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Panax ginseng sources, health risks

Saturday, October 07, 2017 by

Panax ginseng, perhaps the world’s best known medicinal herb, has been traditionally used in Asia for more than 5,000 years. In fact, the plant is so highly regarded in ancient China that it used to have a greater value compared with gold.  An article posted on the Herb Information Greenpaper website notes that traditional herbal medicine practitioners commonly use panax ginseng for the following purposes:

  • Boosting the body’s resistance against the adverse effects of stress;
  • Enhancing the body’s overall stamina and endurance;
  • Increasing mental performance during stressful times; and
  • Improving overall health and vitality.

The University of Maryland Medical Center has also discussed that panax ginseng is traditionally used as an all-around stimulant as well as a potent remedy against fever, headache, infertility, and indigestion.  A large number of studies have already demonstrated the herb’s beneficial effects on the body’s overall well-being. However, the scientific community has also stressed that taking too much of the medicinal plant may well result in unwanted side effects.

Harmful effects that can be caused by panax ginseng

One of the most common side effects of panax ginseng involves the heart and the circulatory system. An entry featured on the health and wellness website Live Strong stresses that panax ginseng consumption may lead to fluctuations in blood pressure levels. According to the article, the plant’s properties may result in either higher or lower blood pressure readings. The article advises that people taking medication for high or low blood pressure must consult their primary care providers before taking panax ginseng.

Panax ginseng intake may result in significantly low blood sugar levels too. Experts note that while the herb is commonly recommended for diabetes, the patients’ blood sugar levels should still be closely monitored if the medicinal plant is used as a supplement. Health experts at the University of Maryland Medical Center has recommended taking panax ginseng with food in order to prevent the onset of hypoglycemia or very low blood sugar levels.

The herb is also strongly associated with adverse effects on both male and female reproductive health. Panax ginseng is known to contain estrogen-like properties that may trigger male breast enlargement and erectile dysfunction. Likewise, the plant is believed to induce post-menopausal bleeding, tenderness in the breasts, and increased sexual response. Panax ginseng is shown to cause excessive vaginal bleeding and nosebleeds as well. The herb is found to negatively impact the absorption of blood-thinning drugs. Due to this, patients taking such medications are advised to exercise caution when planning to take panax ginseng.

Taking high doses of the herb is found to be toxic to brain health too. Large doses of panax ginseng are shown to cause confusion, abnormal pupil dilation, and swelling of brain blood vessels. Long-term intake is also associated with the onset of depression, insomnia, excitability and anxiety. Patients suffering from bipolar disorder may experience manic attacks following herb intake.

In addition, taking the herb may induce severe allergic reactions as with any other plants. These allergic reactions may affect the skin and manifest as severe itching, skin spots, and rashes. The plant may impact the respiratory tract too. Exposure to panax ginseng is known to trigger shortness of breath and late-onset or immediate asthma. Other side effects associated with panax ginseng include:

  • dizziness;
  • fever;
  • headache;
  • heartburn;
  • palpitations;
  • raised heart rate;
  • nausea;
  • vomiting;
  • swelling in the legs; and
  • diarrhea.

Body systems harmed by panax ginseng

Panax ginseng greatly affects heart health and blood circulation. Likewise, the herb is known to negatively impact the digestive system, the body’s overall immunity, and both male and female reproductive health. The plant is also detrimental to the brain, the respiratory tract, and the skin.

Where to learn more


Panax ginseng causes blood pressure fluctuations and cardiovascular disorders.

Panax ginseng may trigger hypoglycemia, excessive bleeding, and skin issues.

Panax ginseng raises the odds of anxiety and depression, asthma, and erectile dysfunction.

Panax ginseng negatively affects blood circulation and both brain and heart health.

Panax ginseng is detrimental to the digestive system, the respiratory tract, and overall immunity.

Panax ginseng impacts the skin and both male and female reproductive health.

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