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Is Ginseng Good for Colds?

Learn whether ginseng can help treat your common cold with this article from Theraflu.

You’ve got a cold — that dreaded combo of stuffiness, sneezing, a sore throat, and a cough. There are worse things, sure, but your world isn’t slowing down, so you can’t either. If you’re looking to be back on your feet fast, you might want to give ginseng a try.

Ginseng has been used in traditional Chinese medicine as a natural-derived energy booster for ages, but recent studies have shown a small positive correlation between lessened cold duration and ginseng intake. Want to know more about this wonder herb? Here’s everything you need to know about fighting a cold with ginseng.

More About Ginseng and its Benefits

Ginseng is a type of natural herb that has been used for health reasons for many centuries. The earliest recorded instances of ginseng use occurred in Shangdang, China, and took prominence during the development of Chinese pharmaceutics.1 American ginseng, commonly referred to as Panax quinquefolius L.1, is another popular type of ginseng that’s known to have benefits for the whole body.2 Its active ingredients, called ginsenosides, have been shown to have many benefits, though not all have been proven through research. Some of ginseng’s benefits include:

  • Boosting the immune system
  • Improving mental and physical performance
  • Speeding recovery time from illnesses
  • Protecting against the effects of radiation
  • Widening blood vessels, which lowers blood pressure2

The Effects of Ginseng on a Cold

Though ginseng has a number of benefits for a person’s overall health, there have been numerous studies showing the positive effects of ginseng on someone with the common cold. In this particular study, two capsules of North American ginseng, also known as Panax quinquefolius, were administered daily to participants in one group, while the others received a placebo over a four month period. According to the findings, researchers estimated the absolute risk reduction of recurrent colds to be about 12.8 percent less when taking ginseng.

Moreover, in another similar study, symptom severity was less pronounced in the ginseng group, and colds lasted an average of six days less than the duration of those in the placebo group. These studies suggest that ginseng can help the immune system while fighting off the common cold.

When Not to Take Ginseng

Even though ginseng can be beneficial to fighting the common cold, there are medications that shouldn’t be mixed with ginseng. For example, your doctor may recommend that you not take ginseng while on any diabetes medications, since ginseng works to lower blood sugar.3 If you were to use ginseng while on a diabetic medication, then you may lower your blood pressure to a level that isn’t healthy.3 Furthermore, because the effects of ginseng on pregnant women haven’t been as thoroughly studied, pregnant women or women who are breastfeeding may want to avoid taking ginseng.3

Ginseng can also cause unpleasant side effects when taken with certain antidepressants and immunosuppressants. It’s important to talk with your doctor before using ginseng while sick or when on any medications. Due to the various types of ginseng, you may want to further investigate the different types you can buy and ask your doctor if the American or Asian ginseng plant would be better for you.3

Whenever you’re experiencing the common cold or flu, Theraflu is there to help. Add Theraflu Hot Liquid Powder to your cold-fighting arsenal. When you feel the sniffles coming on or a tickle in your throat, try Theraflu Hot Liquids, which provide powerful relief you feel fast.

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