Korean Ginseng Side Effects

Korean Ginseng Side Effects

Korean ginseng or Panax ginseng is a well-known herb for its medicinal properties. Nevertheless, its excess or prolonged intake can produce some side effects, like insomnia, irritability and gastrointestinal problems.
HolisticZine Staff
Last Updated: Apr 6, 2018
The Human Touch
Snatch a look at the roots of Korean ginseng, and you find a strange semblance. Well, the herb resembles the build of a human body. No wonder, the roots are regarded as Jin-chen in China, connoting 'like a man'.
Korean ginseng is a perennial plant native to China and Korea, and belongs to the genus Panax, and the family Araliaceae. There are mainly three types of ginseng, a.k.a. nin-sin -- American, Asian or Korean, and Siberian ginseng -- though the Siberian variety is actually not a true ginseng. The root of this plant is known to contain an active compound, ginsenosides, that has adaptogenic properties. It has been a part of traditional medicine, especially in Asian countries, for treating several ailments. Recent studies, too, have revealed many health benefits of Korean ginseng. But along with the health benefits, a number of side effects have also been reported, when this herb is taken as regular supplementation.

Possible Side Effects Nervousness
  • Fluctuations in blood pressure
  • Unusual vaginal bleeding
  • Loss of appetite
  • Diarrhea
  • Dizziness
  • Nosebleeds
  • Irritability
  • Insomnia
  • Itching
  • Headaches
  • Breast pain
  • Nausea
  • Irregular heartbeats
  • Gastrointestinal problems
  • Inflammation of blood vessels in the brain (in extreme cases)

If a person is allergic to ginseng, he or she can develop allergic reactions like skin rash, blisters, itching, swelling, especially of the face and tongue, and can have breathing difficulties.
If not treated on time, the allergic reaction can lead to a potentially life-threatening condition known as anaphylaxis, which is a sensitive reaction to the injection or consumption of foreign proteins or drugs that occurs following prior contact with the causative agent. However, such severe side effects are very uncommon.
People with diabetes and also who are on insulin, should not take ginseng or ginseng tea, as it can lead to a sudden drop in their blood sugar. Apart from insulin, ginseng is known to interact with caffeine and warfarin.

Health Benefits
Korean ginseng supplements are available as capsules or tinctures, which are derived from the dried roots of the ginseng plant. It can also be consumed as tea for gaining several health benefits, which can be attributed to ginsenoside, which is an active compound. Ginsenosides are phytochemicals that can improve brain activity to enhance attention and concentration. They are known to prevent the excess production of corticosteroids, and thereby control the level of stress and anxiety. However, these are not the only benefits of this herb. Given below are a few more gains:

  • Strengthens the lungs and cures asthma
  • Helps in treating erectile dysfunction in men
  • Alleviates postmenopausal symptoms
  • Aids in basifying/alkalizing the body
  • Helps build a strong immune system
  • Increases vitality and energy
  • Improves male sexual function
  • Alleviates alcohol intoxication
  • Promotes burning of fats and calories

Although the side effects are generally mild in nature, it is advisable to take this herb or its supplements only under the supervision of a health care professional. Though herbs have the potential of providing a great number of health benefits, their excessive intake can give rise to some major complications. Therefore, moderation and adequate precaution is required while taking herbs for medicinal or therapeutic purposes.

Disclaimer: This article is purely for informative and educational purposes. Please seek the advice of a registered medical practitioner before consuming any of the above-mentioned herb supplements.