Major therapeutic interest

  • Improving cognitive functions and mental capacities;
  • Stimulating the system during periods of intense physical activity, stress, or excessive fatigue;
  • Stimulating overall physical and mental well-being;
  • Stimulating the immune system;
  • Improving quality of life during menopause.

Other therapeutic interest / Traditional Use

  • Increasing physical resistance;
  • Using as a restorative agent during convalescence;
  • Improving sexual performance in men (erectile dysfunction when taken orally, premature ejaculation when used topically);
  • Increasing libido in both sexes;
  • Stabilizing blood sugar levels in type 2 diabetes;
  • Decreasing susceptibility to illness;
  • Improving overall health and longevity (in traditional Chinese medicine).


  • Breast cancer, ovarian cancer, uterine cancer, or if close relatives have been diagnosed with hormone-dependent cancers as the estrogenic compounds in ginseng may promote growth of estrogen-dependent tumors;
  • Insomnia;
  • Schizophrenia: Possible nervousness and insomnia;
  • Bleeding disorders;
  • Pre-menopausal women with irregular hormone cycles;
  • Pregnancy;
  • Breastfeeding: Safety has not yet been established;
  • When used with other stimulants like caffeine, tea, cocaine, amphetamine, or ephedrine its derivatives;
  • High blood pressure;
  • Heart problems;
  • Diabetes: May trigger hypoglycemia (use carefully, with closely monitored blood glucose levels);
  • Compromised immune system, autoimmune disease and degenerative diseases like multiple sclerosis, lupus, and rheumatoid arthritis;
  • Following an organ or tissue transplant (risk of rejection).

Important Notice

  • It is recommended that you stop taking ginseng 1 week before surgery.

Drug Interactions

Known human interactions

  • Antidiuretic effect observed with Lasix (Furosemide);
  • High blood pressure when taken with caffeine;
  • Decreased effect of Coumadin (one reported case).

Known animal interactions

  • Stabilization of blood sugar levels resulting in possible potentiation of the effects of insulin and oral antidiabetic drugs like Actos, Diabeta, Diamicron, Avandia, and Glucophage;

Suspected interactions

  • May increase the effects of anticoagulants/antithrombotic agents (Coumadin, Lovenox, heparin, etc.), anti-platelet drugs (Plavix, Ticlid), and of salicylic acid derivatives (acetylsalicylic acid or ASA, aspirin, Entrophen, etc.) and other nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) (Voltaren, Ibuprofen [Advil, Motrin], Naprosyn, etc.);
  • May reduce the effects of corticosteroids like Prednisone and immunosuppressive drugs like Imuran, Neoral, Sandimmune, and Prograf, etc.;
  • May alter metabolism of codeine, Clozaril, Norpramin, Aricept, Duragesic, Tambocor, Prozac, Demerol, and many others;
  • May reduce the sedative effects of drugs acting on the central nervous system like Ativan, Lectopam, Oxazepam, Valium, Xanax (Alprazolam), and barbiturates, etc.;
  • May increase the effect of some antidepressants, and possibly increase the effects of Nardil, Parnate, etc. (monoamine oxidase inhibitors [MAOIs]), ; possible headaches, insomnia, hypomania;
  • May increase effects of stimulants like theophylline, caffeine, and ephedrine and its derivatives (like synephrine and phenylephrine): Benylin, Dimetapp, DM Decongestant, Dristan, Neo Citran, Sudafed, etc.;
  • May alter the effects of hormone replacement therapy (Premarin, Evista, etc.), tamoxifen (Tamofen), and oral contraceptives (Alesse, Diane-35, Marvelon, Min-Ovral, Ortho 0.5/35, Triphasil, etc.)

Scientific name

Panax ginseng


Panax, Chinese ginseng, Korean ginseng, Asian ginseng

Parts used

Fresh or dried root

Main constituents

  • Ginsenosides, amino acids and peptides, essential oil, vitamins (B1, B2, B12, and C), folic acid, sterols, fatty acid, mineral substances, and trace elements.