Ingredients & friends

5 ways Ginseng can synergise with Essential oils


Ginseng is one of the most revered medicinal plant in the world and a powerful adaptogen with both nootropic and ergogenic properties. Its health benefits are numerous and reach a multitude of areas. That polyvalence is also an opportunity to combine ginseng with other natural extracts for optimal nutraceutical performance. Here are five inspirational blends that combine ginseng with essential oils to invite innovators to investigate further the tremendous potential of such approach.

2.1. Neuroprotection

2.1.1. Ginseng & Neuroprotection

If Ginseng is usually considered as a nootropic active, some of its active constituents have also demonstrated significant neuroprotective properties. For instance, Rg3, a ginsenoside present in high quality ginsengs, has been identified as neuroprotective [1-10] including in neurodegenerative models [11-14]. Rg5, another rare ginsenoside, has also been characterised as neuroprotective [15-17].

2.1.2. Turmeric oil & Neuroprotection

Turmeric (Curcuma longa) is a medicinal root usually used for its content in curcumin (a powerful polyphenol). However, turmerones in its essential oil is also of interest for health. Contrary to popular belief, not all ketones are neurotoxic and turmerones are perfect examples with a significant neuroprotective activity in diverse models [18-24]. A special attention should however be paid to people under "blood thinning treatment" due to the inhibitory effect on platelet aggregation induced by turmerone [25-26] especially since ginseng is also considered to have anti-aggretation properties. Please also be advised that turmeric essential oil is not recognised as a food/nutraceutical ingredient in every country.

2.1.3. Spanish sage oil & Acetylcholinesterase

Spanish sage (Salvia lavandulifolia) has been identified as an inhibitor of acetylcholinesterase [27-28] and can therefore be considered as a nootropic active [29-31]. This essential oil, rich in camphor and 1,8-cineole, is not the most famous but is probably one of the most clinically studied for its nootropic properties. From a pharmacological standpoint, acetylcholinesterase inhibitors are used as drugs for early stages of Alzheimer's disease. Therefore, using a "nutraceutical version" of them in a neuroprotective product appears appropriate. Attention should be paid to the camphor exposure induced by this essential oil.

2.2. Immunity

2.2.1. Ginseng & Immunity

In Europe, ginseng is very frequently combined with vitamins, in "winter products" to support natural defenses. This support is, at least in part, linked to the activity of Rg3 ginsenoside (one of the main active constituent of ginseng) which has been highlighted as an "immunopotentiator" [32-36]. Simultaneously, Rg3 has also been characterised as a potential inhibitor of viral replication [37-40].

2.2.2. Compact oregano & Infections

Thymol and Carvacrol are two volatile phenols with strong antibacterial activity [41-44]. The essential oils rich in these molecules are numerous (Thyme oil, Oregano oil, etc.). Compact oregano (Origanum compactum) has a specific profile among oregano oil, with abundance of both carvacrol and thymol. Alternatively, wild marjoram (Origanum vulgare oil) or mountain savory (Satureja montana oil) can be use.

2.2.3. Eucalyptus & Viral inhibition

Eucalyptus oil (Eucalyptus globulus) is traditionnaly used in Aromatherapy for the respiratory sphere. Eucalyptus is rich in 1,8-cineole, a molecule that has antimicrobial properties [45-47], antiviral activity [48-50] & anti-inflammatory effects [51-57]. It should be noted that every essential oil rich in 1,8-cineole, is susceptible to be a good option, like Ravintsara (Cinnamomum camphora CT 1,8-cinéole), Mandravasarotra (Cinnamosma fragrans), etc.

2.3. Metabolic balance

2.3.1. Ginseng & blood sugar

During the last decaces, the impact of ginseng on blood sugar was usually considered as a potential drug interaction with hypoglycemic treatment (in Europe). However, more recently, data suggest a potential interest of ginseng to support people suffering from "glycemic unbalance". Rg3 ginsenoside has even been identified as potentially beneficial in diabetes related models [58-62].

2.3.2. Cassia cinnamon oil & blood sugar

Cassia cinnamon (Cinnamomum cassia) is traditionnaly considered to be effective to balance blood sugar. During the last decade, multiple active constituents of the plants were studied for their impact on glycemia. Cassia cinnamon oil is extremely rich in cinnamaldehyde. Experimental data indicate that Cinnamaldehyde has a blood sugar modulating effect [63-66], opening the opportunity of using Cassia cinnamon oil for the purpose of glycemic balance. It should be noted that a lot of essential oil rich in aldehyde can be picked alternatively like Cuminum cymimum (rich in cuminaldehyde)

2.3.3. Copaiba & Metabolic balance

Copaiba oil (Copaifera officinalis) is increasingly studied for its multiple benefits as CB2 agonist (rich in β-caryophyllene). One of the most surprising one, is probably the impact of β-caryophyllene on glycemic regulation notably through an insulinotropic effect [67-70]. Even, if β-caryophyllene has a low toxicity, it should however be noted that Copaiba oil is not considered as a nutraceutical ingredient in every country.

2.4. Chronical stress 

2.4.1 Ginseng & Stress 

Ginseng is rarely considered as a first choice for stress management. However, numerous ginsenosides have shown positive effects on anxiety and depression models. For instance, Rg3, one of the most studied ginsenoside, has been identified as beneficial in multiple experiments [71-77]. 

2.4.2. Lavender oil & Stress 

True lavender oil (Lavandula angustifolia) is famous for a myriad of health benefits. One of them is obviously the calming effect that seems to be confirmed by multiple experiments [78-80]. If most of these experiments are base on inhalation of the essential, it should be noted that the effect is also present in anosmic experiments (animals that don't smell the fragrance of lavender) and it is therefore safe to consider that the impact is more than "olfactory" (as mentioned in the European Medicine Agency Monograph) as confirmed by the studies performed on Silexan (THMP active from Schwabe). 

2.4.3. Bergamot oil 

Begamot oil (Citrus bergamia) is essentially used in fragrances. However, it has also been identified as an effective support against anxiety [81-82]. This effect of bergamot oil can be explained by the relative abundance of linalyl acetate (converted in linalool + acetic acid) and limonene, since both molecules have been identified as active on stress [83-84]. 

2.5. Menopause 

2.5.1. Ginseng: a global support for menopause 

Ginseng has been identified as effective for the support of menopausal women [85-86]. Moreover, some highlighted biological properties of Rg3 suggest that it could bring an even more global support. On one hand, Rg3 could potentially be beneficial in case of hypertension (a frequent condition in menopausal women) [87-88]. On the other hand, Rg3 seems to have beneficial effect on osteoporis-related mechanisms [89-91]. 

2.5.2. Clary sage & menopause 

Clary sage (Salvia sclarea) essential oil is traditionnaly considered to have positive effect on menopausal side effects [92-93]. However, contrary to popular belief, there is no substantial proof of any oestrogen-like effect of sclareol (a molecule of clary sage believed to be responsabile of the benefits on menopausal women). In fact, most of available scientific data invite to consider that the effect of clary sage oil on some menopausal issues could, at least partially, explained by the presence of linalool in the essential oil. Indeed, linalool has been shown to have positive impact on menopausal women [94]. Consequently, Coriander seed oil (Coriandrum sativum) can be picked alternatively [95-96]. 

2.5.3 Star anise oil 

Star anise oil (Illicium verum oil) is a essential oil extremely rich in anethole. Both the oil and the molecule have been highlighted as active against anxiety [97-98]. Moreover, anethole metabolite is classicaly considered to exert "oestrogen-like" effect. There are multiple essential oil which are rich in anethole. However, star anise oil presents the advantage to be really poor in estragole for its toxicity at high dosage.

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