Last update: June 11, 2024

American Ginseng: The Complete Guide

Explore the facts about American Ginseng in our comprehensive guide! Learn about the advantages, suggested amounts, and possible downsides of this special herb that may help reduce stress.

Stephanie Wright

By Stephanie Wright, RN, BSN

Edited by Dr. Dimitar Marinov, MD, MBA, PhD

Learn more about our editorial standards

Key takeaways

  • American Ginseng is an adaptogen that may help you manage stress
  • It has many potential benefits like supporting blood sugar regulation in your body
  • American Ginseng is just one of many types of ginseng, each with its own set of potential benefits

    What is American ginseng?

    American ginseng (Panax quinquefolius) is a herbaceous perennial plant in the ivy family, commonly found in North America. It is one of the most popular and valuable herbs in traditional medicine, particularly known for its adaptogenic properties.

    The plant features a single stem that ends in a whorl of one to four leaves, each with five ovate leaflets. It blooms small, inconspicuous yellowish-green flowers followed by bright red berries. Its roots are fleshy and forked, light tan in color, and wrinkled. Its shape often resembles the human body, with shoots that look like arms and legs.

    A proud East Coast inhabitant

    American ginseng grows primarily in the eastern regions of North America, from Quebec to Minnesota and down to Georgia and Oklahoma. It prefers the shaded, cool climates of deciduous forests.

    American ginseng is available in various forms, including powders, supplements, and teas. You can consume it raw, lightly cooked, or as a supplement. Supplemental forms include extracts, capsules, and powders, to give your health a boost.

    Different types of ginseng

    1. American Ginseng (Panax quinquefolius)
      Native to North America and considered less stimulating than Panax ginseng in traditional Chinese medicine. American ginseng has been studied for its potential to reduce the frequency and severity of colds, as well as its possible effects on blood sugar regulation and immune function.
    2. Panax Ginseng (Asian or Korean Ginseng)
      This is the most widely studied type of ginseng. It is known for its potential stimulating effects. It may help boost immunity, regulate blood sugar, improve focus, and reduce inflammation. Panax ginseng is often processed into two forms: white ginseng (naturally dried) and red ginseng (steam heated), which may have slightly different properties due to the processing methods.
    3. Siberian Ginseng (Eleutherococcus senticosus)
      Despite its name, Siberian ginseng is not a true Panax ginseng but rather a distant relative. It is believed to help the body adapt to stress and has been used in traditional medicine to support immune function, improve energy levels, and enhance physical performance.
    4. Indian Ginseng (Ashwagandha)
      Also not a true Panax ginseng, Ashwagandha is an herb used in Ayurvedic medicine. It is known for its potential calming and stress-reducing effects, in contrast to the stimulating properties of Panax ginseng. Ashwagandha is often used to support vitality, promote relaxation, and enhance overall well-being.

    How does American ginseng work in your body?

    What are some benefits of American ginseng?

    American ginseng holds various properties that may contribute to overall well-being [1].

    1. Reduces fatigue and increases energy

      Research suggests that American ginseng may offer relief from fatigue, resulting in enhanced energy levels [6].

    2. Helps reduce stress and anxiety

      American ginseng is known for playing a role in helping the body manage both physical and emotional stress. Its adaptogenic properties help the body adapt to and cope with various stressors [2].

    3. Supports memory, focus, and concentration

      Some evidence suggests that American ginseng may contribute to enhanced cognitive function, potentially influencing concentration, memory, and learning. Initial studies point towards cognitive benefits [3].

    4. Provides an antioxidant boost

      American ginseng is noted for its strong antioxidant properties, which may contribute to shielding cells from oxidative damage. Antioxidants are crucial in neutralizing free radicals and supporting overall cellular health [4].

    5. Aids blood sugar regulation

      Preliminary studies indicate that American ginseng may aid in regulating blood sugar levels. This potential benefit underscores its role in metabolic health [5].

    6. Supports the immune system

      American ginseng is thought to provide potential support for the immune system, offering protection against common viral respiratory infections like colds and flu, and may contribute to overall immune health [7].

    Delivery methods

    American ginseng supplements come in various delivery methods, each offering its own set of benefits and forms of consumption. Here's a brief overview of the different delivery methods:

    Choose a method that fits your routine

    Do not overlook the delivery method. American ginseng supplements come in tablets, capsules, soft gel, chewable, powders, and liquid forms—choose the one that best fits your daily routine to stay consistent.

    What to look for in American ginseng supplements

    When selecting a supplement, several key factors must be considered to ensure you choose a high-quality product that effectively supports your health goals and overall well-being.

    • Dosage and potency

      The dosage of American ginseng in supplements varies, so it's important to choose one that aligns with your specific needs. This includes considering your age, gender, and health status, like pregnancy or existing deficiencies. The American ginseng formulation can impact its potency and bioavailability, which affects how effectively your body can absorb and use it.

    • Quantity and delivery method

      The delivery method is crucial. American ginseng supplements come in various forms, including tablets, capsules, powders, chewables, and liquid forms. Your choice may depend on factors like ease of swallowing, convenience for traveling, or personal preference regarding taste and texture. Also, evaluate the quantity of American ginseng to determine how long it will last based on your daily requirements.

    • Quality and manufacturing

      Quality is paramount when selecting American ginseng supplements. Look for products manufactured under strict quality control guidelines and those that have undergone third-party testing for purity and label accuracy. Certifications from recognized bodies can be a reliable indicator of a high-quality product. Additionally, consider the manufacturer's reputation and transparency in their production processes.


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    How and when should you take American ginseng for maximum absorption?

    To get the most out of your American ginseng supplement, it's crucial to consider the timing and method of consumption. The following dos and don'ts offer guidance on optimizing absorption, efficiently supporting your health and wellness, and minimizing potential discomfort.


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      Take American ginseng with water or a non-caffeinated beverage.

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      Space it apart from medications by at least 2 hours.

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      Consider taking it in the morning for an energy boost.

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      Speak with your doctor before taking any supplement.


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      Avoid taking on an empty stomach; consume with food.

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      Do not chew the supplement if it is in capsule or tablet form.

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      Avoid mixing it with other herbal or vitamin supplements without consulting a healthcare professional.

    Who should take American ginseng?

    Taking American ginseng supplements has its potential benefits, but it may not be for everyone.

    Recommended dosage

    Explore the appropriate use of American Ginseng, varying by age and health condition. This section details recommended practices and safety advisories for infants, children, adults, as well as pregnant and breastfeeding women.

    Side effects of excessive American ginseng consumption

    While American ginseng supplements are generally safe when taken within recommended limits, excessive intake can have adverse effects [9].

    • Nausea and Digestive Discomfort: Excessive intake may cause gastrointestinal issues such as nausea, stomach discomfort, and diarrhea.
    • Insomnia and Sleep Disturbances: High doses of American ginseng might lead to sleep disturbances and exacerbate insomnia in susceptible people.
    • Fluctuations in Blood Sugar: Overconsumption may result in fluctuations in blood sugar levels, leading to symptoms such as dizziness, weakness, and confusion.

    Always consult your doctor

    If you're experiencing side effects, consult your healthcare provider. They may recommend a different American ginseng formulation or adjust your dosage. Balancing your American ginseng needs with any discomfort is crucial and should not be overlooked.

    Health made easy: your go-to resource for essential vitamins and supplements

    Frequently asked questions about American ginseng (FAQ)

    Our library of expert-authored articles covers just about every question you might have about vitamins, minerals, and supplements — along with some you might not have known you had.

    Final thoughts

    American ginseng is a natural supplement that has been used in Chinese medicine for hundreds of years. It’s an antioxidant and has anti-inflammatory properties. American ginseng has the potential to make your immune system stronger, help your brain work better, reduce how tired you feel, and lower inflammation in your body. You can eat it raw, slightly cooked, or take it as a supplement in forms like extract, capsules, or powder to give your health a boost.

    Sources and references

    1. American Ginseng (Panax quinquefolium L.) as a Source of Bioactive Phytochemicals with Pro-Health Properties - PMC
    2. A randomized, placebo-controlled trial investigating the acute and chronic benefits of American Ginseng (Cereboost®) on mood and cognition in healthy young adults, including in vitro investigation of gut microbiota changes as a possible mechanism of action | European Journal of Nutrition
    3. Effects of American ginseng (Panax quinquefolius) on neurocognitive function: an acute, randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled, crossover study - PMC
    4. Antioxidant effects of American ginseng berry extract in cardiomyocytes exposed to acute oxidant stress
    5. Therapeutic Potential of Ginsenosides as an Adjuvant Treatment for Diabetes - PMC
    6. Ginseng as a Treatment for Fatigue: A Systematic Review
    7. Efficacy and Safety of CVT-E002, a Proprietary Extract of Panax quinquefolius in the Prevention of Respiratory Infections in Influenza-Vaccinated Community-Dwelling Adults: A Multicenter, Randomized, Double-Blind, and Placebo-Controlled Trial - PMC
    8. 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
    9. Panax ginseng: a systematic review of adverse effects and drug interactions
    10. American Ginseng Attenuates Eccentric Exercise-Induced Muscle Damage via the Modulation of Lipid Peroxidation and Inflammatory Adaptation in Males
    11. AMERICAN GINSENG: Overview, Uses, Side Effects, Precautions, Interactions, Dosing and Reviews
    12. American Ginseng: MedlinePlus Supplements


    Stephanie Wright avatar

    Stephanie brings over 13 years of diverse nursing experience to the table, having honed her expertise in critical care, mental health, and utilization management. Her journey as a registered nurse across these various healthcare sectors underscores her adaptability and deep commitment to patient care.

    Fact checker

    Dr. Dimitar Marinov avatar

    Dr. Marinov has years of experience in scientific research and preventive and clinical medicine. His publications in peer-reviewed journals are on nutritional status, physical activity, and musculoskeletal disorders among adolescents.

    At VitaRx, we're not just passionate about our work — we take immense pride in it. Our dedicated team of writers diligently follows strict editorial standards, ensuring that every piece of content we publish is accurate, current, and highly valuable. We don't just strive for quality; we aim for excellence.

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