Ginseng is an herb which should be considered when dealing with immune function, psychologic function (stress), and diabetes. This herb has a long history of use in Asian cultures. While this article refers to Panax ginseng another plant with slightly different properties which should also be considered is American ginseng.
The herbal remedies referred to as “ginseng” are derived from the roots of several plants. One of the most commonly used and researched of the ginsengs is Panax ginseng, also called Asian or Korean ginseng. The main active components of Panax ginseng are ginsenosides, which have been shown to have a variety of beneficial effects, including anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and anticancer effects. Results of clinical research studies demonstrate that Panax ginseng may improve psychologic function, immune function, and conditions associated with diabetes. Overall, Panax ginseng appears to be well tolerated, although caution is advised about concomitant use with some pharmaceuticals, such as warfarin, oral hypoglycemic agents, insulin, and phenelzine. Panax ginseng does not appear to enhance physical performance. Products with a standardized ginsenoside concentration are available.
Am Fam Physician. 2003 Oct 15;68(8):1539-42.