What Is Black Ginger/Thai Ginseng
Black Ginger, also known as Thai Black Ginger, Thai Ginseng, Kra Chai Dum, & scientifically as Kaempferia Parviflora, is a root vegetable in the same family as Ginger. It is nearly identical to Ginger, save it’s dark purple interior.
It has been used in Thailand & traditional Thai medicine for enhancing energy & stamina, asthma & allergies, and for libido & erectile dysfunction for over a thousand years. Black Ginger is said to have been a common herb for warriors and is apparently very popular among Muay Thai practitioners today given it’s effect on athletic performance.
Benefits of Black Ginger/Thai Ginseng
- Endurance & Stamina
- Mood, Focus, Memory, & Learning
- Vascularity & Pump
- Libido & Erectile Dysfunction
- Anti-Aging & Anti-Inflammatory
- Nasal Congestion
- Decreased Estrogen/Increased Testosterone (potentially)
Natural PDE-5 Inhibitor
Black Ginger is a natural PDE-5 inhibitor, meaning it inhibits an enzyme called PDE-5 which is responsible for the breakdown of a molecule called cGMP, which in turn is stimulated by Nitric Oxide to cause vasorelaxation – the widening of blood vessels. This system works to expand blood vessels and to get that muscle ‘pump’ when you workout. This system also plays a role in getting and keeping an erection. The ED medications Viagra & Cialis are synthetic PDE-5 inhibitors and have the same mechanism of action. Black Ginger being a natural, as opposed to synthetic, PDE-5 inhibitor means it’s not as strong as Viagra or Cialis (unless taken in higher doses than the recommended) but also that it has fewer/less chance of side effects.
In addition to this, the enhanced bloodflow from Black Ginger would also have a significant cognitive boost. Nootropic herbs like Gingko Biloba act in this same way, boosting mood, focus, memory, & learning.
By inhibiting PDE-5 and boosting the effects Nitric Oxide, Black Ginger would lead to a boost in vascularity and a massive pump in the gym, especially when combined with other NO boosters like L-Citrulline. The enhanced bloodflow would also lead to increased endurance & cardio ability by improving nutrient/oxygen delivery to the muscles, and potentially improve recovery.
Natural Cholinesterase Inhibitor
Black Ginger has an anti-cholinesterase effect, whereby it inhibits an enzyme called Cholinesterase. Cholinesterase is responsible for the breakdown of acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter important for communication between nerves, mood, memory, focus, motivation, & overall cognition. Caffeine & many other natural nootropics have this affect as well. The minor inhibition of cholinesterase gives you that excited, motivated, & focused feeling.
By enhancing mood & focus as described above, Black Ginger can also improve athletic performance by increasing your training intensity & ability to push your limits. This effect also boosts your mood, memory, focus, motivation, & learning for a decent cognitive boost if you were to take this as part of a nootropic stack or do cognitive activities around the time you take it.
Black Ginger, like regular Ginger, is effective at stimulating the nostrils & airways, and decreasing congestion. In traditional Thai medicine, Black Ginger is used to treat allergies & asthma.
This stimulation of the nostrils & airways would lead to a boost in oxygen flow and subsequently stamina, endurance, & overall energy – especially when you consider that so many people can’t breathe properly and how important breathing as well as breathing rhythm is for everything from stress to focus to aging.
Black Ginger has been shown to increase cellular energy production & efficiency, and mitochondrial performance. Black has been shown to activate different energy pathways in the cell and increase ATP production & mitochondria biogenesis. Creatine is another supplement that increases ATP and is responsible for it’s potent energy, stamina, & endurance boosting benefits.
Increased/healthy cellular & mitochondria function benefits everything from aging, stress, & energy to focus & cognition, and even muscle recovery.
Black Ginger was able to activate Brown Adipose Tissue and improve energy production this way, suggesting it may increase metabolism (though not significantly of course) as well as potentially having a synergistic effect for activating ketosis & boosting cognition via this route when paired with a ketogenic focused morning/nootropic stack like Ketones + Bulletproof coffee.
Antioxidants, Anti-Inflammatory, & Anti-Aging
Black Ginger contains powerful antioxidants that give it it’s dark purple colour, similar to Grapes & Blueberries with well studied anti-aging, anti-inflammatory, & cognitive boosting antioxidants like Resveratrol. One study suggested Black Ginger & it’s compounds may be better than Resveratrol at activating Sirtuins, pathways that are partially responsible for the benefits of fasting & Resveratol. The antioxidants in Black Ginger are very effective at preventing oxidative stress and slowing, preventing, & reversing some aspects of aging.
Compounds in Black Ginger have been shown to inhibit Aromatase, the enzyme that converts Testosterone to Estrogen. However Black Ginger as a whole, not just the specific compounds, hasn’t been studied for this effect. The inhibition of Aromatase would decrease Estrogen and increase Testosterone by inhibiting it’s conversion. This action may be a mechanism behind Black Ginger’s benefits on athletic performance.
Black Ginger Dosage
Human studies have used 100-200mg Extract and most supplements recommend doses of 1-2g raw powder. This would be the equivalent of eachother and to a traditional Thai Black Ginger tea wherein a couple slices of dry or wet root would be steeped in hot water.
Black Ginger/Thai Ginseng Safety
Due to it’s nature as a PDE-5 Inhibitor, Black Ginger should not be used by those with low blood pressure or taking any blood pressure or heart medication. Also be careful when pairing Black Ginger with any other bloodflow-boosting supplement like Ginkgo Biloba or L-Citrulline.
The anti-cholinesterase properties of Black Ginger may pose issues to anyone taking medication that interacts with neurotransmitters such as antidepressants. Care should also be taken if taking nootropic supplements or other herbs that interact with choline and neurotransmitter systems.
As always, consult a doctor or licensed medical practitioner before using & stay safe!