If you want to boost your immune system, improve your concentration levels, and feel more energized (especially in the bedroom), ginseng is a great place to start.
While ginseng has been an ingredient in traditional medicine for centuries, modern science has only recently begun to investigate its effects on the body.
Our research team reviewed and ranked the best ginseng supplements on the market, plus took a careful look at the science behind the health benefits of ginseng supplementation.
Here are our rankings, plus the most important scientific findings that support using ginseng.
Last updated: December 22, 2022
Ginseng supplements considered: 23
Hours of research: 41
Experts reviewed: 8
Scientific papers referenced: 19
1. Auragin Korean Ginseng
Auragin is an authentic Asian ginseng supplement produced in Korea. Each tablet contains 300 mg of Korean ginseng root, of which 8% are ginsenosides, the suspected active ingredient. It’s tremendously minimalistic; ginseng root is literally the only ingredient.
It’s pressed into tablets and packaged; there are no preservatives, additives, or fillers included whatsoever.
The purity and highly effective dosage make Auragin our top recommendation.
2. NuSci Panax Ginseng
If you know exactly how much ginseng you want, and you want it as cheap and as readily available as possible, this is the product for you. NuSci Panax Ginseng comes in powder form, packaged in a foil bag, with only one ingredient; ginseng extract.
It contains 10% ginsenosides, making calculations easy to do, assuming you have a scale. If you want powder-form ginseng, NuSci is the way to go.
3. Nature’s Answer White Ginseng
This ginseng supplement comes in an unusual form. Instead of a tablet, capsule, or free powder, it comes as a liquid in an eye-dropper bottle. The standardized serving size is listed in number of drops, and since it’s so high (56 drops per serving!) counting them out can be very tedious.
However, it delivers an incredibly potent ginseng dose. The other ingredients are included purely to dissolve the ginseng extract, and they are vegetable glycerin and purified water.
4. Solgar Korean Ginseng
The ginseng supplement from Solgar comes in a traditional capsule form, with each vegetarian cellulose capsule containing 250 mg of Korean ginseng extract, of which 8% is ginsenosides. Interestingly, it also contains ginseng powder, which is presumably unextracted ginseng root.
Because the supplement is in capsule form, it needs some extra ingredients to act as preservatives and bulking agents. In Solgar Korean Ginseng, these com in the form of magnesium stearate and a proprietary blend of beta-carotene and ascorbic acid (vitamin C).
In this case, these anti-oxidants aren’t included for a direct health benefit; they just prevent oxidative damage from degrading the ginseng over time while it’s in storage, preserving the shelf life.
5. Dairyland Management Ginseng Roots
For ginseng tea and other herbal preparations, there’s no substitute for raw ginseng root. In this category, Dairyland Management is the way to go: It’s a raw, American-grown ginseng root that’s perfect for use in teas and homemade tinctures.
6. aSquared Nutrition Pure Red Korean Panax Ginseng
aSquared Nutrition’s ginseng supplement provides 500 mg of Panax (Asian) ginseng, and the only other ingredients in the capsule are rice powder and magnesium stearate, fairly standard for this kind of product.
The ginsenoside content is fairly high for the dose, making it a pretty solid pick.
7. Nature’s Bounty Ginseng Complex
Nature’s Bounty takes a more maximalist or holistic approach; it’s not just a pure ginseng supplement.
First off, it includes two kinds of ginseng: American ginseng and Panax ginseng (Asian ginseng). The Asian ginseng contains 2% ginsenosides and the American ginseng contains 5% ginsenosides.
The supplement also includes 500% of your recommended daily value for vitamin B12—this is probably an effort to further boost energy levels, since a lot of energy drinks also contain high levels of vitamin B12.
8. Zolotus Panax Ginseng
Zolotus Ginseng combines panax ginseng extract alongside ashwagandha, ginkgo biloba, green tea extract, and beet root extract.
This combo is focused on antioxidant power and boosting energy levels, so for those goals, it’s great. However, it’s not so well-suited for purists who just want ginseng with no additives, which is why it’s further down on our list.
9. NOW Foods American Ginseng
Depending on your opinion of the relative worth of American versus Korean ginseng, your opinion of NOW Foods’ ginseng supplement may vary.
The capsules also contain a few stabilizers and bulking agents. Because of the low dosage and additives, NOW Foods American Ginseng does not find itself ranked very highly among the top ginseng supplements despite its best-selling status.
10. Swanson Full Spectrum Korean Red Ginseng
Swanson Vitamins uses Korean ginseng, which will win over traditional medicine purists.
Secondly, it comes in capsules containing a fairly respectable 400 mg of ginseng root each. In addition to ginseng root, the capsule is comprised of gelatin—a negative for vegans and anyone else who avoids anima products—along with cellulose, magnesium sulfate, and silica.
Unfortunately, the label does not list the ginsenoside content, so its true purity is less certain.
Best ginseng overall: Auragin Korean Ginseng
Auragin provides a strong dose of ginseng, and carefully measures the concentrations of ginsenosides (the biologically active ingredient responsible for ginseng’s benefits).
On top of that, their ginseng root is sourced directly from Korea for excellent quality, making it a perfect all-around ginseng supplement.
Best ginseng for hair: Auragin Korean Ginseng
Many men take ginseng to make their hair more resistant to age-related hair loss, under the theory that the bioactive compounds in ginseng encourage hair follicles to continue growing instead of dying off.
Auragin makes a great ginseng supplement for this purpose, as its moderate dosage and high purity makes it amenable for long-term usage.
Best liquid ginseng: Nature’s Answer White Ginseng
If you want ginseng in liquid form, Nature’s Answer White Ginseng is the way to go. It’s delivered at an effective concentration with a minimum of additives, which is hard to find when it comes to liquid supplements. For people who can’t or don’t want to take capsules, Nature’s Answer is our recommendation.
Best ginseng for erectile dysfunction (ED) and sexual health: Auragin Korean Ginseng
Research on ginseng for sexual health in general, and erectile dysfunction in particular, tends to lean towards heavier doses of ginseng. Yours Nutrition, with 750 mg of ginseng per serving and a potent 10% ginsenoside concentration, is excellent on this front, making it a perfect choice for men looking for better sexual health and improved erectile function.
Best ginseng for ginseng tea: Dairyland American Ginseng Roots
If you want to make ginseng tea, you don’t want to use a powder—you want to use raw ginseng root. Dairyland produces American-grown, non-GMO ginseng that’s perfectly suited for your own ginseng tea.
Best ginseng for memory: NuSci Panax Ginseng
NuSci Panax Ginseng is a good choice for using ginseng as a memory aid because the loose form powder makes it easy to calibrate your own dosage. On top of that, the concentration of ginsenosides is top-notch, making this great both for nootropic usage and for general cognitive health.
Who should buy ginseng?
Ginseng supplements work well for three primary purposes.
People who want better immune function. Ginseng upregulates specific immune receptors, making it a good option if you want to jump-start your body’s ability to react to infection.
People with fatigue and low energy levels. Ginseng could help boost your energy level and elevate your mood, making it a good option for a natural energy supplement.
Men who want better sexual function. Ginseng has been studied for boosting libido and improving erectile function in men, and it makes a good complement to testosterone boosters that target the same objectives.
If any of these purposes fits your needs, ginseng will be a great supplement choice.
How we ranked
After cataloging all of the ginseng options available on the market, we put some strict criteria in place to narrow the field.
High ginsenoside content. First, based on scientific research on the efficacy of ginseng inside your body, we required that all of the supplements that made our rankings have their ginsenoside content listed or validated by an outside laboratory.
These ginsenosides are the biologically active ingredients in ginseng that seem to be responsible for the health benefits, and given their importance, we eliminated many products that did not specifically list ginsenoside content.
A minimum of binders and fillers. We also checked to see which supplements had binders, fillers, and stabilizers that aren’t necessary.
With all of the supplements we review, we put a high priority on purity and clean design, and our ginseng rankings were no exception. We dropped products from the field if they had a bloated supplement design and unnecessary ingredients.
Effective dosage. Finally, we evaluated which of the remaining supplements delivered doses in the range of recommended dose used in the scientific literature, which ranges from 200 to 1000 mg.
If a product delivered too low of a dosage, or too high of a dosage, it was dropped. Royal King, for example, delivered far too much ginseng per dose, at 6000 mg per serving, so it didn’t make our rankings, even though it’s fairly popular.
Q: Does ginseng help sexually?
A: Most of the research on the sexual health effects of ginseng is focused on the benefits for men. Ginseng appears to help increase nitric oxide levels, which is directly connected to better erectile function in men.
The mechanism at play here is an increase in blood flow, thanks to the vasodilating properties of ginseng. There is also evidence that ginseng can increase sexual appetite and desire thanks to its ability to alter hormone levels and activity levels in the brain, according to animal studies.
These effects are likely why ginseng has accumulated a reputation as a powerful herbal aphrodisiac.
Q: How do you make ginseng tea?
A: Making ginseng tea requires raw ginseng root or powdered and dried ginseng root, which you can get in bulk. To make ginseng tea, steep either peeled raw ginseng root or powdered and dried ginseng root in nearly-boiling water for two to three minutes. Strain, then serve hot. Ginseng tea might go well with a small amount of honey or agave nectar.
Q: What is panax ginseng?
A: Panax ginseng is the scientific name for the species of ginseng that is native to Korea. There are also other types of ginseng, such as American ginseng, whose scientific name is panax quinquefolius.
While all types of ginseng contain ginsenosides (the biologically active compounds that are likely responsible for the health effects of ginseng), panax ginseng contains these ginsenosides in high concentrations, and is also the most-studied species of ginseng.
Accordingly, when building our rankings, we prioritized products whose primary or sole source of ginseng was panax ginseng. If the traditional eastern herbal medicine roots of ginseng appeal to you, definitely opt for panax ginseng.
However, keep in mind that American ginseng also has a history of use as an herbal medicine by native Americans (which itself might be evidence for the efficacy of ginsenosides).
Q: Is a ginseng supplement good to take when you are getting sick?
A: As discussed earlier, one area where ginseng has solid scientific support for its ability to modulate the immune system. Research has found that ginseng supplementation can activate multiple different pathways in the immune system.
These benefits can extend to an increased ability to fight off infection, as well as improvements in immune-system linked conditions such as arthritis and other inflammatory diseases (1).
Q: Which type of ginseng is best for men?
A: Because ginseng has been used for centuries in traditional eastern medicine as a treatment for erectile dysfunction and as an aphrodisiac for men, the most widely researched type of ginseng for men is Asian or Korean ginseng, more properly referred to as panax ginseng.
If you are a man looking to capitalize on the sexual wellness benefits of ginseng, your best bet is definitely to go with a product that exclusively uses panax ginseng. Other types of ginseng, like American ginseng, have been studied as well, but you likely want to opt for the species with the strongest evidence.
Q: How long does it take to feel the effects of ginseng?
A: The biological effects of ginsenosides, the biologically active molecules in ginseng, actually range quite a bit in their rate of absorption and activity in your body.
According to one study, some of these ginsenosides are absorbed in a matter of minutes and excreted within a few hours, while others are absorbed more slowly (over the course of several hours) and also excreted more slowly (2).
One implication of these findings is that you may start to feel the energy-boosting effects of ginseng nearly immediately—this is probably why you’ll find it in many energy drinks.
On the flip side, some of the effects from other ginsenosides can last all day, which could mean that you won’t get the same kind of crash in energy levels that you’d get from something with a lot of sugar and caffeine.
- Energy drink
- Estrogen blocker
- Testosterone booster
- Male enhancement pill
- Nitric oxide
- Tribulus terrestris
- Vitamin B12
If you need a little more psychological energy to get through the day, or if you want a little boost to your immune system, ginseng might be what you’re looking for. Ginseng is also great for men who are looking to improve their wellness and sexual function.
The evidence behind its efficacy is not as robust as some other supplements, but it does appear to be safe for the vast majority of people.
For BodyNutrition‘s #1 ginseng recommendation, click here.