July 29, 2016

Ginseng, American

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How does American Ginseng work?

American ginseng contains chemicals called ginsenosides that seem to affect insulin levels in the body and lower blood sugar. Other chemicals, called polysaccharides, might affect the immune system.

Are there safety concerns?

American ginseng is LIKELY SAFE when taken by mouth appropriately, short-term. Doses of 100-3000 mg daily have been used safely for up to 12 weeks. Single doses of up to 10 grams have also been safely used. In addition, a specific American ginseng extract called CVT-E002 (Cold-FX, Afexa Life Sciences, Canada) has also been used safely for up to 4 months.

When taken by mouth, American ginseng can cause some side effects including diarrhea, itching, trouble sleeping (insomnia), headache, and nervousness. In some people, American ginseng might also cause rapid heartbeat, increased blood pressure or decreased blood pressure, breast tenderness, vaginal bleeding in women, and other side effects. Uncommon side effects that have been reported include a severe rash called Stevens-Johnson syndrome, liver damage, and severe allergic reaction.

Special Precautions & Warnings:

Children: American ginseng is POSSIBLY SAFE for children when taken by mouth appropriately, short-term. A specific American ginseng extract called CVT-E002 (Cold-FX, Afexa Life Sciences, Canada) has been used in doses of 4.5-26 mg daily for 3 days in children 3-12 years-old.

Pregnancy and breast-feeding: American ginseng is POSSIBLY UNSAFE in pregnancy. One of the chemicals in Panax ginseng, a plant related to American ginseng, has been linked to possible birth defects. Do not take American ginseng if you are pregnant.

There is not enough reliable information about the safety of taking American ginseng if you are breast feeding. Stay on the safe side and avoid use.

Diabetes: American ginseng might lower blood sugar. In people with diabetes who are taking medications to lower blood sugar, adding American ginseng might lower it too much. Monitor your blood sugar closely if you have diabetes and use American ginseng.

Hormone-sensitive conditions such as breast cancer, uterine cancer, ovarian cancer, endometriosis, or uterine fibroids: American ginseng preparations that contain chemicals called ginsenosides might act like estrogen. If you have any condition that might be made worse by exposure to estrogen, don't use American ginseng that contains ginsenosides. However, some American ginseng extracts have had the ginsenosides removed (Cold-fX, Afexa Life Sciences, Canada). American ginseng extracts such as these that contain no ginsenosides or contain only a low concentration of ginsenosides do not appear to act like estrogen.

Trouble sleeping (insomnia): High doses of American ginseng have been linked with insomnia. If you have trouble sleeping, use American ginseng with caution.

Schizophrenia (a mental disorder): High doses of American ginseng have been linked with sleep problems and agitation in people with schizophrenia . Be careful when using American ginseng if you have schizophrenia.

Surgery: American ginseng might affect blood sugar levels and might interfere with blood sugar control during and after surgery. Stop taking American ginseng at least 2 weeks before a scheduled surgery.


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