Last update: June 14, 2024

7 minute read

The Health Benefits of American Ginseng

Learn about all the health benefits of American ginseng, its antioxidant properties, how it supports the immune system, and why it's a top herbal choice for holistic wellness.

Stephanie Wright

By Stephanie Wright, RN, BSN

Edited by Dr. Jacquie Leone, NMD, HN

Learn more about our editorial standards

You've likely heard of ginseng, a family of energy-boosting herbs with a long history of use in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). If you've never heard of this plant, you're in luck. We're here to detail all the positive benefits of using the ginseng root in your diet and supplement routine. Let's unpack the benefits and effects of American ginseng.

    What is American ginseng?

    There are several similar but distinct varieties of ginseng—the most common being Siberian, Asian, and American ginseng. Today, we're going to talk about the different effects of the American strain.

    American ginseng — from the Panax quinquefolius plant — is a powerful medicinal herb that grows in North America. The fleshy roots of the herb have been used for thousands of years by Native American tribes to increase energy, support pain, relieve headaches, lower fever, and aid indigestion.

    Today, American ginseng is grown and used all over North America. It helps manage blood sugars, manage stress, and strengthen the immune system. It's a favorite herb for many and is sold worldwide.

    American and Asian ginseng are often confused as they're from the same Panax genus of plants. Both appear as gnarled, light tan, roots.

    They are both rich in antioxidant compounds with powerful health benefits, but according to Chinese medicine and clinical trials, the most significant difference is that American ginseng helps reduce body temperature while Asian ginseng improves blood circulation and increases body temperature.

    How American ginseng works

    Studies on ginseng highlight its health benefits from compounds called ginsenosides. These chemicals are strong antioxidants and reduce inflammation. They help boost your immune system, protect your brain, and balance your blood sugar.

    Ginseng is rich in antioxidants, but what exactly does that mean? Basically, antioxidants act as compounds that fight off free radicals in your body while lowering your oxidative stress. Any capsule that includes these compounds will help rejuvenate your cells and keep them from being badly damaged.

    In natural medicine, American ginseng is also a popular stress-busting herb. It's known as an "adaptogen"—a compound that helps you avoid burnout and physical exhaustion by regulating the body's response to stress (i.e. “adapt” to stress better).

    Improving your stress levels isn't just about improving your quality of life. It's also about keeping harsh stimulants and oxidative stress out of the body so it can function at a higher level for longer. Lowering stress can also help you fight insomnia, high blood pressure, and diabetes.

    Health benefits of American ginseng

    There’s a huge number of health benefits of American ginseng. Research shows that this alternative medicine can be an excellent dietary supplement for improving your overall health. Here are some of the benefits of American ginseng.

    Boosts energy

    Like other forms of ginseng, the American kind naturally fights fatigue and helps boost your energy. These medicinal herbs help protect the mitochondria from oxidative damage to boost your physical health and mental performance.

    In 2013, researchers looked at the impact of ginseng on cancer patients dealing with debilitating cancer-related fatigue as a side-effect of treatment. It found that taking a dose of 2,000 mg of American ginseng for two months resulted in a significant reduction in fatigue, particularly for patients actively receiving cancer treatment.

    Another 2018 systematic review study in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine found American ginseng to provide promising support for fatigue in people with chronic illnesses. These pilot studies help show that people fighting chronic disorders may also benefit from this herbal medicine.

    Promotes brain function

    Research shows active ginsenosides in American ginseng have neuroprotective and cognitive-boosting effects, helping you to feel mentally sharp. So, if you want a natural boost for your brain and mental clarity, consider trying American ginseng.

    A study in Psychopharmacology measured the mood and cognitive function in healthy adults taking a natural supplement containing American ginseng extract (standardized to 10.65% ginsenosides). The study found a significant improvement in working memory, reaction time, and feelings of calmness among those who took American ginseng.

    This is great news for students and people with mentally demanding jobs! You can lower your stress and get better neurocognitive function while handling different mental tests with ease thanks to a few grams of ginseng.

    Supports immunity, reducing colds and flu

    American ginseng is one of the most popular natural remedies during cold and flu season. Get through winter untouched with medicinal herbs that support flu symptoms.

    The active compounds have antimicrobial properties and are known to balance the immune system and enhance the body's resistance to infection. Even healthy people run the risk of catching the flu or even a common cold. But with American ginseng, you have a natural defender to help fight off those pesky bugs.

    In 2011, a review of five studies found that, compared to a placebo, taking American ginseng as a preventative measure helped in a variety of ways.

    • Reduced the total number of common colds by 25%
    • Lowered the incidence of other acute respiratory infections
    • Shortened the side effects and duration of colds and acute respiratory infections by 6.2 days

    Regulates blood sugar levels

    Regulating blood sugar is key to a healthy metabolism. Ginsenosides in American ginseng may help balance blood sugar levels by increasing insulin production and your cells' sensitivity to insulin.

    Insulin is a hormone from the pancreas that helps control your blood sugar by moving glucose into your cells. It's used for energy or storage. To support healthy blood sugar levels and potentially lower the chance of diabetes, consider adding natural supplements to your routine.

    A clinical study found that taking a 3-gram dose of American ginseng before or at the same time as a sugary drink reduced blood glucose levels in Type 2 diabetics. This is a powerful supplement that helps everyone manage their blood sugar, and is especially beneficial for those with diabetes.

    Frequently asked questions (FAQ)

    Final thoughts

    American ginseng stands as proof of nature's power in supporting your health and well-being. From boosting your energy to supporting your immune system, it's a natural powerhouse. But remember, everyone's needs are unique.



    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. Jacquie Leone avatar

    Dr. Leone holds a BA in Psychology, a Doctorate in Naturopathic Medicine, and board certification in holistic nutrition. In addition to practicing medicine, Dr. Leone has developed and currently teaches science and nutrition courses for a nationally accredited institution. She specializes in chronic illness, gastrointestinal dysregulation, inflammatory conditions, and mental health. Her unique approach combines the wisdom of Eastern medicine with the technology and science of Western medicine, offering an integrative approach heavily focused on functional medicine.

    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.

    Related posts

    While you're at it, here are some other relevant articles you might be interested in.

    See all blog posts

    Get your personalized vitamin recommendations in less than
    5 minutes.

    Take the Health Quiz

    Get your personalized vitamin recommendations in less than
    5 minutes.

    Take the Health Quiz