- An herb that has been used to stimulate the adrenal gland and thereby increase energy. It also may have some beneficial effect on reducing blood sugar in patients with diabetes mellitus. Ginseng can cause elevation in blood pressure, headache, vomiting, insomnia, and nose bleeding. Ginseng can also cause falsely abnormal blood tests for digoxin level in persons taking the drug for heart disease. It is unclear whether ginseng may affect female hormones. Its use in pregnancy is not recommended. Ginseng may affect the action of the normal blood clotting element (platelets). It should be avoided in patients taking aspirin, nonsteroidal antiinflammatory drugs (such as ibuprofen/Advil, Motrin or naproxen/Aleve), or medications to prevent blood clotting (anticoagulants) such as warfarin/Coumadin. Ginseng may also cause headaches, tremors, nervousness, and sleeplessness. It should be avoided in persons with manic disorder and psychosis.
* * *The roots of several species of Panax (family Araliaceae), esteemed as of great medicinal virtue by the Chinese, used extensively as a “nutriceutical”; alleged to improve mental and physical functions. [Ch.]
* * *gin·seng 'jin-.seŋ, -.saŋ, -(.)siŋ n1) the aromatic root of a ginseng that is highly valued as a medicine in China though of value chiefly as a demulcent2 a) a Chinese perennial herb (Panax schinseng of the family Araliaceae, the ginseng family) having 5-foliolate leaves, scarlet berries, and an aromatic root valued esp. locally as a medicineb) any of several plants (esp. genus Panax) related to or used as substitutes for the Chinese ginseng esp a No. American woodland herb (P. quinquefolius)
* * *gin·seng (jinґseng) [Chinese jin-tsan life of man] 1. any herb of the genus Panax, especially P. ginseng (Chinese ginseng) and P. quinquefolius (American ginseng). 2. the root of Chinese or American ginseng, used as a tonic and stimulant in fatigue and during convalescence.
Medical dictionary. 2011.