Ginseng and Warfarin

Publication Date: 
Tue, 03/01/2016
By: Alere Staff

 

Ginseng is an herb regarded as a homeopathic medicinal treatment for curing many ailments of the human body. The two types of ginseng popular on the market are American ginseng and Asian ginseng, two different plants with similar looks and chemical make-ups.1,2 A tan root shaped like the human body with long, limb-like offshoots called root hairs, ginseng was believed by herbalists to treat a variety of issues in the human body from fatigue to asthma and cancer.

 

Both Asian and American ginseng contain “ginsenosides”, the substances that are thought to give ginseng it’s medicinal properties and, even today, many believe of its healing abilities.

Due to the continuous popularity of both plants, a number of studies have been done on Asian and American ginseng to see if either actually does do what some feel and believe. Studies suggest that American ginseng may lower blood sugar levels in patients with Type 2 diabetes and help prevent diabetes related complications by reducing stress.1 Studies on Asian ginseng providing the same benefits for diabetes patients are less certain.2 Both Asian and American ginseng have shown to boost the immune system and even improve the immune systems response to the flu vaccine. The ginseng plants may also help the body slow or stop the growth of cancerous tumors.1,2  In regards to cognitive function, mental performance and stress, adding either ginseng plant may help your body out as well.1,2 Many people believe in additional benefits of the plant, like helping with ADHD, fertility and physical endurance but they are more hypothetical and have yet to have to be proven true.

Ginseng and Warfarin

Asian ginseng and American ginseng are available in a wide range of products, either dried, in drinks or as a supplement. Before you go and purchase a bottle, it is best to speak with your physician about taking ginseng. It is also important that you know which type you are buying. Ginseng, like other herbs and natural supplements, contain components that can trigger side effects and can interact with other herbs, supplement and medications.1 Both Asian and American ginseng supplements are not recommended for patients taking an anticoagulant medication like warfarin. American ginseng has been shown to decrease the effectiveness of warfarin, increasing the risk of developing a clot, and Asian ginseng may increase the risk of bleeding.1,2 If you are interested in taking a ginseng supplement in order to benefit your health, talk to your physician about possible interactions and dosing adjustments.

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References:

  1. Ehrlich, S.D., NMD. American Ginseng. University of Maryland Medical Center. Reviewed Mar. 3, 2014. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Retrieved from website: http://umm.edu/health/medical/altmed/herb/american-ginseng.
  2. Ehrlich, S.D., NMD. Asian Ginseng. University of Maryland Medical Center. Reviewed June 22, 2015. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Retrieved from website: http://umm.edu/health/medical/altmed/herb/asian-ginseng