American ginseng is an herb. The root is used to make medicine.
American ginseng is used for stress, to boost the immune system, and as a general tonic and stimulant.
American ginseng is often used to fight infections such as colds and flu. There is some evidence that it might help prevent colds and flu and make symptoms milder when infections do occur.
American ginseng is used for other infections including HIV/AIDS, infections of the intestine (dysentery), and particular infections (Pseudomonas infections) that are common in people with cystic fibrosis.
Some people use American ginseng to improve digestion and for loss of appetite, as well as for vomiting, inflammation of the colon (colitis), and inflammation of the lining of the stomach (gastritis).
American ginseng is also used for low iron in the blood (anemia), diabetes, trouble sleeping (insomnia), nerve pain, erectile dysfunction (ED), fever, hangover symptoms, attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), blood and bleeding disorders, cancer, painful joints, dizziness, headaches, convulsions, fibromyalgia, “hardening of thearteries” (atherosclerosis), memory loss, and as an anti-aging aid.
You may also see American ginseng listed as an ingredient in some soft drinks. Oils and extracts made from American ginseng are used in soaps and cosmetics.
Don’t confuse American ginseng with Siberian ginseng (Eleutherococcussenticosus) or Asian ginseng (Panax ginseng). They have different medicinal effects.
Wild American ginseng is becoming rare because it is so popular and has so many uses. Some states have declared American ginseng a threatened or endangered species because so many people try to harvest it.
How does it work?
American ginseng contains chemicals called ginsenosides that seem to affect insulin levels in the body and lower blood sugar. Other chemicals, called polysaccharides, might affect the immune system.