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Decreased appetite, insomnia, headaches, and diarrhea are possible ginseng side effects. While these problems can be bothersome, they are usually not serious. However, there are a number of potential side effects that should be reported to a healthcare provider immediately, including vaginal bleeding, low or high blood pressure, and heart palpitations.

Does Ginseng Cause Side Effects?

As with any medication or supplement, side effects are possible with ginseng. Although some people assume that natural products such as ginseng are automatically free of side effects, this is simply not the case. Remember, many poisons and toxins are natural products. Side effects of ginseng can occur; some of these can be quite serious, even life-threatening.
This article refers to Panax ginseng (also known as Asian ginseng, Chinese ginseng, and Korean ginseng). This type should not be confused with American ginseng or Siberian ginseng, which are entirely different herbs.
(This article covers many, but not all, of the possible side effects with ginseng. Your healthcare provider can discuss a more complete list of ginseng side effects with you.)

Bothersome Side Effects of Ginseng

Possibly bothersome (although usually not serious) ginseng side effects may include:
  • Insomnia
  • Headaches
  • Upset stomach
  • Breast pain
  • Decreased appetite
  • Diarrhea
  • A spinning sensation (vertigo)
  • Unexplained happy or pleasant feelings (euphoria).
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Kristi Monson, PharmD;
Last updated/reviewed:
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