The world is shaken by the spread of new coronavirus infections from the beginning of 2020. The new coronavirus, suspected of having come from wild animals, continuously mutates, unlike the coronavirus that causes a cold, and penetrates deep into the airway, causing a severe respiratory disease. The reason why the new coronavirus is scary is that there is no therapeutic agent or vaccine at the moment. It is a big challenge to develop a vaccine for the new coronavirus as it is a ribonucleic acid virus with various strains.
Under these circumstances, foods that help boost the immune system are gaining in popularity in Korea, and red ginseng is one of the most popular products. Red ginseng is a steamed and dried ginseng and has been the most popular health enhancement food in Korea. Many Koreans like to eat red ginseng as a numinous health food that helps strengthen the immune system.
The efficacy of red ginseng has been found in various scientific studies. The Ministry of Food and Drug Administration, a Korean government agency, has recognized the functional effects of red ginseng in improving immunity and removing fatigue.
Red ginseng has been shown to be particularly effective in preventing colds, including flu. In 2004, Dr. Hitoshi Kaneko of Nagoya University, Japan, and his team of researchers demonstrated the mysterious efficacy of red ginseng by conducting a study on about 12,000 patients. The results of his study showed that only 1.4 percent of those who ate red ginseng caught a cold, but 4.9 percent of those who did not eat red ginseng went down with a cold. Those who ate red ginseng recovered quickly even when they caught a cold.
Other studies found that red ginseng intake hinders the outbreak of acute respiratory diseases and makes an improvement in their symptoms. According to a paper published in 2012 by Prof. Lee Chang-seop of the Jeonbuk National University Medical School, a study of about 100 adults on the preventive effects of red ginseng on acute respiratory diseases showed that red ginseng reduced the outbreak of respiratory diseases about 50 percent and improved symptoms such as coughing and stuffy noses.
In addition, a 2012 study by Kang Sang-moo, a professor of immunology at Georgia State University in the United States, compared survival rates of those infected with the new flu virus. The results of the study showed that a mix of a vaccine and red ginseng resulted in a 100 percent survival rate, but using a vaccine alone showed a survival rate of 60 percent among humans and 40 percent among mice. Red ginseng has been proved to boost the immune system, especially against viruses.
“There are many people who are looking for red ginseng to help boost immunity in the absence of vaccines or treatments,” said an official of a dietary supplement company. “When choosing a red ginseng product, they are advised to purchase products from reliable brands with high ginseng content.”