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GINSENG, SIBERIAN

Other Names:

Acanthopanax Obovatus, Acanthopanax Obovatus Hoo, Acanthopanax senticosus, Buisson du Diable, Ci Wu Jia, Ciwujia, Ciwujia Root, Ciwujia Root Extract, Devil's Bush, Devil's Shrub, Éleuthéro, Eleuthero Extract, Eleuthero Ginseng, Eleuthero Root, E...
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Siberian Ginseng (GINSENG, SIBERIAN) Overview
Siberian Ginseng (GINSENG, SIBERIAN) Uses
Siberian Ginseng (GINSENG, SIBERIAN) Side Effects
Siberian Ginseng (GINSENG, SIBERIAN) Interactions
Siberian Ginseng (GINSENG, SIBERIAN) Dosing
Siberian Ginseng (GINSENG, SIBERIAN) Overview Information

Siberian ginseng is a plant. People use the root of the plant to make medicine.

Siberian ginseng is often called an “adaptogen.” This is a non-medical term used to describe substances that can supposedly strengthen the body and increase general resistance to daily stress.

In addition to being used as an adaptogen, Siberian ginseng is used for conditions of the heart and blood vessels such as high blood pressure, low blood pressure, hardening of the arteries (atherosclerosis), and rheumatic heart disease.

It is also used for kidney disease, Alzheimer’s disease, attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), chronic fatigue syndrome, diabetes, fibromyalgia, rheumatoid arthritis, flu, colds, chronic bronchitis, and tuberculosis. It is also used for treating the side effects of cancerchemotherapy.

Some people use Siberian ginseng to improve athletic performance and the ability to do work. They also use it to treat sleep problems (insomnia) and the symptoms of infections caused by herpes simplex type 2.

It is also used to boost the immune system, prevent colds, and increase appetite.

In manufacturing, Siberian ginseng is added to skin care products.

Don’t confuse Siberian ginseng with other types of ginseng. Siberian ginseng is not the same herb as American or Panax ginseng. Be careful about which product you choose. American and Panax ginseng can be a lot more expensive. It is said that years ago, the Soviet Union wanted to provide its athletes with the advantages offered by ginseng but wanted a less expensive version. So, Siberian ginseng became popular, and this is why most studies on Siberian ginseng have been done in Russia.

You should know that the quality of Siberian ginseng products varies a lot. Siberian ginseng is often misidentified or contains “adulterants,” which are other ingredients that do not contribute to the benefit of the product, but take up space in the product. Silk vine is a common adulterant of Siberian ginseng.

Before taking Siberian ginseng, talk with your healthcare provider if you take any medications. This herb interacts with many prescription drugs.

How does it work?

Siberian ginseng contains many chemicals that affect the brain, immune system, and certain hormones. It might also contain chemicals that have activity against some bacteria and viruses.

Siberian Ginseng (GINSENG, SIBERIAN) Uses & Effectiveness What is this?

Possibly Effective for:

  • Bipolar disorder. Taking Siberian ginseng plus lithium by mouth for 6 weeks appears to induce a similar response rate and remission rate as taking lithium plus fluoxetine in people with bipolar disorder.
  • Relieving symptoms of the common cold, when used in combination with an herb called andrographis. Some clinical research shows that taking a specific combination product containing Siberian ginseng plus andrographis (Kan Jang, Swedish Herbal Institute) by mouth improves symptoms of the common cold when started within 72 hours of symptom onset. Some symptoms can improve after 2 days of treatment. However, it generally takes 4-5 days of treatment for the maximum benefit. Some research suggests this combination of Siberian ginseng and andrographis relieves cold symptoms in children better than echinacea. Also taking a specific product containing Siberian ginseng, echinacea, and malabar nut (Kan Jang, Swedish Herbal Institute) for 6 days appears to improve coughing and congestion better than taking the drug bromohexine.
  • A viral infection called herpes simplex 2 (HSV-2). Taking a specific Siberian ginseng extract, standardized to contain a specific ginseng ingredient called eleutheroside 0.3% (Elagen), seems to reduce the number, severity, and duration of herpes simplex type 2 infections.

Possibly Ineffective for:

  • Improving athletic performance.

Insufficient Evidence for:

  • Improving athletic performance. Research on the effects of Siberian ginseng for improving athletic performance is conflicting. Some research shows that taking a specific Siberian ginseng product (Endurox) does not seem to improve breathing or heart rate recovery following treadmill, cycling, or stair-stepping exercises. Also, taking a Siberian ginseng liquid extract that contains chemicals called eleutheroside B and eleutheroside E does not appear to improve endurance or performance in trained distance runners. However, other research shows that taking powdered Siberian ginseng containing these two chemicals might improve breathing and endurance while cycling.
  • Chronic fatigue syndrome. Taking Siberian ginseng by mouth does not seem to reduce symptoms of chronic fatigue syndrome.
  • Mental performance. Early research suggests that Siberian ginseng might improve memory and feelings of well-being in middle-aged people. Also, taking a combination of rhodiola, schisandra, and Siberian ginseng (ADAPT-232) seems to improve attention and mental speed and accuracy in women experiencing mental stress.
  • An inherited disorder that causes swelling and fevers (Familial Mediterranean fever). Early research suggests that taking a combination of Siberian ginseng, andrographis, schisandra, and licorice (ImmunoGuard, Inspired Nutritionals) reduces the duration, number, and severity of attaches of familial Mediterranean fever in children.
  • Heart disease. Early research suggests that injecting Siberian ginseng intravenously (by IV) might help reduce some risk factors for heart disease, including high cholesterol and an abnormal heart rate.
  • Flu. Early research suggests that taking a specific product containing Siberian ginseng plus andrographis (Kan Jang, Swedish Herbal Institute) helps relieve symptoms faster and reduce the risk of flu complications better than taking the drug amantadine.
  • Stroke. Early research suggests that injecting Siberian ginseng intravenously (by IV) might help treat strokes caused by a blockage of blood vessels that supply blood to the brain.
  • Osteoarthritis. Taking a combination of Panax ginseng, Siberian ginseng, and rehmannia for 6 weeks seems to improve physical function in people with knee osteoarthritis. However, the combination does not seem to reduce pain or stiffness.
  • Osteoporosis. Early research suggests that adding rehmannia and Siberian ginseng to calcium plus vitamin D treatment for one year helps reduce the loss of bone density in the spine and thigh bone in postmenopausal women.
  • Pneumonia. Early research suggests that taking a combination of rhodiola, schisandra, and Siberian ginseng (Chisan) along with standard treatment for 10-15 days helps reduce the length of time that antibiotics are needed and may improve quality of life in people with pneumonia better than standard treatment alone.
  • Quality of life. Some research shows that Siberian ginseng significantly improves sociability and sense of well-being in people over 65 years of age after 4 weeks of treatment. But the effects seem to disappear after 8 weeks.
  • Kidney problems.
  • Alzheimer's disease.
  • Attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).
  • High cholesterol.
  • Fatigue.
  • Fibromyalgia.
  • Chemotherapy side effects.
  • Bronchitis.
  • Tuberculosis.
  • Low oxygen levels.
  • Motion sickness.
  • Other conditions.
More evidence is needed to rate Siberian ginseng for these uses.


Siberian Ginseng (GINSENG, SIBERIAN) Side Effects & Safety

Siberian ginseng is LIKELY SAFE for most adults when taken by mouth, short-term. While side effects are rare, some people can have drowsiness, changes in heart rhythm, sadness, anxiety, muscle spasms, and other side effects. In high doses, increased blood pressure might occur.

Siberian ginseng is POSSIBLY SAFE for most adults when taken by mouth, long-term, or when injected intravenously (by IV), short term. Siberian ginseng has been taken by mouth in combination with rehmannia, calcium, and vitamin D for up to one year. Siberian ginseng has been injected by IV for up to 2 weeks.

Special Precautions & Warnings:

Children: Siberian ginseng is POSSIBLY SAFE in teenagers (ages 12-17 years) when taken by mouth for up to 6 weeks. There is not enough reliable information about the safety of Siberian ginseng when taken by teenagers long-term.

Pregnancy and breast-feeding: There is not enough reliable information about the safety of taking Siberian ginseng if you are pregnant or breast-feeding. Stay on the safe side and avoid use.

Bleeding disorders: Siberian ginseng contains chemicals that might slow blood clotting. In theory, Siberian ginseng might increase the risk of bleeding and bruising in people with bleeding disorders.

Heart conditions: Siberian ginseng can cause a pounding heart, irregular heartbeat, and high blood pressure. People who have heart disorders (e.g., “hardening of the arteries,” rheumatic heart disease, or history of heart attack) should use Siberian ginseng only under a healthcare provider’s supervision.

Diabetes: Siberian ginseng might increase or decrease blood sugar. In theory, Siberian ginseng might affect blood sugar control in people with diabetes. Monitor your blood sugar carefully if you take Siberian ginseng and have diabetes.

Hormone-sensitive conditions such as breast cancer, uterine cancer, ovarian cancer, endometriosis, or uterine fibroids: Siberian ginseng might act like estrogen. If you have any condition that might be made worse by exposure to estrogen, don’t use Siberian ginseng.

High blood pressure: Siberian ginseng should not be used by people with blood pressure over 180/90. Siberian ginseng might make high blood pressure worse.

Mental conditions such as mania or schizophrenia: Siberian ginseng might make these conditions worse. Use with caution.

Siberian Ginseng (GINSENG, SIBERIAN) Interactions What is this?

Moderate Interaction Be cautious with this combination

  • Alcohol interacts with GINSENG, SIBERIAN

    Alcohol can cause sleepiness and drowsiness. Siberian ginseng might also cause sleepiness and drowsiness. Taking large amounts of Siberian ginseng along with alcohol might cause too much sleepiness.

  • Digoxin (Lanoxin) interacts with GINSENG, SIBERIAN

    Digoxin (Lanoxin) helps the heart beat more strongly. One person had too much digoxin in their system while taking a natural product that might have had Siberian ginseng in it. But it is unclear if Siberian ginseng or other herbs in the supplement were the cause.

  • Lithium interacts with GINSENG, SIBERIAN

    Siberian ginseng might have an effect like a water pill or "diuretic." Taking Siberian ginseng might decrease how well the body gets rid of lithium. This could increase how much lithium is in the body and result in serious side effects. Talk with your healthcare provider before using this product if you are taking lithium. Your lithium dose might need to be changed.

  • Medications changed by the liver (Cytochrome P450 1A2 (CYP1A2) substrates) interacts with GINSENG, SIBERIAN

    Some medications are changed and broken down by the liver.

    Siberian ginseng might decrease how quickly the liver breaks down some medications. Taking Siberian ginseng along with some medications that are changed by the liver might increase the effects and side effects of some medications. Before taking Siberian ginseng talk to your healthcare provider if you take any medications that are changed by the liver

    Some of these medications that are changed by the liver include clozapine (Clozaril), cyclobenzaprine (Flexeril), fluvoxamine (Luvox), haloperidol (Haldol), imipramine (Tofranil), mexiletine (Mexitil), olanzapine (Zyprexa), pentazocine (Talwin), propranolol (Inderal), tacrine (Cognex), theophylline, zileuton (Zyflo), zolmitriptan (Zomig), and others.

  • Medications changed by the liver (Cytochrome P450 2C9 (CYP2C9) substrates) interacts with GINSENG, SIBERIAN

    Some medications are changed and broken down by the liver

    Siberian ginseng might decrease how quickly the liver breaks down some medications. Taking Siberian ginseng along with some medications that are broken down by the liver can increase the effects and side effects of some medications. Before taking Siberian ginseng talk to your healthcare provider if you take any medications that are changed by the liver.

    Some medications that are changed by the liver include amitriptyline (Elavil), diazepam (Valium), zileuton (Zyflo), celecoxib (Celebrex), diclofenac (Voltaren), fluvastatin (Lescol), glipizide (Glucotrol), ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin), irbesartan (Avapro), losartan (Cozaar), phenytoin (Dilantin), piroxicam (Feldene), tamoxifen (Nolvadex), tolbutamide (Tolinase), torsemide (Demadex), warfarin (Coumadin), and others.

  • Medications for diabetes (Antidiabetes drugs) interacts with GINSENG, SIBERIAN

    Siberian ginseng might affect blood sugar, either lowering or increasing blood sugar levels. Diabetes medications are also used to lower blood sugar. Taking Siberian ginseng along with diabetes medications might cause your blood sugar to go too low or cause your diabetes medication to be less effective. Monitor your blood sugar closely. The dose of your diabetes medication might need to be changed.

    Some medications used for diabetes include glimepiride (Amaryl), glyburide (DiaBeta, Glynase PresTab, Micronase), insulin, pioglitazone (Actos), rosiglitazone (Avandia), chlorpropamide (Diabinese), glipizide (Glucotrol), tolbutamide (Orinase), and others.

  • Medications that slow blood clotting (Anticoagulant / Antiplatelet drugs) interacts with GINSENG, SIBERIAN

    Siberian ginseng might slow blood clotting. Taking Siberian ginseng along with medications that also slow clotting might increase the chances of bruising and bleeding

    Some medications that slow blood clotting include aspirin, clopidogrel (Plavix), diclofenac (Voltaren, Cataflam, others), ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin, others), naproxen (Anaprox, Naprosyn, others), dalteparin (Fragmin), enoxaparin (Lovenox), heparin, warfarin (Coumadin), and others.

  • Sedative medications (CNS depressants) interacts with GINSENG, SIBERIAN

    Siberian ginseng might cause sleepiness and drowsiness. Medications that cause sleepiness are called sedatives. Taking Siberian ginseng along with sedative medications might cause too much sleepiness

    Some sedative medications include clonazepam (Klonopin), lorazepam (Ativan), phenobarbital (Donnatal), zolpidem (Ambien), and others.


Minor Interaction Be watchful with this combination

  • Medications changed by the liver (Cytochrome P450 2D6 (CYP2D6) substrates) interacts with GINSENG, SIBERIAN

    Some medications are changed and broken down by the liver.

    Siberian ginseng might decrease how quickly the liver breaks down some medications. Taking Siberian ginseng along with some medications that are change by the liver can increase the effects and side effects of your medication. Before taking Siberian ginseng talk to your healthcare provider if you take any medications that are changed by the liver

    Some medications that are changed by the liver include amitriptyline (Elavil), clozapine (Clozaril), codeine, desipramine (Norpramin), donepezil (Aricept), fentanyl (Duragesic), flecainide (Tambocor), fluoxetine (Prozac), meperidine (Demerol), methadone (Dolophine), metoprolol (Lopressor, Toprol XL), olanzapine (Zyprexa), ondansetron (Zofran), tramadol (Ultram), trazodone (Desyrel), and others.

  • Medications changed by the liver (Cytochrome P450 3A4 (CYP3A4) substrates) interacts with GINSENG, SIBERIAN

    Some medications are changed and broken down by the liver

    Siberian ginseng might decrease how quickly the liver breaks down some medications. Taking Siberian ginseng along with some medications that are broken down by the liver can increase the effects and side effects of some medications. Before taking Siberian ginseng, talk to your healthcare provider if you are taking any medications that are changed by the liver.

    Some medications changed by the liver include lovastatin (Mevacor), ketoconazole (Nizoral), itraconazole (Sporanox), fexofenadine (Allegra), triazolam (Halcion), and many others.


Siberian Ginseng (GINSENG, SIBERIAN) Dosing

The following doses have been studied in scientific research:

BY MOUTH:

  • For herpes simplex type 2 infections: Siberian ginseng extract standardized to contain eleutheroside E 0.3% in doses of 400 mg per day.
  • For the common cold: 400 mg of a combination of Siberian ginseng plus a specific andrographis extract, standardized to contain 4-5.6 mg andrographolide (Kan Jang, Swedish Herbal Institute) three times daily.

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This copyrighted material is provided by Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database Consumer Version. Information from this source is evidence-based and objective, and without commercial influence. For professional medical information on natural medicines, see Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database Professional Version. © Therapeutic Research Faculty 2009.

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