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American Ginseng

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.

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.1 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.2

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.3 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.3 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.

References

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

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

3. 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.

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. Murray MT. The Healing Power of Herbs. Rocklin, CA: Prima Publishing, 1995.

6. De Souza L, Jenkins A, Jovanovski E, et al. Ethanol extraction preparation of American ginseng (Panax quinquefolius L) and Korean red ginseng (Panax ginseng C.A. Meyer): differential effects on postprandial insulinemia in healthy individuals. J Ethnopharmacol 2015;159:55–61.

7. Shishtar E, Sievenpiper J, Djedovic V, 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;9:e107391.

8. Gui Q, Xu Z, Xu K, Yang Y. The Efficacy of Ginseng-Related Therapies in Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus: An Updated Systematic Review and Meta-analysis. Medicine (Baltimore) 2016;95:e2584.

9. Vuksan V, Xu Z, Jovanovski E, et al. Efficacy and safety of American ginseng (Panax quinquefolius L.) extract on glycemic control and cardiovascular risk factors in individuals with type 2 diabetes: a double-blind, randomized, cross-over clinical trial. Eur J Nutr 2019;58:1237–45.

10. Mucalo I, Jovanovski E, Rahelic D, et al. Effect of American ginseng (Panax quinquefolius L.) on arterial stiffness in subjects with type-2 diabetes and concomitant hypertension. J Ethnopharmacol 2013;150:148–53.

11. Mucalo I, Jovanovski E, Vuksan V, et al. American Ginseng Extract (Panax quinquefolius L.) Is Safe in Long-Term Use in Type 2 Diabetic Patients. Evid Based Complement Alternat Med 2014;2014:969168.

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

13. 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.

14. 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.

15. 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.

16. 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.

17. 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.

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

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

20. Foster S. Herbs for Health. Loveland, CO: Interweave Press, 1996, 48-9.

21. 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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The information presented by TraceGains 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. 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 December 2020.

Copyright © 2020 TraceGains, Inc. All rights reserved.

The information presented by TraceGains 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 December 2020.