Dr. Stephen Fulder,tells of the Emperor Shen Nung, who was considered to be the most famous Chinese herbalist and one of thefounders of traditional medicine.He explains that the Emperor recorded several hundred herbs in the Shen Nung Pen Tshao Ching, The Pharmacopoeia of the Heavenly Husbandman. Which was printed in the second century B.C.“Ginseng was at the top of the list of those agents that are beneficial yet harmless.”
In his book "Ginseng: A Concise Handbook", Dr. James Duke, now retired, former head of the Herbal Testing Laboratory for the United States Department of Agriculture, lists seven of the major ginsenosides in ginseng. These are some of the bioactive components in the plant. He notes that all seven have lower toxicity levels than caffeine.
A study on taking ginseng and coffee together, was reported by JAMA, The Journal of the American Medical Association.The outcome suggested that the subjects had adverse effects such as being over stimulated and stressed.These findings were later refuted due to the study being so poorly carried out.There was no documentation of how much coffee was consumed or what type of ginseng or how much was used.The American Botanical Council sells a pamphlet called “Debunking the Ginseng Abuse Syndrome”.There have also been reports that large amounts of ginseng could cause diarrhea.The amounts would have to be so large that it would be very costly and not something whicha person would normally do.Christopher Hobbs explains the side effects and cautions of taking ginseng very well.He says that ginseng is not appropriate for everyone due to its effect on blood pressure. Ginseng has been shown to belong to a group of supplements which can thin the blood.If taking Coumadin this needs to be considered.Also, if we had high blood pressure we would check that pressure frequently if using oriental ginseng.He also explains that large amounts could have an estrogen like effect and to take care in pregnancy and breast feeding.This seems wise and responsible.Overall, it seems that ginseng is really quite safe when taken under the correct directions.Of course anything, even water can cause problems when taken to the extreme.Also, one may want to be clear which ginseng they are taking so that they do not exaggerate feelings of heat and energy when it is not needed, remembering that the Oriental ginseng will increase heat and energy, whilst the American ginseng will calm and cool.Christopher Hobbs also mentions that Panax ginseng, especially the red can cause headaches, palpitations and insomnia for those who are already overheated.The more we check things out for ourselves and are aware of what we take into our body the better and more responsible we can be.Prescription drugs have a much higher incidence of side effects.Throughout generations ofusage, ginseng has shown itself to be highly effective, and yet. safe and gentle. There are no proven negative side effects from its usage. The USDA classifies ginseng as GRAS (Generally Recognized As Safe).