Ginseng in cosmetics

Ginseng is an ancient herb. It is used in Asia to improve and strengthen the general condition. Ginseng is also a good herb in cosmetics. However, its use is quite limited, although ginseng is clearly beneficial in skin care. Ginseng is a winter herb as it warms up. This is why this plant suits so well for us during mid-winter frosts.

What is ginseng?

Ginseng root is very valuable
Photo Nguyen Cong Pixabaystä

Ginseng originally meant a Chinese medicinal herb (Panax ginseng). Panax ginseng is a key herbal medicine in traditional Chinese medicine. Only the root of ginseng is used as a medicine. It is considered to strengthen Jing energy in the body.

There are 2 different colours of ginseng root available; white and red. Both are genuine ginseng root. The colour difference comes from a different finish. Red ginseng comes from Korea and is stronger. Light ginseng is dried in the sun. It is therefore milder but the effect is the same.

The shape of ginseng root looks a bit like a human body.

Wild ginseng is protected

In the past, Chinese herbalists look for the ginseng roots in nature as old and thick as possible. Today, wild ginseng is protected. Cultivated ginseng root is used for herbal medicine. The import of ginseng roots to Finland is prohibited, as it is considered a potent drug. However, the import and re-sale of tea and powders are allowed.

Siberian ginseng is a different plant than Panax ginseng

Siberian ginseng (Eleutherococcus senticosus), aka Devil’s Bush, is often mixed to ginseng because it has similar effects. However, Siberian ginseng is a completely different plant. In this article, I will only deal with traditional Panax ginseng root.

Ginseng is rich in active ingredients

The single most important plant chemical in ginseng is ginsenosides. Ginsenosides have been used in ancient herbal medicine to cure skin diseases. Such issues as burns, purulent, atopic dermatitis, and other inflammatory skin diseases were treated in ancient Asia with ginseng ointment. Ginseng has been studied a lot nowadays but the focus has not been on its effect on the skin.

Ginsenosides have also been found to protect the skin. Ginseng can affect external factors that accelerate skin aging, such as UV radiation and air pollution.

What are the benefits of ginseng in cosmetics?

Ginseng is an adaptogen, a general condition improving herb. It contains a huge variety of plant chemicals. Some of them work very well on the skin. Ginseng is especially rich in minerals and vitamins that are important for the skin. Ginseng also has the ability to repair skin’s cell damages.

Ginseng is used in China and Korea to treat fragile elderly people to provide more energy. Ginseng has the same effect on the skin. It energizes the skin, regenerates it and fights aging.

Ginseng balances the skin

Ginseng is not just an active ingredient for the elderly. People of all ages having skin issues will benefit using ginseng. Ginseng is very suitable for young, oily skin due to its balancing effect. It curbs excessive sebum secretion. You should also try ginseng for hair getting greasy fast.

Ginseng enhances the skin’s surface blood flow

In China, ginseng root is sold as rhizomes. Ginseng preparations can be found in health food stores as a powder.
Photo Nguyen Cong Pixabaystä

Especially in winter, the skin looks pretty dull as the superficial blood flow does not work the same as in summer. Ginseng has the ability to make the skin’s surface blood flow better. Therefore, it should be used as a cure in winter skincare products. The intensification of the superficial blood flow also helps in the formation of collagen. Collagen is therefore an important substance in the fight against the signs of aging.

Products containing ginseng brighten the skin

Skin pigmentation issues such as dark spots and uneven colour are due to problems with melanin production. Ginseng is rich in antioxidants that prevent the formation of dark spots. The same antioxidants protect the skin from aging by fighting free radicals.

Ginseng is rich in anti-inflammatory agents

Anti-inflammatory agents soothe the skin. Even if you don’t have any actual inflammation on your skin like acne, the soothing effect of ginseng is still visible on your skin. Your skin looks brighter and more supple. Possible redness is clearly reduced. If you suffer from inflammatory skin conditions such as rosacea or acne, you should definitely try ginseng preparations.

Ginseng helps moisturize the skin

Ginsenosides in ginseng have been found to contain factors that affect the skin’s moisture balance.

What products is ginseng suitable for?

The active ingredients in ginseng are water soluble. You can use ginseng tea in the aqueous phase of emulsion lotions. I also recommend making a soothing toner with ginseng tea.

Ginseng is a really good base for face masks, especially the powdered ginseng. However, you need to add water to your face mask as the active ingredients in ginseng are water soluble.

Because ginseng is intended to treat the skin, it should not be used in cleansing emulsions or exfoliating products. In these products ginseng as an active ingredient is wasted.

You can prepare any toner by changing the liquid to ginseng tea. Freeze-dried ginseng tea is a really good and easy to use.

Combine mugwort and ginseng the Korean style

Here is a flowering ginseng. In Thailand, ginseng root is cultivated as a medicinal plant.
Photo naturepost Pixabaystä

In Korean skin care, ginseng is combined with mugwort. The Korean mugwort (Artemisia Princeps) is a bit different from our own mugwort (Artemisia vulgaris) in Europe. There are plenty of plants close to each others in Artemisia family. However, our mugwort has the same active ingredients as its Korean relative. The European mugwort is considerably stronger than the Asian. You can read more about the mugwort here.

Thanks for reading my article on ginseng!

Have you ever tried ginseng in skin care?

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