Recipe For Ginseng Tea

Learn about the benefits of ginseng and learn how to make a medicinal tea with the following recipe and instructions.

What is Ginseng?

Ginseng is an herbaceous perennial that grows in the forest and is native to parts of Asia and North America. There are several species of ginseng found throughout the world; however, only two are cultivated for their medicinal properties, Panax ginseng and Panax quinquefolius. Siberian ginseng (Eleutherococcus senticosus) is a member of the same botanical family, but is not a true ginseng.

The rhizome or root as it is sometimes incorrectly referred to, is aromatic and fleshy with knobby growths protruding from it. The flesh ranges from white to pale gray to pale yellow in color and the light brown color skin is wrinkled. After the rhizomes are harvested, they are thoroughly washed to remove any traces of soil and then dried. Drying is important to prevent mold from developing during storage.

What are the Benefits of Ginseng?

The Chinese people have used ginseng in herbal medicine for centuries. Rhizomes resembling the human form are thought to be more valuable medicinally. Ginseng rhizomes contain substances called ginsenosides, a class of chemical compounds responsible for its anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and cancer preventing properties. Ginseng is used to cure the entire body and is not used for a specific organ or body part.

Check with your doctor for contraindications before using ginseng products. There may be adverse effects such as insomnia, headaches, uterine bleeding, or diarrhea if ginseng is consumed over a period of time or with other medications. Ginseng is also considered to be a stimulant, so caffeine and other stimulants should be avoided when using ginseng.

Studies show that ginseng is a non-toxic herb, although as with any herb or medicine, avoid excessive or prolonged use. The recommended dosage is 0.5 to 2 grams of rhizome per day, the equivalent of approximately 1 to 5 thin slices of rhizome. Ginseng should not be used for more than three consecutive months without a 2-week break from use.

How to Make Ginseng Tea

When making ginseng tea, there are several options. The first is to use the rhizome itself. When buying ginseng choose a firm rhizome with no soft spots or discolorations. There is also the option of buying it pre-cut in thin slices.

Ginseng tea is slightly sweet at first but may have a strong biting or even bitter aftertaste. It is often mixed with chrysanthemum tea and sweetened with sugar or honey.

The first method for making ginseng tea is to pour boiling water over 3 to 5 thin slices of ginseng and let steep for 5 minutes""more if you prefer stronger tea, less if you prefer weaker tea.

Alternatively, boil 3 cups of water, add 8 to 10 ginseng slices, and then simmer for 15 to 20 minutes. Strain and let cool. It can be served warm or cold as an iced ginseng tea. Store the tea in the refrigerator.

Or, try the Korean version of ginseng tea. Place thinly sliced pieces of ginseng rhizome in a ceramic, glass, or stainless steel bowl and add a few teaspoons of honey. Let sit for 30 minutes, and then pour boiling water over the mixture to make the tea.

Tea can also be made with liquid extract or ginseng powder. For liquid extract, mix one cup of extract with one cup of boiling water. For powder, dissolve 1 teaspoon in one cup of boiling water.

It is also possible to use a standardized extract to make tea by adding a few drops to hot water in a cup. Be advised that extracts may contain small amounts of alcohol unless otherwise stated.

© High Speed Ventures 2011