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American Ginseng & Its Side Effects With Thyroid Medication

By Ireland Wolfe

American ginseng is an herb found in North America. The root of the plant has been used for a number of medicinal purposes. The thyroid gland occasionally produces too much or too little thyroid hormones, making it necessary for some people to take medications. If you are on any type of thyroid medication, consult with your physician before taking any herbal supplements.

American Ginseng

American ginseng is used to treat various medical conditions. According to the National Institutes of Health, American ginseng may possibly be effective in lowering blood sugar and preventing infections, such as cold and influenza, in adults. American ginseng is also used to treat attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder, breast cancer, stress, anemia, insomnia, fever, gastritis, impotence, HIV/AIDS and fibromyalgia. However, there is not enough research to rate the effectiveness of American ginseng in the treatment of these disorders.

Side Effects

American ginseng is rated as “possibly safe” in adults and children when used in the short-term, according to the National Institutes of Health. Side effects of American ginseng are generally mild and include diarrhea, insomnia, itching, headache and anxiety. Rarer side effects are rapid heartbeat, changes in blood pressure and breast tenderness or vaginal bleeding in women. Liver damage and a severe allergic reaction have been noted in individuals when taking American ginseng. The herb can also cause a rash called Stevens-Johnson syndrome.

Interactions with Thyroid Medications

No interactions between American ginseng and any type of thyroid medications have been reported. Common medications for thyroid include levothyroxine, levothyroxine sodium, liothyronine, desiccated thyroid, propylthiouracil and methimazole. According to Drugs.com, there is no interaction between American ginseng and any of these drugs. In cases of hyperthyroidism, beta blockers may be prescribed to help slow a rapid heartbeat. Beta blockers and ginseng do not have a negative interaction and can generally be taken together.

Precautions

Consult your physician before taking any herbal supplements or changing your diet. Ginseng can interact with other medications and certain illnesses. American ginseng may interact with certain medications used to treat depression called monoamine oxidase inhibitors, or MAOs. Because American ginseng might decrease blood sugar, use it with caution when taking medications for type 2 diabetes. Although no dosing has been established, specific dosages have been investigated in research. For preventing infections, take 200 mg of American ginseng twice a day for three to four months.

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