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    American Ginseng

    American Ginseng

    Uses

    Botanical names:
    Panax quinquefolius

    Parts Used & Where Grown

    Like its more familiar cousin Asian ginseng (Panax ginseng), the root of American ginseng is used medicinally. The plant grows wild in shady forests of the northern and central United States, as well as in parts of Canada. It is cultivated in the United States, China, and France.

    What Are Star Ratings?

    Our proprietary ?Star-Rating? system was developed to help you easily understand the amount of scientific support behind each supplement in relation to a specific health condition. While there is no way to predict whether a vitamin, mineral, or herb will successfully treat or prevent associated health conditions, our unique ratings tell you how well these supplements are understood by the medical community, and whether studies have found them to be effective for other people.

    For over a decade, our team has combed through thousands of research articles published in reputable journals. To help you make educated decisions, and to better understand controversial or confusing supplements, our medical experts have digested the science into these three easy-to-follow ratings. We hope this provides you with a helpful resource to make informed decisions towards your health and well-being.

    3 Stars Reliable and relatively consistent scientific data showing a substantial health benefit.

    2 Stars Contradictory, insufficient, or preliminary studies suggesting a health benefit or minimal health benefit.

    1 Star For an herb, supported by traditional use but minimal or no scientific evidence. For a supplement,little scientific support.

    This supplement has been used in connection with the following health conditions:

    Used for Why
    2 Stars
    Common Cold and Sore Throat
    400 mg per day of a freeze-dried extract
    In a double-blind study, supplementing with American ginseng significantly reduced the number of colds that people experienced over a four-month period.

    In a double-blind study, supplementation with American ginseng significantly reduced by 27% the number of colds that people experienced over a four-month period, compared with a placebo.4 The amount used in this study was 400 mg per day of a freeze-dried extract.

    2 Stars
    Type 2 Diabetes
    3 grams with or following meals
    Supplementing with American ginseng may help improve blood sugar control.
    In a small preliminary trial, 3 grams of American ginseng was found to lower the rise in blood sugar following the consumption of a high-glucose drink by people with type 2 diabetes.5 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.6 This study also found that American ginseng was equally effective in controlling the rise in blood sugar whether it was given together with the drink or up to two hours before.
    1 Star
    Athletic Performance
    Refer to label instructions
    While some early controlled studies suggested there might be benefits like muscle strengthening, several double-blind trials have found no significant effects of Asian ginseng on endurance exercise.
    Extensive but often poorly designed studies have been conducted on the use of Asian ginseng (Panax ginseng) to improve athletic performance.7 , 8While some early controlled studies suggested there might be benefits, several recent double-blind trials have found no significant effects of Asian ginseng on endurance exercise.9 , 10 , 11In many studies, it is possible that ginseng was used in insufficient amounts or for an inadequate length of time; a more effective regimen for enhancing endurance performance may be 2 grams of powdered root per day or 200 to 400 mg per day of an extract standardized for 4% ginsenosides, taken for eight to twelve weeks.12Short-term intense exercise has also not been helped by Asian ginseng according to double-blind trials,13 , 14but one controlled study reported increased pectoral and quadricep muscle strength in non-exercising men and women after taking 1 gram per day of Asian ginseng for six weeks.15An extract of a related plant, American Gingseng (Panax quinquefolius), was found ineffective at improving endurance exercise performance in untrained people after one week?s supplementation in a double-blind study.16

    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. Some herbalists also recommend 3?5 ml of tincture three times per day.
    1 Star
    Infection
    Refer to label instructions
    American ginseng supports the immune system and protects against microbes.

    Herbs that support a person?s immune system in the fight against microbes include the following: American ginseng , andrographis , Asian ginseng , astragalus , coriolus, eleuthero , ligustrum , maitake , picrorhiza , reishi , schisandra , and shiitake .

    Traditional Use (May Not Be Supported by Scientific Studies)

    Many Native American tribes used American ginseng. Medicinal applications ranged from digestive disorders to sexual problems.1 The Chinese began to use American ginseng after it was imported during the 1700s.2 The traditional applications of American ginseng in China are significantly different from those for Panax ginseng (Asian ginseng).3

    How It Works

    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.17 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.18

    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 .19 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.20 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.21 Some herbalists also recommend 3?5 ml of tincture three times per day.

    Interactions

    Botanical names:
    Panax quinquefolius

    Interactions with Supplements, Foods, & Other Compounds

    Conditions such as insomnia or agitation are more likely to occur when caffeine -containing foods and beverages are being consumed along with American ginseng.22

    Interactions with Medicines

    Certain medicines interact with this supplement.

    Types of interactions: Beneficial Adverse Check

    Replenish Depleted Nutrients

    • none

    Reduce Side Effects

    • none

    Support Medicine

    • none

    Reduces Effectiveness

    • none

    Potential Negative Interaction

    • Warfarin

      In a study of healthy human volunteers, supplementing with American ginseng reduced warfarin's anticoagulant effect, apparently by stimulating the body to accelerate the metabolism of warfarin.23 People taking warfarin should not take American ginseng, unless supervised by a doctor.

    Explanation Required

    • none

    The Drug-Nutrient Interactions table may not include every possible interaction. Taking medicines with meals, on an empty stomach, or with alcohol may influence their effects. For details, refer to the manufacturers? package information as these are not covered in this table. If you take medications, always discuss the potential risks and benefits of adding a supplement with your doctor or pharmacist.

    Side Effects

    Botanical names:
    Panax quinquefolius

    Side Effects

    Occasional cases of insomnia or agitation have been reported with the use of American ginseng. These conditions are more likely, however, when caffeine -containing foods and beverages are also being consumed.24

    References

    1. Duke J. Ginseng: A Concise Handbook. Algonac, MI: Reference Publications, 1989, 36.

    2. Bensky D, Gamble A, Kaptchuk T. Chinese Herbal Medicine: Materia Medica. Seattle: Eastland Press, 1993, 358?9.

    3. Bensky D, Gamble A, Kaptchuk T. Chinese Herbal Medicine: Materia Medica. Seattle: Eastland Press, 1993, 358?9.

    4. Predy GN, Goel V, Lovlin R, et al. Efficacy of an extract of North American ginseng containing poly-furanosyl-pyranosyl-saccharides for preventing upper respiratory tract infections: a randomized controlled trial. CMAJ 2005;173:1043?8.

    5. Vuksan V, Sivenpiper JL, Koo VY, et al. American ginseng (Panax quinquefolius L.) reduces postprandial glycemia in nondiabetic subjects and subjects with type 2 diabetes mellitus. Arch Intern Med 2000;160:1009?13.

    6. Vuksan V, Sivenpiper JL, Koo VYY, et al. American ginseng (Panax quinquefolius L.) reduces postprandial glycemia in nondiabetic subjects and subjects with type 2 diabetes mellitus. Arch Intern Med 2000;160:1009?13.

    7. Bahrke MS, Morgan WP. Evaluation of the ergogenic properties of ginseng. Sports Med 1994;18:229?48 [review].

    8. Bahrke MS, Morgan WR. Evaluation of the ergogenic properties of ginseng: an update. Sports Med 2000;29:113?33 [review].

    9. Engels HJ, Wirth JC. No ergogenic effects of ginseng (Panax ginseng C.A. Meyer) during graded maximal aerobic exercise. J Am Diet Assoc 1997;97:1110?5.

    10. Allen JD, McLung J, Nelson AG, Welsch M. Ginseng supplementation does not enhance healthy young adults' peak aerobic exercise performance. J Am Coll Nutr 1998;17:462?6.

    11. Bahrke MS, Morgan WR. Evaluation of the ergogenic properties of ginseng: an update. Sports Med 2000;29:113?33 [review].

    12. Bucci LR. Selected herbals and human exercise performance. Am J Clin Nutr 2000;72:624S?36S [review].

    13. Engels HJ, Fahlman MM, Wirth JC. Effects of ginseng on secretory IgA, performance, and recovery from interval exercise. Med Sci Sports Exerc 2003;35:690?6.

    14. Engels HJ, Kolokouri I, Cieslak TJ 2nd, Wirth JC. Effects of ginseng supplementation on supramaximal exercise performance and short-term recovery. J Strength Cond Res 2001;15:290?5.

    15. McNaughton L. A comparison of Chinese and Russian ginseng as ergogenic aids to improve various facets of physical fitness. Int Clin Nutr Rev 1989;9:32?5.

    16. Morris AC, Jacobs I, McLellan TM, et al. No ergogenic effect of ginseng ingestion. Int J Sport Nutr 1996;6:263?71.

    17. Shibata S, Tanaka O, Shoji J, Saito H. Chemistry and pharmacology of Panax.Econ Med Plant Res 1:218?84.

    18. Morris AC, Jacobs I, McLellan TM, et al. No ergogenic effect on ginseng ingestion. Int J Sport Nutr 1996;6:263?71.

    19. Vuksan V, Sivenpiper JL, Koo VYY, et al. American ginseng (Panax quinquefolius L.) reduces postprandial glycemia in nondiabetic subjects and subjects with type 2 diabetes mellitus. Arch Intern Med 2000;160:1009?13.

    20. Vuksan V, Sivenpiper JL, Koo VYY, et al. American ginseng (Panax quinquefolius L.) reduces postprandial glycemia in nondiabetic subjects and subjects with type 2 diabetes mellitus. Arch Intern Med 2000;160:1009?13.

    21. Foster S. Herbs for Health. Loveland, CO: Interweave Press, 1996, 48?9.

    22. Yun TK, Choi Y. Preventive effect of ginseng intake against various human cancers: A case-control study on 1987 pairs. Cancer Epidem Biomarkers Prev 1995;4:401?8.

    23. Yuan CS, Wei G, Dey L, et al. Brief communication: American ginseng reduces warfarin's effect in healthy patients: a randomized, controlled Trial. Ann Intern Med 2004;141:23?7.

    24. Yun TK, Choi Y. Preventive effect of ginseng intake against various human cancers: A case-control study on 1987 pairs. Cancer Epidem Biomarkers Prev 1995;4:401?8.

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