Supplement Forms/Alternate Names:

  • American ginseng, Panax quinquefolius


Ginseng is a plant that is often used in teas and sodas. The root has been used to stimulate energy and improve brain function. Ginseng can be taken as a pill, powder, or extract.


1 gram 1 to 3 times daily

What Research Shows

Likely Effective

May Be Effective

Not Enough Data to Assess

Editorial process and description of evidence categories can be found at EBSCO NAT Editorial Process.

Editorial process and description of evidence categories can be found at EBSCO NAT Editorial Process.

Safety Notes

It is likely safe for most adults to take ginseng in small doses for a short time. Pregnant women should not take ginseng. Ginseng may not be safe when taken over a long period. Not enough studies have been done to say whether it is safe to use by women who are breastfeeding. N1-N5


Talk to your doctor about any supplements or therapy you would like to use. Some can interfere with treatment or make conditions worse, such as:

  • People who take blood thinners should talk to their doctor. Ginseng may make them less effective.


REFA Acute Respiratory Infection

REFA1 High KP, Case D, et al. A randomized, controlled trial of Panax quinquefolius extract (CVT-E002) to reduce respiratory infection in patients with chronic lymphocytic leukemia. J Support Oncol. 2012 Sep-Oct;10(5):195-201.

REFB Alzheimer Disease

REFB1 Lee MS, Yang EJ, et al. Ginseng for cognitive function in Alzheimer's disease: a systematic review. J Alzheimers Dis. 2009;18(2):339-344.

REFB2 Wang Y, Yang G, et al. Ginseng for Alzheimer’s Disease: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Randomized Controlled Trials. Curr Top Med Chem. 2016;16(5):529-536.

REFC Cancer Fatigue

REFC1 Barton DL, Soori GS, et al. Pilot study of Panax quinquefolius (American ginseng) to improve cancer-related fatigue: a randomized, double-blind, dose-finding evaluation: NCCTG trial N03CA. Support Care Cancer. 2010 Feb;18(2):179-87.

REFC2 Barton DL, Liu H, et al. Wisconsin Ginseng (Panax quinquefolius) to improve cancer-related fatigue: a randomized, double-blind trial, N07C2. J Natl Cancer Inst. 2013 Aug 21;105(16):1230-1238.

REFD Cancer Induced Nausea and Vomiting

REFD1 Chen MH, May BH, et al. Integrative Medicine for Relief of Nausea and Vomiting in the Treatment of Colorectal Cancer Using Oxaliplatin-Based Chemotherapy: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. Phytother Res. 2016 May;30(5):741-753.

REFE Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease

REFE1 Guo R, Pittler MH, et al. Herbal medicines for the treatment of COPD: a systematic review. Eur Respir J. 2006 Aug;28(2):330-338.

REFE2 An X, Zhang AL, et al. Oral ginseng formulae for stable chronic obstructive pulmonary disease: a systematic review. Respir Med. 2011 Feb;105(2):165-176.

REFF Cognitive Function

REFF1 Geng J, Dong J, et al. Ginseng for cognition. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2010 Dec 8;(12):CD007769.

REFG Diabetes

REFG1 Yeh GY, Eisenberg DM, et al. Systematic review of herbs and dietary supplements for glycemic control in diabetes. Diabetes Care. 2003 Apr;26(4):1277-1294.

REFG2 Kim S, Shin BC, et al. Red ginseng for type 2 diabetes mellitus: a systematic review of randomized controlled trials. Chin J Integr Med. 2011;17(12):937-944.

REFG3 Shergis JL, Zhang AL, et al. Panax ginseng in randomised controlled trials: a systematic review. Phytother Res. 2013 Jul;27(7):949-65.

REFG4 Shishtar E, Sievenpiper JL, et al. The effect of ginseng (the genus panax) on glycemic control: a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled clinical trials. PLoS One. 2014;29(9):e107391.

REFG5 Gui QF, Xu ZR, et al. The Efficacy of Ginseng-Related Therapies in Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus: An Updated Systematic Review and Meta-analysis. Medicine (Baltimore). 2016 Feb;95(6):e2584.

REFG6 Jenkins AL, Morgan LM, et al. Co-administration of a konjac-based fibre blend and American ginseng (Panax quinquefolius L.) on glycaemic control and serum lipids in type 2 diabetes: a randomized controlled, cross-over clinical trial. Eur J Nutr. 2018 Sep;57(6):2217-2225.

REFH Erectile Dysfunction

REFH1 Jang DJ, Lee MS, et al. Red ginseng for treating erectile dysfunction: a systematic review. Br J Clin Pharmacol. 2008 Oct;66(4):444-450.

REFH2 Borrelli F, Colalto C, et al. Herbal Dietary Supplements for Erectile Dysfunction: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. Drugs. 2018 Apr;78(6):643-673.

REFI Fatigue

REFI1 Arring NM, Millstine D, et al. Ginseng as a Treatment for Fatigue: A Systematic Review. J Altern Complement Med. 2018 Jul;24(7):624-633.

REFJ High Blood Pressure

REFJ1 Komishon AM, Shishtar E, et al. The effect of ginseng (genus Panax) on blood pressure: a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled clinical trials. J Hum Hypertens. 2016 Oct;30(10):619-626.

REFJ2 Lee HW, Lim HJ, et al. Ginseng for Treating Hypertension: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Double Blind, Randomized, Placebo-Controlled Trials. Curr Vasc Pharmacol. 2017;15(6):549-556.

REFK Menopause

REFK1 Huntley AL, Ernst E. A systematic review of herbal medicinal products for the treatment of menopausal symptoms. Menopause. 2003 Sep-Oct;10(5):465-476.

REFK2 Lee HW, Choi J, et al. Ginseng for managing menopausal woman’s health: A systematic review of double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled trials. Medicine (Baltimore). 2016;95(38):e4914.

REFL Multiple Sclerosis

REFL1 Kim E, Cameron M, et al. American ginseng does not improve fatigue in multiple sclerosis: a single center randomized double-blind placebo-controlled crossover pilot study. Mult Scler. 2011 Dec;17(12):1523-1526.

REFL2 Etemadifar M, Sayahi F, et al. Ginseng in the treatment of fatigue in multiple sclerosis: a randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blind pilot study. Int J Neurosci. 2013;123(7):480-486.

REFM Neurocognitive Function

REFM1 Scholey A, Ossoukhova A, et al. Effects of American ginseng (Panax quinquefolius) on neurocognitive function: an acute, randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled, crossover study. Psychopharmacology (Berl). 2010 Oct;212(3):345-56.

REFN Safety

REFN1 Yuan CS, Wei G, et al. Brief communication: American ginseng reduces warfarin's effect in healthy patients: a randomized, controlled Trial. Ann Intern Med. 2004 Jul 6;141(1):23-27.

REFN2 Seely D, Dugoua JJ, et al. Safety and efficacy of panax ginseng during pregnancy and lactation. Can J Clin Pharmacol. 2008 Winter;15(1):e87-94.

REFN3 Izzo AA, Ernst E. Interactions between herbal medicines and prescribed drugs: an updated systematic review. Drugs. 2009;69(13):1777-1798.

REFN4 Izzo AA. Interactions between herbs and conventional drugs: overview of the clinical data. Med Princ Pract. 2012;21(5):404-428.

REFN5 Choi S, Oh DS, et al. A systematic review of the pharmacokinetic and pharmacodynamic interactions of herbal medicine with warfarin. PLoS One. 2017 Aug 10;12(8):e0182794.

REFO Schizophrenia

REFO1 Chen EY, Hui CL. HT1001, a proprietary North American ginseng extract, improves working memory in schizophrenia: a double-blind, placebo-controlled study. Phytother Res. 2012;26(8):1166-1172.

REFP Upper Respiratory Tract Infection in Children

REFP1 Vohra S, Johnston BC, et al. Safety and tolerability of North American ginseng extract in the treatment of pediatric upper respiratory tract infection: a phase II randomized, controlled trial of 2 dosing schedules. Pediatrics. 2008 Aug;122(2):e402-10.

Revision Information

  • Reviewer: EBSCO NAT Review Board Eric Hurwitz, DC
  • Review Date: 02/2020
  • Update Date: 06/17/2020