 

Ginseng in anxiety and depression

Depression is a severe mental disorder with no outward signs of physical sickness. However, as depression progresses, medical issues may appear. 

About 10-30% of individuals with depression find it difficult to survive the initial stages and succumb to serious bodily injury; that includes committing or attempting suicide, inflicting self-harm, and developing addictions, which negatively impact their quality of life. 

You’ll agree with me when I say depression is becoming increasingly common, a significant clinical concern. 

Ginseng effectively reduces stress, the primary contributor to depression. It has higher effectiveness levels than the widely used antidepressant, fluoxetine.

It is important to note that depression is linked to memory loss because it gradually causes nerve cell deterioration.

Ginseng has long been used to safeguard the neurological system.

How does it do that? It enhances memory and prevents degenerative brain conditions like Alzheimer’s. And also, its neuroprotective properties help to avoid depression.

Here’s the best part, Improved memory indirectly reduces anxiety. Studies show that older individuals taking anxiolytics experience less memory loss. These scientific findings suggest that ginseng can reduce anxiety.

Additionally, to evaluate the levels of anxiety, sadness, and stress brought on by the environment, including mental and physical aspects, research investigations can use self-testing using the depression, anxiety, and stress scale. 

Stress and mental illnesses like depression and anxiety are intimately associated. Ginseng is a good choice for reducing stress, which will help with the symptoms of despair and anxiety.

Also read, Depression: A Guide on Everything You should know

Effects of stress hormones on the human body

Hormones are chemical messengers and important biorhythm regulators, controlling physical development, appetite, blood pressure, mood, sexual function, body temperature, sleep, and hydration.

Numerous organs produce hormones in the bloodstream when the human body faces any change.

It doesn’t stop there; hormones bind with particular receptors in the cells of the target organs to control biological processes.

Stress is among the changes the human body goes through; this is where the hormone cortisol comes in.

Cortisol is a stress hormone secreted when you are under stress to reduce anxiety and preserve homeostasis(homeostasis is the state of steady internal, physical, and chemical conditions maintained by living systems). However, excessive production of cortisol suppresses the immune system. 

Cortisol gets produced and regulated by the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis, a primary hormonal regulatory center governed by the sympathetic nervous system. 

Cortisol binds to and activates the cytoplasmic glucocorticoid receptor. The hormone-receptor complex then enters the nucleus and modulates the expression of many genes.

From the above statements, we understand that cortisol regulates and stimulates the expression of several messenger RNAs(Ribonucleic acid) as well as the expression of essential cytokines in many organs and immune cells to counteract the effects of stress or to regulate the function of T lymphocytes in a variety of disorders. 

Effects of ginseng on HPA

Ginseng helps people respond more effectively to stressful situations by controlling how the HPA axis works. 

Ginseng offers a potential therapy option for patients with HPA axis diseases, such as depression, asthma, hypertension, and posttraumatic stress disorder, linked to cortisol hypersecretion. 

The discovery of the mechanisms behind these ginseng effects may lead to the development of methods for disease prevention. 

We couldn’t finish talking about the effects of ginseng on HPA and not talk about the effects of ginseng on various chronic illnesses.

People with chronic diseases are more likely than healthy persons to experience stress, depression, and anxiety. This may be a result of the physical pain they are going through, or it may be a sign that depression and anxiety increase the risk of developing subsequent physical disorders. 

Luckily, ginseng has several positive effects on HPA, which in turn helps control many diseases.

Some of the critical conditions we can talk about include the following:

Vascular diseases

Studies show that noise, Long working hours, and poor working conditions significantly increase cardiovascular disease incidences (CVDs).On the other hand, ginseng is a powerful antioxidant that enhances actions upon blood vessel functions and prevents blood clots. Ginseng also reduces stress, which may contribute to CVD prevention. 


Ginseng impacts the hormonal system by balancing the HPA axis. Estrogen, a sex hormone that impacts the brain, bones, and heart, is one of the hormones controlled in this way. 

The effects of estrogen lower the risk of osteoporosis, CVD, and stroke. In several studies, ginseng enhances the estrogen receptor in various cells in vitro, showing that it may boost the actions of this hormone in the tissues.


Ginseng contributes to the prevention of the development of autoimmune diseases by suppressing the excessive secretion of proinflammatory cytokines induced by persistent stress.

Therefore, ginseng effectively prevents arthritis since it inhibits the formation of TNF-α, a proinflammatory cytokine that causes early joint inflammation or accelerates inflammatory cell infiltration in joints. 

Erectile dysfunction

In modern civilizations, roughly 50% of men between the ages of 40 and 70 develop ED due to aging, smoking, obesity, and several other factors; nonetheless, anxiety is the main contributor to ED.

Numerous studies have confirmed that ginseng treats ED without any negative side effects; as a result, this strategy may be suitable for people who choose safer treatments. 

Diabetes Mellitus

One of the most common metabolic illnesses in contemporary societies is diabetes mellitus.

When an organism gets confronted with an emergency, the autonomic nervous system initiates the fight or flight response, which involves energy mobilization. 

As a result, the stress response involves the actions of many hormones that elevate blood glucose levels. 

Some diabetic patients have higher insulin resistance and respond to insulin less effectively. These people’s biological cells cannot use the blood glucose present when stressful events arise, which requires energy. They must instead digest fat as an energy source which causes Inflammation. 

Such stress responses could ultimately result in deadly consequences for DM patients. Ginseng gives the body energy to control fat cells and regulates lipid and glucose metabolism.

This aids in managing several health conditions, such as obesity, which can contribute to type 2 diabetes and other diseases. 


Although current medication therapies are successful, prolonged exposure to medications can occasionally result in addiction or other unwanted side effects.

New treatment techniques, such as medicinal plants, are therefore needed.

These have been in use for more than a millennium and typically pose little danger of side effects.

Ginseng offers a potential method for recovering homeostasis following different physiological changes brought on by daily stress. Its effectiveness has been proved in numerous studies involving human tissue and animal studies. 

The development of a wide range of treatments for patients with psychological and physical disorders can get improved by a better knowledge of the processes behind the effects of ginseng on human cytokine/metabolic systems and stress-induced hormonal alterations. 

Acha Maoni

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