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How to Make Ginseng Tea (Insam Cha)

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Korean Ginseng
Keira Bishop
Koreans love ginseng because of the strong connection between food and medicine. Ginseng is a restorative and gives a boost to health and vitality. This ginseng tea is zesty, aromatic and warms you from the inside.

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 5 minutes

Total Time: 10 minutes

Ingredients:

    • Ginseng root
    • Honey
    • Water

Preparation:

If you have a tea ball, then shave pieces of fresh ginseng root and put into tea ball. Steep in very hot (but not boiling) water for 5 minutes. Add honey to taste.

My favorite method does not require a tea ball. Peel ginseng root and make 7 or 8 thin slices. Coat the ginseng with a generous amount of honey and let sit for 15 minutes. Pour very hot (but not boiling) water over the ginseng and honey and let steep for 5-10 minutes. Scoop or strain out ginger slices and enjoy.

If the taste of ginseng if too overpowering for you, it's common to mix your ginseng tea with green tea or ginger tea. Use whatever proportions you like.

The Korean culture has a long history of treating food and drink as medicine; spices and herbs are regularly used to treat sickness and ailments. Koreans have used ginseng as medicine for thousands of years and Korea is currently the largest producer of ginseng in the world.

Korean herbalists use ginseng to restore strength and stamina, to increase longevity, as an aphrodisiac and to treat impotence*, to treat high blood pressure, Diabetes and cholesterol. It's used for many other ailments in Eastern medicine, and to improve mental strength and memory.

These days, the medicinal properties of ginseng are also accepted in the West, since it often appears in energy drinks as a stimulant. Although ginseng is non-toxic, some health professionals have found that long-term, constant use can cause insomnia. So instead of using or eating ginseng everyday, herbal experts suggest that you use ginseng on a cycle. You can take ginseng a couple times per week or eat it regularly for a week and then take the next week off.

If you are pregnant, nursing, taking medication, or have a medical condition, consult your physician prior to starting any kind of ginseng regime, just as you would before starting any other health plan. Also be careful when combining ginseng with any other herbs that are known to increase alertness.

*In a 2002 study by the Southern Illinois University School of Medicine, there was a link found between ginseng and sexual behavior: “recent studies in laboratory animals have shown that both Asian and American forms of ginseng enhance libido and copulatory performance.”

Source: Murphy L, Jer-Fu Le T. Ginseng, Sex Behavior, and Nitric Oxide. Annals of the NY Academy of Sciences 2002.

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