Korean Ginseng

Traditionally Korean ginseng (Panax ginseng Meyer) has been used as an important herbal medicine in Far East Asia for thousands of years. There are many species of ginseng, which has led to a confusion in literature. For example:  American ginseng, Ginseng quinquefolius, Japanese ginseng or Siberian ginseng (Eleuterococcus senticosus), all of which are not true ginseng.
The only true ginseng is the Korean ginseng, and its roots are used in medicine.

Some of the best and most expensive Korean ginseng is grown in the renowned Punggi Gyeongbuk province in Korea. This is where Kombe comes from.

There are two main forms of Korean ginseng: red and white ginseng.
The difference between these two types is in the method of processing, which results in different pigment compositions and consequently both types contain different effective substances.

According to scientists red ginseng is more effective than white ginseng and also more effective than fresh roots of Korean ginseng.

The time of growth is a very important parameter, which impacts on the saponin content. The time of growth should be at least 4 – 6 years. The most effective roots are 6-year old roots of ginseng. It should contain 40 – 70mg/g of saponins.
Kombe tea consists of 6-year old Korean red ginseng. These roots contain 70mg/g of saponins - the highest amount of active effective substances.

What does Kombe tea contain?

Kombe tea is a unique combination of ginseng and jujube fruit.  Ginseng contains 180 highly active substances called saponins. 

The uniqueness of Korean ginseng lies in the fact that all the contained substances are active, none of them are toxic, and their effects balance each other out in such a way that they meet the definition of an adaptogen. This combination does not occur in any other plants. Ginseng is one of the most studied plants in the world, and therefore there is an enormous amount of scientific literature on its effects on humans and animals.

Jujube, also known as Chinese date or Zizyphus jujuba, is one of the oldest known fruits originating in China. Jujube fruits contain high amounts of vitamin C. The content of which is 50 times higher than that of apples and 20 times higher than that of lemons.

Amongst other notable substances contained in the jujube fruit are triterpenoid acids, which have been proved to have anti-tumor activity. Thanks to its many benefits jujube is also ranked amongst adaptogens.



ADAPTOGENs are nontoxic, naturally occurring substances that help the body fight stress induced by a wide range of harmful factors, by strengthening the immune and the endocrine system and thereby promoting or restoring normal physiolological function.

Adaptogens inherently exhibit antibacterial properties, immune-stimulatory and antioxidant effects. It is reported that adaptogenic medicinal plants are unique compared to other ones in their ability to maintain hormone balance and to keep up the immune system.

Korean Ginseng is the oldest, most widely known adaptogen, and hands down the most effective adaptogen in the world so far.

How is Kombe tea manufactured?

In order to achieve the full effectiveness of Korean ginseng, the traditional Korean production process must be observed and respected.

The first defining factor is the age of the root. It must be harvested after six years of maturing. Furthermore, it is necessary to maintain an ideal ratio between the main and lateral roots to achieve the right content of effective substances.
The next step is an extraction of washed, steamed and dried roots; by this process the solution is derived. This red ginseng extract is mixed with jujube extract.  Consequently the mixed extract solution of a combination of ginseng and jujube is reduced by vacuum drying and glucose is added. This process is known as a granulation. 
It’s important to note that throughout the span of the manufacturing process, only water is used and no other chemical additives are utilized at any point.

If the process is followed precicely, and all the steps are observed properly, the product should contain 40 -70mg/g active effective substances – saponins.

Sometimes you may come across products with excessively high levels of certain active substances (above 70mg/g). However in these cases this may be due to noncompliance of good manufacturing practices, and therefore it is not possible to state how and if the product is beneficial to health.

All the manufacturing process of Kombe tea is managed according to strict rules that guarantee all manufacture and quality control of Kombe tea is in accordance with quality and appropriate documentation.
Kombe has many important certificates such as:
Korea Insam Certificate – issued by the Korean Ministry of Food and Agriculture. A Korea Insam Certificate is proof of high ginseng quality and its originality. The holders of this certificate must comply with very strict conditions. In South Korea there are only a few holders of this certificate.
Certificate ISO 22000:2005 – this certification proves that Kombe tea meets all health and safety standards associated with consumable food.
Certificate ISO 14001:2004 - Kombe tea has also been issued this certificate on the basis of compliance with all policies and regulations concerning emissions and environmental preservation.

Scientific research

Korean ginseng (Panax ginseng Meyer) has been widely studied in double blind, randomized, and placebo controlled clinical trials. This long and costly research is required to demonstrate the efficacy and safety of medical supplements. Even though the effects of Korean ginseng have been reviewed and proved over thousands of years of experience [ in terms of it’s effects in relieving symptoms of fatigue, mental stress, regulation of blood sugar levels, improving libido and prolonging life expectancy], modern clinical studies are focused on the research of ginseng in terms of cancer prevention, regulation of blood sugar levels, relieving fatigue and the treatment of immunomodulatory diseases in healthy and ill patients.
Korean ginseng contains tens of various saponins, which vary in the health benefits they provide. Simply put, there are two main categories of saponins – protopanaxodiol (PPD) and protopanaxotriol (PPT). The foremost category, PPD, can be found mostly in the lateral roots, whereas the second category PPT is predominantly present in the main roots. It is absolutely vital that the proper balance (70:30) of the two is observed during the manufacture of six year old korean ginseng products, as this is the only way to guarantee the medical and health benefits and a good safety profile of the product.

The effects of individual saponins on human organism
Saponins      Effects - PPT (protopanaxotriol) – main root

Rb1     Improves memory, relaxes the central nervous system, improves immunity, restores healthy liver function, diminishes symptoms of allergic reactions, has anti-oxidant properties.
Rg1     Improves brain function, speeds up problem solving processes, improves memory, promotes learning processes, suppresses fatigue and stress, supports the immune system, and prevents blood clotting in the vascular system.
Re       Controls blood sugar levels, affects fertility, regulates blood flow. 
Rf        Promotes the metabolizing of fats - increases HDL and lowers LDL.
RG2    Protects neurons from damage.
RH1    Has anti-allergic and anti-inflammatory effects.
Rh2    Inhibits the occurrence of cancer, suppresses the growth of cancer cells.

           Effects - PPD (protopanaxodiol) - lateral roots

Rb2     Encourages wound healing, inhibits cancer growth in cases of melanoma and suppresses metastasis in lung cancer.
Rc       Inhibits tumour growth.
Rd       Slows down the ageing process, and reduces cell damage caused by free radicals.
RG3    Inhibits tumour and cancer cell growth, has analgesic and spasmolytic properties.

Other active substances      Effects

Polyacethylene                     Supports the immune system, prevents thrombosis and suppresses peroxidation of lipids.
Phenolic groups                   Contain antioxidants, prevent premature ageing.
Polysaccharides                   Prevent premature aging.
Insulin-like substances      Control blood sugar levels.

Numerous studies affirm that Korean ginseng is one of the most effective adaptogens in the world. It has countless health benefits and improves immunity and the body’s defence mechanisms in general. In cases where the function of the immune system has been affected or reduced, ginseng acts as an inhibitor, strengthening and restoring it. Conversely in cases where the immune system kicks into overdrive and is over exerted, it restores a healthy balance.

Choi K.T. (2008): Botanical characteristics, pharmacological effects and medicinal components of Korean Panax ginseng C A Meyer, Acta Pharmacologica Sinica 29 (9):  1109 - 1118.
Attele A.S., et al. (1999): Ginseng pharmacology: multiple constituents and multiple actions, Biochemical Pharmacology 58: 1685 - 1693.
Xiang Y.Z., et al. (2008): A comparison of the ancient use of ginseng in traditional chinese medicine with modern pharmacological experiments and clinical trials,  Phytotherapy Research 22: 851 - 858.
Lee S.M., et al. (2015): Characterization of Korean Red Ginseng (Panax ginseng Meyer): History, preparation method, and chemical composition. J Ginseng Res 39: 384-391.
Li N, et al. (2007): Protective effects of ginsenoside Rg2 against glutamate-induced neurotoxicity in PC12 cells, Journal of Ethnopharmacology 111 (3): 458 - 463.
Park E.K., et al. (2004): Ginsenoside Rh1 Possesses Antiallergic and Anti-Inflammatory Activities, International Archives of Allergy and Immunology 133: 113 - 120.

Korean Ginseng and immunity
The immune system protects the body from various external environmental threats such as germs, viruses and bacteria, while simultaneously keeping the body’s own internal mechanisms in check. People with a weakened immune system are more prone to frequent illnesses such as colds, inflammations, etc. Studies carried out in healthy volunteers examined the effectiveness of ginseng on the activity of immune system cells. The clinical trial demonstrated that ginseng significantly improves immune response in all types cells contained within the immune system, thus proving that real ginseng is effective at improving overall immunity. [1]
Another study looked at the effects of ginseng on the immune response in vaccinations against influenza. The group that received the ginseng dose fared significantly better In terms of demonstrating a lower frequency of upper respiratory tract infections compared to the control group that did not receive the dose. The study demonstrates a significant effect of ginseng on regulating immune response. (2)
A further study focused on patients diagnosed with the HIV virus and compromised immune systems as a result of it. Ginseng proved to have a positive effect on immune response even in these patients.
A recent study of which living organisms were the subject, studied the effects of ginseng and vitamin C on the activity of immune system cells and pulmonary inflammation caused as a result of the influenza virus. This study demonstrated that administration of ginseng and vitamin C increased the activity of immune system cells and reduced the symptoms of viral infection. Moreover, suppression of lung inflammation caused by viral infection occurred. (4)
1.    Scaglione F, Ferrara F, Dugnani S, et al.  Immunomodulatory effects of two extracts of Panax ginseng C.A. Meyer. Drugs Exp Clin Res 1990;16:537- 542.
2.    Scaglione F, Cattaneo G, Alessandria M, Cogo  R. Efficacy and safety of the standardised ginseng extract G115 for potentiating vaccination against the influenza syndrome and protection against the common cold [corrected]. Drugs Exp Clin Res 1996;22:65-72.
3.    Sung H, Kang SM, Lee MS, et al. Korean red  ginseng slows depletion of CD4 T cells in human immunodeficiency virus type 1-infected patients. Clin Diagn Lab Immunol 2005;12:497-501.
4.    Kim H, et al. Red ginseng and vitamin C increase immune cell activity and decrease lung inflammation induced by influenza Avirus/H1N1 infection. J Pharm Pharmacol. 2016 Feb 21. doi: 10.1111/jphp.12529. [Epub ahead of print]

Ginseng and diabetes mellitus
Another evidenced effect of ginseng is its ability to regulate blood sugar in both healthy people and patients suffering from diabetes. Diabetes, professionally known by it’s full name, diabetes mellitus, is the collective name for a group of chronic diseases that affect the metabolism of sugars. The primary symptom of this this disease is an elevated level of blood sugar.
A clinical study was carried out in order to demonstrate the effect of ginseng in newly diagnosed patients with type 2 diabetes. In this study all the imperative parameters associated with the disease were measured. The results demonstrated that patients suffering from type 2 diabetes experienced a lowering of blood sugar levels and an improvement in overall mood and well-being.
Recently, a special meta-analysis of all of past studies on the effectiveness of ginseng in patients with diabetes was conducted. This research identified 975 different publications that examined the effectiveness of ginseng in patients with diabetes. Due to the very strict criteria, the final short-list consisted of 16 studies with a total number of 770 patients. The results of the complex and very strict analysis showed that individuals consuming ginseng for a period of  one month experienced a decrease of in blood sugar content whether they suffered from diabetes or not.
1.    Esra’ Shishtar, et al. The Effect of Ginseng (The Genus Panax ) on Glycemic Control: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Randomized Controlled Clinical Trials. PLOS ONE 2014; 9: Issue 9.
2.    Gui, et al. The Efficacy of Ginseng-Related Therapies in Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus.  An Updated Systematic Review and Meta-analysis.  Medicine Volume 95, Number 6, February 2016