Millions of Americans commonly use ginseng for its health benefits, including improving memory, diabetes, male impotence and enhancing athletic performance, says the National Institutes of Health, or NIH. Ginseng supplements are available in a variety of oral dosage forms, including tea. Drinking ginseng tea may be cause for safety concerns, because ginseng can cause adverse effects to your body, including your heart. Consult with your doctor before using ginseng medicinally.
You can buy ginseng supplement in tea form, or you can make ginseng tea yourself. According to DrugDigest.org, ginseng tea can be made by soaking approximately 3 g of chopped fresh root or 1.5 g of dried root powder in about 150 ml of boiling water for about 15 minutes, then straining. You may sweeten or flavor the tea because it has a strong taste. Stop taking ginseng for two weeks after three months of continuous use.
Ginseng Heart Effects
According to the NIH, ginseng may cause some side effects, such as heart problems. Ginseng can change your heart rhythm, including increasing your heart rate. It can also either raise or lower your blood pressure. If you have any type of heart disease, both of these effects may worsen your heart disease, says DrugDigest.org. Use ginseng with the supervision of your health-care professional if you have a heart condition.
You should not take ginseng with stimulant drugs, such as the decongestant pseudoephedrine or caffeine, because they may affect your heart in a similar way to ginseng and cause your heart rate or blood pressure to be too high. Avoid taking ginseng with bitter orange because, when combined, they may enhance your risk of a serious and life-threatening irregular heart rhythm. Ginseng may affect how some heart medicines work, including calcium channel blockers such as nifedipine.
Other Side Effects
The NIH states that ginseng is considered to be generally safe for most people when taken orally for less than three months. The most common side effect reported form ginseng is difficulty sleeping. You may also experience decreased appetite, diarrhea, dizziness, headache, mood changes, breast tenderness and vaginal bleeding. Ginseng may also rarely cause potentially serious side effects, including a rash called Stevens-Johnson syndrome and liver injury.