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American Ginseng Side Effects

By Rae Uddin

American ginseng is an herbal extract obtained from the root of the panax quinquefolius plant. Treatment with American ginseng supplements may help reduce blood sugar levels or boost your immune system, though additional research is necessary to fully support these indications, the University of Maryland Medical Center, or UMMC, reports. Talk with your medical provider about American ginseng side effects before you begin using this type of supplement.

Nervousness or Insomnia

You may experience unusual mood changes, such as anxiety or nervousness, while taking American ginseng supplements. Feeling nervous or anxious may make it difficult for you to fall asleep or stay asleep through the night -- a side effect referred to as insomnia. Persistent sleep problems may lead to daytime drowsiness and may negatively affect your ability to concentrate or remain attentive throughout the day.

Stomach Irritation

Stomach irritation may occur as a side effect following treatment with American ginseng. You may feel nausea, begin vomiting or develop diarrhea. Urgent, loose bowel movements may be accompanied by additional stomach-related side effects including bloating, cramping or discomfort. Talk with your medical provider if stomach irritation does not subside or becomes severe.


You may develop recurrent headaches as a side effect of taking American ginseng. Headache pain may be mild to severe and may develop in any region of your head. If headache pain does not diminish on its own, consider taking an over-the-counter pain reliever, such as acetaminophen.

Breast Pain and Vaginal Bleeding

Treatment with this supplement may induce breast pain or tenderness, according to a report from the American Cancer Society. Your breast tissue may feel unusually heavy or full and may feel uncomfortable when touched. Women taking American ginseng may also develop unusual vaginal bleeding that is not related to their usual menstrual cycle. Abnormal vaginal bleeding and breast discomfort should be discussed with your doctor, as these side effects may also be signs of more serious medical problems, such as a vaginal infection or breast cancer.


American ginseng supplements may increase your blood pressure, a condition called hypertension. If you have a personal history of hypertension, do not take American ginseng unless otherwise directed by a medical professional, the UMMC advises.


Do not take American Ginseng if you are pregnant, have high blood pressure, have bi-polar disorder, are taking blood-thinners or have upcoming surgery. American ginseng acts as a blood thinner and increases your risk of bleeding. It may also interact with blood-thinning medications, enhancing their effects.

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