Panax Ginseng root extract, side effects, safety, and health benefit
June 3 2018 by
Ray Sahelian, M.D.

The root of the panax ginseng plant has been used in China, Japan, and Korea for many centuries for enhancing vitality. There are several varieties of ginseng sold over the counter: Asian ginseng ( Panax ginseng ), American Ginseng ( Panax quinquefolius ), and Siberian ginseng ( Eleutherococcus Chinensis ) are the most common. Hundreds of ginseng products are available over the counter with different dosages and combinations.

Buy Panax Ginseng root, 500 mg per pill
Supplement Facts:
Panax Ginseng Root 500 mg

Directions: Most people are fine using one pill two or three times a week, taken in the morning before breakfast.

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Benefits and uses of panax ginseng

Alcohol hangover
Food Funct. 2014. Red ginseng relieves the effects of alcohol consumption and hangover symptoms in healthy men: a randomized crossover study.

Panax ginseng and blood sugar
Single doses of this traditional herbal treatment have been shown to lower blood glucose levels and elicit cognitive improvements in healthy volunteers. The specific mechanisms responsible for these effects are not known. However, cognitive improvements may be related to the glycemic properties of panax ginseng. Those with diabetes who plan to take it for prolonged periods should use low dosages since one side effect of high dose use is insomnia.

The glycemic effects of single doses of Panax ginseng in young healthy volunteers.
British J Nutrition. 2006.
The results of two acute placebo-controlled, double-blind cross-over studies assessing the effect of Panax ginseng (G115) on blood glucose levels are reported. In study 1, thirty participants received three treatments: placebo; 200 mg G115; 400 mg G115. In study 2, twenty-seven participants received four treatments: placebo (0 mg ginseng and 30 mg saccharin); ginseng (200 mg ginseng and 30 mg saccharin); placebo-glucose (0 mg ginseng and 25 g oral glucose); ginseng-glucose (200 mg ginseng and 25 g oral glucose). Blood glucose levels were measured at baseline (at 09.00 hours after an overnight fast) and then 60, 90 (study 1 only) and 120 min post-dose. Both studies demonstrated that G115 alone significantly lowers fasting blood glucose levels. Conversely, in study 2 there was a significant drink x ginseng interaction suggesting opposing glycemic effects of ginseng under fasting and raised blood glucose conditions.

J Med Food. 2014. Korean red ginseng improves glucose control in subjects with impaired fasting glucose, impaired glucose tolerance, or newly diagnosed type 2 diabetes mellitus.

Int J Biol Macromol. 2014. Anti-tumour and immunomodulatory activities of oligosaccharides isolated from Panax ginseng C.A. Meyer.

The objective of the current study is to evaluate the protective effects of Panax ginseng extract against acrylamide -induced toxicity in rats. Treatment with Panax ginseng before, during or after acrylamide treatment reduced or partially antagonized the effects induced by acrylamide. It could be concluded that Panax ginseng extract exhibited a protective action against acrylamide toxicity and it is worth noting that treatment with Panax ginseng extract before or at the same time as acrylamide treatment was more effective than when administered after acrylamide treatment.

ACE inhibitor?
Panax ginseng (G115) inhibits ACE activity, but does not affect nitric oxide production in cultured human endothelial cells from umbilical veins (HUVEC) and bovine mesenteric arteries (BMA).

Body temperature
Am J Chin Med. 2014. Efficacy comparison of korean ginseng and american ginseng on body temperature and metabolic parameters. Ginseng has beneficial effects in cancer, diabetes and aging. There are two main varieties of ginseng: Panax ginseng (Korean ginseng) and Panax quinquefolius (American ginseng). There are anecdotal reports that American ginseng helps reduce body temperature, whereas Korean ginseng improves blood circulation and increases body temperature; however, their respective effects on body temperature and metabolic parameters have not been studied. We investigated body temperature and metabolic parameters in mice using a metabolic cage. After administering ginseng extracts acutely (single dose of 1000 mg/kg) or chronically (200 mg/kg/day for four weeks), core body temperature, food intake, oxygen consumption and activity were measured, as well as serum levels of pyrogen-related factors and mRNA expression of metabolic genes. Acute treatment with American ginseng reduced body temperature compared with PBS-treated mice during the night; however, there was no significant effect of ginseng treatment on body temperature after four weeks of treatment. VO 2, VCO 2, food intake, activity and energy expenditure were unchanged after both acute and chronic ginseng treatment compared with PBS treatment. In acutely treated mice, serum thyroxin levels were reduced by red and American ginseng, and the serum prostaglandin E2 level was reduced by American ginseng. In chronically treated mice, red and white ginseng reduced thyroxin levels. We conclude that Korean ginseng does not stimulate metabolism in mice, whereas a high dose of American ginseng may reduce night-time body temperature and pyrogen-related factors.

Panax notoginseng Saponins Improve Erectile Function through Attenuation of Oxidative Stress, Restoration of Akt Activity and Protection of Endothelial and Smooth Muscle Cells in Diabetic Rats with Erectile Dysfunction. Urol Int. 2014.

Interactions with medications
Imatinib and Panax ginseng: A Potential Interaction Resulting in Liver Toxicity.
Ann Pharmacotherapy. 2010.
A 26-year-old man with chronic myelogenous leukemia who had taken imatinib 400 mg daily for 7 years with no complications presented with right upper quadrant pain. Laboratory test results included alanine aminotransferase 1069 U/L, aspartate aminotransferase 481 U/L, alkaline phosphatase 124 IU/L, total bilirubin 1.4 mg/dL, albumin 4 g/dL, and international normalized ratio 1.08. Liver biopsy showed acute lobular hepatitis favoring a drug-induced etiology, and a diagnosis of imatinib-induced hepatotoxicity was made. The patient's only lifestyle modification prior to the diagnosis of liver toxicity was daily ingestion of Panax ginseng via energy drinks for the past 3 months. Both imatinib and ginseng were discontinued, and the patient was treated with a short course of corticosteroids. Imatinib was later restarted at the same dose with no recurrent elevations in his liver enzyme levels. Imatinib-associated hepatotoxicity usually presents within 1-2 years of therapy initiation, with the median time to hepatotoxicity being 100 days. Ginseng is an herb that is not known to be hepatotoxic. In vivo, ginseng is known to inhibit CYP3A4, the primary enzyme involved in the metabolism of imatinib. We propose that our patient's late-onset imatinib-associated hepatotoxicity was due to an interaction between ginseng and imatinib through CYP3A4. Based on the Naranjo probability scale, it is probable that imatinib caused this patient's liver toxicity, and the Horn drug interaction probability scale also indicates a probable interaction between imatinib and ginseng. This case emphasizes the importance of continuous monitoring of liver function tests even after several years of imatinib therapy and the importance of advising patients to avoid ginseng and any other over-the-counter herbal supplements that may interact with imatinib.

Lung disease, COPD
Complement Ther Med. 2014. Therapeutic potential of Panax ginseng and ginsenosides in the treatment of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

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NOW FOODS - Panax ginseng root 500 mg each capsule

Suggested Use, dosage: One capsule in the morning a few times a week or as recommended by your health care professional.

Supplement Facts
Serving Size: 2 Capsules
Servings per Container: 50
  Amount Per Serving %Daily Value
Total Carbohydrate <1 g <1%*
American Ginseng (Panax quinquefolius) (Root) 1 g (1,000 mg)
*Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet.
Daily Value not established.