Ginseng is a traditional Asian and North American herbal remedy derived from the root of the ginseng plant.

What are its health benefits?

It is believed to boost the immune system, assist in restoring wellbeing and aiding fatigue. It is sometimes added to foods and found in some energy drinks.

Ginseng supplements may have the following benefits:

  • Supporting the immune system
  • Assists in the management of colds in adults
  • Assists in the management of diabetes
  • Supporting mental function when used in combination with ginkgo biloba, although this benefit requires further studies
  • Aids mood and endurance
  • Assists in the management of heart disease, erectile dysfunction and hepatitis, but further research is required

Recommended dietary allowance (RDA)

If you feel your health may benefit from taking supplementation, speak to your Clicks pharmacist first. No RDA has been established for ginseng, as the quantity of active ingredients varies from manufacturer to manufacturer.

It is important to note that ginseng shouldn’t be taken for long periods of time. Your Clicks pharmacist may recommend you take a break after a few weeks.

Warnings

It is not recommended for:

  • Children
  • Women who are breastfeeding
  • During pregnancy
  • Or in combination with diabetes medication, antidepressants or warfarin

Ginseng may act as a stimulant in some people, so be aware of symptoms of insomnia or nervousness, and limit your caffeine intake as this may increase its stimulant effects.

Possible side effects

Possible side effects could include:

Long-term use or high doses may produce the following:

Ensure you discuss dietary supplementation with your Clicks pharmacist to avoid the potential for side effects and adverse interactions with medications.

This medicine has not been evaluated by the Medicines Control Council. This medicine is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.

The accuracy of this information was checked and approved by Clicks' pharmacist Waheed Abdurahman in September 2015