Generic Name: ginseng (JIN-seng)
Brand Name: Generic only. No brands available.

Ginseng is used for:

Endurance and stamina. It is claimed to strengthen the body to resist disease and fight fatigue and stress, resulting in an improvement in physical and mental performance. Siberian ginseng, from a different species of ginseng, is claimed to boost the immune system, increasing resistance to colds and mild infections. Check with your pharmacist for more details regarding the particular brand you use.

Ginseng is a dietary supplement. It is unknown exactly how ginseng works.

Do NOT use ginseng if:

  • you are allergic to any ingredient in ginseng
  • you are undergoing surgery, or you have any bleeding or blood clots

Contact your doctor or health care provider right away if any of these apply to you.

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Before using ginseng:

Some medical conditions may interact with ginseng. Tell your doctor or pharmacist if you have any medical conditions, especially if any of the following apply to you:

  • if you are pregnant, planning to become pregnant, or are breast-feeding
  • if you are taking any prescription or nonprescription medicine, herbal preparation, or dietary supplement
  • if you have allergies to medicines, foods, or other substances
  • if you have a fever, a history of high or low blood pressure, estrogen-dependent cancer, diabetes, or heart problems
  • if you are taking "water pills" (diuretics such as bumetanide or furosemide)

Some MEDICINES MAY INTERACT with ginseng. However, no specific interactions with ginseng are known at this time.

This may not be a complete list of all interactions that may occur. Ask your health care provider if ginseng may interact with other medicines that you take. Check with your health care provider before you start, stop, or change the dose of any medicine.

How to use ginseng:

Use ginseng as directed by your doctor. Check the label on the medicine for exact dosing instructions.

  • Take ginseng with a meal.
  • There are different types of ginseng, which vary widely in quality. Read product labeling carefully.
  • Ginseng may cause trouble sleeping. Do not take it in the early evening or at bedtime.
  • If you miss taking a dose of ginseng for 1 or more days, there is no cause for concern. If your doctor recommended that you take it, try to remember to take your dose every day.

Ask your health care provider any questions you may have about how to use ginseng.

Important safety information:

  • It is best to avoid taking ginseng for long periods of time (several months or more).
  • Diabetes patients - Ginseng may affect your blood sugar. Check blood sugar levels closely and ask your doctor before adjusting the dose of your diabetes medicine.
  • Ginseng is not recommended for use in CHILDREN. Safety and effectiveness have not been confirmed.
  • PREGNANCY and BREAST-FEEDING: If you become pregnant while taking ginseng, discuss with your doctor the benefits and risks of using ginseng during pregnancy. It is unknown if ginseng is excreted in breast milk. If you are or will be breast-feeding while you are using ginseng, check with your doctor or pharmacist to discuss the risks to your baby.

Possible side effects of ginseng:

All medicines may cause side effects, but many people have no, or minor, side effects. Check with your doctor if any of these most COMMON side effects persist or become bothersome:

Agitation; diarrhea; headache; nervousness; trouble sleeping.

Seek medical attention right away if any of these SEVERE side effects occur:

Severe allergic reactions (rash; hives; itching; difficulty breathing; tightness in the chest; swelling of the mouth, face, lips, or tongue); vaginal bleeding.

This is not a complete list of all side effects that may occur. If you have questions about side effects, contact your health care provider. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. To report side effects to the appropriate agency, please read the Guide to Reporting Problems to FDA.

If OVERDOSE is suspected:

Contact 1-800-222-1222 (the American Association of Poison Control Centers), your local poison control center, or emergency room immediately. Symptoms may include trouble sleeping or swelling of ankles, feet, face, or hands.

Proper storage of ginseng:

Store ginseng at room temperature, between 59 and 86 degrees F (15 and 30 degrees C), in a cool, dry place. Store away from heat, moisture, and light. Do not store in the bathroom. Most herbal products are not in childproof containers. Keep ginseng out of the reach of children and away from pets.

General information:

  • If you have any questions about ginseng, please talk with your doctor, pharmacist, or other health care provider.
  • Ginseng is to be used only by the patient for whom it is prescribed. Do not share it with other people.
  • If your symptoms do not improve or if they become worse, check with your doctor.
  • Check with your pharmacist about how to dispose of unused medicine.

This information should not be used to decide whether or not to take ginseng or any other medicine. Only your health care provider has the knowledge and training to decide which medicines are right for you. This information does not endorse any medicine as safe, effective, or approved for treating any patient or health condition. This is only a brief summary of general information about ginseng. It does NOT include all information about the possible uses, directions, warnings, precautions, interactions, adverse effects, or risks that may apply to ginseng. This information is not specific medical advice and does not replace information you receive from your health care provider. You must talk with your healthcare provider for complete information about the risks and benefits of using ginseng.

Issue Date: July 2, 2014
Database Edition 14.3.1.001
Copyright © 2014 Wolters Kluwer Health, Inc.

Disclaimer: This information should not be used to decide whether or not to take this medicine or any other medicine. Only your health care provider has the knowledge and training to decide which medicines are right for you. This information does not endorse any medicine as safe, effective, or approved for treating any patient or health condition. This is only a brief summary of general information about this medicine. It does NOT include all information about the possible uses, directions, warnings, precautions, interactions, adverse effects, or risks that may apply to this medicine. This information is not specific medical advice and does not replace information you receive from your health care provider. You must talk with your healthcare provider for complete information about the risks and benefits of using this medicine.

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