American ginseng (Panax quinquefolius) has been shown to be a great tonic for men’s fertility. This plant has been touted as a “male sexual tonic” by herbalists. Through observation, the use of American ginseng may support a healthy sex drive, erectile dysfunction and enhance sexual performance in men. We find these same qualities in Asian ginseng (Panax ginseng) as well, but we find this herb is sometimes too strong for most men. American ginseng has only a mild effect on the central nervous system, as opposed to Asian ginseng, which exerts a stronger effect as a stimulant for the central nervous system. American ginseng has been found to provide excellent immune support and strengthens the HPA (hypothalamus-pituitary-adrenal) axis. The HPA axis is vital to proper hormonal balance, stress management, and immune system strength.
For men with low libido, erectile dysfunction or poor fertility, American ginseng may be a supportive option. It has also been found that this plant may help control metabolic syndrome (hyperinsulinemia) and type 2 diabetes, which may affect fertility health. Studies show that a diabetic man who does not control his glucose levels has less of a chance of impregnating his partner and when he does, the risk of miscarriage and deformities are much higher.
Benefits of American ginseng for Fertility in Men:
Some herbalists use this herb for female fertility as well, but its use for female fertility is not as common. It may be used for female fertility where the adrenals are taxed, there is general debility, digestive disorders, stress levels are high or there are autoimmune disorders present.
- Supports Endocrine system function, aiding the HPA axis which supports healthy hormonal balance.
- Support proper immune function, very important regarding autoimmune fertility issues such as antisperm antibodies.
- May increase sex drive.
- May help treat erectile dysfunction; enhanced erection.
- Increases stamina, may aid in sexual performance.
- Supports healthy stress response, this may help prevent and heal adrenal fatigue and sexual dysfunction associated with high stress levels.
- Adrenal health and proper function are vital to proper manufacturing and release of testosterone.
- Supports proper digestion and absorption of nutrients from foods, which is essential to health overall, including sperm health.
Brief History of American Ginseng
American ginseng is native to the Eastern United States and Canada. Because of over-harvesting of these native plants, American ginseng is now endangered. Never purchase an herbal product labeled “wild crafted” or “wild harvested” American ginseng. Be sure the product you choose is organically cultivated.
Many Native American tribes have used American ginseng for hundreds to possibly thousands of years. Tribes that used American ginseng revered it as grandfather medicine, which simply means this plant is has big medicine. Tribes that used this herb include the Cherokee, Creek, Seminole, Delaware, Mohegan, Meskwaki, Iroquois, Ojibwa and Menominee. American ginseng has been used for a very long time, showing its strong and safe ability to heal. It is said that the Ojibwa were a tribe that was always sure to plant a seed of a new plant after harvesting one for medicinal use; this ensured that plant would never be at risk. Today things are vastly different; this plant is struggling to grow in its native environment.
Herbalist David Winston tells a story about his Cherokee grandfather who would add a bit of American ginseng to all of his formulas. When he asked his grandfather about this, his response was that it made everything work better. It is true that this is exactly what adaptogens do, they work to help regulate and support proper function of the body’s systems.
Traditional Suggested Usage
Plant part used: root
Tincture: 3-5 mL which is 60-100 drops, 3 times a day
Capsule: Two 500mg capsules, 2 times a day = 2000mg a day
American ginseng has a high safety rating and has been shown safe for long-term use, when proper daily dosage is followed. Do not exceed daily suggested dosage.
Caution: Recent human trials have shown that American ginseng taken in high doses may alter the effects of Warfarin, a blood thinning medication.
- Winston, D., & Maimes, S. (2007). Adaptogens: herbs for strength, stamina, and stress relief. Rochester, VT: Healing Arts Press.
- Chevallier, A. (1997). The Encyclopedia of Medicinal Plants. New York: DK Publishing, Inc.