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asian ginseng

© Steven Foster

An asian ginseng monograph for the home

Latin Name: Panax ginseng

Common Names: Asian ginseng, Chinese ginseng, Korean ginseng, Asiatic ginseng, Oriental ginseng

This asian ginseng monograph provides basic information about Asian ginseng—common names, usefulness and safety, and resources for more information.


Asian Ginseng Basics

  • Asian ginseng is native to the Far East, including China and Korea, and has been used for health-related purposes for at least 2,000 years. Asian ginseng is one of several types of ginseng (another is American ginseng, Panax quinquefolius). The terms red ginseng and white ginseng refer to Asian ginseng roots prepared in two different ways. The herb called Siberian ginseng or eleuthero (Eleutherococcus senticosus) is not related to true ginseng.
  • In traditional Chinese medicine, Asian ginseng was used as a tonic that was believed to replenish energy. Today, Asian ginseng is used as a dietary supplement to improve general well-being, physical stamina, and concentration; stimulate immune function; slow the aging process; and relieve various health problems such as respiratory disorders, cardiovascular disorders, depression, anxiety, erectile dysfunction, and menopausal hot flashes.
  • The root of Asian ginseng contains chemical components called ginsenosides (or panaxosides) that are thought to contribute to the herb’s claimed health-related properties.

Asian Ginseng in Health Research

  • There have been many studies of Asian ginseng in people, but few have been high quality. Therefore, our understanding of Asian ginseng’s health effects is limited.

Asian Ginseng Research Summary

  • There’s currently no conclusive evidence supporting any health benefits of Asian ginseng.

Asian Ginseng Safety

  • Short-term use of Asian ginseng in recommended amounts appears to be safe for most people. However, questions have been raised about its long-term safety, and some experts recommend against its use by infants, children, and women who are pregnant or breastfeeding.
  • The most common side effects of ginseng are headaches, sleep problems, and digestive problems.
  • Some evidence suggests that Asian ginseng might affect blood sugar and blood pressure. If you have diabetes or high blood pressure, consult your health care provider before using Asian ginseng.
  • The risk of interactions between ginseng and medications is believed to be low, but there are uncertainties about whether ginseng might interact with certain medications, such as the anticoagulant (blood thinner) warfarin (Coumadin). If you’re taking medication, consult your health care provider before using Asian ginseng.

Asian Ginseng References


PubMed Articles About Panax ginseng

Source: National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI)[Internet]. Bethesda (MD): National Library of Medicine (US), National Center for Biotechnology Information; [1988] – [cited 2018 Apr 5]. Available from:

Fan, S., Zhang, Z., Su, H., Xu, P., Qi, H., Zhao, D., Li, X., (2021) Panax ginseng clinical trials: Current status and future perspectives.

Panax Ginseng has been widely used in Asian for thousand years. In order to evaluate the efficacy and safety of ginseng, more and more ginseng clinical trials (GCTs) have been conducted recently. However, there is a lack of an extensive review summarizing the current status for the quality and quantity of ginseng clinical researches until now. Therefore, clinical trials for ginseng were retrieved from International Clinical Trials Registration Platform and collected through the system retrieval method of Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses in PubMed, the Web of Science, the Korean Studies Information Service System, and SCOPUS database. We summarized the clinical characteristics of 152 registered ginseng clinical trials (R-GCTs) and119 published ginseng clinical trials (P-GCTs), such as source register, recruitment status, primary purpose, duration, sample size, conditions, and outcomes. Among them, ginseng has mainly been studied in clinical trials in the single-center and less than 200 subjects. In the most GCTs, healthy subjects and patients with various conditions, such as cardiovascular and metabolic diseases are administrated with ginseng, ginsenosides or the prescriptions containing ginseng for less than 3 months to investigate the protective and therapeutic functions of ginseng. 95 (79.8 %) published articles showed that ginseng has plenty of positive effects. This review could assist the basic researchers and clinical doctors to understand current status and problem of ginseng clinical research, and perhaps could benefit for the reasonable and accurate design of future clinical studies.

Reay, JL., van Schaik, P., Wilson, CJ., (2021) A systematic review of research investigating the physiological and psychological effects of combining Ginkgo biloba and Panax ginseng into a single treatment in humans: Implications for research design and analysis.

The traditional herbal supplements Panax ginseng and Ginkgo biloba are self-medicated by members of the general public and prescribed by healthcare professionals in some EU countries for numerous health complaints. Clinical evidence is mixed and mechanisms of action are not fully understood. There is clinical interest into the synergistic effects of combining both herbs.

Hou, JH., Shin, H., Jang, KH., Park, CK., Koo, B., Shin, H., Yuk, SH., Lee, KY., (2019) Anti-acne properties of hydrophobic fraction of red ginseng (Panax ginseng C.A. Meyer) and its active components.

Acne is a chronic inflammatory disease of the skin that occurs when bacteria abnormally grow in hair follicles. The most common treatment is antibiotics, but they are limited due to antibiotic resistance. The purpose of this study was to identify the active ingredients of the antimicrobial effects of red ginseng (Panax ginseng C.A. Meyer), compare it to existing antibacterial substances, and determine its potential efficacy as a natural drug product. The hydrophobic fraction in red ginseng ethanol extract (RGEF) showed the same or better antimicrobial activity against Propionibacterium acnes than benzoyl peroxide or azelaic acid. In addition, the antimicrobial component derived from red ginseng selectively showed a high antimicrobial effect on P. acnes. Nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopic analysis showed that the active antimicrobial substance in this fraction was panaxynol and panaxydol. Twenty subjects who had acne symptoms were treated with cream containing 3 mg/g of RGEF for 4 weeks. It was found that oxidized sebum contents and redness of the skin were reduced, and symptoms of the early to middle stage of acne were effectively improved. This study showed that red ginseng extract containing panaxynol and panaxydol can effectively control the symptoms of acne.

Hernández-García, D., Granado-Serrano, AB., Martín-Gari, M., Naudí, A., Serrano, JC., (2020) Efficacy of Panax ginseng supplementation on blood lipid profile. A meta-analysis and systematic review of clinical randomized trials.

Ginseng is a widely used ingredient in several traditional Chinese medicine formulation, mainly as a prophylactic and restorative agent. Ginseng's Chinese traditional formulations have shown protective effects against atherosclerosis, suggesting that ginseng may be useful for the treatment of metabolic disorders.

Jovanovski, E., Lea-Duvnjak-Smircic, ., Komishon, A., Au-Yeung, F., Zurbau, A., Jenkins, AL., Sung, MK., Josse, R., Vuksan, V., (2020) Vascular effects of combined enriched Korean Red ginseng (Panax Ginseng) and American ginseng (Panax Quinquefolius) administration in individuals with hypertension and type 2 diabetes: A randomized controlled trial.

Type 2 diabetes is known to abrogate the vascular response. Combination of two commonly consumed ginseng species, American ginseng (AG) and a Korean Red ginseng (KRG), enriched with ginsensoide Rg3, was shown to concomitantly improve glucemic control and blood pressure. We evaluated the hypothesis that improvements in central hemodynamics, vascular function and stiffness markers are involved in observed benefits of co-administration.