Pulse of Oriental Medicine: Alternative Medicine That Works for Regular Folks
Alternative Medicine That Works for Regular Folks


Ginseng and Diabetes
Type II
by Brian Benjamin Carter

My name is R Sr.

I'm 72 years of age. I am Diabetic. I have it under control. I've been Diabetic for 30 years. I would like to know if I can consume Korean Ginseng seeing as how I am Diabetic. I used to consume Korean Ginseng regular at that time I was a Bench Press Competitor. I backed off of

Bench Press competition in 1994. I miss it and I have been thinking about training again to compete. I miss the competition. I also have High Blood Pressure which is under control bottom line is in the 60's top line in the 140's. I served as a Police Officer for 30 years im now retired. Please respond to my email. I have Ginseng and would like to know if it's beneficial.

R Sr.


The warning I must give first, is that some doctors believe that since ginseng can affect blood glucose levels, it shouldn't be used by diabetics.

The second warning is that ginseng is contraindicated in people with high blood pressure.

See Your Acupuncturist/Herbalist

The best answer is "get thee to an acupuncturist/herbalist." Ginseng is but one component of a vast and complex medicine- the kind of info they would need to know to answer that question would require a chinese medical diagnosis.

If you did that, you would gain access to more powerful and more personalized treatment options than just ginseng. Plus, you need someone to watch out for drug herb interactions in your case specifically. To find one, go to this article.

Information about Diabetes and Ginseng

Knowing that you may not have access to a chinese medical practitioner, here is some more info:

If you've read my ginseng article then you know that Korean or red ginseng is the hottest type of ginseng. I wrote another article that deals with the Chinese Medical conception of heat - if you have some of these symptoms, you may want to reconsider the korean ginseng and go for american ginseng instead.

Drug Interactions

Some drugs that may be problematic with ginseng are estrogens and corticosteroids.

And there are some drugs that you might not want to take any herbs with... these are the drugs with narrow therapeutic margins that are easily thrown off- e.g. warfarin. There are loads of these, so you might need to consult your doctor, pharmacist, or any acupuncturist who owns a Drug Information Handbook.

Research on the Ginsengs and Blood Glucose

American Ginseng Berry (Mice)

A recent study showed that American Ginseng Berry extract lowered blood glucose, reduced obesity, and lowered body temperature in diabetic mice. Of course, to maintain the same dosage they gave the mice, a 160 pound man would have to take about 15 grams of it a day! And there are no studies on that yet.

White Ginseng Root and Rootlets (Mice)

In 2001, mice were studied with White Ginseng root and rootlets... faster blood glucose levels were lowered. They did some disection studies to try to figure out how it works. Based on that they speculated that white ginseng root blocks the absorption of glucose in the intestine, and inhibits Glucose 6 Phosphatase (an enzyme that is thought to be a major contributing factor in diabetes - this information thanks to William J. Arion, PhD at Cornell University). And they speculated that white ginseng rootlet also blocks intenstinal glucose absorption and regulates PPAR-gamma.

Ginseng for Diabetes in Humans - A Gold Standard Study

In 1995, researchers found that korean/chinese ginseng elevated mood and reduced fasting blood glucose and body weight in diabetes. And this was a double-blind placebo-controlled study... the gold standard of research science! The dose was 200mg per day.


So as you can see, there are benefits for diabetics with either american or asian ginseng... but the safest and most effective way to go about it is through a chinese medical practitioner and your regular doctor- get them to work as a team.

All the best!

Join the PulseMed mailing list

All information herein provided is for educational use only and not meant to substitute for the advice of appropriate local experts and authorities.
Copyright 1999-2074, Pulse Media International