Ginseng Risk to Heart?
Answered by: Susan Eagles
Question from: Joe
Posted on: June 6, 2001

Regarding the report that ginseng lowers blood sugar levels in patients with diabetes, can you send me information on ginseng? Will ginseng affect the heart? My wife had a triple by pass last September and is still having minor problems with high sugar, sleep disorder, and torn cartilage in both knees. If you have anything on sleep disorder this would help.

The recent news report that North American ginseng lowers blood sugar levels was published in Richters Newsletter, 2001/05/31 (go to and follow link to "Richters HerbLetter").

In your wife’s case, I suggest that you consult with a trained, experienced herbalist or other natural practitioner before considering ginseng. All of the Ginsengs have long been known to reduce blood sugar swings by their effect on the liver, promotion of insulin release by the pancreas and the use of sugar by the body. However, there are reported cases where Ginseng has caused increased blood pressure, changes in heart rhythm, insomnia and other adverse reactions. The adverse affects are more likely to occur with older and more unhealthy people. Dosage recommendations and monitoring of Ginseng’s effects should be made by your local natural health practitioner.

For more information on high blood sugar, sleep disorders and torn cartilage, please go to our website at Choose "Q&A" from the main menu, then choose "Search Richters Q&A", and enter the word "diabetes" for one search, "insomnia" for another search and "joint" for a third search. The item "Herbs for Joints" gives recommendations for torn cartilage.

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