Although ginseng has many great health benefits due to its adaptogen properties. However certain components in ginseng can also produce side effects if taken in high doses or over a long period of time.
Some of these side effects are commonly associated with taking too much of the ginseng products. While others side effects depend on the medical background of the person consuming it.
Common Side Effects of Ginseng
- Heart Palpitations (irregular heartbeat)
As an adaptogen, ginseng is capable to decrease the rate of heartbeats, causing irregular heartbeat. And therefore, it shouldn’t be used by people with heart disease unless under a supervision of a healthcare provider.
As a stimulant, ginseng has been known to result in restless if taken in large amounts. Some evidences also suggest that if the herb is taken along with caffeine may worsen insomnia. So, reduce your dose or stop taking the herb, if you experience this symptom.
- Headache and nausea
Since ginseng has stimulant properties, taking too much of ginseng can cause headache, nausea and vomiting.
- Lowers blood sugar
Ginseng can potentially lower blood sugar levels in people with type 2 diabetes and this can get exacerbated if the patient taking ginseng along with diabetes medications, such as glimepiride, glipizide, glyburide, and metformin. So, people with diabetes shouldn’t taking ginseng unless under a supervision of a doctor.
- Breast Cancer
As a phytoestrogenic herb, Ginseng is reported to have estrogen hormone-like chemicals that may accelerate the spread of breast cancer by adding the artificial hormones to the organism. So, don’t take it if you have an estrogen-related disease, such as breast cancer.
- Bleeding problems
Ginseng may thin the blood, which increases the risk of bleeding during or after a procedure. Due to this, it’s advised to stop taking ginseng at least 7 days prior to surgery. Also, do not take any Ginseng if you are on any blood thinning medications, such as heparin or warfarin, as the herb might worsen your risk of bleeding problems.
- Vaginal Bleeding
Ginseng may also increase the risk of vaginal bleeding in post-menopausal woman. In one case report, a 72-year-old postmenopausal woman experienced vaginal bleeding after ingestion of 200 mg of ginseng for 1 month. So, post-menopausal or pregnant women should not taking any ginseng.
Ginseng is generally considered safe if taken in prescribed doses. So, talk with your doctor or herbal practitioner to find the right dose for you.