Asian Ginseng

Asian Ginseng
Asian Ginseng

Uses of Asian Ginseng

Short-term oral use (up to 6 months) of Asian ginseng in recommended amounts appears to be safe for most people. However, questions have been raised about its long-term safety, and some experts recommend against its use by infants, children, and women who are pregnant or breastfeeding.

When used short-term as part of a specific multi-ingredient topical skin application, the herb is likely safe. Safety after prolonged repetitive topical use has not been determined. Insomnia (trouble sleeping) is the herb’s most common side effect. Others include menstrual problems, breast pain, increased heart rate, high or low blood pressure, headache, loss of appetite, and digestive problems.

Some evidence suggests that Asian ginseng might affect blood sugar. If you have diabetes, consult your health care provider before using.

There are uncertainties about whether ginseng might interact with certain medications, such as calcium channel blockers and other high blood pressure medications, as well as statin medications and some antidepressants. Studies on the effect of Asian ginseng on the anticoagulant (blood thinner) warfarin (Coumadin) have had mixed results. If you’re taking medication, consult your health care provider before using it.

Asian ginseng may be unsafe when taken orally during pregnancy. One of the chemicals in it has been found to cause birth defects in animals. Little is known about whether it’s safe to use while breastfeeding.

Side Effects of Asian Ginseng

Results from a 2013 review of 65 randomized controlled trials suggest that Asian ginseng may help improve glucose metabolism and lower blood sugar. However, the scientists who published the review noted some issues with the studies they examined: that many were not high quality and that ginseng preparation was diverse.


Take charge of your health—talk with your health care providers about any complementary health approaches you use. Together, you can make shared, well-informed decisions.


All information has been provided courtesy of MedLinePlus from the National Library of Medicine and from the FDA.