Ginseng is a popular herbal remedy that grows in parts of Asia and northern America.
The roots of ginseng plants have been used as a herbal remedy for centuries in China, Korea and other Asian countries.
Traditionally, ginseng has been used:
Nowadays, ginseng is most commonly used as a herb to help reduce tiredness and restore vitality.3
There are two types of ginseng:4
Ginseng is available as capsules, liquid extract or as a tea.
Ginseng is thought to have the following effects:
Ginseng can be used for short-term treatment of fatigue, weakness and lack of vitality, according to the European Medicines Agency's Committee on Herbal Medicine Products (HMPC).5
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A number of studies suggest ginseng can help to regulate blood sugar levels.
For example, a 2018 study in the Journal of Psychopharmacology reported that Panax ginseng reduced blood sugar within one hour of consuming it.6
Scientists think ginseng has a stimulatory effect on the brain.7
In fact, the above study found that after taking ginseng, participants performed better on a mental arithmetic test than those taking the placebo.8
Meanwhile, a 2010 study by Northumbria University reported that 400mg of ginseng taken daily for eight days increased participants’ sense of calmness and ability to perform mental arithmetic.9
However, other studies into ginseng’s effect on memory and concentration have had mixed results, so more research is needed.
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In 2013, Korean scientists also reported that red ginseng in particular can dilate blood vessels – improving the flow of blood not just through each vein, but throughout the whole circulatory system.10
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There is no standard dose of ginseng, so make sure you follow the instructions on the label carefully.
Ginseng root medicines should only be used by adults and taken for no longer than three months.11
If you are on medication, talk to your GP before taking ginseng – it can interact with certain medicines, including warfarin and aspirin.12
The following groups should not take ginseng:
Ginseng is considered safe to take. However, side-effects reported from ginseng include:
Ginseng is a stimulant, so you may also experience more enhanced effects after drinking caffeine, such as a racing heart and insomnia.14
If you experience any of the symptoms above, stop taking ginseng and talk to your GP.
Confusingly, Siberian ginseng isn’t actually ginseng, since it doesn’t contain any ginsenosides.
It is, however, packed with eleutherosides, which are pretty nifty in their own right…
Researchers have identified:
Last updated: 3 September 2021
Joined Holland & Barrett: Apr 2019
Masters Degree in Toxicology and BSc Hons in Medical Biochemistry
Bhupesh started his career as a Clinical Toxicologist for Public Health England, advising healthcare professionals all around the country on how to manage clinical cases of adverse exposure to supplements, pharmaceuticals, cosmetics, industrial chemicals and agricultural products.
After 7 years in this role and a further year working as a drug safety officer in the pharmaceutical industry, Bhupesh joined Holland & Barrett as a Senior Regulatory Affairs Associate in 2019.