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Check out this list of interactions and contraindicators:
Women with hormone-dependent conditions such as endometriosis, uterine fibroids, and cancers of the breast, ovaries, or uterus should not take Panax ginseng due to its possible estrogenic effects. Men with prostate cancer should also avoid taking Panax ginseng.
In clinical studies of both humans and animals, Panax ginseng has slowed the rate and decreased the force of heartbeats. It has also reduced blood pressure in some cases. All of these effects may worsen some heart conditions. Individuals with any kind of heart disease should not take Panax ginseng without supervision from a healthcare professional.
Individuals with diabetes should avoid taking large amounts of Panax ginseng because it can lower blood sugar levels, potentially resulting in hypoglycemia (blood sugar that is too low). Indications that blood sugar may be too low include shakiness, sweating, confusion, distorted speech, and loss of muscle control. If not corrected, low blood sugar can lead to unconsciousness and even death.
Taking Panax ginseng by mouth may cause or worsen insomnia.
What side effects should I watch for?
Note:Most side effects from Panax ginseng have been reported in individuals who took high doses or who took Panax ginseng continually for long periods of time.
Major Side Effects
Infants given Panax ginseng may develop a condition, resembling alcohol intoxication that has lead to at least one reported death of a newborn.
Rarely, taking Panax ginseng by mouth has been associated with non-infectious hepatitis.
In other rare reports, Panax ginseng may have caused inflammation of blood vessels in the brain – a condition that could result in headaches or strokes.
One case has been reported of an individual who developed anaphylaxis-like symptoms shortly after ingesting a small amount of Panax ginseng syrup. Anaphylaxis is a potentially life-threatening allergic reaction that may involve the development of a rash or hives, a sudden fall in blood pressure, swelling of the mouth and throat, or unconsciousness.
Less Severe Side Effects
Other side effects associated with taking Panax ginseng are generally mild and temporary. They usually diminish after a few days and they may include:
Blood pressure changes
Heart rate changes
Loss of appetite
A few individuals have experienced itchy rashes after taking or applying Panax ginseng preparations or touching Panax ginseng plants. In very rare cases, Panax ginseng may have caused a very serious skin reaction called Stevens-Johnson Syndrome. A doctor should be contacted right away if a high fever, swollen eyelids, blisters in the mouth, or red marks on the skin develop while Panax ginseng is taken.
What interactions should I watch for?
In studies, Panax ginseng has been shown to increase the time blood needs to clot. When it is taken with antiplatelet or anticoagulant drugs, the effect of the drug may be increased, possibly resulting in uncontrolled bleeding.
Antiplatelet agents include Plavix and Ticlid
Anticoagulants include heparin and warfarin
Some drugs used for asthma, heart problems, or other reasons can affect heart rhythm. Because Panax ginseng can change the force and rate of heart beats, it can increase the risk of side effects from drugs such as:
theophylline and related drugs for asthma
Panax ginseng may interfere with insulin and oral drugs for diabetes, such as:
glipizide (Glucotrol XL)
Panax ginseng is believed to affect levels of neurotransmitters, chemicals that carry messages from nerve cells to other cells. Antipsychotic drugs used to treat mental disorders such as schizophrenia also alter the levels of neurotransmitters. If Panax ginseng and antipsychotic drugs are taken at the same time, the effectiveness of the drug may be changed, so it is best to avoid using Panax ginseng while taking drugs such as:
Because it is broken down by certain enzymes in the liver, Panax ginseng may possibly interfere with the use of prescription drugs that are processed by the same enzymes. Some of these drugs are:
Allergy drugs such as Allegra
Antifungal drugs such as ketoconazole (Nizoral) and Sporanox
Cancer drugs such as etoposide, paclitaxel, vinblastine, or vincristine
Drugs for high cholesterol such as lovastatin
In reported cases, the risk of side effects such as headache, insomnia, and shakiness increased when Panax ginseng was taken with antidepressants known as MAO inhibitors. Drugs in this class include:
Because it is a non-specific central nervous system stimulant, Panax ginseng may increase the effects and the side effects of prescription drugs that also stimulate the central nervous system. Used mainly to treat attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, narcolepsy, and obesity; stimulant drugs can raise heart rate and blood pressure. They include:
amphetamine salts (Adderall)
methylphenidate (Concerta, Methlyn, Ritalin)
phentermine (Adipex-P, Ionamin)
Panax ginseng can affect the ability of blood to clot after an injury. Aspirin can also delay clotting, so Panax ginseng should not be taken orally at the same time as aspirin.
Stimulants may be included in non-prescription drugs that are used for increasing energy, losing weight, raising mental alertness, or treating colds or asthma. If Panax ginseng is taken by mouth at the same time as one of these products is being used, the central nervous system may be overstimulated, possibly resulting in insomnia, irritability, and increased blood pressure. If you are not sure whether the non-prescription drugs you take contain stimulants, ask your doctor or pharmacist before you take Panax ginseng.
Theoretically, if Panax ginseng is used with other herbs that affect blood clotting, bleeding may occur. Some of the most common herbal products that might inhibit blood clotting are:
Ginger (in high amounts)
If Panax ginseng is taken at the same time as other herbs that also affect the heart, potentially dangerous changes in heart function may result. Some herbal products with heart effects are:
Ginger (in large doses)
Because Panax ginseng may decrease blood sugar levels, taking it with other blood sugar-lowering herbal products may result in hypoglycemia - blood sugar that is too low. Herbals that may reduce blood sugar include:
Ginger (in high amounts)
Certain herbal products are stimulants that may result in side effects if they are taken with Panax ginseng. These herbal products include ephedra (which has been withdrawn from the market), guarana, and mate. Taken together with Panax ginseng, any one of these herbals may cause insomnia, irritability, nervousness, and other side effects.
Caffeine increases the central nervous system stimulation effect of Panax ginseng. The combination may cause excessive nervousness and irritability, along with other signs of over-stimulation. Caffeinated beverages such as coffee, soft drinks, and tea should not be consumed when taking Panax ginseng.
Some interactions between herbal products and medications can be more severe than others. The best way for you to avoid harmful interactions is to tell your doctor and/or pharmacist what medications you are currently taking, including any over-the-counter products, vitamins, and herbals. For specific information on how Panax ginseng interacts with drugs, other herbals, and foods and the severity of those interactions, please use our Drug Interactions Checker to check for possible interactions.
Should I take it?
Panax ginseng is native to the northern parts of China, Korea, and Siberia. While closely related to American ginseng, Panax ginseng contains different chemical substances. It looks similar to American ginseng, with mature plants having three to seven short stems each containing five leaves. One tall central stem bears a cluster of tiny yellow flowers followed by small red berries. Panax ginseng plants generally are larger than American ginseng plants, their roots may be bigger in diameter, and the roots have a sweetish smell. Typically, fresh roots of Panax ginseng are a slightly darker tan color, as opposed to a yellow or cream color for the roots of American ginseng. Unlike the quicker-growing American ginseng, though, cultivated Panax ginseng roots are not large enough to harvest until the plants are at least 7 years old. Wild Panax ginseng grows even more slowly. Thought to be more effective than cultivated roots, authenticated extremely old wild Panax ginseng roots are extremely expensive.
The name “red ginseng” refers to a method of preserving Panax ginseng by steaming it under pressure. Processing by steam is thought to increase the amounts of some active components of Panax ginseng.
In Oriental countries, Panax ginseng is used to flavor drinks and foods, it is an ingredient in some soft drinks and chewing gum, and it is included in vitamin tablets. Powdered Panax ginseng may be added to cooked foods or coffee. In cosmetics, Panax ginseng is used as a scent and a coloring agent.
Dosage and Administration
Panax ginseng is available in a number of different oral dosage forms that include capsules, dried root powder, fresh root, liquid extracts, and teas. Many Panax ginseng products are standardized to contain 7% of the active ingredients known as ginsenosides. Standardization by the manufacturer should assure the same amount of active ingredient in every batch of the commercial preparation. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration does not require standardization of herbal products, so not every Panax ginseng product sold in the United States may contain the same active ingredients. Additionally, the amounts of active chemicals in Panax ginseng vary greatly according to how the plants are grown, harvested, processed, and stored. Panax ginseng products may be extended with other types of ginseng that are less expensive to produce.
For improving or maintaining general health, a commonly recommended daily dose of oral Panax ginseng is 500 mg to 3000 mg (0.5 gram to 3 grams) of fresh root or 200 mg to 600 mg as dried root powder in capsules. Doses for other conditions differ widely depending on the type of product being used and the condition being treated. If Panax ginseng is used, the directions on the package that is purchased should be followed.
Panax ginseng tea may be made by soaking about 3000 mg (3 grams) of chopped fresh root or 1500 mg (1.5 grams) of dried root powder in about 5 ounces of boiling water for 10 to 15 minutes and then straining out the solid particles. Panax ginseng tea may have a strong taste, so it is often sweetened, flavored, or added to other herbals before drinking.
Many sources recommend that the use of Panax ginseng be interrupted for 2 or 3 weeks after oral Panax ginseng is used continuously for up to 3 months.
Taken most commonly as an adaptogen to help the body resist stress, Panax ginseng has been studied for improving memory, treating asthma, and enhancing immune function. It may also help to reduce levels of blood sugar and blood cholesterol. Either orally or topically, it may treat erectile dysfunction and it may also help to relieve some types of male infertility. Possible estrogenic effects need further investigation.
Individuals who have heart conditions or cancers of the breast, ovaries, prostate, or uterus should not take Panax ginseng. Pregnant women, infants, and young children should also avoid taking it. Individuals who have diabetes or insomnia should be careful if they decide to take Panax ginseng.
Rarely, newborn babies who are given Panax ginseng have developed an intoxication-like condition. In adults, rare cases of hepatitis or inflamed blood vessels in the brain have been attributed to taking it. One case of possible severe allergy to Panax ginseng resulted in breathing problems, low blood pressure, and sudden rash. More often, Panax ginseng is associated with milder and temporary side effects such as diarrhea, heart rate changes, insomnia, and nervousness.
Panax ginseng may interfere with many prescription drugs, non-prescription products, and herbals, including:
Central nervous system stimulants
Drugs and herbals that affect blood clotting
Drugs and herbals used for the treatment of diabetes
Drugs used to treat schizophrenia
theophylline and related drugs for asthma
Last Revised October 20, 2004
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Last Revised October 13, 2004The material above was taken from HERE
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