Adult Health

Ginseng Benefits and Side Effects

Written by andy
Ginseng benefits you need to know about (and some side effects, too)

Ginseng is one of the most amazing plants in the world. It is believed to be one of the most potent natural remedies of its kind, which is why it has been used in Traditional Chinese Medicine for thousands of years. Both American and Chinese ginseng offer a lot of health benefits. But you need to know there are also potential side effects to taking it as well. Understanding the ginseng benefits and side effects will help you to be smart with how you use it.

Ginseng Benefits

Here are the many benefits of taking ginseng:

  • Increase energy – Ginseng is a natural energy producer, one that can help to banish both mental and physical fatigue. In fact, ginseng can even help to promote greater energy among cancer patients and those with chronic fatigue.
  • Boost brain power –– Studies have proven that ginseng has beneficial effects on our brains, including cognition, memory, and behavior. Milk fortified with ginseng can help to increase cognitive function and thinking ability.
  • Prevent cancer – Taking ginseng may be able to reduce your risk of developing cancer. Not only that, but it may also be able to improve survival and the quality of life following a cancer diagnosis.
  • Fight viruses – Ginseng is believed to be a potent anti-viral agent, fighting off viral infections like RSV or influenza.
  • Treat erectile dysfunction – Many men in Asia use ginseng to increase circulation and decrease blood pressure. The combination of these two things can help to reduce erectile dysfunction, especially among overweight men.
  • Fight inflammation – Ginseng contains a number of compounds that can prevent inflammation. Not only can it reduce inflammation caused by injuries, but it can actually suppress immune activity. This is good for those with auto-immune disorders.

These are the primary benefits of ginseng, but be warned: there are only a few scientific studies to back up these claims. More research is needed to be absolutely certain ginseng can do everything it claims to.

READ MORE: 10 Home Remedies for Glowing Skin

Ginseng Side Effects

As with any herbal supplement or remedy, there are potential risks or side effects of taking ginseng. Here are the most common side effects:

  • Sleeping difficulties
  • Restlessness
  • Elevated heart rate
  • Headaches
  • Nausea

Not the most serious of side effects, though they can definitely affect the quality of your life.

However, there is a very serious complication of ginseng when taken along with MAOI antidepressants. These MAOI drugs can have a negative interaction with the ginseng, leading to tremors and manic episodes.

If you’re taking heart or blood pressure medications—such as calcium channel blockers—you’d do well to stay away from ginseng. If you’re taking anti-clotting medication like aspirin or warfarin, you should also avoid ginseng. The risk of excessive bleeding skyrockets when you combine these two.

The truth is that you can overdose on ginseng, just like you can overdose on too much medication. Ginseng overdose is characterized by symptoms like:

  • Irritability
  • Swelling
  • Blurred vision
  • Diarrhea
  • Dry mouth
  • Dizziness
  • Fidgeting and excitation

If the overdose is very severe, you may notice more serious side effects:

  • Seizures
  • Delirium
  • Nausea
  • Convulsions
  • Decreased heart rate
  • Vomiting

As with any herbal remedy, it’s VITAL that you check with your doctor before taking ginseng. You also need to fully understand the ginseng benefits and side effects (listed above) so you know what you’re getting into with this remedy. While it does offer a lot of health improvements, there are risks as well. Be careful, consult your doctor, and be safe when taking this—or any—remedy. Your health is not something to mess around with!

About the author


Some people get lucky and are born with fit, toned bodies. Andy Peloquin is not one of those people... Fitness has come hard for him, and he's had to work for it. His trials have led him to becoming a martial artist, an NFPT-certified fitness trainer, and a man passionate about exercise, diet and healthy living. He loves to exercise--he does so six days a week--and loves to share his passion for fitness and health with others.

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