Siberian Ginseng: Ancient Virus-Fighting Remedy and Immune-Boosting Herb
By Dr. Chad Walding, DPT, NativePath Co-Founder
Senior Wellness Expert
Siberian ginseng is an herb that’s native to Russia, China, Korea, and Japan.
In China, it’s said that the use of Siberian ginseng dates back over 2,000 years.
In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), this woody shrub was (and still is) used as an adaptogen, a compound that helps your body adapt to physical and emotional stress.
Along with its adaptogenic properties, Siberian ginseng has also been used as a medicinal plant to enhance heart health, treat high blood pressure, lower inflammation, and boost immunity.
Siberian Ginseng and Immunity
Herbal medicine, in general, has been used to enhance immunity for thousands of years.
If you think about it from a macro perspective, it makes sense that the plants that grow on our earth would contribute compounds that support the health and vitality of your body.
Just like the fruits and vegetables you eat, herbal medicine can have a profound impact on your health when you know how to leverage it.
Beyond its role in folk medicine, however, Siberian ginseng has been studied for its immune-boosting properties in clinical and laboratory research.
In one study, researchers examined the role that Siberian ginseng would have on viral replication.
Viruses can be insidious pathogens once they take hold of the body, and in some cases (like the coronavirus and the flu), they can spread through communities quite rapidly as well.
Results from the study showed that Siberian ginseng extract was able to halt the replication of all three viruses studied (influenza, respiratory syncytial virus, and human rhinovirus).
What’s more, the antiviral activity remained stable even under conditions used for drug preparation and storage.
In another study, a combination of Siberian ginseng with two other herbs (Echinacea purpurea and Adhatoda vasica) was used to treat upper respiratory tract infections.
Again, this hits close to home as the historic coronavirus pandemic is marked by an infection in the upper respiratory tract.
The researchers reported that those treated with the combination of herbs had a shorter duration of infection, reduced severity and frequency of coughing, and enhanced efficacy of mucus discharge.
In other words -- these herbs significantly assisted the patients in overcoming their respiratory tract infections.
So how does this plant have such a strong impact on immunity?
Research shows that compounds in Siberian ginseng can modulate your immune cells to enhance their defenses and, in turn, their ability to protect your body from infection.
In a placebo-controlled study, volunteers were given an extract of Siberian ginseng to assess how this herb affected the health of their immune cells.
The researchers found that there was a significant increase in immunocompetent cells (cells that respond to antigens).
Specifically, the Siberian ginseng enhanced the production of T lymphocytes and natural killer cells.
T lymphocytes are white blood cells that protect your body from infection, and may even help to fight cancer by attacking cancer cells.
Natural killer cells, as their name implies, work in your immune system to kill off infections.
They’re part of your innate immune system, which means they are one of your first lines of defense against pathogens.
How To Incorporate Siberian Ginseng Into Your Wellness Protocol
If you’re currently looking for ways to boost your immunity, you’re not alone.
Along with a healthy diet and sufficient exercise, herbal remedies offer a fantastic way to give your immunity a natural boost.
Siberian ginseng can be taken as a supplement and is often found in combination with other immune-boosting herbs and nutrients. When it comes to supplements, quality is always crucial -- and this is especially true when you’re looking for herbal supplements.
Due to the fact that many herbs look alike, manufacturers have been caught selling herbal supplements that are contaminated with adulterants.
In the case of Siberian ginseng, one common adulterant is a plant called silk vine.
Native Defense is a supplement that offers a high-quality combination of herbs and nutrients.
It includes not only Siberian ginseng, but vitamin C, vitamin D, zinc, quercetin, and elderberry.
This formula is tailor-made to enhance immunity on all levels, so if you’re looking for a one-stop-shop for immune-boosting, I highly recommend giving it a try.