Ginseng Side Effects

The Benefits and Side Effects of Ginseng

As with almost every herbal supplement, one should not let the benefits cloud the side effects of ginseng. The herb known as ginseng is available in two varieties, Asian ginseng and American ginseng, and it is actually the root of this plant that is used to treat a variety of ailments and promote overall good health. Ginseng is largely used as a means to restore health and combat sexual dysfunction in men. Many believe it can also be used as an aphrodisiac and in the treatment of diabetes type two. Some people even use ginseng as a way to increase mental and physical alertness.

But of course in order to reap some of the benefits one must also be willing to accept the side effects of ginseng that are liable to crop up at some point. Read on to learn about some of the possible adverse effects that ginseng may create.  

Insomnia and Headaches

Some of the possible side effects of ginseng include insomnia and headaches. Insomnia is a condition in which a person is unable to sleep throughout the night. Their sleep may be interrupted several times or they may suffer from restlessness which prevents them from getting adequate rest. Lack of sleep can lead to the development of other symptoms such as tiredness (obviously), fatigue, irritability, trouble focusing, problems remembering things, and in some cases hallucinating.

Headaches are often reported in individuals who have consumed caffeinated substances while taking a ginseng supplement. Because ginseng is already a stimulant, it and caffeine really do not go well together. This means that coffee or energy-drink enthusiasts may find that the recurring headaches simply are not worth the benefits that ginseng has to offer. In fact, many of the foods we consume today, such as black tea, soda pop, and even chocolate have caffeine and have a reaction with the ginseng to produce sporadic headaches in some individuals.

Upset Stomach, Diarrhea, Nausea, and Vomiting

One might experience an upset stomach which may or may not be accompanied by diarrhea, nausea, or vomiting, while taking ginseng supplements. This is more likely to happen to someone who is sensitive to stimulating substances similar to caffeine. Ginseng works as a stimulant for both the body and mind which in some individuals can lead to a general feeling of stomach upset. In addition to these, other side effects of ginseng include tremors, restlessness, nervousness, and anxiety. Bear in mind that these are usually side effects experienced by individuals with stimulant sensitivity or who are on medications with which ginseng can interfere.

Changes in Blood Pressure

Although ginseng can be helpful in aiding one’s endeavor to raise low blood pressure, it can be very dangerous to individuals who have experienced hypertension before or who already suffer from high blood pressure. Again, this side effect is linked to the stimulating properties of ginseng, and may be accompanied by rapid heartbeat and increased breathing.

Pre-Menstrual Syndrome Symptoms

Ginseng tends to have an effect that somewhat resembles that of estrogen. Someone who is sensitive to hormone fluctuation or who already has high estrogen levels may experience symptoms similar to that of pre-menstrual syndrome. Reports have included breast tenderness, light bleeding between periods, bloating or gassiness, and headaches as possible side effects of ginseng. If one does not have a sensitivity to hormones, it may help to simply reduce the amount of ginseng that is taken on a daily basis. If the symptoms do not disappear, then it may be a good idea to stop using ginseng and speak to a doctor about the presence and severity of the symptoms.