Korean Ginseng Tea (Insam Cha)

Korean Ginseng Tea (Insam Cha)

The Spruce / Preethi Venkatram

Prep: 5 mins
Cook: 5 mins
Steep Time: 5 mins
Total: 15 mins
Servings: 5 servings
Yield: 5 cups
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
91 Calories
1g Fat
21g Carbs
2g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 5
Amount per serving
Calories 91
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 1g 1%
Saturated Fat 0g 1%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 22mg 1%
Total Carbohydrate 21g 8%
Dietary Fiber 2g 7%
Total Sugars 5g
Protein 2g
Vitamin C 5mg 25%
Calcium 23mg 2%
Iron 1mg 3%
Potassium 410mg 9%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

If you're interested in learning more about Korean cuisine, you should get acquainted with teas popular in Korea, including ginseng, which you can learn to make with this recipe. Why do Koreans love ginseng? For one, Koreans are interested in the strong connection between food and medicine, and ginseng is a restorative tea that gives a boost to one's health and vitality.

This ginseng tea recipe is zesty, aromatic, and warms you from the inside. If it's cold out, you're not feeling well, or you simply enjoy the sensation of warm liquid in your belly, give ginseng tea a try. Swap out your cup of joe for a cup of the tea and reap the benefits.

"This tea was easy to make, and I had fun using fresh ingredients instead of plopping a tea bag into hot water. Next time I think I'll add more ginseng to get a darker color. A fun idea for any leftovers is making ice cubes and plopping them into iced tea for an added boost." —Carrie Parente

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A Note From Our Recipe Tester


  • 10 slices dried ginseng root, peeled

  • Honey, to taste

  • 5 cups water

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Korean Ginseng Tea (Insam Cha) ingredients

    The Spruce / Preethi Venkatram

  2. Coat the ginseng with a generous amount of honey, stir, and let sit for 15 minutes in a glass measuring cup or other large vessel.

    Coat the ginseng with a generous amount of honey

    The Spruce / Preethi Venkatram

  3. In a small pot, heat water over high heat until very hot, but not boiling. Pour very hot (but not boiling) water over the ginseng and honey and let steep for 5 to 10 minutes.

    water added to the honey and ginseng mixture in the bowl

    The Spruce / Preethi Venkatram

  4. Scoop or strain out the ginseng slices.

    remove the ginger from the honey mixture

    The Spruce / Preethi Venkatram


  • If the taste of ginseng is too overpowering for you, it's common to mix ginseng tea with green tea or ginger tea. Use whatever proportions you like.

Using Ginseng Tea

In Korea, ginseng tea is far more than a drink. The Korean culture has a long history of treating food and drink as medicine; spices and herbs are regularly used to treat sickness and ailments. Koreans have used ginseng as medicine for thousands of years and Korea is currently the largest producer of ginseng in the world.

Korean herbalists use ginseng to restore strength and stamina, to increase longevity, as an aphrodisiac and to treat impotence, to treat high blood pressure, diabetes, and cholesterol. It's used for many other ailments in Eastern medicine and to improve mental strength and memory. 

In a 2002 study by the Southern Illinois University School of Medicine, there was a link found between ginseng and sexual behavior. According to this study, studies in laboratory animals have shown that both Asian and American forms of ginseng enhance libido and copulatory performance.

These days, the medicinal properties of ginseng are also accepted in the West, since it often appears in energy drinks as a stimulant. Although ginseng is non-toxic, some health professionals have found that long-term, constant use can cause insomnia. Instead of using or eating ginseng every day, herbal experts suggest that you use ginseng on a cycle. You can take ginseng a couple times per week or eat it regularly for a week and then take the next week off.

If you are pregnant, nursing, taking medication, or have a medical condition, consult your physician prior to starting any kind of ginseng regimen, just as you would before starting any other health plan. Also, be careful when combining ginseng with any other herbs that are known to increase alertness.

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Article Sources
The Spruce Eats uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Murphy LL, Lee TJ. Ginseng, sex behavior, and nitric oxide. Ann N Y Acad Sci. 2002;962:372-7.  doi:10.1111/j.1749-6632.2002.tb04081.x

  2. Mount Sinai. Asian ginseng.