So far, much of the evidence is from lab and animal studies. Human trials are in the earliest stages. They’ll reveal more about American ginseng’s safety and effectiveness.1
Preliminary research suggests American ginseng may fight fatigue. It has this in common with the more common Panax ginseng, a.k.a. Asian or Korean Ginseng.
A 2018 review of studies said American and Asian ginseng may be viable for treating fatigue from chronic illness. Researchers added that there’s a “critical need” for more and stronger trials.2
An older study said it appeared to improve cancer-related fatigue—and without side effects. The researchers called for more research into this treatment.3
Evidence is growing that American ginseng can improve mental function.
- A 2020 study demonstrated more activity in some brain regions during processes using working short term memory.4
- A 2019 review of research said it appears to enhance cognitive function and alertness.5
- A 2019 study said American ginseng plus whole coffee fruit extract and Bacopa appeared to increase working memory.6
- A 2015 study showed an increase in working memory in middle-aged people.7
Some studies noted improved mental function after just a single dose of American ginseng.
Maintaining normal blood sugar levels is important for managing and preventing diabetes.
A 2018 study found adding American ginseng to diabetes treatments helped keep blood sugars in line.8
Randomized, controlled trials done in 2019 and 2020—studies where participants were assigned to either a real or fake treatment group by chance—said American ginseng improved:
- Blood sugar control (fasting and A1C)
- Diabetes related high blood pressure9
- Diabetes-related heart disease risk10
Ongoing research is looking at American ginseng use in treating pre-diabetes as well.11
Cold and Flu
American ginseng may offer protection against viral respiratory tract infections, including influenza, flu-like illnesses, and the common cold, according to a 2017 review.12
A 2020 analysis of research said American ginseng might be helpful in preventing and treating seasonal respiratory infections. However, researchers said the evidence wasn’t strong enough for firm conclusions.13
Possible Side Effects
American ginseng is believed to be generally safe. Still, it may lead to side effects including:14
- High blood pressure
- Vaginal bleeding
- Vomiting and/or diarrhea
- Low blood sugar
The long-term side effects of ginseng use aren’t known.
Drug interactions are possible. Unless your doctor has advised it, don’t take American ginseng with:14
- Coumadin (Warfarin): It may reduce the drug’s effectiveness.
- Depression medications called MAOIs: The combination may cause anxiety, headache, restlessness, and insomnia.
- Blood sugar lowering drugs: It may low blood sugar too much.
- Antipsychotic medications: It may increase effects and side effects.
- Stimulants: It may increase the effects and side effects.
Pregnant women should not take American ginseng. It’s closely related to Panax ginseng, which is linked to possible birth defects.15