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American Ginseng

Also indexed as:Ginseng (American), Panax quinquefolius
American Ginseng: Main Image© Steven Foster
Botanical names:
Panax quinquefolius

How It Works

American ginseng contains ginsenosides, which are thought to fight fatigue and stress by supporting the adrenal glands and the use of oxygen by exercising muscles.18 The type and ratio of ginsenosides are somewhat different in American and Asian ginseng. The extent to which this affects their medicinal properties is unclear. A recent preliminary trial with healthy volunteers found no benefit in exercise performance after one week of taking American ginseng.19

In a small pilot study, 3 grams of American ginseng was found to lower the rise in blood sugar following the consumption of a drink high in glucose by people with type 2 diabetes.20 The study found no difference in blood sugar lowering effect if the herb was taken either 40 minutes before the drink or at the same time. A follow-up to this study found that increasing the amount of American ginseng to either 6 or 9 grams did not increase the effect on blood sugar following the high-glucose drink in people with type 2 diabetes.21 This study also found that American ginseng was equally effective in controlling the rise in blood sugar if it was given up to two hours before or together with the drink.

How to Use It

Standardized extracts of American ginseng, unlike Asian ginseng, are not available. However, dried root powder, 1-3 grams per day in capsule or tablet form, can be used.22 Some herbalists also recommend 3-5 ml of tincture three times per day.

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The information presented in Aisle7 is for informational purposes only. It is based on scientific studies (human, animal, or in vitro), clinical experience, or traditional usage as cited in each article. The results reported may not necessarily occur in all individuals. Self-treatment is not recommended for life-threatening conditions that require medical treatment under a doctor's care. For many of the conditions discussed, treatment with prescription or over the counter medication is also available. Consult your doctor, practitioner, and/or pharmacist for any health problem and before using any supplements or before making any changes in prescribed medications. Information expires June 2015.