american ginseng (generic name)
an herbal product - treats Neurological disorders, Coronary artery disease, Sexual arousal, Exercise performance, Attention deficit hyperactivi...
Table of Contents
Top Learning Centers(Recursos en Español)
Alternate TitleGinseng, Asian ginseng, Chinese ginseng, Korean red ginseng, Panax ginseng
CategoryHerbs & Supplements
General: Acetylenic alcohol, acidid polysaccharides, acupuncture-moxibustion, aglycones, Allheilkraut, American ginseng (AG), American wild ginseng, Araliaceae (family), Asian ginseng, Asiatic ginseng, chikusetsaponin-L8, chikusetsu ginseng, chosen ninjin, CPPQ (coarse polysaccharide from Panax quinquefolium), CVT-E002, dae-jo-hwan (DJW), dwarf ginseng, Eleutherococcus senticosus, five-fingers, five-leaf ginseng, G115®, ginsan, ginsenan PA (phagocytosis-activating polysaccharide), ginseng acidic polysaccharide, ginseng radix, ginseng saponins, ginseng tetrapeptide, Ginsengwurzel (German), ginsenoside, ginsenosides (Rb1, Rb2, Rc, Rd, Re, Rf and Rg1), ginsenosides compound (shen-fu), GTTC (Ginseng and Tang-kuei Ten Combination), hakusan, hakushan, higeninjin, hongshen, hua qi shen, hungseng, hungsheng, hunseng, insam, jenseng, jenshen, jinpi, kao-li-seng, Korean ginseng, Korea red ginseng (KRG), Kraftwurzel (German), man root, memory enhancer, minjin, nhan sam, ninjin, ninzin, niuhan, North American ginseng, notoginsenoside, oleanolic acid, Oriental ginseng, otane ninjin, panax de chine, Panax ginseng, Panax ginseng C.A. Meyer, Panax notoginseng, Panax psuedoginseng Wall. var. notoginseng, Panax psuedoginseng var. major, Panax psuedoginseng, Panax quinquefolium, Panax spp., Panax trifolius L., panax vietnamensis (Vietnamese Ginseng), panaxadial, panaxans, panaxatriol, panaxydol, panaxynol, panaxytriol, pannag, polyacetylenic compounds, poly-furanosyl-pyranosyl-sacchariedes, proprietary ginseng root extract (Cold-FX, CV Technologies Inc., Edmonton, AB), protopanaxadiol ginsenosides, quinqueginsin, racine de ginseng, red ginseng, renshen, sam, sanchi ginseng, san-pi, sang, schinsent, sei yang seng, shanshen, shen-fu, shen-sai-seng, shenghaishen, shenlu, shenshaishanshen, siyojin, stress-buster, sun ginseng, t'ang-sne, tartar root, tienchi ginseng, to-kai-san, triterpenoids, true ginseng, tyosenninzin, vanillic acid, Vietnamese ginseng, Western ginseng, Western sea ginseng, white ginseng, wild ginseng, woodsgrown (wild-stimulated) ginseng root, xi shen, xi yang shen, yakuyo ninjin, yakuyo ninzin, yang shen, yeh-shan-seng, yuan-seng, yuansheng, zhuzishen.
Panax ginseng synonyms: Aralia (botanical synonym), Aralia ginseng Mey, Araliaceae (family), Asian ginseng, Asiatic ginseng, Chinese ginseng, G115®, Gincosan (a combination of 120mg Ginkgo biloba and 200mg Panax ginseng), Ginsai®, ginseng asiatique, ginsengjuuri, ginseng radix, ginseng root, Japanese ginseng, jintsam, Korean ginseng, Korean Panax ginseng, Korean red, Korean red ginseng, kuhuang shenmai injection (KHSM), ninjin, Oriental ginseng, Panax, Panax ginseng, Panax ginseng C. Meyer, Panax schinseng, Panax schinseng Nees, Panax spp., radix ginseng rubra, red ginseng, ren shen (TCM), renshen (TCM), Renxian, sang, schinsent, seng, shen, shenmai, shenmai huoxue decoction (SMHXD), shenmai injection (SMI), shengmai, shengmai chenggu capsule, shengmai injection (SI), shengmai san (SMS), shengmai-san, shengmaisan, shengmaiyin, white ginseng.
American ginseng synonyms: American ginseng, amerikan ginseng, amerikanischer Ginseng, amerikkalainen ginseng, Anchi ginseng, Aralia quinquefolia Decne. & Planch (botanical synonym), Araliaceae (family), Canadian ginseng, CVT - E 002, five fingers, five leafed ginseng, garantoquen, ginseng, ginseng d'Amerique, ginsenosides poly-furanosyl-pyranosyl-saccharides, man-root, man's health, North American ginseng, Occidental ginseng, Ontario ginseng, Panax quincefolium, Panax quinquefolium, Panax quinquefolius, redberry, red berry, ren shen, sang, shang (TCM), tartar root, TCM, tienchi ginseng, western ginseng, wild American ginseng, Wisconsin ginseng, xi yang shen.
Siberian ginseng synonyms: Acanthopanax senticosus, ci wu jia, ciwujia, devil's bush, devil's shrub, eleuthera, eleuthero, eleuthero ginseng, eleutherococ, eleutherococci radix, Eleutherococcus, Eleutherococcus senticosus, phytoestrogen, shigoka, touch-me-not, wild pepper, wu-jia, wu-jia-pi, ussuri, ussurian thorny pepperbrush.
Note: Siberian ginseng is not covered in this review. Avoid confusing Panax ginseng species with Eleutherococcus senticosus, which is also known as Siberian ginseng. Other species may be referred to as ginseng as well, but they are either from a different family or genus. Examples include Eleutherococcus senticosus (Siberian ginseng), Pseudostellaria heterophylla (prince ginseng), Angelica sinensis (female ginseng, or dong quai), Withania somnifera (Indian ginseng or ashwagandha), Pfaffia paniculata (Brazilian ginseng), Lepidium meyenii (Peruvian ginseng or maca), Gynostemma pentaphyllum (southern ginseng or jiaogulan).
The term ginseng refers to several species of the genus Panax. For more than 2,000 years, the roots of this slow-growing plant have been valued in Chinese medicine. The two most commonly used species are Asian ginseng (Panax ginseng C. A. Meyer), which is almost extinct in its natural habitat but is still cultivated, and American ginseng (P. quinquefolius L.), which is both harvested from the wild and cultivated. Panax ginseng should not be confused with Siberian ginseng (Eleutherococcus senticosus). In Russia, Siberian ginseng was promoted as a cheaper alternative to ginseng and was believed to have identical benefits. However, Siberian ginseng does not contain the ginsenosides found in the Panax species, which are believed to be active ingredients and have been studied.
EvidenceDISCLAIMER: These uses have been tested in humans or animals. Safety and effectiveness have not always been proven. Some of these conditions are potentially serious, and should be evaluated by a qualified healthcare provider.
Ginseng appears to have antioxidant effects that may benefit patients with heart disorders. Some studies suggest that ginseng also reduces oxidation of low-density lipoprotein (LDL or "bad") cholesterol and brain tissue. Better studies are needed to make a firm recommendation.
High blood sugar/glucose intolerance:
Several studies suggest ginseng may lower blood sugar levels in patients with type 2 diabetes before and after meals. These results are promising, especially because ginseng does not seem to lower blood sugar to dangerous levels. Future research should focus on the long-term effects of ginseng in managing blood sugar levels.
Immune system enhancement:
Several studies report that ginseng may boost the immune system, improve the effectiveness of antibiotics in people with acute bronchitis, and enhance the body's response to flu vaccines. Additional studies are needed before a clear conclusion can be reached.
Type 2 diabetes (adult-onset):
Several human studies report that ginseng may lower blood sugar levels in patients with type 2 diabetes. Long-term effects are not clear, and it is not known what doses are safe or effective. People with diabetes should seek the care of a qualified healthcare practitioner and should not use ginseng instead of more proven therapies. Effects of ginseng in type 1 diabetes ("insulin dependent") are not well studied.
Weak studies suggest that ginseng in combination with other herbs may improve cell activity, immune function, and red and white blood cell counts in patients with aplastic anemia. Other studies have found decreases in blood cell counts. High-quality studies of ginseng alone are needed.
Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD):
Early small studies suggest that American ginseng may help treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder in children. However, there is currently not enough evidence to support this use of ginseng.
Birth outcomes (anoxemic encephalopathy):
There is currently not enough evidence to support the use of ginseng for this condition. High-quality studies are needed to understand this relationship.
Limited research suggests that ginseng has positive effects on breathing. Further studies are needed in this area.
Early studies suggest that ginseng injections may help patients undergoing chemotherapy for various types of cancer. Ginseng may improve body weight, quality of life, and the immune response. Although this evidence is promising, the effect of ginseng alone is not clear. More research using ginseng alone is needed.
A few studies report that ginseng taken by mouth may lower the risk of developing some cancers, especially if ginseng powder or extract is used. Study results are controversial, and more research is needed before a clear conclusion can be reached.
Cardiovascular risk reduction:
Current evidence does not support the use of ginseng to reduce the risk of heart disease. Some evidence suggests that ginseng may improve blood pressure, blood sugar levels, and cholesterol. High-quality studies are needed.
Chronic hepatitis B:
Early studies show that ginseng may improve some aspects of liver function but not others. More research is needed in this area.
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD):
Ginseng was reported to improve lung function and exercise capacity in patients with COPD. Further research is needed to confirm these results.
Congestive heart failure:
Based on limited research, it is unclear if ginseng improves congestive heart failure. High-quality studies looking at the effect of ginseng alone are needed.
Coronary artery disease:
Several studies from China report that ginseng in combination with various other herbs may reduce symptoms of coronary artery disease. Without further evidence on the effects of ginseng specifically, a firm conclusion cannot be reached.
Early small studies report that Fuyuan mixture, an herbal combination that contains ginseng, may improve symptoms of multi-infarct dementia. The effects of ginseng alone are not clear, and no firm conclusion can be drawn.
Diabetic complications (kidney damage) :
Early evidence suggests that a form of ginseng not commonly available in the United States may improve kidney damage in patients with diabetes. Some research suggests thatPanax notoginsengmay be as effective as the prescription drug Ticlid®. However, more research is needed.
Early studies suggest that ginseng may help treat erectile dysfunction. Additional high-quality studies are needed.
Athletes commonly use ginseng as a potential way to improve stamina. However, it remains unclear if ginseng taken by mouth significantly affects exercise performance. Many studies have been published in this area, with mixed results. Better studies are necessary before a clear conclusion can be reached.
A few studies using ginseng extract G115® (with or without multivitamins) report improvements in patients with fatigue of various causes. However, these results are early, and studies have not been high quality.
Early evidence in infants with peri-anal abscesses or anal fistulas suggests that GTTC (Ginseng and Tang-kuei Ten Combination) may speed up recovery. Further research is needed to confirm these results.
Heart damage (cardiac bypass complications):
Early studies suggest that ginseng may have a positive effect on complications of cardiac bypass surgery, including decreasing damage to the lining of the digestive tract. Well-designed studies are needed before a strong recommendation can be made.
High blood pressure:
Early research suggests that ginseng may lower blood pressure (systolic and diastolic). It is not clear what doses may be safe or effective. Well-conducted studies are needed to confirm these early results.
Several low-quality studies have examined the effects ofPanax ginsengon cholesterol levels. Results are mixed. More studies are needed to understand the effects of ginseng on cholesterol levels.
Idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura (refractory):
Combination herbal products containing ginseng may help treat refractory idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura, a blood disorder that does not respond well to treatment. Studies that use ginseng alone are needed.
Intracranial pressure (ICP):
Early research reports that Xuesaitong injection (XSTI), a preparation ofPanax notoginseng, may help decrease pressure inside the skull and benefit coma patients. Further study is needed to confirm these results.
Kidney dysfunction (hemorrhagic fever with renal syndrome):
A combination of herbs that included ginseng was not better than treatment with a conventional medicine plus traditional Chinese medicine. More research is needed in this area because the effects of ginseng alone are unknown.
Early studies suggest that ginseng may have protective effects on the liver. Additional human study is warranted in this area.
Several studies have looked at the effects of ginseng in a variety of lung conditions. Early results are promising, but many studies have used combination products, making it difficult to evaluate the effect of ginseng. More research using ginseng alone is needed in this area.
Early evidence suggests that ginseng may improve male fertility by increasing the number and movement of sperm. Further studies are needed to determine what dose may be safe and effective.
Based on limited research, it is unclear if ginseng may help treat menopausal symptoms. Some studies report improvements in depression and sense of well-being, without changes in hormone levels.
Several studies report that ginseng may modestly improve thinking or learning. Benefits have been seen both in healthy young people and in older ill patients. Effects have also been reported with a combination of ginseng andGinkgo biloba. However, some mixed results have also been reported. Therefore, even though most available evidence supports this use of ginseng, better research is needed before a strong recommendation can be made.
Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA):
In patients treated with Hochu-ekki-to, which contains ginseng and several other herbs, urinary MRSA has been reported to decrease after 10 weeks. Further study of ginseng alone is necessary in order to draw firm conclusions.
Mood and cognition in post-menopausal women:
A review of several studies suggested that ginseng may improve mood and anxiety in postmenopausal women. Additional studies are needed before a firm conclusion may be drawn.
Early studies suggest that ginseng may have beneficial effects on neurological disorders. High-quality studies are needed in this area.
Postoperative recovery (breast cancer):
Early studies have tested the effect of a combination product containing ginseng on recovery after surgery among breast cancer patients. Results suggest no benefits in cell counts, but a slightly faster recovery of the iron-carrying component of red blood cells (called hemoglobin). Studies using ginseng alone are needed.
Pregnancy problems (intrauterine growth retardation):
Early studies have found that components ofPanax ginsengmight be useful in treating intrauterine growth retardation. Larger, well-designed studies are needed in this area.
Early studies suggest that applying an herbal combination containingPanax ginsengon the penis may help treat premature ejaculation. However, because ginseng was tested with other herbs, its individual effects are unclear.
Quality of life:
There is early evidence thatPanax ginsengor American ginseng may help improve quality of life in both healthy and ill patients, although effects may not be long-lasting unless ginseng is taken continually. More research is needed in this area before a firm conclusion can be reached.
Radiation therapy side effects:
Early studies suggest that ginseng may improve fatigue and measures of well-being among patients receiving radiation therapy. However, there is not enough evidence to recommend the use ofPanax ginsengor American ginseng for this use.
Ginseng (CVT-E002) may be safe, well tolerated, and potentially effective for preventing acute respiratory illnesses caused by the flu or the respiratory syncytial virus. More study is needed in this area.
Sexual arousal (in women):
Early studies suggest that a product containingPanax ginseng, L-arginine,Ginkgo biloba, damiana, and multivitamin/minerals may improve sexual function in menopausal women and women with decreased sex drives. Studies withPanax ginsengalone are needed before strong recommendations can be made.
Poorly described research in patients treated with Shenmai and Shengmai injection (a ginseng preparation) report that there may be some improvement in heart function. More studies are needed before a clear conclusion can be drawn.
Several studies have examined the effects of ginseng (with or without multivitamins) on overall well-being in healthy and ill patients, for up to 12 weeks. Most studies are not high quality, and results are mixed. It remains unclear if ginseng is beneficial for well-being in any patient.
TraditionWARNING: DISCLAIMER: The below uses are based on tradition, scientific theories, or limited research. They often have not been thoroughly tested in humans, and safety and effectiveness have not always been proven. Some of these conditions are potentially serious, and should be evaluated by a qualified healthcare provider. There may be other proposed uses that are not listed below.
Adults (over 18 years old)
Many different doses are used traditionally. Practitioners sometimes recommended that after using ginseng continuously for 2-3 weeks, people should take a break for 1-2 weeks. Long-term dosing should not exceed 1 gram of dry root daily.
Capsules containing 100-200 milligrams of a standardized ginseng extract (4% ginsenosides) have been taken by mouth once or twice daily for up to 12 weeks. 0.5-2 grams of dry ginseng root, taken daily by mouth in divided doses, has also been used. E. senticosus dry extract at a dose of 300 milligrams daily was used for eight weeks to improve quality of life in elderly patients. A ginseng root extract has been studied in athletes for 28 days at a dose of 400 milligrams daily. Higher doses are sometimes given in studies or under the supervision of a qualified healthcare provider. A decoction of 1-2 grams added to 150 milliliters of water, has been taken by mouth daily. A 1:1 (grams per milliliter) fluid extract has been taken as 1-2 milliliters by mouth daily. 5-10 milliliters (about 1-2 teaspoons) of a 1:5 (grams per milliliter) tincture has been taken by mouth daily.
Panax ginseng tea may be made by soaking about 3,000 milligrams (3 grams) of chopped fresh root or 1,500 milligrams (1.5 grams) of dried root powder in about 5 ounces of boiling water for 5-15 minutes and then straining the tea. Some sources suggest consuming ginseng tea via the above method 3-4 times daily for 3-4 weeks.
When applied on the skin, 0.20 grams of SS-cream containing ginseng has been used to treat premature ejaculation.
Children (under 18 years old)
There is not enough scientific information available to recommend the safe use of ginseng in children.
SafetyDISCLAIMER: Many complementary techniques are practiced by healthcare professionals with formal training, in accordance with the standards of national organizations. However, this is not universally the case, and adverse effects are possible. Due to limited research, in some cases only limited safety information is available.
People with known allergies to Panax species and/or plants in the Araliaceae family should avoid ginseng. Signs of allergy may include rash, itching, or shortness of breath. Inhalation of ginseng root dust has been associated with immediate and late-onset asthma.
Side Effects and Warnings
Ginseng has been well tolerated by most people in scientific studies when used at recommended doses, and serious side effects appear to be rare.
Based on limited evidence, long-term use may be associated with skin rash or spots, itching, diarrhea, sore throat, loss of appetite, excitability, anxiety, depression, or insomnia. Less common reported side effects include headache, fever, dizziness, chest pain, difficult menstruation, heartburn, heart palpitations, rapid heart rate, leg swelling, nausea/vomiting, or manic episodes in people with bipolar disorder.
Consumption of ginseng may increase or and decrease blood pressure. Caution should be used in those with high or low blood pressure or in those taking drugs for either of these conditions.
There is report of seizures after high consumption of energy drinks containing caffeine, guarana, and herbal supplements, including ginseng.
Based on human research, ginseng may lower blood sugar levels. This effect may be greater in patients with diabetes than in non-diabetics. Use cautiously in patients with diabetes or hypoglycemia, and in those taking drugs, herbs, or supplements that affect blood sugar. Blood glucose levels may need to be monitored by a healthcare provider, and medication adjustments may be necessary.
There are reports of nosebleeds and vaginal bleeding with ginseng use, although scientific study is limited in this area. There is also evidence in humans of ginseng reducing the effectiveness of the "blood thinning" medication warfarin (Coumadin®). Caution is advised in patients with bleeding disorders or taking drugs that may affect the risk of bleeding or blood clotting. Dosing adjustments may be necessary.
Several cases of severe drops in white blood cell counts were reported in people using a combination product containing ginseng in the 1970s; this may have been due to contamination.
Ginseng may have estrogen-like effects and has been associated with reports of breast tenderness, loss of menstrual periods, vaginal bleeding after menopause, breast enlargement (reported in men), difficulty developing or maintaining an erection, or increased "sexual responsiveness." Avoid use of ginseng in patients with hormone sensitive conditions, such as breast cancer, uterine cancer, or endometriosis.
A severe life-threatening rash known as Stevens-Johnson syndrome occurred in one patient and may have been due to contaminants in a ginseng product. A case report describes liver damage (cholestatic hepatitis) after taking a combination product containing ginseng.
High doses of ginseng have been associated with rare cases of temporary swelling of blood vessels in the brain (cerebral arteritis), abnormal dilation of the pupils of the eye or confusion.
Pregnancy and Breastfeeding
Ginseng has been used traditionally in pregnant and breastfeeding women. Animal studies and early human research suggests that ginseng may be safe, although safety has not been clearly established in humans. Therefore, ginseng use cannot be recommended during pregnancy or breastfeeding. Neonatal death and the development of male characteristics in a developing baby girl after her mother was exposed to ginseng during pregnancy has been reported.
Many tinctures contain high levels of alcohol and should be avoided during pregnancy.