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What are the Most Common Korean Ginseng Side Effects?

By Erin J. Hill
Updated Feb 29, 2024
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In most healthy adults, Korean ginseng side effects are generally mild, and may include insomnia, irritability, and nervousness. When taken in higher than average quantities, it may also cause breast pain, insomnia, dizziness, high blood pressure, diarrhea, loss of appetite, nausea, low blood pressure, and headaches. These are considered rare and are not typical when the herb is taken correctly.

Korean ginseng is a plant with many health benefits, including alertness, faster metabolism, decreased sexual dysfunction in men, decreased postmenopausal symptoms in women, lowered blood sugar, and increased cognitive function, among others. In most healthy individuals, it can be taken daily with no adverse effects. When Korean ginseng side effects do occur, they are usually mild and can include insomnia, nervousness, and irritability. Oftentimes they subside if the dosage is temporarily lowered so that the body is able to adjust.

Although rare, more serious side effects can occur when taking Korean ginseng, primarily when it is taken in doses higher than recommended. These can include blood pressure problems, headaches, nervousness, sleep disturbances, and gastrointestinal problems. Most of the time, side effects will subside once the herb is discontinued or the dosage is lowered to the proper amount.

While serious side effects are not common, each person is unique and some may be more sensitive to ginseng than others. For this reason, Korean ginseng should be used under the direct supervision of a physician so that potential reactions can be monitored. Luckily, most people find the beneficial Korean ginseng side effects to outweigh the bad.

If serious side effects do occur, such as dizziness, faintness, or irregular heart rhythms, this could mean a marked change in blood pressure. This is extremely rare, as blood pressure changes usually do not cause symptoms until they are very severe. Patients should contact a doctor immediately if any worrisome symptoms develop.

Additionally, symptoms of an underlying condition may be mistaken for Korean ginseng side effects. Although ginseng is used to help with a variety of medical conditions, patients should also receive a diagnosis for any troubling symptoms in order to decide on the best treatment. Those who have certain blood pressure conditions or intestinal disorders may want to avoid Korean ginseng, as it may exacerbate these conditions.

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Discussion Comments
By candyquilt — On Jan 19, 2014

I've been drinking Korean ginseng tea for a few weeks now. I think it's a great herb. My mood and energy levels have definitely improved even though it has not been that long. The only problem is that it's giving me a mild headache. I'm not entirely sure if it's the ginseng but I think so because I'm not taking anything else.

Is this a common Korean ginseng tea side effect?

By literally45 — On Jan 18, 2014

@ddljohn-- It happened to my wife. But if I remember correctly, she had been taking a ginseng supplement for a while, so she didn't experience this side effect of Korean ginseng immediately.

Ginseng has stimulant effects so it can cause hyperactivity, insomnia and even anxiety. It boosts energy and increases cognitive function. It can obviously be difficult to fall asleep for these reasons.

You may want to stop taking ginseng for a while or reduce the amount you're taking. And what time of the day do you take the supplement? You should take it in the morning. It will affect your sleep if you take it in the evening or at night.

By ddljohn — On Jan 17, 2014

Has anyone experienced insomnia from Korean ginseng roots?

I've been taking Korean ginseng for a week and since the past two days, I have trouble sleeping.

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