April 10, 1991

Maternal Use of Ginseng and Neonatal Androgenization-Reply

Author Affiliations

The Motherisk Program Hospital for Sick Children Toronto, Ontario

The Motherisk Program Hospital for Sick Children Toronto, Ontario

JAMA. 1991;265(14):1828. doi:10.1001/jama.1991.03460140056024

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In Reply.—  We find it interesting that Dr Awang doubts whether, in our patient, "in fact Siberian ginseng was taken." The label of the drug claims that it contains "pure Siberian ginseng." The drug is supposed to be under the control of his section, and he says that there are straightforward chromatographic methods to identify ginsenosides and eleutherosides. So why doesn't he do that? Isn't that what a regulator is supposed to do in protecting the public? As to the measured hormonal effects, by using the same product in a double-blind manner we have just shown that this woman has undetectable testosterone levels when ingesting Siberian ginseng and normal levels when ingesting placebo. We postulate that it contains a compound that acts like, and suppresses, endogenous testosterone.Dr Fleiss shows us how unfortunate it is when breast-feeding turns into ideology. This child had severe androgenization. The mother was not ready