American Ginseng

American Ginseng:
A Native American Tradition with Modern Health Benefits.

In most health food stores, American ginseng is not one of the best sellers among herbal medications.

From my view in holistic medicine, that’s a shame, because it has such great potential for more than a few conditions.


Like other adaptogens, or tonics, this herbal medication supports the adrenal system. That’s why it can be one of the first herbs to turn to when someone is fatigued, stressed, or recovering from a trauma.

But the American species of ginseng has some significant differences from its Asian counterpart. In Native American traditional medicine, it was historically used to help someone who had chronic respiratory concerns such as bronchitis or wheezing; remember that they did not have any prescription medicine available, and centuries of trial and error proved this herbal medication to be useful. It also would have been used in acute infections or fevers. And that’s a hint about the kind of person who might benefit from its use: someone who tends to be hot-natured, or who will get a high fever with any acute illness.

Modern research has shown some interesting data about this root as well: it may be helpful in normalizing blood sugar, so it could be used along with the usual prescriptions and diet recommendations in type 2 diabetes. It seems to have some benefit in protecting the lining of the blood vessels as well… yet another reason to recommend it for someone with diabetes and concern for heart disease.

And as with any medicinal herb, remember that American ginseng is a medication, and should be used under the supervision of a doctor or licensed health care provider familiar with its properties. And your individual situation may warrant an examination by your physician or even medical tests before you self-prescribe herbs for your symptoms.

And then within those safe guidelines, I want you to feel confident that American ginseng is yet another of many herbal medications that I know to be effective. I hope this short introduction has piqued your interest so you want to learn more.



To your health and wellness,




Robert Pendergrast, M.D. 

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