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January 4, 1980

Ginseng and High Blood Pressure

Author Affiliations

School of Medicine University of California Los Angeles

JAMA. 1980;243(1):32. doi:10.1001/jama.1980.03300270020020

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To the Editor.—  The initial CLINICAL NOTE on ginseng abuse syndrome (241:1614, 1979) reported that 10% of the long-term ginseng users studied had hypertension together with nervousness, sleeplessness, skin eruptions, and morning diarrhea. Several other users also had hypertension but no other symptoms. These results have raised a number of questions concerning the magnitude of the changes in the blood pressure.The 22 subjects in whom hypertension developed following chronic abuse of ginseng all had substantial elevations in both systolic and diastolic blood pressures. These subjects included 20 men, 21 to 35 years of age, who at the start of the study had normal ranges of systolic (105 to 140 mm Hg) and diastolic (62 to 90 mm Hg) blood pressures, with a group mean of 125/78 mm Hg. Following at least 13 weeks of ginseng use, the group mean rose to 150/96 mm Hg. Eight of these subjects used