Ginseng and Green Tea – Poor Combination

In last week’s blog post I wrote about how, despite is presence in so many products, ginseng is an inappropriate herb for many people. In fact it can cause problems. This is especially true for younger people on fatty western-style fast-food inclusive diets to whom these products are frequently marketed.

Today I want to look at one of the most popular products containing ginseng currently- sweet green tea with ginseng.

I would call these products a marketing triumph, but as a “supplement” a huge failure. The problem is that even if ginseng happens to be appropriate for the person consuming this product, they won’t see much if any benefit.

They way I see it there are are four reasons these products score a huge FAIL. These are:

  1. Green tea neutralizes the effects of ginseng.
  2. These products contain no herbs that harmonize or moderate the ginseng.
  3. They don’t taste like ginseng, so they can’t contain much of it.
  4. These products contain vast amounts of sugar.

The first point is that green tea neutralizes the effects of ginseng. You are supposed to avoid tea (as well as turnips and daikon radish) when taking herbal formulas containing ginseng. Fail one!

The second point is that ginseng is used alone in these drinks. In Chinese Medicine the ginseng is almost always combined with other herbs into an herbal formula designed to create a specific effect. These formulas often contain herbs to moderate the harsh side-effects of certain herbs (like ginseng). They also may be there to enhance or to focus the effects of the main herbs in the formula. Fail two!

I’ve tasted ginseng. I know what it tastes and smells like- it’s pretty yucky, like bitter dirt. I don’t taste or smell it in these drinks. They can’t contain much of it. Fail three!

Finally, and perhaps most importantly, these teas contain massive amounts of sugar! One very popular brand contains 54g of sugar per bottle. They even offer an “extra sweet” version with 69g of sugar! With the ginseng neutralized by the tea the primary effect of these drinks will be the result of the sugar they contain. Large amounts of sugar swamp the stomach and pancreas, causing large amounts of insulin to be dumped into your bloodstream. The result? A big energy crash and mental fatigue as soon as the caffeine wears off. Exactly the opposite effect being advertised! Fail four!

If you want more energy avoid sugar, exercise, and schedule an appointment with your friendly local acupuncturist.

To see if acupuncture might be right for you, give us a call at our Durham location or you may call us at 919-228-8448. If you find it easier to make an appointment online, you can simply click here to use our online schedule to set up a free face-to-face consultation.

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