American Ginseng Supplement Review

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American Ginseng
  Evaluated for:
Effectiveness Rating Effectiveness Rating
Cancer-related fatigue
+2 (Moderate Evidence)
Reduced duration and severity of common cold
+2 (Moderate Evidence)
Prevention of the common cold
+1 (Slight Evidence)


  • American ginseng improved cancer-related fatigue with 2 grams taken daily.
  • Since side effects were identical to those of placebo, American ginseng should be quite tolerable for most individuals.
  • American ginseng prevents more winter colds than a placebo.
  • The chance of catching a second cold is reduced by almost half.
  • Taking American ginseng for cold prevention reduces both symptom severity and duration.


  • The high-quality studies have not been repeated to confirm the positive findings. Most experts would want to see a second positive study before routinely recommending American ginseng for cancer-related fatigue.
  • Most of the studies used a particular type of American ginseng that was tested thoroughly for quality. The American ginseng found in health food stores may not always be of the same high quality.
  • American ginseng will not reduce the severity or duration of a cold once you already have it. It only helps if you take it for prevention before you catch the virus.
  • The search for a cure for the common cold ranks third behind the cures for preventing aging and obesity. Many hopeful results have not held up upon further evaluation, and I suspect that this one will not either.

American ginseng interacts with the blood thinner warfarin. If you are on warfarin (also called coumadin), you should avoid American ginseng. American Ginseng is different than Korean and Chinese Ginseng, so they should not be substituted.

DOSAGE: For treatment of the common cold, take 200 mg American Ginseng twice daily.
For treatment of cancer-related fatigue, take 1000 mg with food twice daily, in the morning and the afternoon.

CONCLUSION: We conclude that American Ginseng appears promising for the treatment of cancer-related fatigue, particularly given the lack of alternatives. It is also a safe and effective supplement for reducing the severity and duration of the common cold if taken before the cold starts. While it shows promise for preventing the common cold, future studies are needed to reproduce the results. If you elect to try it, remember to include it in your list of medications when you visit your doctor and other health care providers.

“Ginseng.” LLC, 2013. 18 August 2013.
“Ginseng.” Natural Standard –The Authority on Integrative Medicine. Natural Standard, 2013. “Ginseng, American.” Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database. Therapeutic Research Faculty, 2013. 8 November 2013.
Vuskan, V. et al. Similar Postprandial Glycemic Reductions with Excalation of Dose and Administration Time of American Ginseng in Type 2 Diabetes. Diabetes Care (2000) 23, 1221-1226
Barton, D. et al. Pilor stidy of Panax quinquefolius (American Ginseng) to improve cancer-related fatigue: a randomized double-blind, dose-finding evaluation: NCCTG trial N03CA. Support Care Cancer (2010) 18:179-187
Seida, J. et al. North American (Panax quinquefolius) and Asian Ginseng (Panax ginseng) Preparations for Prevention of the Common Cold in Healthy Adults: A Systematic Review. eCAM (2009) 1-8
Yuan, C. et al. Brief Communication: American Ginseng Reduces Warfarin’s Effect in Healthy Patients. Annals of Internal Medicine (2004) 141:23-27
Leung, K.W., Wong, A.S. et al. Pharmacology of ginsenosides: a literature review. Leung and Wong Chinese Medicine (2010) 5:20

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