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American Ginseng is a potent herb that has many health benefits. It acts as an antioxidant, enhances brain function, protects against cancer, and is anti-diabetic. Keep reading to learn more about its effects.


American ginseng (Panax quinquefolius) is a herb that grows mainly in North America. This particular ginseng is in such high demand that it has been declared a threatened or endangered species in some states in the United States. People take American ginseng for stress, to boost the immune system, and as a stimulant (R).

Ginsenosides are the active components of ginseng and are usually found in the root extracts. Ginsenosides have antioxidant properties and can also help protect the brain (R).

Health Benefits of American Ginseng

1) American Ginseng Has Antioxidant Effects

Ginseng and ginsenosides have an anti-oxidant effect that is manifested as a decrease in oxidative stress.

Ginsenosides Rg2 and Rh1 protect from oxidation-induced impairment of red blood cell membrane properties. Ginseng polysaccharide is effective in the regulation of energy metabolism and protection of mitochondria (R).

2) American Ginseng Enhances Brain Function

American ginseng and ginsenosides enhanced cognitive performance and mood.

Administration of American ginseng to healthy young adults enhanced working memory, calmness, and mood (R).

Ginseng and ginsenosides can rescue nerve cells by increasing cell survival, extending neurite growth, and rescuing neurons from death both in human patients and cell cultures (R).

Ginseng and ginsenosides also showed beneficial effects on disease models of Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s diseases (R).

Long-term ginsenoside administration to mice prevented memory loss or impairment (R).

3) American Ginseng Protects the Heart

In the United States, American ginseng is a popular herbal supplement for patients suffering from heart disease. It can prevent heart attacks as well as high blood pressure (R).

The antioxidant properties of the herb may be producing its protective effects. American ginseng extract had a stronger antioxidant activity than Asian ginseng root. The root and berry extracts both showed antioxidant and protective effects in cultured heart cells (R).

4) American Ginseng Has Antidiabetic Effects

Insulin resistance and impaired insulin secretion can cause Type 2 diabetes.

Both American and Asian ginseng root lowered diabetic effects in mice (R).

In healthy humans, it also lowered diabetic nerve and heart damage (R).

5) American Ginseng Protects Against Cancer

Another pharmacological activity of American ginseng and its constituents is cancer prevention as well as its inhibition of tumor growth (R).

Ginseng extract enhanced the chemopreventive effect of a cancer drug in human colon cells. It also improved cancer-related fatigue and produced radioprotective potential in the cells of healthy individuals (R).

6) American Ginseng Has Anti-Inflammatory Effects

Several ginsenosides such as Rd, Rg1, Re, Rg3, Rh2, and Rb1 can control brain inflammatory responses in cultured brain cells. The anti-inflammatory effects might be related to the antioxidant property of ginseng (R).

It also suppresses inflammation in the colon and prevents DNA damage from occurring (R).

7) American Ginseng Ameliorates Withdrawal Symptoms

Ginseng can reduce the behavioral and physiological responses to addictive drugs and ameliorate the withdrawal symptoms.

Pseudo Ginsenoside-F11, a saponin contained in American ginseng, effectively reduced anxiety, depression, and memory deficits and alterations of monoamine contents in mice brain (R).

Technical Section

  • Ginsenosides are responsible for their effects on the central nervous system and the peripheral nervous system through the regulation of various types of ion channels, such as voltage-dependent and ligand-gated ion channels, in neuronal and heterologously expressed cells (R).
  • Ginsenosides also play a major inhibitory effect on signal transduction pathways. Ginsenoside Rg1 can block C-Jun N-terminal kinase (JNK) signaling cascade through the protective effect of Rg1 on the phosphorylation of JNK (R).
  • A series of cell cycle proteins, apoptosis-related proteins, growth factors, protein kinases and transcription factors are affected by American ginseng and ginsenosides (R).
  • For example, American ginseng extract can selectively inhibit the expression of the inducible nitric oxide synthase via suppression of signal transducer and activator of transcription cascade in inflamed macrophages. A lyophilized aqueous extract inhibited induced cyclooxygenase-2 and NF-kappa B activation in breast cancer cells (R).
  • Antioxidants or inhibitors of the NF-kappa B pathway also enhances the anticancer activity of the ginseng (R).
  • The anti-inflammatory effects of Rb1 seem to involve NF-κB pathway as evidenced by the modulation of the level of IκB. Also, there are strong anti-inflammatory effects of ginseng saponin metabolite, compound K [20-O-d-glucopyranosyl-20(S)-protopanaxadiol] (R).
  • Although much of the anti-inflammatory action of ginsenosides is dependent on the modulation of NF-κB activity, anti-inflammatory activity of some of the ginsenosides such as Rh2 is also dependent on signaling pathways such as activator protein 1 and protein kinase A (PKA), but not by NF-κB (R).


American ginseng may cause insomnia, birth defects, and cause hormone levels to fluctuate (R).

It also interferes with the effects of warfarin and might cause blood sugar to plummet drastically if taken in conjunction with diabetes medicine (R).

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  • Layla

    I noticed my comment got deleted? Instead of ignoring glaring issues in this article and deleting people’s comments, maybe you should edit the article.

  • Layla

    I don’t know if you realize but this article is quite confusing to a common person. What does altering monoamine content do? What is radio-protective potential? What is a neurite? I don’t think other non-science people can necessarily make some of these connections. You don’t clarify what these things do for us…

    You mention “Ginseng and ginsenosides also showed beneficial effects on disease models of Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s diseases”… what beneficial effects? You also say “Ginsenosides Rg2 and Rh1 protect from oxidation-induced impairment of red blood cell membrane properties”… What do you mean by membrane properties? What does impairment to membrane properties do? How does this relate to my health on a larger scale? Also the technical section seems very isolated from the rest of the article… strange organization.

    While doing my own research I found more than 7 benefits of Ginseng… your article is NOT thorough. Just some other benefits I found: pulmonary disease: , microbial infection:, in the gut: ………………. and many more potential benefits. Thanks for writing this… but it seems very hastily written and rather disorganized.

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