Ginseng Pill vs. Extract vs. Raw Root — which one is the best?

Searching “ginseng” in Amazon, we see lots of ginseng products in different forms. On page 1, 90% of products are pill/tablet type, but there are a couple of different forms too: extract/liquid concentration and raw root.

All these different forms make us wonder — “Which form is the best? What are the pros and cons of each?” I had the same question, and that is today’s main topic.

1. Pill/Tablet: “convenience is all it matters”

By far the most convenient form among ginseng supplements. In the end, what can be easier than swallowing two pills on-the-go? Small in size & easy to carry around. Its taste is neutral, so it’s good for ginseng beginners who are sensitive to the naturally bitter taste of ginseng.

Its dosage is clearly indicated in supplement facts. However, pay close attention to serving size and amount per serving to correctly calculate the daily recommended amount (=2g of raw ginseng root). For example, the below product has 500mg of ginseng root per serving, and the serving size is 1 capsule. This means you need to consume 4 capsules per day to consume 2 g of recommended ginseng amount.

Example of Ginseng Supplement Fact. (Source:

However, its absorption rate could be better. According to the study, our body absorbs liquid vitamin/supplements better than pill type, by almost 10x!

2. Liquid Extract: “it’s all about effectiveness”

So, does this mean that the Liquid Extract form of ginseng supplement is the best? It depends. If your foremost priority is on effectiveness, then yes, liquid extract form would be the way to go. However, it has a couple cons too.

Its taste can be too bitter for some people. Ginseng has its naturally bitter taste, and thus 100% ginseng extract products are usually VERY bitter. However, some products deal with this problem by mixing other ingredients to make taste smoother & better.

The biggest problem with liquid extract form is that it’s never clear how many grams of ginseng is used. Ginseng extract product indicates how many grams of “extract” is used for the product, but most companies don’t disclose the information of how many grams of “raw ginseng” is used to make an “extract.”

This lack of transparency makes consumers confused and hesitant because we don’t know how the extract converts to the daily recommended dosage of 2g of raw ginseng root.

Net, if you can find the trustful brand that clearly communicates how many raw ginseng roots are used to make “extract,” then Liquid Extract form would be the best. However, it’s hard to find such brands.

3. Raw Root: “love tradition”

To be straightforward, there is not really any benefit of Raw Root in functional terms. Its taste is bitter, and its absorption rate isn’t good either. Its dryness and hard surface make it very difficult to consume.

However, since it’s a raw root, it’s very easy to calculate the daily dosage amount. Just measure its weight, and consume 2 grams per day! Probably easiest to calculate daily dosage among different forms.

Also, its authentic look make it a good gift, although it might not be the best gift in terms of practicality :)

Image Source:


Each form has pros & cons, and thus the “best” form depends on varying needs & priority that different consumers have. If you can’t stand ginseng’s bitter taste, the pill would be the best form. If absorption & effect is most important for you, the liquid would be the way to go. Raw Root’s authentic appearance would make it a good “gift” for friends who are into Asian culture.


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