- Siberian ginseng is a plant. People use the root of the plant to make medicine.
- Don’t confuse Siberian ginseng with other types of ginseng. Siberian ginseng is not the same herb as American or Panax Ginseng. Be careful about which product you choose. American and Panax Ginseng can be a lot more expensive. It is said that years ago, the Soviet Union wanted to provide its athletes with the advantages offered by ginseng but wanted a less expensive version. So, Siberian ginseng became popular, and this is why most studies on Siberian ginseng have been done in Russia.
- Siberian ginseng is often called an “adaptogen”. This is a non-medical term used to describe substances that can supposedly strengthen the body and increase general resistance to daily stress.
- Conditions of the heart and blood vessels such as high blood pressure, low blood pressure, hardening of the arteries (atherosclerosis), and rheumatic heart disease.
- Kidney disease
- Alzheimer’s disease
- Attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
- Chronic fatigue syndrome
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Flu, colds, chronic bronchitis, and tuberculosis.
- For treating the side effects of cancer chemotherapy.
- To improve athletic performance and the ability to do work
- Treat sleep problems (insomnia)
- Symptoms of infections caused by herpes simplex type 2.
- Boost the immune system
- Increase appetite.
- In manufacturing, Siberian ginseng is added to skin care products.
- Siberian ginseng contains many chemicals that affect the brain, immune system, and certain hormones. It might also contain chemicals that have activity against some bacteria and viruses.
- Children: Siberian ginseng is POSSIBLY SAFE in teenagers (ages 12-17 years) when taken by mouth for up to 6 weeks. There is not enough reliable information about the safety of Siberian ginseng when taken by teenagers long-term.
- Pregnancy and breast-feeding: There is not enough reliable information about the safety of taking Siberian ginseng if you are pregnant or breast-feeding. Stay on the safe side and avoid use.
- Bleeding disorders: Siberian ginseng contains chemicals that might slow blood clotting. In theory, Siberian ginseng might increase the risk of bleeding and bruising in people with bleeding disorders.
- Heart conditions: Siberian ginseng can cause a pounding heart, irregular heartbeat, and high blood pressure. People who have heart disorders (e.g., “hardening of the arteries,” rheumatic heart disease, or history of heart attack) should use Siberian ginseng only under a healthcare provider’s supervision.
- Diabetes: Siberian ginseng might increase or decrease blood sugar. In theory, Siberian ginseng might affect blood sugar control in people with diabetes. Monitor your blood sugar carefully if you take Siberian ginseng and have diabetes.
- Hormone-sensitive conditions such as breast cancer, uterine cancer, ovarian cancer, endometriosis, or uterine fibroids: Siberian ginseng might act like estrogen. If you have any condition that might be made worse by exposure to estrogen, don’t use Siberian ginseng.
- High blood pressure: Siberian ginseng should not be used by people with blood pressure over 180/90. Siberian ginseng might make high blood pressure worse.
- Mental conditions such as mania or schizophrenia: Siberian ginseng might make these conditions worse. Use with caution.
- Alcohol (Ethanol): Alcohol can cause sedative effects such as sleepiness and drowsiness. Ginseng might also cause sleepiness and drowsiness. Taking large amounts of Siberian ginseng along with alcohol might cause you to become too sedated.
- Digoxin (Lanoxin): Digoxin (Lanoxin) helps the heart beat more strongly. One person had too much digoxin in their system while taking a natural product that might have had Ginseng in it. But it is unclear if Siberian ginseng or other herbs in the supplement were the cause.
- Lithium: Ginseng might have an effect like a “water pill” or diuretic. Taking Ginseng might decrease how well the body gets rid of lithium. This could increase how much lithium is in the body and result in serious side effects. Talk with your healthcare provider before using this product if you are taking lithium. Your lithium dose might need to be changed.
- Medications changed by the liver (Cytochrome P450 1A2 (CYP1A2) substrates): Some medications are changed and broken down by the liver. Ginseng might decrease how quickly the liver breaks down these medications. Taking ginseng along with medications that are changed by the liver might increase the effects and side effects of some medications. Before taking ginseng, talk to your healthcare provider if you take any medications that are changed by the liver.
Some of these medications that are changed by the liver include clozapine (Clozaril), cyclobenzaprine (Flexeril), fluvoxamine (Luvox), haloperidol (Haldol), imipramine (Tofranil), mexiletine (Mexitil), olanzapine (Zyprexa), pentazocine (Talwin), propranolol (Inderal), tacrine (Cognex), theophylline (Slo-bid, Theo-Dur, others), zileuton (Zyflo), zolmitriptan (Zomig), and others.
- Medications for diabetes (Antidiabetes drugs): Ginseng might affect blood sugar by lowering blood sugar levels. Diabetes medications are also used to lower blood sugar. Taking ginseng along with diabetes medications might cause your blood sugar to go too low or cause your diabetes medication to be less effective. Monitor your blood sugar closely. The dose of your diabetes medication might need to be changed.
Some medications used for diabetes include glimepiride (Amaryl), glyburide (DiaBeta, Glynase PresTab, Micronase), insulin, pioglitazone (Actos), rosiglitazone (Avandia), chlorpropamide (Diabinese), glipizide (Glucotrol), tolbutamide (Orinase), and others.
- Medications that slow blood clotting (Anticoagulant / Antiplatelet drugs): Ginseng might slow blood clotting. Taking ginseng along with medications that also slow clotting might increase the chances of bruising and bleeding.
Some medications that slow blood clotting include aspirin, clopidogrel (Plavix), diclofenac (Voltaren, Cataflam, others), ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin, others), naproxen (Anaprox, Naprosyn, others), dalteparin (Fragmin), enoxaparin (Lovenox), heparin, warfarin (Coumadin), and others.
- Sedative medications (CNS depressants): Ginseng might cause sleepiness and drowsiness. Medications that cause sleepiness are called sedatives. Taking Ginseng along with sedative medications might cause too much sleepiness.
Some sedative medications include clonazepam (Klonopin), lorazepam (Ativan), phenobarbital (Donnatal), zolpidem (Ambien), and others.
- Medications changed by the liver (Cytochrome P450 2D6 (CYP2D6) substrates): Some medications are changed and broken down by the liver. Ginseng might decrease how quickly the liver breaks down these medications. Taking ginseng along with medications that are changed by the liver can increase the effects and side effects of your medication. Before taking ginseng, talk to your healthcare provider if you take any medications that are changed by the liver. However, this interaction is not verified with certainty in humans yet.
Some medications that are changed by the liver include amitriptyline (Elavil), clozapine (Clozaril), codeine, desipramine (Norpramin), donepezil (Aricept), fentanyl (Duragesic), flecainide (Tambocor), fluoxetine (Prozac), meperidine (Demerol), methadone (Dolophine), metoprolol (Lopressor, Toprol XL), olanzapine (Zyprexa), ondansetron (Zofran), tramadol (Ultram), trazodone (Desyrel), and others.
- Medications changed by the liver (Cytochrome P450 3A4 (CYP3A4) substrates): Some medications are changed and broken down by the liver. Ginseng might decrease how quickly the liver breaks down these medications. Taking ginseng along with medications that are broken down by the liver can increase the effects and side effects of some medications. Before taking ginseng, talk to your healthcare provider if you are taking any medications that are changed by the liver.
Some medications changed by the liver include lovastatin (Mevacor), ketoconazole (Nizoral), itraconazole (Sporanox), fexofenadine (Allegra), triazolam (Halcion), and many others.
Herb and Supplement Interaction:
- Herbs and supplements that might lower blood sugar: Ginseng might lower blood sugar. Taking ginseng along with herbs and supplements that might also lower blood sugar might cause your blood sugar to go too low or cause your diabetes medication to be less effective. Some of these products include bitter melon, ginger, goat’s rue, fenugreek, kudzu, gymnema, and others.
- Herbs and supplements that might slow blood clotting: Ginseng might slow blood clotting. Taking ginseng along with herbs or supplements that also slow clotting might increase the chances of bruising and bleeding. Some of these herbs and supplements include angelica, clove, danshen, fish oil, garlic, ginger, Panax ginseng, red clover, turmeric, vitamin E, and others.
- Herbs that might cause sleepiness and drowsiness: Ginseng might act like a sedative. That is, it might cause sleepiness and drowsiness. Taking ginseng along with other herbs that also act like sedatives might increase its effects and side effects. Herbs with sedative effects include calamus, California poppy, catnip, German chamomile, Gotu Kola, hops, Jamaican dogwood, kava, lemon balm, sage, St. John’s wort, sassafras, Chinese skullcap, valerian, wild carrot, wild lettuce, and others.
Acanthopanax Obovatus, Acanthopanax Obovatus Hoo, Acanthopanax senticosus, Buisson du Diable, Ci Wu Jia, Ciwujia, Ciwujia Root, Ciwujia Root Extract, Devil’s Bush, Devil’s Shrub, Éleuthéro, Eleuthero Extract, Eleuthero Ginseng, Eleuthero Root, Eleutherococci Radix, Eleutherococcus senticosus, Éleuthérocoque, Ginseng de Sibérie, Ginseng des Russes, Ginseng Root, Ginseng Siberiano, Ginseng Sibérien, Hedera senticosa, North Wu Jia Pi, Phytoestrogen, Plante Secrète des Russes, Poivre Sauvage, Prickly Eleutherococcus, Racine d’Eleuthérocoque, Racine de Ginseng, Racine Russe, Russian Root, Shigoka, Siberian Eleuthero, Siberian Ginseng, Thorny Bearer of Free Berries, Touch-Me-Not, Untouchable, Ussuri, Ussurian Thorny Pepperbrush, Wild Pepper, Wu Jia Pi, Wu-jia.
Source: WebMD, “Ginseng, Siberian”, www.webmd.com/vitamins-supplements/