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American Ginseng (Panax quinquefolius)

American Ginseng contains more than one active compound. These compounds consist of triterpene saponins and non saponins. The non saponin components are associated with the effect of blood sugar(lowering post prandial blood sugar), and the saponins are more responsible for effects such as lowering blood pressure and enhancing immune system function. Ginseng is considered an adaptogen herb, a substance that can help the body respond to stress, bringing the body's hormones back to normal balance.

Ongoing research is needed to determine the effect of American Ginseng on lowering blood sugar.

Reasonably strong evidence has demonstrated that taking 200mgs of specific Ginseng extracts(COLD -fX) for 3-4 months reduces the number of colds, along with the severity and frequency of cold symptoms in adults ages 18-65.

Adult Doses:

Use of Ginseng for more than 4 months is not recommended due to a lack of research.
1-9 Grams was used 40-120 minutes before meals in one study for lowering post prandial glucose.
200 mg twice daily of COLD-fX has been used for reducing the symptoms of upper respiratory tract infections.

Side Effects:

Gastrointestinal upset
Increased blood pressure
Lower blood pressure
Blood glucose variability
Allergic reactions


Do not use American Ginseng if:
You have schizophrenia
Are pregnant or breastfeeding

Drug Interactions:

Warfarin: Ginseng can decrease the effectiveness of Warfarin.
MAOI's ( Isocarboxazid (Marplan), Phenelzine (Nardil), Selegiline (Emsam), Tranylcypromine (Parnate))
When Ginseng is taken with diabetes medications the combination of the two may lower blood sugar too much and lead to hypoglycemia.

By Evan Redmond, Pharm.D.

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