Ginseng and Aerobic Capacity

2020-06-25 23:47:49 |

There are 3 phases in the cycle of athletes - training, competition, and recovery. @Shutterstock


Athletic activity depends greatly on the aerobic capacity of the athlete. That is the ability to utilize oxygen efficiently. This depends on respiratory activity, but also on the chemical state of the tissue that utilizes the oxygen, and on physiological changes which are the capacity of the heart muscle and the efficiency of tiny blood vessels circulating oxygenated blood to the cells.

Trials in both humans and animals have shown that ginseng greatly increases aerobic capacity.

Animals subjected to vigorous exercise can perform up to 100% longer when treated with ginseng. They also utilize less of their stored glycogen, the ready source of energy stored in the liver. Marathon runners who "hit the wall" run out of energy toward the end of the race because they have exhausted their glycogen supplies. Glycogen loading by eating high carbohydrate meals before a competition to build up glycogen is a common practice among endurance athletes. So ginseng could increase performance by reducing the requirements for glycogen.

The lactate levels of the athletes were tested during the same trials. Lactate is a by-product of aerobic activity that causes muscle pain after exercise. After ginseng treatment, peak lactate levels fell by 40% and returned to normal faster than before treatment.

If you want to take ginseng alone, use low doses for long periods rather than high doses for short periods when preparing for competition. The medicinal dose of ginseng is 1-9 grams. Athletes can take 1-2 grams for several months at a time. The reason is that athletes are generally close to the edge of being excess. The low doses will gradually build endurance and reflexes.

Ginseng is also a valuable tonic for summer sports because it cools excess heat while helping to reduce fatigue.

Besides, in Chinese traditional medicine philosophy, the spleen organ is responsible for transforming nutrients into chi, then sending this to the lung, where it is mixed with chi from the air to produce blood. The spleen also nourishes the muscles, and spleen tonics are very important for building athletic performance. Ginseng is a spleen tonic.

There are 3 phases in the cycle of athletes - training, competition, and recovery.

Training takes the most time. It is also the most important because performance during competition depends mainly on training. Reflexes and mental attitude may be more important during a competition, but success depends on repeatedly conditioning the reflexes and building a strong circulatory system, muscle mass, and connective tissue during training. Thus, this is the most important time to be taking ginseng or other tonic herbs.

Performance depends mainly on proper training, reflexes, mental clarity, and attitude. Ginseng improves the reflexes and mental clarity, but it won't do much if you start taking them the day before the event. Two or three months of taking ginseng will increase these qualities to a high level.

After a race, an athlete should rest by training lightly less than the race day. Comparable recovery periods are necessary for most competitive sports that require exercises to exhaustion. It is able to hasten this recovery period by using the tonic herb as ginseng.

Overall, it is not necessary to be a world-class athlete to use tonic herbs to enhance your performance and enjoyment of exercise. Even if you don't exercise vigorously, you might try ginseng to improve your experience of moderate exercise. It will tremendously help to maintain your endurance in the long run.



Bergner P. (1996 ). The healing power of ginseng and the tonic herbs. Prima.

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