Ginseng: American, Asian, Siberian

Herbal Supplements

Peer Reviewed

Ginseng Ancient Medicine

There are three types of ginseng: American, Asian, and Siberian, and each has similar medicinal properties. However, Siberian ginseng is not from the same botanical family as the American and Asian varieties. Ginseng preparations are made from the plant's tan colored root.

Each ginseng type may help alleviate stress (physical, mental, environmental), fatigue (increases endurance, stamina), poor mental performance (eg, concentration), symptoms associated with menopause, and may protect against colds. Herbalists report that ginseng helps promote well-being and improves energy levels. In addition, Siberian ginseng has been used to treat atherosclerosis and some kidney disorders.

Sources of Ginseng
Ginseng is available in the following forms: white or red ginseng dried, peeled or unpeeled (in water or water/alcohol), liquid and solid extracts, tinctures, powders, capsules, and tablets. Purchase standardized products.

Guidelines and Cautions
Always follow package directions.

  • Ginseng may cause insomnia, irregular heartbeat, nervousness, and/or sweating if taken with other stimulants (eg, coffee).

Do not take ginseng if the following exist:

  • High or low blood pressure
  • Heart or kidney disease
  • Pregnant or nursing
  • Avoid using large amounts of ginseng if you have hypoglycemia

Ginseng may adversely react to the following medications:

  • Anti-psychotics
  • Antidepressants
  • Steroids
  • Drugs taken to treat blood pressure and diabetes

Disclaimer: Many people report feeling improvement in their condition and/or general well-being taking dietary, vitamin, mineral, and/or herbal supplements. The Editorial Board of, however, cannot endorse such products since most lack peer-reviewed scientific validation of their claims. In most cases an appropriate diet and a "multiple vitamin" will provide the necessary dietary supplements for most individuals. Prior to taking additional dietary, vitamin, mineral, and/or herbal supplements it is recommended that patients consult with their personal physician to discuss their specific supplement requirements.

Updated on: 03/22/16
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