When you look at ginseng product’s supplement fact, you will find one or two metrics: Ginseng amount per serving and (sometimes) Ginsenoside %.
What does this mean?
1. Ginseng Amount
This one is pretty straightforward — we can easily calculate mg of ginseng contained in per serving. For example, below product has 1000mg of red ginseng per 2 capsules, meaning each capsule contains 500mg (0.5g) of red ginseng.
However it gets little tricky on next example:
Note that the ingredient is Ginseng Root “Extract” — it is a concentrated form of raw ginseng roots, and thus 1g of ginseng extract does not equal 1g of ginseng.
1g of ginseng extract > 1g of ginseng
Usually, 1.5g to 2g of raw ginseng is used to make 1g of ginseng extract. Exact ratio differs by manufacturer, so whenever you see “extract,” make sure to ask a seller how many grams of raw ginseng is used for 1g of extract.
Ok, now we know how much ginseng is in a product. Natural next question is, how much ginseng should I take?
This question is tough one, because it depends on individual’s constitution. General consensus is 2 grams of raw ginseng per day, according to European medical standard (Complete German Commission E Monographs). (of course, pregnant women and infants should first consult with physicians, just like any other supplements)
→Key Takeaway: take 2g of Ginseng per day. Watch out the difference between raw ginseng and ginseng “extract.” Usually multiple grams of raw ginseng is used/compressed to make 1g of extract.
2. Ginsenoside % and mg
Let’s first define what ginsenoside is:
The ginsenosides are the major active pharmacological components of ginseng. Ginsenosides, also known as steroid-like saponins, are unique to ginseng species.
Kim, Ji Hye, et al. “Role of Ginsenosides, the Main Active Components of Panax Ginseng, in Inflammatory Responses and Diseases.” NeuroImage, Academic Press, 18 Aug. 2016
In layman’s term, ginsenoside plays a key role on various benefits of ginseng, including immunity boost, anti-fatigue, and antioxidant activity.
Ginsenoside has over 40 different components, many of whose functionalities are still under research. Among them, Korean government officially recognized three that are clinically proven to benefit our body: Rg1, Rb1, and Rg3. According to Korean Ministry of Food and Drug Safety, products that contain more than 2.4mg of Rg1, Rb1, and Rg3 can legally claim that it may help with immunity boost, anti-fatigue, and antioxidant activity.*
However, many products in market indicate ginsenoside amount in a different way in their own definition. Some include all 40 components of ginsenoside, whereas some only counts key three components (Rg1, Rb1, and Rg3). Therefore it is important to check and compare ginsenoside amount in apples to apples, by specifically comparing sum of Rg1, Rb1, and Rg3.
→Key Takeaway: check ginsenoside amount (mg) in sum of Rg1, Rb1, and Rg3. Typical range is 2.4mg — 12mg per serving.
Remember two key metrics for your next ginseng shopping: 2 grams of raw ginseng per day + ginsenoside amount, specifically sum of Rg1+Rb1+Rg3 (typical amount ranges from 2.4mg — 12mg)
In our next story, let’s deep dive into benefits of Ginsenoside Rg1, Rb1, and Rg3. We will look at latest research and data that clinically proved ginseng and ginsenoside’s benefits.