How Effective Is Ginseng for Weight Loss?

Ginseng supplements are said to increase energy levels.
Diabetics who take ginseng should check their blood sugar levels regularly.
So far, there is no scientific proof that ginseng aids in weight loss.
Maintaining healthy eating habits and a routine exercise program will likely aid any weight loss endeavor.
Ginseng root has been used for medicinal purposes for thousands or years.
Article Details
  • Written By: Kesha Ward
  • Edited By: C. Wilborn
  • Last Modified Date: 05 December 2014
  • Copyright Protected:
    Conjecture Corporation
  • Print this Article

Shedding pounds can be difficult and there are many different ways to lose weight. Some dieters recommend using ginseng for weight loss, but there have been few long-term studies of its effectiveness. Although some tests on mice have suggested that it may help, as of 2011, there is no proof that taking ginseng is effective for weight loss. Some studies have suggested that some types of this root may help reduce blood sugar levels in diabetics, however.

It's important to note that there are several different herbs that go by the name "ginseng," including American, Siberian, and Asian ginseng. Some dieters use ginseng for weight loss because of it is reported to speed up a sluggish metabolism and increase energy levels. This could help a person to feel better and be more active, and thus increase weight loss. American ginseng (Panax quinquefolius) and Asian ginseng (Panax ginseng) are sometimes included in energy drinks for their purported ability to improve mental sharpness and physical stamina.


Although there is no clear proof that any type of ginseng can help with weight loss, studies do suggest that both American and Asian ginseng may help lower blood sugar, also called blood glucose, in people who have Type 2 diabetes. Medical professionals caution people with diabetes not to take ginseng for weight loss or any other purpose except under supervision. A person who is already taking medication to help regulate his or her blood sugar levels may find that taking ginseng in addition lowers levels too much, which can lead to a dangerous condition called hypoglycemia. Diabetics who take ginseng should monitor their blood glucose levels regularly.

Other reported — although not proven — benefits of taking ginseng include relieving fatigue, improving stamina, and treating conditions such as erectile dysfunction. All of these uses suggest that ginseng acts as a stimulant, and may help increase a person's metabolic rate. With a faster metabolism, dieters could consume a healthy intake of food, but have fewer calories converted into fat. A reduction in fat calories combined with physical activity will normally result in weight loss. The few studies that have been performed on the different types of ginseng show that it might offer some of these benefits for mice, but corresponding studies in humans have not been as successful.

Another reported use for ginseng is as a treatment for loss of appetite, which would seem to contradict the use of ginseng for weight loss. Although the supplement may give people more energy, it could also make them eat more. This could be related to the ability of some types of ginseng to lower blood sugar; when blood sugar levels are low, people get hungry and often crave foods that are high in sugar. People who take ginseng for weight loss will likely get the most benefit by increasing their intake of healthy foods and exercising regularly to help keep blood sugar levels normal.

Ginseng is considered to most likely be safe when taken over a relatively short period of time, although some people may have an allergic reaction. The most common side effect is insomnia. It is not recommended that women who are pregnant or breast feeding take this supplement. American ginseng should not be used by people who are taking warfarin or other anticoagulant medications. It may also affect certain types of antidepressants as well as diabetes drugs.

Although some people claim success from using ginseng for weight loss, consumption of this supplement should not be the only method used to achieve weight goals. Eating a healthy diet and getting regular physical activity are keys to long-term weight control. Ginseng might help dieters achieve results faster, but not in the absence of other healthy behaviors.


More from Wisegeek

You might also Like

Discuss this Article

Post 4

I think everyone should stay away from herbal weight loss supplements with ginseng and other herbs. It's difficult to know if they are pure and safe. And they don't work!

Post 3

@ZipLine-- Ginseng may help you lose a few pounds but don't expect any dramatic results.

Ginseng is a stimulant. It will give you more energy and may help speed up your metabolism. It is said that ginseng balances everything in the body. So its beneficial for people with hormonal imbalances and metabolic disorders.

I lost a few pounds over the course of a few months when I was taking ginseng. I'm not exactly sure if ginseng was the cause of my weight loss, but the weight loss was so slow and minor that it didn't make much of a difference for me. You might experience better results though.

My friend drinks ginseng tea before workouts. She says that she exercises more this way and burns more calories. Ginseng may help you lose weight if you use it this way.

Post 2

I've heard of many different benefits of ginseng but I had never heard of weight loss as a potential benefit. Has anyone experienced weight loss with ginseng?

I just put in a order for ginseng tea. I want to take it for energy and also for its stress fighting properties. I am overweight however, so it would be great if ginseng helped me lose weight as well. I have a slow metabolism and I have trouble losing weight even though I eat healthy and walk every day.

Post your comments

Post Anonymously


forgot password?