It has a sweet and enveloping taste, the caffeine content is very low, and it gives energy without causing side effects: ginseng coffee as a less caffeine-intensive alternative to regular coffee is a popular solution.
But do we really know everything about this drink?
In this article we will explain what ginseng coffee is, how it is prepared and what its nutritional characteristics are. Furthermore, we will discover the qualities of this ancient root and in which cases it may cause side effects.
Let’s set out to discover ginseng coffee.
What is ginseng coffee
Made by mixing ginseng powder with coffee, ginseng coffee is an energising drink with a pleasant aroma.
Ginseng is a herbaceous plant mainly cultivated in Asia (especially in Malaysia), Canada and the USA. Botanically, it is known as Panax ginseng or Panax quinquefolius and belongs to the Araliaceae family.
For the preparation of ginseng coffee, the pure roots are used, from which a powder containing ginsenosides and panaxosides is extracted.
Counted among the oldest remedies in Chinese medicine, ginseng has extraordinary beneficial properties, particularly anti-ageing, aphrodisiac and energising.
The root is also highly valued for its positive effects on mood and immunity; indeed, ginseng coffee is successfully administered to convalescent people, sports enthusiasts and the elderly.
Coffee made from the ginseng root is slightly lighter than traditional espresso, with a hazelnut colour. In terms of taste, it is a mild but slightly bitter beverage that can be enjoyed as it is or with the addition of a sweetener. In most cafés and coffee shops it is served already sweetened, while at home it can be prepared with a coffee machine using pods or capsules and sweetened as desired.
Commonly, ginseng coffee is served in a cup that is slightly larger than the espresso cup; or you can opt for the large cup version, a quantity that corresponds to that of long coffee.
Nutritional properties of ginseng
Ginseng coffee is a nutritionally rich drink and slightly more caloric than espresso coffee: while the latter contains just over two calories, ginseng ranges from 30 to 85 calories per cup, depending on whether sugar is present or not.
Of the calories, 48% are fat, 31% carbohydrates and 21% protein.
Specifically, in one cup of ginseng there are:
- 6.47 grams of carbohydrates, including 6.95 grams of sugars and 0.1 grams of fibre;
- lipids are 4.42 grams, broken down into 2.53 grams of saturated fat, 1.074 grams of monounsaturated fat, 0.321 grams of polyunsaturated fat and 13 milligrams of cholesterol;
- protein is 4.41 grams;
- potassium is 284 milligrams;
- sodium is 64 milligrams.
In addition to these substances, ginseng coffee is rich in vitamins (vitamin A and vitamin C) and minerals (calcium and iron).
How much caffeine does ginseng coffee contain
Although the name may be somewhat misleading, ginseng is not a real coffee. The coffee content is minimal and it is simply soluble coffee. Consequently, the caffeine content is very low and has minimal effects on the body, so ginseng coffee as a less caffeinated alternative could definitely be evaluated.
Clearly it should be avoided by those with serious problems who cannot take caffeine, but otherwise it is not comparable to coffee in any way: it does not cause insomnia or agitation, has no effect on blood pressure and does not speed up the heartbeat.
To avoid caffeine, it is also possible to find the totally caffeine-free variant on the market.
How to prepare ginseng coffee
Ginseng coffee can easily be prepared at home, but if you want to drink good coffee, you should do it with the right machine.
The compound is not available for the Moka, but is sold in the form of capsules, pods or in the soluble version.
For capsules and pods, simply heat up the home coffee machine, insert the brew and start brewing. In this way, you can enjoy a satisfying and pleasant-tasting ginseng coffee in a few moments.
With coffee machines equipped with a water heating wand, such as those from Pontevecchio, you can also use soluble ginseng coffee. Simply heat the water and add the right amount of ginseng powder.
Benefits and drawbacks of ginseng coffee
As we have already mentioned, ginseng root is a treasure trove of healthy properties for the body:
- has calming effects and counteracts stress;
- improves mood;
- promotes mental faculties and concentration;
- gives energy;
- stimulates the immune system;
- has aphrodisiac properties;
- facilitates digestive processes;
- stimulates peristalsis and helps combat constipation;
- improves blood pressure.
The action of ginseng on the nervous system is very important, as it gives tone, aids memory and helps with activities that require concentration.
Several scientific studies on ginseng root claim that it enhances erotic activities and promotes the sexual sphere.
The right amount of ginseng helps the body produce valuable substances for the immune system, fighting viruses and bacteria.
Although ginseng can bring enormous benefits to the body, its active ingredients should by no means be abused. Excessive consumption of ginseng coffee, in fact, can lead to intestinal disorders, cause anxiety, and cause cardiovascular disorders.
Furthermore, people suffering from autoimmune diseases, metabolic conditions or bleeding disorders should avoid the substance.
It has to be said that ginseng coffee contains a minimal amount of ginseng powder, so side effects are very rare. But let’s see what annoyances are associated with excessive ginseng consumption.
Is ginseng coffee bad for the body?
Many people wonder whether coffee can have negative effects on the body. In particular, doubts relate to diabetes and high blood pressure, but another frequent question is whether or not ginseng coffee can be addictive.
First of all, it is necessary to ensure the quality of the ginseng coffee. It frequently happens that the ginseng extracts offered are of poor quality or even that the raw material is not actually ginseng. If substances other than ginseng are used, it is not possible to assess the side effects. However, it is possible to purchase top-quality selected ginseng extracts that actually come from the herbaceous Panax ginseng plant.
As for doubts about diabetes, these arise from the fact that in many places, ginseng coffee is already sweetened. In reality, a good quality ginseng coffee can have a positive effect on the glycaemic index, reducing diabetes levels in the blood.
The quality argument also applies to those with cardiovascular problems. In this case, however, care must be taken not to overdo it as excessive consumption could cause problems for those suffering from hypertension. While in the correct quantities, taking ginseng can promote blood flow and prove to be a valuable ally for those with cardiovascular problems.
Addiction is one of the less well-founded risks. In fact, the substance does not cause any kind of physical dependence except for the taste.
Therefore, ginseng coffee has absolutely no contraindications and is harmless if taken properly.
When not to drink ginseng coffee
As we pointed out in the previous section, ginseng coffee causes no side effects if taken in moderation. The risks are mainly related to the abuse of ginseng coffee or simultaneous consumption with certain types of medication.
In particular, ginseng may interact negatively with immunosuppressant, antidepressant, anti-inflammatory and insulin medications.
Clearly, when considering the possible risks of ginseng coffee, it is also necessary to take into account the possible interactions of coffee with various active ingredients, such as ephedrine and clozapine, and with antibiotics.
Moreover, when one indulges in immoderate use of coffee, one may experience various complaints, such as stomach burning and headaches.
In moderate quantities, however, ginseng coffee can also be drunk by those suffering from gastritis and hypertension. The amount of caffeine, in fact, is so low that it does not affect these problems.
As far as pregnancy and lactation are concerned, there are no contraindications. In general, it is a suitable substance even at delicate times such as these, always keeping quantities under control.
How many cups of ginseng can you drink per day
The number of cups of ginseng coffee that one can consume each day should not exceed four. It is clear, however, that the characteristics of the person, the quality of the drink and any current drug therapies should be taken into account in order to be able to give a personalised indication.
If in doubt, it is always best to seek advice from your doctor.
Is ginseng coffee really an alternative to coffee?
Generally speaking, there are many differences between coffee and ginseng, and to speak of an alternative one would have to assess individual needs.
As far as caffeine is concerned, ginseng contains minimal doses of it, which in no way affect the effects of the drink. The taste of ginseng is more distinctive but less intense and full-bodied than that of espresso.
In terms of benefits, we are more or less on the same level, i.e. both drinks have energising effects and promote concentration.
The game is particularly played on the level of personal preference. True coffee lovers hardly give up their daily cup of espresso in favour of ginseng unless they want to reduce their caffeine intake or vary the taste.
For us coffee connoisseurs, there is clearly no comparison between the two beverages. But to help you enjoy an organoleptically valuable ginseng coffee, we have equipped our machines with filter pods, so that you can enjoy any drink at home with your Pontevecchio lever coffee machine. Go to our online catalogue and discover the right coffee machine for you.