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Ready to Try Korean Red Ginseng? Here’s What To Know

What is Korean Red Ginseng?

If you’ve ever found yourself wondering, “what is Korean ginseng?” as you’ve strolled through your local Asian grocery store, this article is for you. Korean ginseng, or Korean red ginseng, is a plant that grows in Asia and is often added to various Korean meals to add extra flavor and texture to a dish. There are numerous ways to enjoy the multi-purposeful herb, so if you’d like to learn more, keep reading on!

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Due to its versatility and supposed health benefits, Korean ginseng has been one of the most popular and sought after herbs ever since its discovery thousands of years ago. Though its exact origins are unknown, Korean ginseng is thought to have originated in the region of Shangdang, China.

There are mentions of Korean ginseng in early Chinese medicine texts written in the first century A.D., and Chinese medicine used to characterize it as the “superior” herb. Korean red ginseng is derived from the same species of Panax ginseng that other ginseng herbs come from, such as Chinese ginseng and white ginseng.

White Ginseng vs. Red Ginseng

If you’re new to the world of ginseng, you’re probably wondering how Korean red ginseng differs from other varieties, like white ginseng. Both types of ginseng are believed to have health benefits, and are infamous for their historically bitter taste, however it’s the way they’re prepared that separates the two herbs from one another.

White ginseng is often dried and peeled to prevent the herb from decaying, while red ginseng features the whole root, including the skin, and is steamed and dried to prevent decay.

Types of Ginsengs: Korean vs. American vs. Siberian

When it comes to types of ginseng, it’s important not to confuse Korean ginseng with other variations like American or Siberian, as they are all very different and serve different purposes. For example, American ginseng is known for having cooling tendencies, which makes it a great herb to enjoy in the summer.

Meanwhile, Korean ginseng may help improve blood circulation and increase body temperature, which is why most people prefer to enjoy it in the winter. The reason that the two kinds of ginseng have different benefits is because Korean ginseng is from the Panax ginseng family, while American ginseng derives from the Panax quinquefolius species.

Siberian ginseng, on the other hand, does not come from the Panax family at all, and therefore isn’t considered a real ginseng. However, because they both have qualities that could help defend your body against stressors, they are often used for similar medicinal purposes. In fact, all three ginsengs (Korean, American, and Siberian), contain these qualities, so feel free to play around with the herbs to find out which one works best for you.

How To Drink Korean Red Ginseng and Prepare It?

Ginseng can be eaten raw or lightly steamed to soften the tough root. To steam it, all you have to do is add water to freshly cut ginseng and let it steep for a few minutes. If you’re looking to get your ginseng fill in drink form, Korean red ginseng can be boiled into various kinds of teas, fermented, or soaked in wine for an extract. The most popular Korean red ginseng teas are called Insam Cha, and Insam-daechu cha.

As for other forms of enjoying the bitter herb, Korean red ginseng can also be added to your soups, stir-frys, and there are some places that even sell the beloved herb in capsule form as well. But don’t go too crazy with the Korean ginseng, because it can cause headaches, digestive problems, or insomnia. Just make sure to take less than 400 milligrams a day, as Healthlinerecommends, and you should be in the clear.

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