What Is Ginseng Tea? Background, Benefits, and Flavor Profile

For centuries, ginseng tea has been used in traditional medicine to treat numerous ailments. Recent scholarship shows ginseng tea to be highly effective and good for your overall health. But what is ginseng tea?

A cup of ginseng tea - What is ginseng tea
Ginseng tea originates from Korea

Ginseng tea is a unique tea of Korean origin that comes from the root of the ginseng plant. Ginseng as a root and tea has many notable, proven health benefits and has played a role in traditional, homeopathic medicine for centuries. Sharp and earthy, ginseng tea has been a vital part of a healthy lifestyle around the world for over 2000 years. 

Ginseng Tea: From Underground

The ginseng plant lives in the plant genus Panax and is native to Manchuria and Korea. The ginseng plant is perennial, an herb known for its strong roots. 

Elderly man's hands holding harvested ginseng from the Appalachian area of the United States
Ginseng plant is a herb known for its strong roots 

There are multiple different varieties of the ginseng plant, including American ginseng, which grows in portions of northern, eastern, and midwestern regions of North America. The ginseng plant is known as a medicinal herb.

Each plant typically grows from three to five leaves that could be whole, toothed, or lobed. The leaf shape depends wholly on the ginseng species. Ginseng’s leaves die back in the autumn and grow back in the spring. 

The vast and curious history of ginseng tea dates back longer than the historical record can comprehend. Digging into the plant’s background will help illuminate the importance of ginseng culturally and medicinally. 

Ginseng Tea Background

The first known written record of ginseng dates back about 2000 years. However, the plant played an important role in Asian cultures long before that time. Many records suggest that ginseng was an essential part of trade and healthcare in places like Korea and China, as far back as 4500 years. 

Since its first appearance in the historical record, ginseng tea has remained popular for its incredible health benefits. Because of its natural advantages, ginseng has long dominated Asian markets. It’s a significant export product and is distributed all over the world.

American ginseng has similarly proven to be exceptionally popular. As early as the 1700s, the plant came into American markets as a stable trade good. People like Daniel Boone were known for earning fortunes from the ginseng market

Ginseng in a shop on a market in the city of Seoul in South Korea in EastAasia
Ginseng was an essential part of Korean and Chinese trade

Because Asian ginseng doesn’t grow well on American soil, discovering American ginseng was a crucial step toward increasing the market’s viability. Wild ginseng is an incredibly valuable commodity, and its constant presence on world markets shows that to be the case. 

If you love green tea, you might also be interested in our guide on what is EGCG in green tea.

What Is Ginseng Tea: The Details

Ginseng tea comes from the root of the ginseng plant instead of being made from the plant’s leaves. The tea is an herbal infusion made from the ground root powder of ginseng, dried Korean chestnuts, and jujubes

The traditional tea process includes extraction through decoction, which means the plants are cooked down in the water on low heat for a few hours. This process extracts the essence of the plants into the water. 

Ginseng tea also comes premade as a loose-leaf tea or in tea bags for convenience. Some of the best ginseng teas come from organically-sourced ingredients grown on farms specific to the product. Such a high level of dedication guarantees that the tea in question derives from the best sources possible. 

Known to have various health benefits, ginseng tea has long been used in traditional medicine to treat everything from low energy to high blood sugar.  

Ginseng Tea Benefits

Records of the health benefits of ginseng tea have been around almost as long as the plant itself. Studies in more recent years back up what ginseng enthusiasts have known all along: ginseng tea is really good for you. 

The ginsenosides in the plant are believed to help increase insulin production and improve insulin resistance. Ginseng supposedly helps lower blood sugar. Because of this particular property, it could also be helpful in the treatment of diabetes. 

handsome man drinking ginseng tea
Ginseng tea offers a lot of health benefits to its drinkers

There is a strong link between the use of ginseng and a more robust immune system. In particular, ginseng appears to be good for lung health overall. It’s also noted that ginseng might help prevent you from catching the flu.

Ginsenosides, ginseng’s active component, play a crucial role in reducing inflammation in the human body. The same features might help improve your thinking and processing skills, making you more mentally cognizant and efficient

There are many other proven and suggested health benefits to ginseng, including:

Ginseng tea is highly effective in improving your health overall, but it also has a pleasing flavor that makes it delightful to drink. You might also be interested in our explainer on can you put wheatgrass powder in your coffee.

Ginseng Tea: The Flavor Profile

Ginseng tea can be a little bitter, but the overall flavor leans more towards a robust earthiness that is quite pleasant. You can easily sweeten it with honey, and some ginseng teas come mixed with other complementary flavors, such as peppermint. Why not give it a go!

There are numerous teas that have health benefits such as green tea.

Why not check out our article on the best green tea brands. Or looking for something to help you relax? Find out what is linden tea?

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03/07/2024 01:35 am GMT
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03/07/2024 03:15 pm GMT


  • Aisling O'Connor

    Aisling is an Irish food and drinks writer and journalist fueled by coffee and herbal tea. She followed up her journalism degree with nutrition studies. Find Aisling on LinkedIn.