Ginseng Side Effects, Ginseng Benefits September 10, 2011
Ginseng Benefits and Side Effects Review Ginseng is an herb used in traditional medicine for thousands of years. In Mandarin Chinese, the word Ginseng literally means "root of man". It was so named because the root of this plant resembles the shape of a human body. Almost 2,000 years ago, the great Chinese medical directory stated that ginseng increased longevity. The main active ingredients in ginseng are called ginsenosides. The higher the quantity of ginsenosides, the better the quality of the ginseng.
Ginseng Benefit claims for Asian ginseng are numerous and include the use of the herb to support overall health and boost the immune system. Benefits may include improving the health of people recovering from illness, increasing a sense of well-being and stamina, improving both mental and physical performance, treatment erectile dysfuction, hepatitis C, and symptoms related to menopause, and finally lowering blood glucose and controlling blood pressure. [C1] However, ginseng has a pile of side effects, and some people should avoid ginseng. This article focus on ginseng side effect. For details of ginseng benefits, please, click: ginseng benefits. ______________________________________________________________________________________
Ginseng Benefits - Overview Giseng may have many benefits. Some people classify ginseng as an adaptogen; a substance that benefits the body resist the effects of physical and environmental stress. Some people also claim that ginseng can increase physical endurance under stress, improve mental alertness, memory, thinking ability or even resistance to infection. [12, 13, 15, 16] Based on the Herb Bible by Earl Mindel, PhD and Ginseng by Betty Kamen, PhD, ginseng facilitates the reduction of cholesterol and blood pressure. Ginseng may also reduce the risk of metastasis (spread) of tumor (cancer) . In addition, ginseng may also helps protects the user from viral infection and reduced cellular oxygen. Ginseng helps reduce discomfort caused by menopause. (?)
There are two major types of ginseng: American and Asian. Asian ginseng contains high contents of the active ingredients, while American ginseng is mild. Siberian ginseng belongs to different family of herbs. The "ginseng" in this article refers to Asian ginseng.
For details about Asian Ginseng Benefits, including its benefits on erectile dysfunction, physical performance, please click: Asian Ginseng Benefits
Is ginseng safe? In a 4-week-placebo-controlled study involving 77 women, no side effects were observed for the 34 subjects supplemented with a mixture of ginseng, ginkgo, and damiana, L-arginine, multivitamins, and minerals. 
Forty-five patients with class IV cardiac function were divided into three groups: group I (digoxin group), group II (Red Ginseng group) and group III (Red Ginseng plus digoxin group). After treatment, the improvement of the hemodynamical and biochemical indexes of group II and group III were greater than those of group I, and group III was the most significant amongst all. The results suggested that Red Ginseng and digoxin had synergism for treatment of congestive heart failure, and Red Ginseng was an effective and safe adjuvant without any side effects. 
Song et al found ginsan-an important ingredient in Panax ginseng did not cause hepatic injury in their studies  ___________________________________________________________________________________
Ginseng side effects When used appropriately, ginseng appears to be safe. NCCAM suggests that its use be limited to 3 months because of concerns about the development of ginseng side effects. Ginseng potentially interacts with many drugs, we must be more aware of its side effects and its drug interactions, and avoid long term use of ginseng supplements. The common ginseng side effects are mental status changes [nervousness, restlessness, excited feeling, trouble sleeping, gastrointestinal problems etc.]. Other ginseng side effects include vaginal bleeding, mastalgia diarrhea, high blood pressures. However, some reported ginseng has hypotensive effects.  Ginseng may also cause allergic reactions. [2,6,7] Because ginseng has side effects related to our mental states, digestive and cardiovascular systems, certain types of people should avoid ginseng:
a. People with mental problems. A 56-year-old woman with a previous affective disorder presented a manic episode during ginseng intake. Symptoms disappeared rapidly with low doses of neuroleptics and benzodiazepines after ginseng suppression. 
b. People who are preparing for surgery. Ginseng may increase the risk of bleeding; ginseng should be discontinued prior to dermatologic surgery to minimize the risk of surgical complications. [4,7]
c. People who drink coffee and smoke excessively. A 39-year-old female patient experienced menometrorrhagia, after a prolonged use of oral and topical ginseng. This patient also had a habit of smoking, and drinking coffee. After stopping smoking, drinking coffee and using ginseng products for about two weeks, she had no sign of menometrorrhagia or tachyarrhythmia and her hemoglobin levels were in the normal range. Smoking and coffee consumption, along with ginseng use, (or just ginseng alone) can be responsible for arrhythmogenic effects .
d. People who have high/low blood pressure or diabetes or those who are using medications/herbs to control blood pressure. Ginseng may have effects on blood pressure and increase the risk of bleeding. [4,7] Ginseng may also lower blood sugar levels. This effect may be seen more in diabetes. Thus, people with diabetes should use extra caution with ginseng, especially if they are taking blood sugar lowering medicines or other herbs including bitter melon and fenugreek.
Users must consult with their doctors before taking ginseng supplements, because of its multiple side effects. ____________________________________________________________________________________
What brand is good? The brand is very important, it determines the quality of ginseng.
Serving recommendations and other information vary among different brands of ginseng supplements. The content does not vary much among different lots of the same brand, while the content vary widely between ginseng brands (e.g. total ginsenosides in ginseng ranged from 5.3-18.2 mg per serving).
Because the ginseng content varies from brand to brand, its doesn't mean that the most expensive one contains the largest amount of ginseng actives. I would consider only the brands manufactured under GMP. After a few trials, if I don't see any effects, I will change the brand.
Comment from Visitors XXXXXXXXXX@webtv.net Sunday, November 28, 2010 7:53 AM Hi Zhion, It is me again, On Ginseng, I never tried this, but I had a friend on Maui, and she was in her 50;s and she told me she is SPOTTING and she could not figure out why. I asked her if she is taking any type of herbals. She told me yes, gingseng, I said do NOT ever take it again, I said Females should never take it, it will cause spotting. And she stopped and no more spotting. I told her I do lots of reading back then I never even knew anything about the internet. So it is a good thing she moved from California to Maui and was my new friend, she lived next door to me. So tell all the gals to watch out for this HERB ... I think it is only good for the men, not for us females.
My Response This is my first time to hear this side effect of ginseng. Ginseng is not for everybody; some people have transient hypertension after taking ginseng. But some people like it, they say ginseng can keep them warm during the cold winter. Thanks for your comment. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Send me an email and share your story with others: email@example.com ______________________________________________________________________________________ REFERENCES  Krochmal R Phytochemical Assays of Commercial Botanical Dietary Supplements. Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2004 Dec;1(3):305-313. Epub 2004 Oct 6.  Boniel T et al The safety of herbal medicines in the psychiatric practice Harefuah. 2001 Aug;140(8):780-3, 805.  Vazquez I Herbal products and serious side effects: a case of ginseng-induced manic episode. Acta Psychiatr Scand. 2002 Jan;105(1):76-7; discussion 77-8.. Chang LK et al, The impact of herbal medicines on dermatologic surgery. Dermatol Surg. 2001 Aug;27(8):759-63.  Kabalak AA et al, Menometrorrhagia and tachyarrhythmia after using oral and topical ginseng. J Womens Health (Larchmt). 2004 Nov;13(9):1071.] Wang ZW Observation of therapeutic effect by combined administration of Salvia miltiorrhiza, ligustrazine and Panax notoginseng on late hemorrhagic shock of rabbits Zhongguo Zhong Xi Yi Jie He Za Zhi. 1997 May;17(5):292-4.  Nocerino E The aphrodisiac and adaptogenic properties of ginseng Fitoterapia. 2000 Aug;71 Suppl 1:S1-5.  Jeon BH et al, Effect of Korea red ginseng on the blood pressure in conscious hypertensive rats. Gen Pharmacol. 2000 Sep;35(3):135-41.  Ito TY et al, A double-blind placebo-controlled study of ArginMax, a nutritional supplement for enhancement of female sexual function. J Sex Marital Ther. 2001 Oct-Dec;27(5):541-9. Ding DZ Effects of red ginseng on the congestive heart failure and its mechanism Zhongguo Zhong Xi Yi Jie He Za Zhi. 1995 Jun;15(6):325-7. [Effects of polysaccharide ginsan from Panax ginseng on liver function. Song et al, Korea Institute of Radiological & Medical Sciences, Korea. Arch Pharm Res. 2004 May,27(5):531-8  Kaneko et al, Kaneko Heart Clinic, Proof of the Mysterious Efficacy of Ginseng.., J Pharmacol Sci. 2004 Jun;95(2):158-62.]  Nishijo et. al, Proof of the meysterious efficacy of ginseng..., J. Pharmacol Sci.2004 Jun;95(2):145-52.]  Effect of ginsenosides Rg3 and Rh2 on the proliferation of prostate cancer cells. Kim et al., Pusan National University, Korea. Arch Pharm Res. 2004 Apr; 27(4):429-35.]  Inteaperitoneal injection of ginseng extract enhances both immunoglobulin and cytokine production in mice, Liou et al, Kang-Ning Junior College of Medical Care and Management, Taiwan, China. Am J Chin Med. 2004;32(1):75-88]  Immunomodulating activities of polysaccharides isolated from Panax ginseng. Lim et al, Yonsei University, Korea. J Med Food.2004 Spring;7(1):1-6.] [C1] Asia GinSeng, NCAM, December 2005
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