- What other names is Ginseng, Panax known by?
- What is Ginseng, Panax?
- How does Ginseng, Panax work?
- Are there safety concerns?
- Are there any interactions with medications?
- Dosing considerations for Ginseng, Panax.
Asian Ginseng, Asiatic Ginseng, Chinese Ginseng, Chinese Red Ginseng, Ginseng, Ginseng Asiatique, Ginseng Blanc, Ginseng Blanc de Corée, Ginseng Chinois, Ginseng Coréen, Ginseng Coréen Rouge, Ginseng de Corée, Ginseng Japonais, Ginseng Oriental, Ginseng Panax, Ginseng Radix Alba, Ginseng Root, Ginseng Rouge, Ginseng Sino-coréen, Ginseng Tibétain, Guigai, Hong Shen, Japanese Ginseng, Jen-Shen, Jinsao, Jintsam, Insam, Korean Ginseng, Korean Ginseng Root, Korean Panax, Korean Panax Ginseng, Korean Red Ginseng, Korean White Ginseng, Manchurian Ginseng, Mandragore de Chine, Ninjin, Ninzin, Oriental Ginseng, Panax Coréen, Panax Ginseng Blanc, Panax schinseng, Racine de Vie, Radix Ginseng Rubra, Red Chinese Ginseng, Red Ginseng, Red Kirin Ginseng, Red Korean Ginseng, Red Panax Ginseng, Ren Shen, Renshen, Renxian, Sang, Seng, Sheng Shai Shen, Tibetan Ginseng, White Ginseng, White Panax Ginseng.
Panax ginseng is a plant that grows in Korea, northeastern China, and far eastern Siberia. People use the root to make medicine. Do not confuse Panax ginseng with American ginseng, Siberian ginseng, or Panax pseudoginseng. See the separate listings for American Ginseng, Ashwaganda, Blue Cohosh, Canaigre, Codonopsis, Panax Pseudoginseng, and Siberian Ginseng.
Panax ginseng is taken by mouth to improve thinking, concentration, memory, Alzheimer's disease, work efficiency, physical stamina, preventing muscle damage from exercise, and athletic endurance.
Some people use Panax ginseng to help them cope with stress and as a general tonic for improving well-being. They sometimes call Panax ginseng an "adaptogen" when it's used in this way.
Panax ginseng is also used for depression, anxiety, general fatigue and chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS), multiple sclerosis, for boosting the immune system, and for fighting particular infections in a lung disease called cystic fibrosis. These infections are caused by a bacterium named Pseudomonas.
Other uses include treatment of anemia, chronic bronchitis, swine flu, prediabetes and diabetes, inflammation of the stomach lining (gastritis), fever, hangover, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), HIV/AIDS, fertility problems and sexual dysfunction in men, to increase sexual arousal in women, and asthma.
Panax ginseng is also used for bleeding disorders, loss of appetite, vomiting, intestinal problems, gallstones, bad breath, fibromyalgia, sleeping problems (insomnia), nerve pain, joint pain, dizziness, headache, hearing loss, convulsions, disorders of pregnancy and childbirth, hot flashes due to menopause, common cold and flu, heart failure, high blood pressure, quality of life, wrinkled skin, and to slow the aging process.
Possibly Effective for...
- Alzheimer's disease. Evidence shows that taking Panax ginseng root daily for 12 weeks can improve mental performance in people with Alzheimer's disease.
- Lung disease called chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Taking Panax ginseng by mouth seems to improve lung function and some symptoms of COPD.
- Mental function. Taking Panax ginseng by mouth might improve abstract thinking, mental arithmetic skills, and reaction times in healthy, middle-aged people but not in young adults. Panax ginseng alone does not seem to improve memory. But there is some evidence that a combination of Panax ginseng and ginkgo leaf extract can improve memory in otherwise healthy people between the ages of 38 and 66.
- Erectile dysfunction (ED). Taking Panax ginseng by mouth seems to improve sexual function in men with erectile dysfunction.
- Flu. Taking a specific Panax ginseng by mouth appears to reduce the risk of getting a cold or the flu. But, taking Panax ginseng does not seem to reduce flu symptoms or the length of the illness.
- Multiple sclerosis-related fatigue. Taking Panax ginseng daily for 3 months reduces feelings of tiredness and improves quality of life in females with MS.
- Premature ejaculation. Applying a cream containing Panax ginseng, angelica root, Cistanches deserticola, Zanthoxyl species, torlidis seed, clover flower, asiasari root, cinnamon bark, and toad venom (SS Cream) to the penis one hour before intercourse and washing off immediately before intercourse seems to help prevent premature ejaculation.
- Sexual arousal. Taking powdered Korean red ginseng, a specific form of Panax ginseng, seems to improve sexual arousal and satisfaction in postmenopausal women. Also, using a specific product containing Korean red ginseng and other ingredients (ArginMax for Women, Daily Wellness Company) seems to improve sexual desire in women who report sexual problems.
Possibly Ineffective for...
- Athletic performance. Taking Panax ginseng by mouth for up to 8 weeks does not improve exercise performance.
Insufficient Evidence to Rate Effectiveness for...
- Age-related memory loss. Taking a specific product containing Panax ginseng and other ingredients (Memo, Pharco Pharmaceuticals) by mouth for 4 weeks improves memory in elderly people with some mental impairment.
- Breast cancer. Research conducted in China suggests that some people with breast cancer treated with any form of ginseng (American or Panax) have a higher quality of life and lower risk of death. However, this might not be a result of taking the ginseng. The people in the study were also likely to be treated with the prescription anticancer drug tamoxifen. It is difficult to know how much of the benefit to attribute to ginseng.
- Infection of the airways in the lung (bronchitis). Taking a specific Panax ginseng extract (G115) by mouth, combined with antibiotics, might be more effective in killing bacteria in the lungs of people with long-term bronchitis than antibiotic treatment alone.
- Cancer. Research suggests that taking ginseng by mouth might decrease the occurrence of some types of cancer, including stomach cancer, lung cancer, liver cancer, ovarian cancer, and skin cancer. However, other research shows that Panax ginseng doesn't reduce the risk of getting cancer. But several studies show that Panax ginseng might slow cancer growth and improve quality of life in cancer patients.
- Common cold. There is some evidence that taking a specific Panax ginseng extract (G115) by mouth can decrease the chance of catching a cold.
- Heart failure. Taking Panax ginseng by mouth daily, without or without conventional medications, seems to improve heart function.
- Diabetes. There is inconsistent evidence about the effects of Panax ginseng on diabetes. Some research shows that taking Panax ginseng by mouth daily can improve blood sugar levels. However, other research suggests that taking Panax ginseng (AIPOP, Gangdown-Do, Korea) or Korean red ginseng, a type of Panax ginseng, by mouth does not improve blood sugar levels in people with diabetes.
- Fatigue. Research suggests that taking Panax ginseng daily for 4 weeks reduces some, but not all, symptoms of fatigue.
- Fibromyalgia. Research suggests that taking Panax ginseng root extract by mouth daily for 12 weeks does not improve pain, tiredness, sleep quality, anxiety, tender points, or quality of life in people with fibromyalgia.
- Gallbladder disease. Research suggests that taking Panax ginseng together with medication for 24 weeks does not reduce gallstones.
- Bad breath. Early research suggests that taking Korean red ginseng, a type of Panax ginseng, daily for 10 weeks helps reduce bad breath. This is especially true in people with stomach ulcers from H. pylori infection.
- Hangover. Research suggests that drinking a beverage containing Panax ginseng extract within 5 minutes of drinking alcohol and eating a piece of cheese might lower blood alcohol levels and reduce hangover symptoms.
- Hearing loss. Early research suggests that taking Panax ginseng for 14 days reduces temporary hearing loss caused by loud noise. But it might be less effective than N-acetyl cysteine at preventing temporary hearing loss caused by loud noise.
- HIV. Early evidence shows that Korean red ginseng, a type of Panax ginseng, might increase immune function. But it does not affect how much of the HIV virus is circulating in the blood of people with HIV.
- High blood pressure. There is inconsistent evidence about the effects of Panax ginseng on blood pressure in people with high blood pressure. Some early research shows that taking Panax ginseng in three divided doses daily for 8 weeks slightly reduces blood pressure in people with high blood pressure. But taking a specific Panax ginseng product (Ginseol K-g1) daily for 8 weeks does not reduce blood pressure in people with mildly high blood pressure.
- Prediabetes. Taking a combination of Korean red ginseng and cheonggukjang, a type of fermented soybean paste, can reduce pre-meal blood sugar levels in people with prediabetes. Also taking fermented Panax ginseng can reduce post-meal blood sugar levels and increase post-meal insulin levels in people with prediabetes.
- Male infertility. Swollen prostate caused by Chlamydia infection is associated with reduced male fertility. Early research suggests that taking a specific product containing Panax ginseng (Fertimev) along with an antibiotic improves sperm concentration and sperm movement in people with swollen prostate caused by Chlamydia.
- Memory. Taking a specific Panax ginseng extract (G115) together with vitamins, minerals, and dimethylaminoethanol bitartrate might improve memory in people with memory problems.
- Menopausal symptoms. Panax ginseng seems to improve some, but not all, symptoms associated with menopause. Some early research suggests that Panax ginseng might improve quality of life and menopausal symptoms, such as fatigue, insomnia, and depression in postmenopausal women. Panax ginseng also seems to reduce cholesterol levels in postmenopausal women. There are mixed results regarding whether Panax ginseng reduces hot flashes. Panax ginseng does not appear to improve memory or concentration in postmenopausal women.
- Quality of life. While some research suggests that Panax ginseng might improve quality of life, other research shows no benefit.
- Wrinkled skin. Early research shows that taking a combination of Korean red ginseng root with Torilus fructus and Corni fructus daily for 24 weeks might reduce wrinkles. But it does not appear to affect skin moisture, elasticity, thickness, or color.
- Fluid retention.
- Stomach inflammation and other digestive problems.
- Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS).
- Swine flu.
- Sleeping problems (insomnia).
- Disorders of pregnancy and childbirth.
- Bleeding disorders.
- Loss of appetite.
- Nerve pain.
- Joint pain.
- Other conditions.
Panax ginseng contains many active substances. The substances thought to be most important are called ginsenosides or panaxosides. Ginsenosides is the term coined by Asian researchers, and the term panaxosides was chosen by early Russian researchers.
Panax ginseng is often referred to as a general well-being medication, because it affects many different systems of the body.
Panax ginseng is POSSIBLY SAFE when applied to the skin as part of a multi-ingredient product (SS Cream), in the short-term.
Panax ginseng is POSSIBLY UNSAFE when taken by mouth, long-term (more than 6 months). Researchers think it may have some hormone-like effects that could be harmful with prolonged use.
The most common side effect is trouble sleeping (insomnia). Less commonly, people experience menstrual problems, breast pain, increased heart rate, high or low blood pressure, headache, loss of appetite, diarrhea, itching, rash, dizziness, mood changes, vaginal bleeding, and other side effects.
Special Precautions & Warnings:Pregnancy and breast-feeding: Panax ginseng is POSSIBLY UNSAFE when taking by mouth during pregnancy. One of the chemicals in Panax ginseng has been found to cause birth defects in animals. Do not use Panax ginseng if you are pregnant.
Not enough is known about the safety of Panax ginseng during breast-feeding. Stay on the safe side and avoid use.
Infants and children: Panax ginseng is LIKELY UNSAFE in infants and children. Using Panax ginseng in babies has been linked to poisoning that can be fatal. The safety of Panax ginseng in older children is not known. Until more is known, do not use Panax ginseng even in older children.
"Auto-immune diseases" such as multiple sclerosis (MS), lupus (systemic lupus erythematosus, SLE), rheumatoid arthritis (RA), or other conditions: Panax ginseng seems to increase the activity of the immune system. It might make auto-immune diseases worse. Don't use Panax ginseng if you have any auto-immune condition.
Bleeding conditions: Panax ginseng seems to interfere with blood clotting. Don't use Panax ginseng if you have a bleeding condition.
Heart conditions: Panax ginseng can affect heart rhythm and blood pressure slightly on the first day it is used. However, there are usually no changes with continued use. Nevertheless, Panax ginseng has not been studied in people with cardiovascular disease. Use Panax ginseng with caution if you have heart disease.
Diabetes: Panax ginseng might lower blood sugar. In people with diabetes who are taking medications to lower blood sugar, adding Panax ginseng might lower blood sugar too much. Monitor your blood sugar closely if you have diabetes and use Panax ginseng.
Hormone-sensitive conditions such as breast cancer, uterine cancer, ovarian cancer, endometriosis, or uterine fibroids: Panax ginseng contains chemicals (ginsenosides) that can act like estrogen. If you have any condition that might be made worse by exposure to estrogen, don't use Panax ginseng.
Trouble sleeping (insomnia): High doses of Panax ginseng have been linked with insomnia. If you have trouble sleeping, use Panax ginseng with caution.
Organ transplant: Panax ginseng might make the immune system more active. This could interfere with the effectiveness of medications that are given after an organ transplant to reduce the chance that the organ will be rejected. If you have received an organ transplant, don't use Panax ginseng.
Schizophrenia (a mental disorder): High doses of Panax ginseng have been linked with sleep problems and agitation in people with schizophrenia. Be careful when using Panax ginseng if you have schizophrenia.
Organ transplant: Panax ginseng might make the immune system more active. This could interfere with the effectiveness of medications that are given after an organ transplant to reduce the chance that the organ will be rejected. If you have received an organ transplant, don't use Panax ginseng.
AlcoholInteraction Rating: Moderate Be cautious with this combination.Talk with your health provider.
The body breaks down alcohol to get rid of it. Taking Panax ginseng might increase how fast your body gets rid of alcohol.
CaffeineInteraction Rating: Moderate Be cautious with this combination.Talk with your health provider.
Caffeine can speed up the nervous system. By speeding up the nervous system, caffeine can make you feel jittery and speed up your heartbeat. Panax ginseng might also speed up the nervous system. Taking Panax ginseng along with caffeine might cause serious problems, including increased heart rate and high blood pressure. Avoid taking caffeine along with Panax ginseng.
EstrogensInteraction Rating: Moderate Be cautious with this combination.Talk with your health provider.
Panax ginseng might have some of the same effects as estrogen. However, Panax ginseng is not as strong as estrogen pills. Taking Panax ginseng along with estrogen pills might decrease the effects of estrogen pills.
Furosemide (Lasix)Interaction Rating: Moderate Be cautious with this combination.Talk with your health provider.
Some scientists think that Panax ginseng might decrease how well furosemide (Lasix) works. But there isn't enough information to know if this is a big concern.
Imatinib (Gleevec)Interaction Rating: Moderate Be cautious with this combination.Talk with your health provider.
Some medications, including imatinib, are changed and broken down by the liver. There is a report of liver toxicity in a 26 year-old man taking imatinib along with Panax ginseng. It is believed that Panax ginseng decreased how quickly the liver broke down this medication, increasing the effects and side effects of imatinib.
InsulinInteraction Rating: Moderate Be cautious with this combination.Talk with your health provider.
Panax ginseng might decrease blood sugar. Insulin is also used to decrease blood sugar. Taking Panax ginseng along with insulin might cause your blood sugar to be too low. Monitor your blood sugar closely. The dose of your insulin might need to be changed.
Medications changed by the liver (Cytochrome P450 2D6 (CYP2D6) substrates)Interaction Rating: Moderate Be cautious with this combination.Talk with your health provider.
Some medications are changed and broken down by the liver. Panax ginseng might decrease how quickly the liver breaks down some medications. Taking Panax ginseng along with some medications that are changed by the liver can increase the effects and side effects of your medication. Before taking Panax ginseng, talk to your healthcare provider if you take any medications that are changed by the liver.
Some medications that are changed by the liver include amitriptyline (Elavil), clozapine (Clozaril), codeine, desipramine (Norpramin), donepezil (Aricept), fentanyl (Duragesic), flecainide (Tambocor), fluoxetine (Prozac), meperidine (Demerol), methadone (Dolophine), metoprolol (Lopressor, Toprol XL), olanzapine (Zyprexa), ondansetron (Zofran), tramadol (Ultram), trazodone (Desyrel), and others.
Medications changed by the liver (Cytochrome P450 3A4 (CYP3A4) substrates)Interaction Rating: Moderate Be cautious with this combination.Talk with your health provider.
Some medications are changed and broken down by the liver. Panax ginseng might decrease how quickly the liver breaks down some medications. Taking Panax ginseng along with some medications that are changed by the liver can increase the effects and side effects of your medication. Before taking Panax ginseng, talk to your healthcare provider if you take any medications that are changed by the liver.
Some medications that are changed by the liver include calcium channel blockers (diltiazem, nicardipine, verapamil), chemotherapeutic agents (etoposide, paclitaxel, vinblastine, vincristine, vindesine), antifungals (ketoconazole, itraconazole), glucocorticoids, cisapride (Propulsid), alfentanil (Alfenta), fentanyl (Sublimaze), losartan (Cozaar), fluoxetine (Prozac), midazolam (Versed), omeprazole (Prilosec), ondansetron (Zofran), propranolol (Inderal), fexofenadine (Allegra), and numerous others.
Medications for depression (MAOIs)Interaction Rating: Moderate Be cautious with this combination.Talk with your health provider.
Panax ginseng might stimulate the body. Some medications used for depression can also stimulate the body. Taking Panax ginseng with these medications used for depression might cause too much stimulation. This might cause side effects such as anxiousness, headache, restlessness, and insomnia.
Some of these medications used for depression include phenelzine (Nardil), tranylcypromine (Parnate), and others.
Medications for diabetes (Antidiabetes drugs)Interaction Rating: Moderate Be cautious with this combination.Talk with your health provider.
Panax ginseng might decrease blood sugar. Diabetes medications are also used to lower blood sugar. Taking Panax ginseng along with diabetes medications could add to the effects of diabetic medications and lower blood sugar too much. Monitor your blood sugar closely. The dose of your diabetes medication might need to be changed.
Some medications used for diabetes include glimepiride (Amaryl), glyburide (DiaBeta, Glynase PresTab, Micronase), insulin, pioglitazone (Actos), rosiglitazone (Avandia), chlorpropamide (Diabinese), glipizide (Glucotrol), tolbutamide (Orinase), and others.
Medications that can cause an irregular heartbeat (QT interval-prolonging drugs)Interaction Rating: Moderate Be cautious with this combination.Talk with your health provider.
Panax ginseng may cause an abnormal heartbeat when taken short-term. Taking Panax ginseng with drugs that can cause an irregular heartbeat might cause serious side effects, including heart rhythm problems (arrhythmias).
Some medications that affect the heartbeat include amiodarone (Cordarone), disopyramide (Norpace), dofetilide (Tikosyn), ibutilide (Corvert), procainamide (Pronestyl), quinidine, sotalol (Betapace), thioridazine (Mellaril), and many others.
Medications that decrease the immune system (Immunosuppressants)Interaction Rating: Moderate Be cautious with this combination.Talk with your health provider.
Panax ginseng increases the immune system. By increasing the immune system, Panax ginseng might decrease the effectiveness of medications that decrease the immune system.
Some medications that decrease the immune system include azathioprine (Imuran), basiliximab (Simulect), cyclosporine (Neoral, Sandimmune), daclizumab (Zenapax), muromonab-CD3 (OKT3, Orthoclone OKT3), mycophenolate (CellCept), tacrolimus (FK506, Prograf), sirolimus (Rapamune), prednisone (Deltasone, Orasone), corticosteroids (glucocorticoids), and others.
Medications that slow blood clotting (Anticoagulant / Antiplatelet drugs)Interaction Rating: Moderate Be cautious with this combination.Talk with your health provider.
Panax ginseng might slow blood clotting. Taking Panax ginseng along with medications that also slow clotting might increase the chances of bruising and bleeding.
Some medications that slow blood clotting include aspirin, cilostazol (Pletal), clopidogrel (Plavix), diclofenac (Voltaren, Cataflam, others), ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin, others), naproxen (Anaprox, Naprosyn, others), dalteparin (Fragmin), enoxaparin (Lovenox), heparin, ticlopidine (Ticlid), warfarin (Coumadin), and others.
Midazolam (Versed)Interaction Rating: Moderate Be cautious with this combination.Talk with your health provider.
Some medications, including midazolam, are changed and broken down by the liver. Panax ginseng might increase how quickly the liver breaks down midazolam. In theory, taking Panax ginseng along with midazolam may decrease the effects of midazolam.
Nifedipine (Procardia)Interaction Rating: Moderate Be cautious with this combination.Talk with your health provider.
Panax ginseng might affect how much nifedipine is available in the body. Taking Panax ginseng along with nifedipine might increase the blood pressure lowering effects of nifedipine.
RaltegravirInteraction Rating: Moderate Be cautious with this combination.Talk with your health provider.
Raltegravir is a drug used to treat people with HIV. Raltegravir has been associated with liver toxicity in some people. Taking Panax ginseng with raltegravir might increase the risk of liver toxicity in some people taking raltegravir.
Stimulant drugsInteraction Rating: Moderate Be cautious with this combination.Talk with your health provider.
Stimulant drugs speed up the nervous system. By speeding up the nervous system, stimulant medications can make you feel jittery and speed up your heartbeat. Panax ginseng might also speed up the nervous system. Taking Panax ginseng along with stimulant drugs might cause serious problems including increased heart rate and high blood pressure. Avoid taking stimulant drugs along with Panax ginseng.
Warfarin (Coumadin)Interaction Rating: Moderate Be cautious with this combination.Talk with your health provider.
Warfarin (Coumadin) is used to slow blood clotting. There is some concern that Panax ginseng might decrease the effectiveness of warfarin (Coumadin). But it's not clear if this interaction is a big problem. Be sure to have your blood checked regularly. The dose of your warfarin (Coumadin) might need to be changed.
Fexofenadine (Allegra)Interaction Rating: Minor Be cautious with this combination.Talk with your health provider.
Fexofenadine is taken to treat seasonal allergies. When taken together with fexofenadine, Panax ginseng might reduce how much fexofenadine is available in the body. However, there isn't enough information to know if this is a big concern.
Medications changed by the liver (Cytochrome P450 1A1 (CYP1A1) substrates)Interaction Rating: Minor Be cautious with this combination.Talk with your health provider.
Some medications are changed and broken down by the liver. Panax ginseng might increase how quickly the liver breaks down some medications. Taking Panax ginseng along with some medications that are changed by the liver can decrease the effects and side effects of your medication. Before taking Panax ginseng, talk to your healthcare provider if you take any medications that are changed by the liver.
The following doses have been studied in scientific research:
- For Alzheimer's disease: 4.5 to 9 grams of Panax ginseng root daily for 12 weeks has been used.
- For chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD): 100 mg to 6 grams of Panax ginseng three times daily for up to 3 months has been used.
- For mental function: 200 to 400 mg of a specific Panax ginseng extract (G115, Pharmaton SA, Lugano, Switzerland) taken once daily or in two divided doses for up to 12 weeks, or 200 to 960 mg as a single dose, has been used.
- For erectile dysfunction: 1400 to 2700 mg of Panax ginseng, taken in two or three divided doses per day for up to 12 weeks, has been used.
- For flu: 200 mg of Panax ginseng extract (G115) daily, starting 4 weeks before getting a flu shot and continuing for 8 weeks after, has been used. Also, 1 gram of Panax ginseng extract three times daily for 12 weeks has also been used.
- For multiple sclerosis-related fatigue: 250 mg of Panax ginseng twice daily for 3 months has been used.
- For sexual arousal: 3 grams of Korean red ginseng, a form of Panax ginseng, daily for 8 weeks has been used. A specific combination product (ArginMax for Women, The Daily Wellness Company), taken daily for 4 weeks, has also been used.
- For premature ejaculation: a cream (SS-Cream) containing Panax ginseng and other ingredients has been applied to the glans penis one hour before intercourse and washed off before intercourse.
Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database rates effectiveness based on scientific evidence according to the following scale: Effective, Likely Effective, Possibly Effective, Possibly Ineffective, Likely Ineffective, and Insufficient Evidence to Rate (detailed description of each of the ratings).
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