Ingredient Spotlight: What's Ginseng & What Can It Do For Your Skin?
Ginseng is a plant with a long history and a bright future.
It’s a stimulating energy-booster with a sprawling history that crosses centuries and continents.
Today there’s a growing demand for ginseng as a powerful key ingredient in anti-aging skin care products, used topically to firm, plump, and brighten the complexion.
The ginseng plant boasts a pretty, pointed leaf and glossy cluster of red berries, but the age-defying power of this botanical lies in its frankly funky-looking root.
Many cultures have literally considered ginseng to be magical, even assigning it supernatural powers.
In addition to its starring role as a skin care ingredient, ginseng may be eaten raw or dried, brewed as tea, and ground into powder form to be used in cooking and as a supplement.
Traditional Chinese Medicine teaches that the ginseng root, which resembles a human torso and legs, boosts Qi(Chi), or the vital life-force.
Ginseng is the only ingredient in Traditional Chinese Medicine that’s used on its own, and the market for this expensive botanical has never been greater, worldwide.
Today, as they have for thousands of years, people consume ginseng root as an internal medicine to boost their physical strength and mental clarity, prevent disease, and promote longevity.
Where does ginseng come from?
More than 12 varieties of ginseng have been used in indigenous healing traditions ranging from the Great Plains of North America, to the Ayurvedic medicine of India, to the shamanistic practices of Siberia.
When people say “ginseng,” they’re generally talking about Panax ginsengthat grows in Korea, northeastern China, and far eastern Siberia.
This variety of the plant contains the greatest concentration of active compounds, and delivers the most powerful impact.
All types of ginseng are slow-growing, and the root requires several years to reach maturity and full potency.
This long growth-cycle has always made the ginseng root a precious commodity, and for centuries it was exchanged along the ancient trade routes of Asia for silk, spices, jade, pearls, porcelain, gold, and even opium.
Today, the plant is protected by law in many parts of its international range because of growing the demand for this restorative ingredient.
What can ginseng do for my skin?
FIRM & TONE:
Compounds in the plant known as saponins have been proven to support the formation of new blood vessels, improving circulation.
This in turn bumps up collagen synthesis in the skin, helping to plump up fine lines and wrinkles for a firmer, smoother, more youthful look.
To plump and fill in fine lines, try a sheet mask that combines ginseng with peach blossom stem cell extract.
BRIGHTEN & BALANCE:
Ginseng is used widely in skin care and beauty treatments to control melanin production in the skin for more even pigmentation, and to balance oiliness.
The benefits of ginseng are even greater when it hooks up with other power-players.
To brighten skin and protect against future hyperpigmentation, ginseng works double-duty with coconut fruit extract and lactic acid in a brightening serum.
To lighten up dark spots stat, ginkgo biloba, mulberry root, and kojic acid are a terrific trio in a dark spot corrector.
SOFTEN & PROTECT:
Look for skin care products that combine ginseng with these other ingredients for brightening, firming and energizing your skin:
To soften the look of crow’s feet and other expression-lines, the healing properties of both ginseng and gotu kola extract work wonders in a revitalizing serum.