Ginseng provides a variety of health benefits. But its status as an herb means it is not well regulated. There is no standard, universally accepted dose.
However, research trials have been conducted to determine how much you should take. This article will review what we know about ginseng dosage so you can stay safe and healthy.
What is Ginseng?
Ginseng is an herb grown in various regions of the earth. There are 12 known species including Siberian ginseng, Asian ginseng, Korean ginseng, Panax ginseng, and American ginseng. They differ in the amount of ginsenosides (the active ingredient) they contain.
Even though their ginsenoside content differs, each species produces similar benefits. Ginseng, used in herbal medicines, is an adaptogen with antioxidant effects that has been shown to boost immune system health, improve energy, lower blood sugar levels, reduce inflammation, reduce erectile dysfunction, and more.
How is Ginseng Taken?
There are several ways to take ginseng. You can:
- Add ginseng powder to meals and beverages
- Add whole ginseng root to soup or tea
- Grind ginseng and add it to coffee
- Chew ginseng slices
- Take ginseng extract or capsules
What is the Proper Ginseng Dosage?
The recommended ginseng dosage is 200 mg a day or .5 to 2 grams per day when taking the herb as a dry root (chewed or in tea). Capsules are usually measured at 100 to 600 mg.
However, some studies have revealed different doses can be effective in yielding different results as follows:
Cognitive Function: One study showed a 400 mg daily dose of ginseng per day boosted reaction time and abstract thinking. Two small studies showed a 200 mg dose improved social functioning, mental health, attention, and other psychomotor functions. A third study showed a 400 mg dose was effective in improving memory and attention to detail.
Physical Performance: Studies have been conducted to determine the effects of ginseng on physical performance. Most research involved 200 mg doses. None showed significant improvements or negative side effects.
Immunity: One study showed that 100 mg of ginseng could improve the efficacy of the influenza vaccine and reduce the incidence of illness. Another study showed a 100 mg dose of the herb sped up recovery from chronic bronchitis.
Diabetes: 36 patients with newly diagnosed non-insulin diabetes were given a 100 to 200 mg dose of ginseng for eight weeks. The herb helped improve blood glucose levels, mood, and cognitive function. Participants who took a 200 mg dose also saw an improvement in A1c values.
What Happens If I Take Too Much Ginseng?
Ginseng is generally well tolerated, but it can cause side effects that will increase in severity with higher doses. These include:
- Vaginal bleeding
More serious side effects can occur with higher doses and prolonged use. They include:
- High blood pressure
- Acute asthma
- Nose bleeds
- Excessive menstruation
Ginseng can also have negative interactions with other drugs. It may cause hypertension when combined with caffeine. It can lower blood alcohol concentrations. It can decrease the effectiveness of the blood clot medication Warfarin. It can also cause manic symptoms in people that combine it with the antidepressant Nardil.
The herb can also cause hypoglycemic activity which is especially likely to occur in people taking insulin and oral hypoglycemic agents. Children and people who are pregnant or breastfeeding should not use ginseng as it has not been proven safe in laboratory tests.
Ginseng can produce several benefits. But it’s important to get the proper ginseng dosage. Start at a low dosage to see how it affects you. Increase or decrease your dose as needed.
Here’s hoping you find the dosage that’s right for you. To learn more, read our blog article about selecting the best ginseng supplement.