Ginseng extract, when ingested, has been shown to energize the mind. When applied topically, the raggedy root stimulates circulation, conditions, and rejuvenates without causing irritation. The skin is left feeling invigorated and revitalized. Benefits and usages of Ginseng
- Improving the health of people recovering from illness
- Increasing a sense of well-being and stamina, and improving both mental and physical performance
- Treating erectile dysfunction, hepatitis C, and symptoms related to menopause
- Lowering blood glucose and controlling blood pressure Herb-Drug Interactions
Ginseng can increase the effect of blood-thinners (antiplatelet or anti-clotting drugs), such as clopidogrel, ticlopidine (Ticlid), warfarin (Coumadin), heparin, and aspirin, which may result in uncontrolled bleeding or hemorrhage. Certain herbs, such as danshen, devil's claw, eleuthero, garlic, ginger, horse chestnut, papain, red clover, and saw palmetto, can also increase the risk of bleeding if combined with ginseng. Ginseng may affect heart rhythm and can increase potential side effects from theophylline (and similar asthma drugs), albuterol, clonidine, sildenafil citrate (Viagra). Panax ginseng may interact with insulin and other drugs for diabetes, such as metformin (Glucophage), glyburide (Glynase), glimepiride (Amaryl), and glipizide (Glucotrol XL). Ginseng may interfere with the metabolism of monoamine oxidase inhibitors such as phenelzine sulfate (Nardil), tranylcypromine sulfate (Parnate) and isocabaxazid (Marplan). It's also believed to affect levels of neurotransmitters (chemicals that carry messages from nerve cells to other cells) and may interact with antipsychotic drugs such as chlorpromazine (Thorazine) and fluphenazine (Prolixin). Ginseng stimulates the central nervous system, so it may increase the effects of prescription drugs that do the same (such as medications for attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, narcolepsy, and obesity. The combination may raise heart rate and blood pressure. Ginseng has been found to interfere with the metabolism of drugs processed by an enzyme called cyp3A4. Ask your doctor to check if you are taking medications of this type. Side Effects and Cautions When taken by mouth, ginseng is usually well tolerated. Some sources suggest that its use be limited to 3 months because of concerns about the development of side effects. The most common side effects are headaches and sleep and gastrointestinal problems. Asian ginseng can cause allergic reactions. There have been reports of breast tenderness, menstrual irregularities, and high blood pressure associated with Asian ginseng products, but these products' components were not analyzed, so effects may have been due to another herb or drug in the product. Asian ginseng may lower levels of blood sugar; this effect may be seen more in people with diabetes. Therefore, people with diabetes should use extra caution with Asian ginseng, especially if they are using medicines to lower blood sugar or taking other herbs, such as bitter melon and fenugreek, that are also thought to lower blood sugar. Tell your health care providers about any complementary and alternative practices you use. Give them a full picture of what you do to manage your health. This will help ensure coordinated and safe care.