Editor's Correspondence
November 27, 2000

Panax (Ginseng) Is Not a Panacea

Author Affiliations

Copyright 2000 American Medical Association. All Rights Reserved. Applicable FARS/DFARS Restrictions Apply to Government Use.2000

Arch Intern Med. 2000;160(21):3329. doi:

I read with interest the report by Vuksan et al1 on the effects of American ginseng in subjects both with and without diabetes. The authors cautioned that, because American ginseng attenuated postprandial glycemia in both study groups, it should be taken with meals to prevent unintended hypoglycemia in subjects without diabetes. But there is another important clinical implication of their finding that needs emphasis, ie, potentially serious consequences of drug interactions between American ginseng and other hypoglycemic drugs. For patients with diabetes being treated with either insulin or oral hypoglycemic agents, concurrent use of American ginseng, whether intended or unintended, may precipitate or aggravate a hypoglycemic reaction.

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