The Nootropics Library: Red Reishi Mushroom

Everything You Need To Know About Red Reishi Mushroom

General Information

Scientific Name: Ganoderma lingzhi / Ganoderma lucidum

Any Other Names: Reishi, Ling Zhi, Munnertake, Sachitake, Youngzhi, “Mushroom of Immortality”

Primary Constituents: Polysaccharides (Beta-Glucans, Coumarin, Mannitol, and Alkaloids), Fungal Immunomodulatory Proteins (FIPs), Ganoderic Acids, Triterpenoids

Country or Region of Origin: Native to Asia, Europe, and North America

Known Uses: Anti-Fatigue, Mood Booster, Antioxidant and Stress Reducer, Immune System Booster, Hearth Health, and More


General History & Introduction

Red Reishi Mushrooms are native to China, most of Asia, and scattered amongst comparable climates throughout the world. Although extremely rare, they are easy to spot with their bright red or orange-hued, clam-shaped glow protruding from a tree. These mushrooms are well-known and trusted constituents of traditional Chinese medicine. In fact, some common Chinese folklore glorifies the Reishi mushroom as the “Mushroom of Immortality,” where it is known as Ling Zhi and has been utilized for thousands of years (Knechtges, 1996). The primary reason the Red mushroom was nicknamed the Mushroom of Immorality is due to its purported anti-disease properties, fighting and preventing most major diseases of modern times (Paterson, 2006). And while the mushroom has many traditional uses, today it is easier to implement into a daily regimen as a nootropic extract.

Nootropic Benefits of Red Reishi Mushroom


Despite the fact the mushroom is known throughout traditional Chinese culture as the “Mushroom of Immortality,” the Red Reishi is well-revered for its anti-fatigue effects on the mind and body (Wachtel-Galor et al., 2011). There are many bioactive constituents which may contribute to the mushrooms longevity and energy-preserving properties including nucleosides, peptides, phenolic compounds, polysaccharides, and triterpenoids (Geng et al., 2017). And although more research is still required to determine which types of fatigue and energy the mushroom may impact, many studies prove it clear that Red Reishi offers relevant energy boosting effects (2017).

Antioxidant and Overall Cognitive Health

Many traditional and modern applications of Red Reishi involve its stress relieving properties. It is also revered for its positive effects on cognitive health.  The antioxidant effects are part of the reason the mushroom is considered a general longevity herb (Cor et al., 2018). The proteins, lipids, phenols, sterols, and other bioactive compounds offer the mind and body very therapeutic effects (2018).

Mood Booster

Red Reishi Mushroom is commonly used for its mood boosting effects.  It is sometimes used to fight depression (Socala et al., 2015).  There are studies which suggest the herb can moderate mood, anxiety, and even seizure threshold (2015). Many studies propose that the mushroom’s water soluble extract has the potential to antagonize the 5-HT2A receptors which could help moderate anxiolytic-like effects toward many cognitive functions which contribute to mood (Matsuzaki et al., 2013).

Other Benefits

Red Reishi contains many bioactive components such as adenosines, flavonoids, peptides, polyphenols, and triterpenoids (Geng et al., 2017).  These components are responsible for many of the obscure, positive effects of the mushroom.  For example, Red Reishi can be found as an ingredient in many immune system support supplements.  The mushroom is also notoriously used to promote cardiovascular function and overall heart health. Part of the gains seen by the cardiovascular system are from the energy provided by the mushroom (2017). There are some Chinese medicinal recipes with Red Reishi which are used to control blood sugar (Winska et al., 2019). 

Although there is not enough empirical research available to reach a conclusion, there is some evidence which suggests that Red Reishi Mushroom may have anti-cancerous and anti-disease properties (Paterson, 2006). It has been shown to relieve blockages and pressure in the bladder. And other traditional applications of the herb are preparations meant to support respiratory health (2006).

Dosing and Usage Information

The fruiting bodies are where the Red Reishi offers most of its medicinal and culinary properties.  These are the orange-colored parts of the mushroom exposed and visible on the surface of the tree.  While these mushrooms have been foraged and consumed for thousands of years for their intrinsic value, they are commonly consumed as a healthy, purified extract via supplement.  The typical Red Reishi Mushroom dose is around 500 mg per serving, per day of extract. These extracts may be anywhere from 1:2 to 1:20 in strength, with the dose varying depending upon the strength of the extract.

Side Effects

People with liver disease or liver conditions are advised to avoid Red Reishi Mushroom.  The mushroom is generally considered safe for consumption within established daily values. Still, however rare, possible side effects may include dryness of the mouth, dryness of the nasal passageways, itchiness, rash, nausea, dizziness, headache, and diarrhea.

Other Important Information


Traditional use of Red Reishi in some cultures meant brewing the herb into an aromatic herbal tea or consuming dried or crushed preparations (Corbley, 2020).  Today, the herb is more commonly consumed as an extract. And because there are many different extracts available, it is important to consider the quality and potency of the extract (some are stronger than others).


Red Reishi Mushroom has long proven itself throughout many traditional Eastern medicines. In modern times, the mushroom is making an impact in Western healing as well, appearing in many studies and journals as of late.  The mushroom can be commonly found in longevity-based nootropic stacks and anti-fatigue/fitness supplements. Whether it is used for one of its more specific effects or as an overall health booster, it is a sensible addition to almost any daily regimen.

A Note from NooFiles

This article is intended to be used for information only.  We want to remind you that consulting your physician is recommended before adding any dietary supplement of any kind to your daily regimen.


Cör, D., Knez, Ž., and Knez Hrnčič, M. (2018). Antitumour, Antimicrobial, Antioxidant and Antiacetylcholinesterase Effect of Ganoderma Lucidum Terpenoids and Polysaccharides: A Review. Molecules (Basel, Switzerland). Vol. 23(3). Pp. 649. DOI:

Corbley, A., (2020). Stanford Designer is Making Bricks Out of Fast-Growing Mushrooms That Are Stronger than Concrete. Good News Network.

Geng, P., Siu, K. C., Wang, Z., and Wu, J. Y. (2017). Antifatigue Functions and Mechanisms of Edible and Medicinal Mushrooms. BioMed research international. Vol-Ref: 9648496. DOI:

Knechtges, D. (1996). Wen Xuan or Selections of Refined Literature. 3. Princeton University Press. Pp. 201-211. ISBN 9780691021263.

Matsuzaki, H., Shimizu, Y., Iwata, N., Kamiuchi, S., Suzuki, F., Iizuka, H., Hibino, Y., & Okazaki, M. (2013). Antidepressant-like effects of a water-soluble extract from the culture medium of Ganoderma lucidum mycelia in rats. BMC complementary and alternative medicine. Vol. 13. Pp. 370. DOI:

Paterson, R., (2006). Ganoderma – A therapeutic fungal biofactory. Phytochemistry. Vol. 67(18). Pp. 1985-2001. DOI:

Socala, K., Nieoczym, D., Grzywnowicz, K., Stefaniuk, D., and Wlaz, P. (2015). Evaluation of Anticonvulsant, Antidepressant-, and Anxiolytic-like Effects of an Aqueous Extract from Cultured Mycelia of the Lingzhi or Reishi Medicinal Mushroom Ganoderma lucidum (Higher Basidiomycetes) in Mice. Int J Med Mushrooms. Vol. 17(3). Pp. 209-18. DOI: 10.1615/intjmedmushrooms.v17.i3.10

Wachtel-Galor, S., Yuen, J., Buswell, J., and Benzie, I. (2011). Ganoderma lucidum (Lingzhi or Reishi): A Medicinal Mushroom. In Benzie, Iris F. F.; Wachtel-Galor, Sissi (eds.). Herbal Medicine: Biomolecular and Clinical Aspects (2nd ed.). Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press/Taylor & Francis. ISBN 978-1-4398-0713-2.

Wińska, K., Mączka, W., Gabryelska, K., & Grabarczyk, M. (2019). Mushrooms of the Genus Ganoderma Used to Treat Diabetes and Insulin Resistance. Molecules (Basel, Switzerland), 24(22), 4075.

The Nootropics Library: Shilajit

Everything You Need To Know About Shilajit

General Information

Scientific Name: Shilajit

Any Other Names: Mumijo, Andean Shilajit, Gomutra Shilajit, Karpura Shilajit

Primary Constituents: Humic/Fulvic Acid, DBP, and DBP with Chromoproteins, Oligoelements (e.g. Selenium)

Country or Region of Origin: India, Russia, Asia, South America

Known Uses: Anti-fatigue, Muscle Building

General History & Introduction

Shilajit is a common ingredient in many traditional Ayurvedic practices.  It is a black to brown colored powder and is most often found in higher altitudes, usually on mountains. Sometimes it is incorrectly referred to as a tar or resin.  Unlike resins, Shilajit is easily soluble in water and insoluble with ethanol. It has been speculated that Shilajit comes from the decomposition of resin-bearing plants; and it is loosely associated with the plants Euphorbia roleana and Trifolium repens, which may produce the substance (Agarwal et al., 2007). Typically, there are two types of Shilajit, although the powder winds up a part of many concoctions (even including other nootropics such as ashwagandha or various mushrooms).  The two types of Shilajit are Gomutra Shilajit and Karpura Shilajit (Ghosal et al., 1976).

Nootropic Benefits of Shilajit

Anti-Fatigue and Energy Booster


One of Shilajit’s most profound benefits is its ability to reduce fatigue and help the body conserve energy (Carrasco-Gallardo et al., 2012).  One recent study specifically revealed its potential to elicit favorable muscle growth during various workouts (Keller et al., 2019).  These energy boosts come from the herb’s ability to metabolize more ATP in the body and thus improving mitochondrial function. This study directly suggested an overall benefit to exercise performance, enhanced anti-fatigue effects, and increased muscle mass and strength (2019).

Memory and Cognitive Stimulation

Shilajit has been well-known for its ability to improve the condition of those suffering from cognitive disorders, especially those associated with aging, such as dementia and Alzheimer’s disease (Carrasco-Gallardo et al., 2012). The herb is an excellent cognitive stimulant and has been used for centuries to promote memory formation and memory recall (2012).  For these reasons it has proven extremely useful in the fields of neurological studies.

Muscle Building and Workouts

Shilajit is a popular workout and muscle building nootropic for its ability to promote energy and reduce fatigue.  This extra resistance to tiring can give workout and fitness participants that extra burst of energy when they need it most.  There are body builders who find Shilajit extremely effective in extending the duration of their workout and the quality of their muscle gains (Keller et al., 2019).

Antioxidant and Immune System


The fulvic acid content of Shilajit possesses powerful antioxidant properties (Vucskits et al., 2010). It is able to bolster immunomodulatory response and overall immune system (Bhavsar et al., 2016).  Shilajit is also known for its adaptogenic abilities, helping the body purge stress and function more smoothly. Recent studies suggest these properties contribute to the herb’s ability to boost physical and mental performance (2016).

Other Benefits

Sometimes Shilajit is only used for its general, energy boosting effects within beverage concoctions, especially those containing milk (Carrasco-Gallardo et al., 2012). Since it has been so closely associated with anti-fatigue properties, it is usually consumed around breakfast time to promote improved energy and physical performance throughout the day.  The herb has also been associated with overall health and longevity (2012). Shilajit can be useful in the treatment of anemia, enlarged spleen, kidney stones, edema, bronchitis, epilepsy, nervous disorders and hemorrhoids (Ghosal et al., 1995). It has also been used as an internal antiseptic, to reduce anorexia, and to treat jaundice (1995).

Dosing and Usage Information

Generally Shilajit is consumed as a powder.  A normal supplement serving size of Shilajit would be around 250 mg of purified powder per day.

Side Effects

Most side effects are only experienced upon consuming raw or unprocessed Shilajit.  This is usually due to contaminants or fungus which can cause illness.  Purified Shilajit is generally accepted as safe for consumption within daily established values.  It is recommended that people suffering from sickle cell anemia, hemochromatosis, or thalassemia avoid using Shilajit.

Other Important Information

Traditional Ayurvedic practices classify Shilajit into four different categories. The four categories are Suvarna Shilajit, Rajat Shilajit, Tamr Shilajit and the most popular Loh Shilajit (Ghosal, 1976). Although it is most commonly known to be found in (and originates from) the Himalayas, it has been considered for its health benefits and nootropic effects for centuries (Carrasco-Gallardo et al., 2012).


Although minimal modern research exists on Shilajit, enough traditional, historical use merits its place in many nootropic stacks.  Obtaining a purified extract of Shilajit is the most common way to find it as a supplement.  It’s independent abilities to relieve stress and tension from the mind and body, while also promoting physical and cognitive performance makes it a wonderful part of almost anyone’s routine. Whether it is mixed into a nootropic stack in pill form, a part of a proprietary blend, or being mixed into a beverage as a powder, the herb is extremely valuable in the world of nutraceuticals and nootropics.

A Note from NooFiles

This article is intended to be used for information only.  We want to remind you that consulting your physician is recommended before adding any dietary supplement of any kind to your daily regimen.


Agarwal, S., Khanna, R., Karmarkar, R., Anwer, K., and Khalid, K. (February 13, 2007). Shilajit: A Review. Phytotherapy Research. John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. Vol. 21(5). Pp. 401–405. DOI:10.1002/ptr.2100

Bhavsar, S., Thaker, A., and Malik, J. (2016). Champter 51 – Shilajit. Nutraceuticals: Efficacy, Safety and Toxicity. Pp. 707-716. DOI:

Carrasco-Gallardo, C., Guzmán, L., and Maccioni, R. B. (2012). Shilajit: a natural phytocomplex with potential procognitive activity. International journal of Alzheimer’s disease. PMID: 674142.

Ghosal, S., Mukherjee, B., and Bhattacharya, S. (1995). Shilajit—a comparative study of the ancient and the modern scientific findings. Indian Journal of Indigenous Medicine. Vol. 17. Pp. 1–10.

Ghosal, S., Reddy, J., and Lal, V. (May 1, 1976). Shilajit I: Chemical Constituents. Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences. Vol. 65(5). Pp. 772–773. DOI:10.1002/jps.2600650545

Keller, J. L., Housh, T. J., Hill, E. C., Smith, C. M., Schmidt, R. J., and Johnson, G. O. (2019). The effects of Shilajit supplementation on fatigue-induced decreases in muscular strength and serum hydroxyproline levels. Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition, 16(1), 3.

Vucskits AV, Hullár I, Bersényi A, Andrásofszky E, Kulcsár M, Szabó J. (2010). Effect of fulvic and humic acids on performance, immune response and thyroid function in rats. J Anim Physiol Anim Nutr (Berl). Vol. 94(6). Pp. 721-8. DOI: 10.1111/j.1439-0396.2010.01023.x

The Nootropics Library: Poria Mushroom

Everything You Need to Know About Poria Mushroom

General Information

Scientific Name: Wolfiporia extensa (of the Polyporaceae family)

Any Other Names: Bai Fu Ling, Bokryung, Champignon Poria, China Root, Cocos, Fu Ling, Hoelen, Matsuhodo, Poria cocos, Tuckahoe, Wolfiporia cocos

Primary Constituents: Amino Acids, Monosaccharides, Triterpene derivatives (primarily Pachymic acid)

Country or Region of Origin: Found in Subterranean Habitats; Grows on Decaying Wood; Native to China (not the same as Native American Tuckahoe);

Known Uses: Memory, Anti-Fatigue, Promotes Cellular Function, Improves Immunity, Stress and Anxiety, Digestive Support, and More

General History & Introduction

Poria mushroom holds a strong place in traditional Chinese medicine (Cheng et al., 2015). In fact, it has been considered an edible, medicinal mushroom in Chinese medicine for more than two thousand years (Li et al., 2019). Recently, the fungus has been receiving more attention in modern studies and research. Poria is typically hailed for its primary triterpene derivative, Pachymic acid (PA), which has been used for a lexicon on effects (Cheng et al., 2015). These therapeutic constituents are extracted from the spores of the fungus and used as a supplement and medicine (Prieto et al., 2003). The benefits of these extractions are extensive. In fact, some of the effects the constituents purportedly offer even includes anticancer benefits (Cheng et al., 2015).

Nootropic Benefits of Poria Mushroom

Brain Health and Memory

Poria Mushroom has a long history of being used as a memory booster (Lin et al., 2012). The herb’s innate support for cerebral blood flow has been suggested to contribute to its cognitive enhancing and memory improving properties (Sun et al., 2021). For similar reasons, the fungus has been suggested for use as a treatment for dementia, as it has the potential to repair the memory (Lin et al., 2012).  Traditional Chinese medicine has turned to the mushroom to treat many neurogenetic disorders (2012). It is used to enhance learning ability and associated memory recall (Wu et al., 2020).

Promotes Cellular Function, Prevents Fatigue, Improves Immunity

Poria Mushroom has been referenced in many ancient Chinese texts, dating as far back as three thousand years ago (Lin et al., 2012).  It has been used by many renown physicians throughout these generations for its ability to improve general vitality (2012). Poria is a traditional, holistic remedy for chronic fatigue syndrome (Chen et al., 2010). The mushroom is also considered in many studies to be an immune-modulatory herb (Sun, 2014), meaning the herb has the ability to offer favorable modifications to the immune system.

Stress, Anxiety and Depression


The mushroom has purported anti-depressant-like properties and may have a significantly favorable impact on mood (Huang et al., 2020). Poria’s antioxidant effects contribute heavily to its anti-anxiety properties (Lin et al., 2012).  The fungus has been studied for its relaxation and sleep-improving qualities (Chen et al., 2010). Poria’s reported sedative and relaxation effects have only briefly been investigated, however, the promising results which exist thus far warrant further investigation (Huang et al., 2020).

Digestive Support

Poria Mushroom is well-known for its use in providing aid and relief to the digestive tract (Gong et al., 1989). As a supplement, the mushroom can ease the symptoms of diarrhea and relax the stomach (Li et al., 2019). The mushroom is also an effective diuretic (Huang et al., 2020), which means it promotes the production of urine.

Other Benefits

Poria has a long history of being used for respiratory support and to treat kidney disease (Li et al., 2019).  The herb can provide aid for people suffering from insomnia, cough, and various types of infections (2019). Poria Mushroom is being investigated for its purported positive effects on pancreatic cancer patients (Cheng et al., 2015). A polysaccharidum-based solution of Poria cocos has been approved as an oral medicine to treat many types of cancers (Li et al., 2019).  The Chinese FDA has also cleared the herb to treat hepatitis and to help with radiation and chemotherapy.  And many studies have determined Poria to possess remarkable antitumor properties (2019). The fungi has been known to prevent some cancers from forming (Cuellar et al., 1997).


Poria has been traditionally used for its anti-inflammation effects (Li et al., 2019). The mushroom is considered anti-hemorrhagic, which basically means it promotes hemostasis. It has been called an anti-ageing herb. It can reduce the symptoms and help resist the development of diabetes (2019). Like its anti-inflammation properties, the mushroom has the purported ability to reduce swelling (Cuellar et al., 1997).  It can significantly improve immune function (1997).

Dosing and Usage Information

Poria Mushroom is typically offered as a dietary supplement in capsule form.  Sometimes, it is used as a powder (much like a pre-work out supplement), although the capsules are far more popular. Daily serving sizes of Poria in terms of dietary supplements can vary greatly with some supplements including as little as 50 mg of extract. With that said, the mainstream brands of Poria supplements range from suggesting 400 to 1000 mg of extract per day.

Side Effects


Although research is still a little young, Poria Mushroom is generally considered safe for most individuals.  Still, the fungus has been used for a variety of purposes throughout traditional Chinese medicine and has been accepted in Chinese culture for its therapeutic benefits.  No side effects are typically reported, although pregnant or breastfeeding women should avoid use of Poria.


Although Poria Mushroom is less known and less discussed than other nootropics, the herb is still being investigated for its therapeutic benefits (and with promising results pouring in). Chinese medicine has fully incorporated the herb for its distinguished and proven pharmaceutical effects (Li et al., 2019). While the verdict is still out in Western culture, it has become more popular around the rest of the world. And Poria’s versatile uses more than make it worth further research.  The mushroom is an excellent candidate for many nootropic stacks.

A Note from NooFiles

This article is intended to be used for information only.  We want to remind you that consulting your physician is recommended before adding any dietary supplement of any kind to your daily regimen.


Chen, R., Moriya, J., Yamakawa, J., Takahashi, T., and Kanda, T. (2010). Traditional chinese medicine for chronic fatigue syndrome. Evidence-based complementary and alternative medicine. Vol. 7(1). Pp. 3–10. DOI:

Cheng, S., Swanson, K., Eliaz, I., McClintick, J. N., Sandusky, G. E., and Sliva, D. (2015). Pachymic acid inhibits growth and induces apoptosis of pancreatic cancer in vitro and in vivo by targeting ER stress. PloS one. Vol. 10(4) [e0122270]. DOI:

Cuellar, M., Giner, R., and Recio, M. (1997). Effect of the basidiomycete Poria cocos on experimental dermatitis and other inflammatory conditions. Chem Pharm Bull. Tokyo. Vol. 45. Pp. 492-4.

Gong, Q., Wang, S., and Gan, C. (1989). A clinical study on the treatment of acute upper digestive tract hemorrhage with wen-she decoction. Chung Hsi I Chieh Ho Tsa Chih. Vol. 9. Pp. 260-273.

Huang, Y., Hsu, N., Lu, K., Lin, Y., Lin, S., Lu, Y., Liu, W., Chen, M., and Sheen, L. (2020). Poria cocos water extract ameliorates the behavioral deficits induced by unpredictable chronic mild stress in rats by down-regulating inflammation. J Ethnopharmacol. Vol. 258. DOI: 10.1016/j.jep.2020.112566

Li, X., He, Y., Zeng, P., Liu, Y., Zhang, M., Hao, C., Wang, H., Lv, Z., & Zhang, L. (2019). Molecular basis for Poria cocos mushroom polysaccharide used as an antitumour drug in China. Journal of cellular and molecular medicine. Vol. 23(1). Pp. 4–20. DOI:

Lin, Z., Gu, J., Xiu, J., Mi, T., Dong, J., and Tiwari, J. K. (2012). Traditional chinese medicine for senile dementia. Evidence-based complementary and alternative medicine. PMID: 21808655. DOI:

Sun Y, Liu Z, Pi Z, Song F, Wu J, and Liu S. (2021). Poria cocos could ameliorate cognitive dysfunction in APP/PS1 mice by restoring imbalance of Aβ production and clearance and gut microbiota dysbiosis. Phytother Res. DOI: 10.1002/ptr.7014

Sun, Y. (2014). Biological activities and potential health benefits of polysaccharides from Poria cocos and their derivatives. Int J Biol Macromol. Vol. 68. Pp. 131-4. DOI: 10.1016/j.ijbiomac.2014.04.010

Wu, F., Li, S., Dong, C., Dai, Y., and Papp, V. (2020). The Genus Pachyma (Syn. Wolfiporia): Reinstated and Species Clarification of the Cultivated Medicinal Mushroom “Fuling” in China. Frontiers in Microbiology. Vol. 11. DOI: 10.3389/fmicb.2020.590788

The Nootropics Library: Panax Ginseng

Everything You Need to Know About Panax Ginseng

General Information

Scientific Name: Panax Ginseng

Any Other Names: Chinese Ginseng, Ginseng, Ren Shen (Chinese), Renshen (Chinese variant)

Primary Constituents: Acetylenic compounds, Panaxans, Sesquiterpenes, Triterpenoid saponins and Ginsenosides

Country or Region of Origin: Native to China, Eastern Russia, and North Korea

Known Uses: Cognitive Function, Memory, Simulant, Stamina, Athletic Performance, Life-Enhancing Tonic, Adaptogen, Anti-Anxiety, Aphrodisiac, Libido, Erectile Dysfunction, Menopause Tonic, and More

General History & Introduction

Panax Ginseng is one of the most popular and well-known nootropics around the world. It has a history of over 7,000 years of recorded therapeutic use (Chevallier, 2016). It has been so well-sought after that there have been wars fought over the territory controlling its cultivation (2016). Panax is exceptionally popular in Western culture as a dietary supplement.  Its many active components make the herb useful for many parts of the body, as well as general wellness (Beshara, 2019).  It has been called one of the most famous adaptive tonics in traditional Chinese medicine (Orr, 2014). One thing is for sure: Ginseng is arguably one of the most useful herbs in holistic practice.

Nootropic Benefits of Panax Ginseng

Cognitive Function, Memory

Panax Ginseng is popular worldwide for its ability to improve cognitive performance (Beshara, 2019).  Many clinical trials have revealed the herb to offer significant improvements to cognitive performance in healthy adults.  And many clinical trials have suggested the herb can improve cognitive function for Alzheimer’s patients (2019). Ginseng has been proven in recent Russian studies to improve mental activity (Balch, 2010).  The plant’s proven ability to increase attention, alertness, and energy, make it an excellent cognitive nootropic (2010).

Stimulant, Stamina, Athletic Performance


Panax is frequently used by athletes for a stimulating boost, and for its stamina-promoting properties (Chevallier, 2016). It improves the body’s ability to fight fatigue and offers a well-known energy boost (2016).  Panax is revered for its capability to improve chronic fatigue syndrome (Beshara, 2019). It is so impactful in terms of preventing fatigue due to its ability to bypass glycogen, and instead making use of fatty acids for energy (Balch, 2010). The herb can improve one’s ability to adapt to extreme temperatures (Chevallier, 2016). Panax’s favorable impact on sustaining respiration is also very helpful for athletes and stressful situations (Orr, 2014).

Life-Enhancing Tonic

The Chinese, as well as Western cultures, have recognized Panax Ginseng’s general capability as a life-enhancing tonic (Chevallier, 2016).  The herb can stimulate circulation and regulate blood sugar fluctuations (Conkling & Wong, 2006).  It has the power to moderate blood pressure (2006). It has been used for its rejuvenation and detoxifying properties (Balch, 2010). There are studies which support the idea that Panax can improve kidney function, cool fevers, and even influence and regulate digestion (Orr, 2014).  Panax ginseng has been called a powerful antioxidant and a youth-preserving herb (Walker & Brown, 1998).  The herb is able to stimulate and strengthen the heart, as well as regulate the central nervous system (1998).

Adaptogen, Anti-Anxiety

Panax ginseng has capability to help the body handle difficult situations (Orr, 2014). Panax helps the body adapt to stress (Chevallier, 2016).  It will improve the mind’s ability to relax, eliminating both mental and emotional stresses.  The herb’s reduction in common stresses can include decreased worries about hunger, fatigue, and extreme temperature (2016).  As an adaptogen, Ginseng regulates and influences a lot of systems within the body (Conkling & Wong, 2006). The herb provides the body anxiety adaptation and a range of stress responses, applying them as necessary to combat the independent adverse effects of stress (Orr, 2014).  Ginseng’s heavy triterpenoid saponin content is purportedly responsible for the plant’s adaptogenic properties.  The active constituents also do a great job of improving mood (2014).

Aphrodisiac, Libido


Panax has been used for thousands of years as a male aphrodisiac (Chevallier, 2016).  It has been said to improve general vitality and virility in men and women.  It has also been used to improve libido for women going through menopause.  Panax is also reportedly a great treatment for erectile dysfunction.  It can even be used to improve impotence (2016). One Russian study proved Ginseng had a positive effect on sex glands, and helps men correct sexual dysfunctions (Balch, 2010). 

Other Uses

Panax Ginseng has been used to resist infection and improve liver function (Chevallier, 2016).  It is often taken by to improve the quality of life in cancer patients. It has been known to improve immune function (2016).  In one recent study, Panax was proven to reduce the likelihood participants would catch the flu (Beshara, 2019). In higher doses, it can be used to help reduce inflammation, especially with rheumatoid arthritis (Balch, 2010).  Its purported benefits for diabetes patients are likely due to the decrease of the cortisol hormone in the blood (2010).

A recent study has found Panax to have the power to regulate adrenal glands (Orr, 2014).  This same research outlined its additional ability to regulate the pancreas.  There are reports of the Native Americans using Ginseng to treat convulsions and palsy. They also classically used the plant to recover from general illness as well (2014). This could be considered the Native American version of Western culture’s “Chicken Noodle Soup” tonic.

Dosing and Usage Information

Although traditional Chinese preparation of Panax was normally a vegetable soup (Chevallier, 2016), this method is rarely used today. And despite there being a lot of different Panax supplements, from untreated or blanched, whole or part root, liquid or concentrate, tincture or tea, Panax is most popularly consumed in Western culture via capsule form (Balch, 2010). Typically, a Panax Ginseng dietary supplement will offer daily servings of around 400 to 2000 mg of extract.  Pills and capsules are also more convenient for short-term usage.

Side Effects


Panax Ginseng is generally considered safe within established daily values. Exceeding the established daily value dosages can increase the likelihood of adverse side effects such as insomnia and high blood pressure (Chevallier, 2016). It is important to consult a physician before using Ginseng if pregnant, nursing, or using blood-thinning medication.  It is suggested to avoid using Ginseng with caffeine (2016).  Panax Ginseng should be limited to 6 months of use at a time, as it can have strong, hormone-like effects on the body (Beshara, 2019).  Still, it is a generally accepted as safe for consumption, nontoxic adaptogen (Orr, 2014).

Other Important Information

Cultivation of Panax Ginseng requires immense skill and attention (Chevallier, 2016).  Typically, the roots will only be harvested after having grown for 4 years to ensure the active constituents are strongest in content and concentration. Traditionally, the dry roots are chewed for energy boosts.  The extract form of the herb is often used by women in menopause for its ability to increase sexual arousal as well as reduce hot flashes and improve mood (2016).

It is important to note that there are two primary variations (species) of Ginseng being Siberian ginseng [Eleutherococcus senticosus] and Chinese ginseng [Panax ginseng] (Orr, 2014). Both species share similar qualities and offer nearly the same benefits, however, this article is focusing on Panax ginseng. Panax ginseng is a bit rare, as it is highly endangered. For this reason it is difficult to find trustworthy vendors, as the market has been flooded with falsely labeled “Panax” ginseng products which actually contain Siberian ginseng (2014).

One finicky version of Ginseng, Panax quinquefolius, grows in forest areas of North America (Orr, 2014). This variant of the plant was well-known for its therapeutic properties throughout traditional Native American culture. In fact, it was loved by many Native American tribes including the Cherokee, Delaware, Iroquois, and Seminole. By the end of the eighteenth century, Native American priests and healers would be administering the plant for a variety of ailment s (2014). Ginseng would only grow in popularity, becoming one of the most prevalently marketed nootropic supplements of modern times.


Panax Ginseng is widely known for its therapeutic benefits.  It has been well-revered in Chinese medicine, as well as throughout the world.  It is commonly known as a general tonic in so many traditional, holistic practices for its ability to influence such versatile systems of the body (Conkling & Wong, 2006). Although it can be a bit more difficult to source high quality Panax (and even harder to cultivate it), it could easily be argued one of the most valuable natural herbs used in modern, holistic healing and nootropic stacks to date!

A Note from NooFiles

This article is intended to be used for information only.  We want to remind you that consulting your physician is recommended before adding any dietary supplement of any kind to your daily regimen.


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