Ginseng for Adolescent Mood and Cognitive Health
THE TRANSITIONAL YEARS
The years between twelve and twenty are among the most challenging of our lives. Teens must deal with the demands of increased responsibilities and the challenges of navigating new freedoms. They must manage the stress of social group instabilities and pressures. They must also manage the stress of their own search for individual and group identity.
Further, they must manage the cognitive demands of school work, paid work, extracurriculars, home responsibilities and volunteer work. Finally, they must do all this while dealing with the instabilities inherent to the hormonal imbalances they are experiencing as their bodies and minds mature into adulthood.
There are a number of things that can ease this struggle. Providing space for adolescent self-discovery and psycho-emotional difficulties and maintaining unconditional support is key. Beyond this there are medicinal – pharmaceutical and homeopathic – options to attenuate these cognitive demands and mood instabilities. Among the natural options is Korean red ginseng.
IMPORTANCE OF COGNITIVE FUNCTION
Peak cognitive functioning is important at all stages of life. However, it is arguably more important during adolescence (teenhood). There are numerous demands on the minds and moods of teenagers. Not to mention the normal mood instabilities that accompany the hormonal changes experienced during adolescence.
High school presents significant cognitive demand for performance and choices that set teens up for adulthood. Social demands of peer pressure, popularity, and ostracism, challenge teen mood stability. The health benefits of Korean red ginseng make it a healthy option for counteracting the effects of these stressors on mood and cognitive function.
GINSENG AND FATIGUE
Changing hormones, social pressures, the search for identity, and the new responsibilities and freedoms that accompany the life stage between childhood and adulthood present significant stressors. These stressors affect mood, but they also affect sleep patterns. Any stress can disrupt sleep patterns. Teens face arguably more stressors than most other individuals.
Ginseng has been linked to reduced fatigue in lab studies. Further, there are ginseng supplements to provide healthy, sustainable energy (versus the short-lived energy from energy drinks). Finally, evidence also suggests that ginseng helps regulate sleep cycles, increasing the amount of time spent in deep (REM) sleep. Overall, ginseng can be a healthy option for stable energy.
GINSENG AND FOCUS
Focus is another challenge for teens. As mentioned, high school is potentially the most important period in one’s life: it is the time when adolescents prepare themselves for the shift into adulthood and set themselves up for their future. Balancing school work, jobs, extracurriculars, sports, and college prep present significant cognitive demands that require maintained focus.
Korean red ginseng has also been linked to improved focus. Studies show that Korean red ginseng consumption may improve cognitive processing – at least in the short term. One study showed improved function of the cognitive component responsible for processing and retaining new information.
GINSENG AND ATTENTION DISORDERS
Beyond the standard difficulties teens face trying to maintain focus in light of the numerous stressors they face, many teens also battle with attention disorders such as Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) or Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder (ADHD). These cognitive disorders can make an already-challenging environment seem impossible to navigate or keep up with.
There are many effective pharmaceuticals on the market, as well as cognitive and behavioral therapies to manage ADD and ADHD. Research suggests that Korean red ginseng may be a useful supplement to these remedies. Evidence indicates that Korean red ginseng may moderate attention deficit disorder symptoms related specifically to inattentiveness.
GINSENG AND MOOD (IN)STABILITY
Finally, mood stability can be a significant challenge for most – or nearly all – teenagers. Stressors include internal factors such as hormonal shifts and external factors like psychological pressures from school, home, and social lives and physical pressures of daily lives packed with school, work, extracurricular, and social obligations. These stressors challenge mood stability.
Among its other cognitive and psycho-emotional health benefits, Korean red ginseng has also been linked to mood stability. Anxiety and depression are two of the most common and most debilitating responses to external and psycho-emotional stress. Research suggests that ginseng consumption may be associated with decreased instances or severity of anxiety and depression.