The use of herbs is a time-honored approach to strengthening the body and treating disease. Herbs, however, contain components that can trigger side effects and interact with other herbs, supplements, or medications. For these reasons, herbs should be taken with care, under the supervision of a health care provider qualified in the field of botanical medicine.

Reported side effects of taking ginseng include:

  • High blood pressure
  • Insomnia
  • Restlessness
  • Anxiety
  • Euphoria
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Headache
  • Nosebleed
  • Breast pain
  • Vaginal bleeding

To avoid low blood sugar (hypoglycemia), even in people who do not have diabetes, you should take American ginseng with food.

People with hypertension should not take American ginseng products without specific guidance and instruction from a qualified health care provider. At the same time, people with low blood pressure as well as those with an acute illness or diabetes (because of the risk of a sudden drop in blood sugar), should use caution when taking ginseng.

The safety of taking American ginseng during pregnancy is unknown. Therefore, it is not recommended when pregnant or breastfeeding.

American ginseng should be discontinued at least 7 days prior to surgery. American ginseng can lower blood glucose levels and, therefore, create problems for patients fasting prior to surgery. In addition, American ginseng may act as a blood thinner, thereby increasing the risk of bleeding during or after the procedure.

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