American ginseng (Panax quinquefolius) is an herb that grows mainly in North America. People usually take American ginseng by mouth for stress, to boost the immune system, or to relax. Though don’t confuse it with Asian ginseng (Panax ginseng) or Siberian Ginseng (Eleutherococcus senticosus), as these are different plants with different effects.
Because ginseng is believed to be beneficial for every part of the human body, the amount of time it can take to feel and/or see the effects of ginseng varies.
When should you take ginseng?
Antioxidants are beneficial regardless of age or health status, but ginseng treatment may be especially beneficial to those suffering from stress, mental fuzziness, weak immune systems, or sexual dysfunction.
How long does it take for your body to digest/absorb ginseng?
Water-soluble ginseng, when taken orally, is generally absorbed within 24 hours.
How long does it take to feel the effects of ginseng?
You should start feeling the effects of ginseng within a few hours to 3–8 weeks of taking it, and ginseng can stay in your system for close to 8 weeks. It has also been effective for:
Stress and Anxiety
Science and tradition agree that North American ginseng appears to have a calming effect. Whatever your current stress level may be, this simple herb seems to stimulate GABA receptors (nerve cells that receive the chemical messages that help to inhibit or reduce nerve impulses) and induces a calming effect on brain function and the body.
Patients with type 2 diabetes who take three grams of North American ginseng by mouth before a meal can experience lower blood sugar levels following a meal.
Further research showed that high-dose extracts of North American ginseng reduced glycosylated hemoglobin (HbA1c) in patients with Type 2 diabetes for eight weeks while they were maintaining existing medication and a healthy diet.
Respiratory tract infections
During flu season, research suggests that taking a ginseng extract might prevent cold or flu symptoms in adults aged 18 to 65. An Ontario-grown ginseng trial evaluated its effectiveness in preventing acute respiratory illness in 198 elderly people in an institutional setting. Within 8–12 weeks of taking North American ginseng extract, there was an 89% lower relative risk of contracting an acute respiratory illness. Almost all of these seniors had received vaccinations (90%) and ginseng extract appeared to be a safe and complementary treatment.
Whenever infections do occur, this extract seems to help make symptoms milder and last for a shorter period of time. There is evidence that suggests the extract may not reduce the chance of getting the first cold of the season, but it appears to reduce the chance of getting repeated colds. However, it may not help prevent cold or flu-like symptoms for patients with weak immune systems.
Are there side effects?
Taken appropriately, North American ginseng is generally regarded as safe when taken by mouth. The American Botanical Council Clinical Guide to Herbs (2003) reports that there are no known contraindications or drug interactions for North American Ginseng.
There have been no side effects associated with using dosages of 100-3000 mg daily for up to 12 weeks. Single doses of up to 10 grams have also been used safely. Symptoms may include headache.
Buy Ontario Ginseng From Our Licensed Partners
Ontario Ginseng Growers Association is proud to promote qualified retailers and certified sellers displaying our “Running Root” seal on their products. By using the “Running Root” seal, retailers guarantee their products contain only 100% Canadian Ginseng (Panax quinquefolius) that is sourced from native Ontario soils. Click here to view our list of licensed partners.
If you are looking to improve a health condition or simply boost your general well-being, North American ginseng certainly deserves your attention.
At the Ontario Ginseng Growers Association (OGGA), we’re passionate about educating consumers about high-quality, North American ginseng. Visit our website to learn more about this amazing plant—including some recipe ideas for adding ginseng into your daily routine!—or reach out to learn more about how you can get involved.