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Ginseng vs Guarana – Which One Should You Take?

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Both Ginseng and Guarana are top supplements and I’m a big fan of them both. But since they’re fairly similar, it might be hard for people to decide between them.

Well if that’s you, then you’ve come to the right place.

This is the exact reason I started this Supplement Comparison Series!

In these articles, I put 2 supplements up against each other and compare them on benefits, cost, side effects, and much more. All so you can make a more informed decision.

In this article, we’ll take a gander at Ginseng vs Guarana.

Let’s get started.

What is Ginseng?

ginseng root

Ginseng’s an ancient herb that’s been used to improve well-being in Asian countries for over 2,000 years.

Its name kinda translates to “essence of man” in Chinese, and it’s one of the most widely used herbal supplements in the US.

A lot of Ginseng’s health benefits are credited to compounds found within Ginseng called Ginsenosides, and more than 30 different Ginsenosides have been discovered so far.

What is Guarana?

Guarana is a plant that’s native to the Amazon rainforest.

It belongs to the soapberry family of plants, which includes the popular Lychee.

The word Guarana comes from the word warana, which translates to “fruit like the eyes of the people” in the ancient Tupi-Guarani language.

(You can guess why it’s called this by looking at the image above. Pretty creepy, right?)


Benefits of Ginseng

Ginseng may improve immune function

One of the biggest complications of Cancer treatment is a weakened immune system.

But research has shown that taking Ginseng can help improve this.

For example, a study of 20 cancer patients who were recovering from surgery had the participants take 5400mg of daily Ginseng for 2 years.

19 other patients in the study didn’t take any Ginseng and these formed the control group.

By the end of the study, the Ginseng takers had a lower recurrence of symptoms and a significant improvement in immune function.

Another study looked at Ginseng’s effects on immune system markers in subjects undergoing chemotherapy.

The results showed that the Ginseng users had better immune system markers than the other subjects.

Ginseng may improve erectile dysfunction

The frustrating thing about erectile dysfunction is that it can have many different causes.

For example, oxidative stress in the penis’ blood vessels is a common cause.

The pleasing news is Ginseng has been shown to lower this oxidative stress.

Another possible cause of ED is low levels of nitric oxide in the blood.

Nitric oxide is important for blood vessel dilation and muscle relaxation – both of which are vital for getting hard.

Once again, Ginseng comes to the rescue as research shows it can boost levels of nitric oxide.

While we now know that Ginseng helps tackle the causes of ED, is there any research which shows it can improve ED in humans…?

You bet there is.

In fact, this study found that Ginseng was 2x more effective than ED medication for improving ED symptoms!

Ginseng may help improve mental performance

Ginseng’s ability to boost cognitive function has been shown in lots of human studies.

For example, a study of 30 people looked at how taking 200mg of Ginseng each day affected the subjects’ mental performance.

The subjects showed improvements in social functioning, mental health and mood after only 4 weeks.

Another study showed that taking 400mg of daily Ginseng improved calmness and mental arithmetic after 8 days.

Ginseng may help reduce inflammation

Inflammation can be your best friend or your worst enemy.

Acute inflammation often occurs after an injury, so for example when you accidentally cut yourself.

This type of inflammation tells your body that something’s wrong and helps speed up the healing process.

Whereas chronic inflammation builds up over time from living an unhealthy lifestyle.

This is the type of inflammation you want to avoid like the plague as it’s been linked to many ailments including:

  • Stroke
  • Cancer
  • Alzheimer’s
  • Heart Disease

So if you want lower your risk of getting the above diseases, you really ought to reduce chronic inflammation as much as possible.

And this is where Ginseng is handy.

Research has shown that it helps regulate tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNFa), which is a molecule that plays a big role in inflammation.

(Related reading: 3 Best Fish Oil Supplements For Inflammation)

Benefits of Guarana

Guarana is rich in Antioxidants

Excess free radicals can lead to oxidative stress, which is believed to contribute to aging and many diseases.

Antioxidants are important molecules that help neutralise free radicals, leading to less oxidative stress and a healthier you.

If you want to increase your antioxidant intake (hint: you do), then perhaps you ought to supplement with Guarana.

Why? Well, Guarana is rich in the following antioxidants:

  • Tannins
  • Caffeine
  • Saponins
  • Catechins
  • Theobromine

Guarana may improve heart health

Heart disease is one of the biggest killers worldwide.

Guarana can help reduce the risk of heart disease in multiple ways.

First, research has shown that Guarana can lower the oxidation of LDL cholesterol.

(This is the cholesterol commonly referred to as “Bad” cholesterol.)

Second, the antioxidants in Guarana may help prevent blood clots and improve blood flow.

Guarana may boost cognitive function

Like Ginseng, Guarana may improve your mental performance.

Now interestingly, a study compared Guarana to Ginseng to see which helped improve mental performance the most.

Although subjects from both groups had improved memory and performance, those who took Guarana completed the tasks faster.

So if improving your cognition is important to your, you probably want to go with Guarana.

Guarana may help reduce fatigue

Fatigue can be brought on by many different things, including stress, sleep deprivation and a poor diet.

Thanks to its caffeine content, Guarana may help fight fatigue.

(Caffeine works by binding to adenosine receptors, which reduces the effects of adenosine. This is a neurotransmitter which makes you feel tired, so by blocking it, you feel a lot more alert and awake.)

A study investigated the effects of a Guarana-containing supplement on fatigue.

The results showed that those who took the supplement experienced less fatigue than the placebo takers.


Ginseng Cost

Ginseng is generally sold in capsules, or as slices.

Typical prices for these are:

  • Slices: $30 for 4 Oz
  • Capsules: $20 for 120

Guarana Cost

Guarana is usually sold in capsules or sometimes as a powder.

Here are some standard prices for these:

  • Powder: $24 for 1 lb
  • Capsules: $15 for 120

Side Effects

Ginseng Side Effects

Ginseng is well-tolerated by most people, although the following side effects have been reported in some cases:

  • Diarrhea
  • Insomnia
  • Headaches
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Blood pressure fluctuations

Women may also experience other side effects including vaginal bleeding and breast tenderness.

If you’re taking any other medication, then please speak to a doctor before using Ginseng as it can interact poorly with other drugs medication.

Guarana Side Effects

Guarana is generally considered safe and is widely available.

In high doses, Guarana may cause the following side effects:

  • Anxiety
  • Insomnia
  • Headaches
  • Heart palpitations

These side effects are like those of excessive caffeine intake, so they may be caused by the high caffeine content in Guarana.

Guarana shouldn’t be taken by pregnant women due to the high caffeine content.


My Ginseng Recommendation: Wellbeing Formula Korean Ginseng

Wellbeing Formula Korean Red Panax Ginseng

Click to see on Amazon


High strength? Yep.

Long lasting? Mhmm.

Highly rated? You betcha.

Wellbeing Formula Korean Ginseng ticks all the boxes.

What I like about it

Wellbeing Formula only use Ginseng roots that have a minimum of 5% Ginsenosides.

Since these are the compounds which provide a lot of Ginseng’s health benefits, we want this percentage to be high. And compared to other Ginseng supplements, 5% is very respectable.

Also, the 100s of awesome reviews show that many people have used this supplement with great results, which is pleasing to see.

Another epic feature is that each bottle comes with a generous 180 capsules, making it super long-lasting.

Potential Drawbacks

One of the ingredients in this supplement is listed as “Vegetable Capsule”.

Personally, I’d like Wellbeing Formula to be a bit more specific here, as I like to know exactly what I’m putting into my body.

Check price and read more reviews of Wellbeing Formula Korean Ginseng on Amazon.

My Guarana Recommendation: Nutricost Guarana Powder

Nutricost Guarana Powder

Click to see on Amazon


An excellent source of Guarana that comes in powder form.

A great option for those who like the freedom to choose how much Guarana they want to take.

What I like about it

Nutricost Guarana Powder is straight up 100% pure Guarana.

That’s right.

No cheap fillers, preservatives or nasty chemicals.

Just 100% Guarana goodness.

Another awesome feature is the fact this supplement is powdered.

Although it comes with a 1g scoop, some people might be better off taking less which is easy peasy when the supplement’s a powder.

The reviews are solid too, which shows that this is a trusted Guarana supplement that’s loved be many people.

Potential Drawbacks

One of the drawbacks of powdered supplements is that you have to taste them.

But if you dislike the taste, then you can easily mix it with your favorite juice to mask the flavor.

No big deal.

Check price and read more reviews of Nutricost Guarana Powder on Amazon.

Ginseng vs Guarana: The Verdict

Thanks for sticking with me to the end of this Ginseng vs Guarana breakdown.

I hope you’ve learned lots and have enjoyed reading it!

Hopefully, you now know which one you’re going to take and have epic results with.

But if you’re still on the fence, then here’s what I’d recommend:

You might prefer Ginseng if:

  • You want to lower inflammation
  • You want to boost your immune system
  • You have a hard time getting hard (no pun intended)

You might prefer Guarana if:

  • You want to reduce fatigue
  • You want to improve your heart health
  • You want to boost your mental performance
  • You want to increase your antioxidant intake

Hope this helped!

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