Asian Ginseng - What is it & How to use

What is it?

  • Asian ginseng is native to the Far East, including China and Korea, and has been used for health-related purposes for at least 2,000 years. Asian ginseng is one of several types of ginseng (another is American ginseng, Panax quinquefolius). The terms red ginseng and white ginseng refer to Asian ginseng roots prepared in two different ways. The herb called Siberian ginseng or eleuthero (Eleutherococcus senticosus) is not related to true ginseng.
  • In traditional Chinese medicine, Asian ginseng was used as a tonic that was believed to replenish energy. Today, Asian ginseng is used as a dietary supplement to improve general well-being, physical stamina, and concentration; stimulate immune function; slow the aging process; and relieve various health problems such as respiratory disorders, cardiovascular disorders, depression, anxiety, erectile dysfunction, and menopausal hot flashes.
  • The root of Asian ginseng contains chemical components called ginsenosides (or panaxosides) that are thought to contribute to the herb’s claimed health-related properties.
  • There’s currently no conclusive evidence supporting any health benefits of Asian ginseng.

Safety Concerns

  • Short-term use of Asian ginseng in recommended amounts appears to be safe for most people. However, questions have been raised about its long-term safety, and some experts recommend against its use by infants, children, and women who are pregnant or breastfeeding.
  • The most common side effects of ginseng are headaches, sleep problems, and digestive problems.
  • Some evidence suggests that Asian ginseng might affect blood sugar and blood pressure. If you have diabetes or high blood pressure, consult your health care provider before using Asian ginseng.
  • The risk of interactions between ginseng and medications is believed to be low, but there are uncertainties about whether ginseng might interact with certain medications, such as the anticoagulant (blood thinner) warfarin (Coumadin). If you’re taking medication, consult your health care provider before using Asian ginseng.

* The Content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.